They sat in a row next to each other
waiting for their turn to audition.
The Carnival was a week away and
it was the only one around
and gigs were few and far between.
The lady with the beard lovingly
combed it out in front of a mirror.
It almost touched the floor.
She could see the reflection of
The man with the third eye who kept
practicing raising his brows: what
a show off she thought
Everyone was annoyed
at the world’s fattest boy
because he took up three seats.
They were called in one by one and
nerves were on edge.
They all needed this job.
The bearded lady went first
and her low bass voice boomed inside
The small tent. She came out beaming
holding a time card in her hand.
She had made it!
The man with the three eyes
went next. All was quiet…
until the directors could be heard laughing.
This was a good sign and he too
came out with card in hand.
The fat boy went last.
He had to pick up
the folds of his skin
in order to make it inside to audition.
His trick was to unbutton his shirt
and let his belly fall to the floor.
It worked because he was given a
card along with the others.
They had all gotten in and the tension lifted.
They began talking and laughing amongst
The fat boy produced a bottle of gin and
began passing it around.
There was an air of celebration.
They now shared a common bond and
the show had become their dream.
As they were talking and
laughing, a thumping sound
could be heard outside.
In hopped a “Mermaid”
wearing a spangly
suit and sewn on scales.
“Am I too late for the auditions?” she asked
The others did their best to hide their mirth
while the bearded lady sneered
and pointed to where
the directors were conversing.
After only a few minutes, the “Mermaid”
emerged in tears.
She was not holding a time card.
The others shook their heads.
The World’s Fattest Boy
offered the girl a sip of gin.
She sobbed even louder,
and ran out of the tent
leaving her fish suit
behind on the ground.
Francine Farina has been published in Caregiver Magazine, albanypoets.com,
Phenomenal Stories, and won first place in The Foothills Arts Council
Creative Writing Contest which resulted in her poem being published
in their anthology: Transitions. She lives in Amsterdam, NY and shares
her home with three adorable cats, all rescues.