The Man at the Fair




He has too much skin. Folds and folds of it.

We sit huddled and staring on the grass. Hugging scabby knees that support our wide-eyed heads.

Stripped to the waist, he exposes tattoos like he is opening pages of an illustrated Bible. A farthing’s worth of fresh, golden toffee drips unnoticed from the fingers of my sister. The wrinkled man begins his story, pulling out a fold of skin and pushing his fingers from the other side to move the tattoo skeleton’s jaw like it is talking.

Gasps from frightened children. Terrified, we huddle together.

We don’t see the same picture twice. There are so many. He’s showing us an eagle; it was on his side and, by pulling the skin on his shoulder, he makes it fly right across his back.

The story is about a group of little children who were at a fair like this one and how they got enchanted by a fairy, how they sank into his story: into his world forever.

©Gary Bonn 2011

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