Sunday Stories: “The Greatest Show on Earth”


The Greatest Show on Earth
by James A. Reeves

There’s this old couple that gets around. Maybe you’ve seen them. They’ve been touring the country for years, long before America elected a game show host for president. They started off doing decent business at casinos and conventions until their tantrums began causing problems. At a fundraiser in Houston, they raised the house lights and singled out members of the audience, including the Secretary of Defense, saying they refused to perform for “a bunch of pornographic machine-gunning murderers.” Although this earned the couple some stock with the underground scene, the punk rockers and break-dancers didn’t know what to make of their mambo routines or their clumsy impressions of Hubert Humphrey and Dorothy Parker. Soon they were kicked down to the county fair circuit where they drank all the booze, spiked the acrobats’ water with a particularly vivid hallucinogenic called Black Sunshine, and set enough tents on fire while cuddling with cigarettes that even the sideshows along Interstate 10 wouldn’t have anything to do with them. So they began hitching from city to city, busking on street corners and subway platforms and that’s probably where you’ve seen them.

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