THE INCREDIBLE MS. WONDERFUL  (Flash Short Story)
© Cupideros, Saturday, November 5, 2011
(996 words)



The Incredible Ms. Wonderful
By Cupideros

Eleven-year-old Anna lived near a public park and each summer The Mesmerizing Circus came to town.  Anna spotted their five-story high blue and white awning circus tent from her bedroom window.  Then after collecting her allowance, for a long minute, Anna would be staring upwards inside the circus tent.  She fell into the mysterious fictional world in no time; a world where bare-handed strong men lifted elephants; flying trapeze artist launched high in the air were caught by another trapeze artist on the other side of the blue and white awning; the Fastest Clown in the East flashed two-hundred different faces in twenty minutes, and the most mysterious performer of all The Incredible Ms. Wonderful, Sword Swallower Extraordinaire.  Only cotton candy, soda and Anna’s favorite treat caramel popcorn rivaled the Incredible Ms. Wonderful in Anna’s opinion. 

Not only did Ms. Wonderful walk on fire, she ate it; she walked on nails and she ate them too.  Last week, she swallowed a yellow Hummingbird, named Rascal.  The Hummingbird reemerged from her stomach and flew back into its open golden cage.

***

After the show, Anna knew Ms. Wonderful retired back stage to remove her makeup.  Today, Anna made a plan to see Ms. Wonderful in the flesh.  This meant bending the socializing rules.  Anna waited until all the crowds left.  Then she followed the circus performers back to their red and white checker board tent homes.  She watched Ms. Wonderful enter her tent.  Anna waited five minutes and peaked under the side tent covers, but was discovered.

“I’m not real, Anna.  Don’t be disappointed,” Ms. Wonderful said sitting at her small vanity table, Hollywood bulb lights brightened the mirror’s surface.  Even under makeup, Ms. Wonderful possessed flawless skin.  Her elbows rested on the table, hands making a small linked bridge, her chin resting on her hand bridge, as she stared straight at Anna through the mirror’s reflection. 

“Ah shucks, Ms. Wonderful.”  Anna crawled inside the tent.  She dusted herself off.  Her two-foot long brown hair almost reached her waist.  “I want to be free like you.  Travel around the world.”
Ms. Wonderful gave a hearty laugh, turned and faced Anna.  “Look around you, Anna.  I have to carry these assortments of nails, candles, lighters, swords and a yellow Hummingbird in a cage wherever I go--I admire your freedom, amber-eyed Anna.”
“But, I’m not famous like you—wear a black cat suit—mini skirt.”

“You only think you want to be like me, kid.”  Ms. Wonderful gave Anna a good looking over.  “You’ll find a husband.  Have a family.  Cook meals and have nice Sunday’s off.”
“Not true.”  Anna cautiously came closer.  “I don’t want a family, marriage, cooking or children.  I want a career--like you.”
“Every career extracts its price.  I might look glamorous in my black mini skirt and cat suit, but I’d trade them any day for what you’re rejecting outright.” 
“Show me how you swallow all them nails.”

Ms. Wonderful thought for a second, stood up.  “What you must do is relax your throat.”
Anna tried to relax her throat.
“Now watch me.”  Ms. Wonderful grabbed a handful of grey steel nails.  She put a few in Anna’s hand.  “You can’t be afraid of the metal or it will hurt you.”
Anna trembled a bit. 
Ms. Wonderful snatched the nails out of Anna’s hand and swallowed them in a big gulp.
“That must have hurt.”
Reaching into her cat suit, Ms. Wonderful retrieved the fifteen nails.  “You want to know my secret, Anna?”
“Yeah, I prom-promise I won’t tell—no one.”
“I’m a ghost.”
“The nails don’t hurt you, because you’re a ghost?”
“Yes.  I told you I wasn’t real.”  She beamed a big smile.”
“Shucks you look as real a woman and beautiful and all.”
“Put your finger in the hollow of my throat.”  Anna did and sure enough her finger passed right through.
“Your feet must be ghost-like too!”
“That’s correct, Anna.”  She gave Anna a big silver sword.  “Drive the point through the top of my foot. “
Anna drove the huge sword though Ms. Wonderful’s foot.    “That’s weird.”
“Down right spooky,” replied Ms. Wonderful as she observed Anna’s fascination grow.  “So you see Anna, you can’t be like me.”
“What if I was dead?”
“Dead?”
“Yeah like you, Ms. Wonderful.  I could do all them tricks and more, if I was a full ghost.”
“You can’t make yourself a ghost, Anna.  It just happens.”  Ms. Wonderful turn back toward the mirror and began removing her makeup. 
Anna gasped.
Each swipe removed a little bit more of Ms. Wonderful’s fascinating shape.  First her nose disappeared.  She removed her brown contacts and her eyes were hollows.   Off came the long, radiant brunette wig.  Makeup formed the front and side shapes of her ghostly head. 
“Afraid yet, kid?”
“Nah.  I won’t believe until you’re gone!”
Ms. Wonderful made her high cheekbones disappear, chin and ears.  She was headless now.
Anna didn’t move.
“Close your eyes kid, Ms. Wonderful is about to get naked.” 
“I know all about sex.”  Anna replied.  Her eyes did not close, waver or blink. 
Ms. Wonderful pushed her cat suit to her ankles and stepped free.  “You’re a brave girl, Anna.”
“That’s incredible Ms. Wonderful!  You’re all gone—“ Anna reached out and passed her small hands through, “Not even white mist!”
“Mist comes from the fog.”
“But how do you eat?” 
“I haven’t eating anything for one hundred years.”
Anna took a long time to consider this new fact.  “Awe, I can’t give up eating, caramel popcorn, soda and cotton candy, Ms. Wonderful.  That’s just too much to ask.”  Anna shrugged her shoulders, “But I guess being in the circus beats hunting old houses and barns.”
“You got that right, kid.”
Anna thought harder.  “Well . . . maybe . . . I can be the Fastest Clown in the West?”
Ms. Wonderful laughed.  His act is not real either!

—THE END—


Copyright © 2011 Cupideros
All rights reserved.


                                                          


























































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