An old carny meets Fred Dodger and his travelling circus one night. He seems okay...He's going to help them he says. That's what he says!
The thing is, Joe has a secret! Secrets aren't necessarily bad, but when there is an agenda with them, watch out and when that agenda is part of a vast plan, expect the worst.
"The man held up his hands. “I mean you no harm,” he said. “I just was out walking and I came upon your fire. That is, I smelled it and whatever you cooked…it smelled real good.”
Fred didn’t know what to make of him at first. Of course, he was relieved he didn’t look like a cop. He was dressed kind of shabbily, with a shirt and mismatched jacket, paired with trousers worn at the knees. He was carrying his jacket. “Sure is warm tonight.”
“Yeah, but that’s the way June is hereabouts.”
They both reckoned so. Everyone else did also and they continued to as they all sat around the fire. Just then, the man introduced himself and said his name was Joe. “Joe Sabba...”
Sabba, Fred thought. It sounded like some kind of Hindu name, exotic: Sabba, the Magnificent. Joe cocked his head and said he could read Fred’s mind. Fred laughed. “No, really!” he said. “It’s what I do. Let me show you.”
The clowns started to guffaw and the boys did, too. Baby Alice called them rude and the stranger smiled and thanked her, calling her ma’am, which made her blush. “No, ma’am, I’ll show them. You wait. I think you were wondering if I was some kind of magician, Sabba the Magnificent, wasn’t it? Is what you were thinking?”
Fred nearly swallowed the unlit stogie he had been gnawing on. “What did you say?”
“I bet I was right!”
Fred nodded dumbly.
No one said anything. It was quite a moment. “Well, sir,” the man said. “Looks like I impressed you all. It’s just a talent I have. Been like that all my life. Even as a sprout growing up in Amarillo.”
Happy was impressed. “Amarillo way? I come from Lubbock!”
“Do tell. Like Lubbock, been there many times.” There was a pause although it wasn’t a long one. “Carny folk, are you?” Heads began to nod—even Fred’s. “I bet you all have a story or two to tell! Nothing like it, fires and storytelling.”
That was when it started. A complete stranger broke the proverbial ice. They were soon all chatting for the next three hours, the men interested to learn that Joe had been a carny most of his life.
“Yes, always liked carny folks. Best people there are.”
Everyone agreed, including Fred. When Old Pa stuck his head out—he had been in the truck because of dizzy spells, which he got every now and then—Joe Sabba grinned. “Well, hello there, sir. I am mighty glad to meet you. I was wondering when I might.”
Fred laughed at that. “Hey, you can’t prove you knew he was in there.”
Joe agreed. “You are right. Damned if you ain’t. But I will say this and let God be my judge—I do surmise that your father there won’t go nowhere without his little box of mementos.”
Fred winced. He couldn’t speak for quite some time. This would be one night during which he wouldn’t sleep at all.
“This is horrific in the best way! It is extreme ... and disturbing.
"Riveting. Imaginative. Chilling. Fantastical."
"Wonderful horror with a side order of ribs."
"Outstanding story line and strong characters. I felt like I was right there and a part of the sideshow.
"An awesome little creepfest!"
"Never going to the circus again!"
“Scary from beginning to end! Sit back and read your way into a horror filled tale! Enjoy!”
WARNING: ADULT HORROR-GRAPHIC VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL SCENES