CIRCUS LIFE by Peter Nolan Smith

Whenever a married couple or single mother and kid visited me in Pattaya, I took them on a tour of the various tourist points of interest; the Khao Keo outdoor zoo, the Temple of Truth, the biggest wooden structure in the world, and Nong Nooch Gardens. while steering well clear of my usual haunts i.e. the Buffalo Bar, the Welkom Inn, and Heaven Above a Go-Go.

None of these family fare attractions were far away from my house on Moo 9 and they hide your true reason to partake life in the Last Babylon.

Sin sin sin.

I showed my friends flowers, temples, and elephants.

Back in the early part of the 21st Century my young nephew, Fast Eddie, and I went to see the Nong Nooch elephant show. We bought 50 baht of bananas from a vendor before the pachyderms entered the arena, The two of us sat in the front row under the shade. The music announced the first elephant. A giant tusker chained at his back feet. The beast took one look at our bananas and charged the stands. The minders had no chance of controlling him. I chucked the bananas at him and grabbed my godson?s hand before we were trampled by the rampaging behemoth. The crowd both Thai and farang laughed at our timidity, but even a 400-pound gorilla. The ape will get out of the seat to let the elephant sit down if it knows what is good for the ape.

Angie’s mom was angry at me.

“Khang kill you. Who take care Angie?” We weren’t on the best of terms, but I was staying with her for my daughter.

Angie started crying. She was scared stiff of elephants. Especially the ones from the tourist safaris who would strip our mango tree of fruit. Even the mahouts couldn’t stop them from sating their appetite.

When I mentioned this story at my local, my French friend Bruno said, “You are lucky. Two years ago an English woman tried to hide the bananas and was stomped by the elephant. She was killed and the elephant fled the scene to Isaan.”

“That’s nothing.” An old-timer said putting down a glass of Mekong whiskey. “Back in the last century a circus dwarf was swallowed by a hippopotamus in a freak accident. He was a trapeze artist and dismounted onto the trampoline. The angle was bad and his disappeared into the mouth of a hippo. Hippos will eat anything and the beast swallowed the dwarf. Fucking audience applauded thinking it was part of the act. The handlers were unable to free the dwarf, but said the hippo was a vegetarian.”

No one laughed at the punchline, but Bruno muttered under his breath. “I heard that story before only the dwarf landed headfirst in the hippo’s asshole.”

“No.” This joke was starting to sound like an urban legend.

“Quais, and the dwarf survived, but quit because the circus owner wanted him to repeat the act every night.”

Which goes to show there?s no business like show business.

Especially in the circus.

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *