Thursday, February 20, 2014

Day Six-Thirty-Nine: No

"C'mon, dad, it'll be fun."


"Please? You'll like it. It's a lot of fun. Just try this one thing."


"It'd be, y'know, a favour. A favour to me. You wanna do your awesome son a favour, right? Just one?"


"That's pretty mean of you, dad. Pretty cold. Mom wouldn't approve."

"Yeah, well, mom's got her head stuck in a frigid barrel of pineapples right now."

Which was true. I really don't see the point of that game.

Somehow, somehow, Fynn managed to coax me out of the Dauphine today. If only for a quick look around the Cirque du Magniwonderful. I have trouble saying no to his big, beautiful brown eyes. He's a gorgeous boy, I'm not afraid to admit it, and I'm not afraid to admit it because he looks like me. I'm fine with calling a darker version of myself handsome. But that doesn't mean I have to go along with what that version says.

"Dad, c'mon. Just watch." Plucking a dart from the extendable wood countertop, Fynn aimed carefully and threw the projectile into a well-worn dart board. It thunked home with expert aim, smack-dab in the center ring. "See? Piece of cake. You could totally do that."

Eying the proprietor - that weird purple goblin with the balloons - I shook my head. "No. No deal. C'mon, let's go."

"But wait!" Fynn grabbed my arm. "I won a prize! I won a prize with that, didn't I?"

The gypsy shook his head. "No, ya gotta get three in a row. In the same spot."

Grabbing two more darts, Fynn hurled them at the dart board. Not only did they hit the center ring, they wedged themselves into the rear of the first dart. 

The goblin glared incredulously at the darts for a few seconds before composing himself. "You... ya didn't pay. Got a gold?"

Fynn floundered. He searched his pockets for money. "Uh... uh... uh... dad...?"

I grabbed his hand and led him away. His disappointment seeped through my fingers like a sickness.

I had to admit, even in my poor mood, that the Cirque du Magniwonderful was fairly impressive. For such a small band of miscreants the gypsies had cobbled together an eclectic assortment of attractions, from counting games to dance routines to mystery animals that I'd never seen in my life. Possessed of speech, too, apparently - I swear the snow hippo muttered 'This is so degrading' as I passed by its pen. I wonder what it looks like under that enormous sheet.

Fynn tried to prod me into a dozen different attractions, but I wouldn't bite. I refused to bite. I didn't want to eat candied corn or ride the Merry-Go-Down or play Fifty-Two Card Pickup. I wanted to go back inside. I was only indulging my son because of his big brown eyes.

Apparently Ramone, the leader of the gypsies, decided to take advantage of those same eyes when he came tromping over in his ridiculous boots, arms splayed. "WELCOMED BY ALL! You must be, yes, I'd say, you must be Dragomir! I have heard much about you from your friends! You are the captain of this mighty vehicle before us, yes? This mighty Dauphine?!"

I scratched my head. "Yeah, I guess you can call me captain. I don't, really. Is, uh, is there something you want...?"

"Yes! Yes yes yes!" Ramone scuttled over, grunting hard as he strained to pick his way through the snow. "I have something special for you! Something I reserve in particular for important members of, ah, state! Yes, state! Your vehicle is a state, is it not?"

I pulled away as his spindly fingers tried to ensnare my hand. "No. No, I don't think it is."

"But surely! Surely, it is, ah, um, a state... of... being! It exists, and therefore!" He made another lunge, this time successfully grabbing my arm. "Come, come, this way!"

I tried to pull away, but Fynn urged me onward through the stalls. I'm pretty sure he threw Libby a thumbs up, as she was watching us from a nearby wagon. Damned family is conspiring against me.

Ramone and Fynn led me to the rear of the gypsy encampment, where a large, bone white tent waited. The three-headed jester stood at the entrance, holding the flap open and exposing the darkness inside. The mood around the tent seemed oddly subdued compared to the rest of the Cirque du Magniwonderful, a small knot of unease amid a wild clamour.

I held back against Ramone's urgency, staring at the three-headed figure. Though its hand was held out invitingly, all three heads were swivelling back and forth. They didn't stop until Ramone shot them a glare.

"This," he proclaimed, running over to the entrance of the tent, "is the home of the miiiiighty Madame Rosmertier! She is our crowning glory, a seeress of unparalelled power, and she can peer into the future of your mind's eye! She knows all!"

I thought of my dreams. Of figures with white sheets on their heads, of a goblin being pierced by a lance of darkness. "I've... had enough of knowing the future, thanks. I'll pass."

"C'mon, dad, it'll be fun." Fynn patted my shoulder. "I'll go in with you, if you want."

"Yes, dad, come, it will be fun!" Ramone capered in front of the tent, climbing onto the shoulders of the three-headed jester. "Come, dad! Father! Mi padre! Do you not wish to view your unobstructed and totally not-dangerous future? Who could resist such temptation! Especially since the first reading is free!"

I tried to see past the shroud of the tent's entrance, to get a look at this 'Madame Rosmertier'. It was too dark and too voluminous inside to catch any details, however. "I... I dunno, Fynn. I've got a feeling."

"Yeah. It's called crabbiness." Fynn punched my arm. I'm pretty sure it was meant to be light-hearted, but, ah, he's strong. Ow. "For me, dad. Do it for me."

I hesitated. Fynn smiled. Ramone beckoned me onward. The jester held the tent open, a silent sentinel. The head furthest from Ramone shook almost imperceptibly, a tiny gesture you could only notice if you were staring right at it.

I took a step forward...

... and blacked out.

While I was blacked out, I saw the inside of the tent. And the only thing waiting for me there was a snare. A big, brown net, woven of tough rope.

I woke up back in the Dauphine, Libby looming over me, Fynn a short distance away. Someone - Fynn, I assumed - had carried me back to my bed. They both apologized profusely for 'tricking' me into visiting the Cirque du Magniwonderful before I was ready. Neither asked why I had blacked out. That's good, 'cause I wouldn't have been able to answer.

Though I have a suspicion.

A net.

A big, brown net.

We're leaving tomorrow, despite the protests of the gypsies. Apparently Ramone is dead set on celebrating our time together with a big, final show tomorrow evening. He promises it's worth sticking around for; I'm not so certain. I'm not so certain about any of this anymore.




Dragomir the Wanderer


  1. C'mon, its Doc and CeDrisArd...why am I the only that see's this?

    1. Everyone else has been wooed by comedic ignorance and candy corn.

    2. It's obvious to me also. People should have more faith in Dragomir's gut.