Tuesday, December 10, 2002
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I haven't been to the circus since I was nine or ten or eleven or thereabouts. I remember it being a crowded place with weird people and strange smells and crazy outfits and animals and danger and freakishness and repressed violence and bizarre claims.
So here I am in advanced adulthood with Genée Heyl, the slinky blonde SAfm newsreader. Her sister is one of the star attractions of the show. Her twin sister.
And yes. They are identical. And yes. They are delicious. Which is a real pity, cos we're both flirting outrageously, with no goal in sight (at least for me), cos Heidi's firmly filling my horizon.
But sheesh. One of the circus dancers is just hormonal sideshow deluxe. She prances into the ring, and all I wanna do is mount the trapeze with her. Ouch. But she's rather on the thin side, and that's a bit of a turnoff for me. It's as Anthony Burgess remarked about having sex with supermodels: "It's like going to bed with a bicycle."
I don't know how to spell Liayne, but it's pronounced pretty much like the "Li" of "litchi" and the "ayne" of "danger". At first I think it's the radical Afrikaans accent of the ring master coming into play, but Genée assures me that I'm hearing right.
After Liayne swallows a sword and lies bare-backed on some freshly smashed bottles and glasses, it's interval. And we all rush out to devour the koeksusters made by the ringmaster's mother. I can assure you that the only koeksusters that come close are ones I tasted in Oudtshoorn several years ago at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, the festival at which I performed poetry with Bekgeveg. Top hats off to you, tannie! Excellent! And the circus had some moutwatering acts too.
Which is why I'm whistling like crazy whenever something wonderful happens in the ring. I LOVE the atmosphere of people enjoying themselves. And I'm a bit of a clown myself. So whistling loudly in pleasure is one of the great things in life. And Genée tells me that the performers really get off on whistles.
So I'm whistling like a banshee in a cauldron. And the woman in front of me is grimacing every time I cheer or whistle or clap. Until I aim one straight at her ear. Now before I go any further, I must mention that I've done tai chi for the last eight or nine years, and I've been doing it daily now for three or four years. Which doesn't make me a powerhouse monster martial artist. No. It makes me docile. And able to flow away from trouble.
But I'm just human. And when a woman just can't even crack a smile for the performers below, it pisses me off, and I want revenge.
So I take my glasses off and hand them to Genée. "I think I'm about to be punched," I tell her, and she clings to my arm in girlish excitement. "Uh," I say, putting my lip close to her ear in the extremely loud circus, "I'm left handed. I'm going to need to move fast if this lunk attacks me." She lets go, and my bicep is all warm where her breast was pouting against it.
The lunk I'm referring to is this massive strongman type. Not a circus strong man. Rather, one of those dudes who runs people off the road at night and mashes them to bits with a baseball bat.
So I wait for my opportunity and whistle super-loudly right in the woman's ear, and she flinches viciously and jams both hands over her ears and turns to scream at me. But her husband restrains her. Only, I notice that both of his hands have formed into fists. And he's flxing. He's trying to work out if he has the advantage over me in a surprise. Of course, the answer has to be no, cos I'm right behind him. I'm above him. And he hasn't had a chance to observe me properly.
Unfortunately, no-one hits me, and I don't get the chance to put my tai chi skills into practice. But hey. The circus is filled with danger. And freaks. And wild animals. And some of those wild animals have husbands.