fiction · politics · short story

Madame Godiva’s Tent

madame godivas tent

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Summer was coming to an end. The carnival always arrived at this time of year. Jax and the other seniors had been waiting for it all week, and Friday was finally here. Jax & Li, Barry & Michelle, Brad & Angelina, and Ben & Jerry all met up at Jax’ house, then caravaned it to the outskirts of town, where the whole entertainment complex had been set up in the old K-Mart parking lot.

The sounds, lights, and smells reached them long before they reached the ticket booth. The girls’ laughter was effusive as the boys bought the ride-all-night bands. First stop was the roller coaster. They dared each other to ride no hands, and everyone screamed at the impact of the sharp drops and turns.

The Ferris Wheel was next, where each couple rode separately, laughing and wrestling with each other as the crisp night air invigorated their senses.

Next came the New Wave Carousel, where the creatures they rode were Gargoyles, Medusas, and Kaiju instead of the usual lions, tigers, and bears. The calliope music was uninterrupted, but at times there was a nuanced change in tempo whose aural input lulled them into a surreal headspace. As they stepped off of the carousel, all said simultaneously, “Let’s go visit Madame Godiva’s Tent!”

Madam Godiva, a new attraction at the carnival this year, was allowed to set up a tent after the national ballot proposal passed in November. The new Chiromancer Regulation, Act 3317, upheld the right of chiromancers to practice, despite rabid opposition by the Republican party, which now dominated all levels of government. You see, the Republicans had thought, after the deal they made with The Black Hole Green Disease Deity, Narcissicarrionica, that they were beyond any stopping, except for one group – chiromancers. US Congress passed emergency legislation stating all chiromancers were to be rounded up and thrown into FEMA camps until their executions could be carried out.

The American People knew that chiromancers were their only hope to neutralize the dark shadow that was beginning to blanket the globe; they circulated petitions in every jurisdiction in the land and made sure everyone got out to vote. They also made sure their own people were at every polling station, to ensure no vote fixing. It passed by a landslide and all chiromancers were released.

The People then met with Them to plot a course of action to defeat Narcissicarrionica and the Zombicarrions. It was decided that chiromancers would be sent to carnivals nation-wide to enlist the commitment of young people for the coming battle. A hypnotic tune would play in the carousel, which would induce them into the Palm Readers Tents. It would be there that their minds would be shaped to fearless battle and victory.

The couples ran in joyous exuberance towards Madame Godiva’s tent. Their palms were itching.

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