October 31st, 2009

mizuno: lil naughty

Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream (part 1 of 2)

On Thursday night, imyril, dizzykj and I went to watch Ben Haggerty tell seasonally appropriate tales at the Barbican pit theatre. I enjoyed it so much I wrote them up on the train home, and I want to share them with you this Halloween night.

Ben began on a plane to Jonesborough, Tennessee, heading for a storytelling convention. A dashing devil in a cowboy hat tricked him into stretching out across Row 13, reserved for the absent Mississippi Moondoggies. The weather turned bad, forcing the plane to divert to a city in Georgia. Ben noticed a funfair during the bus trip to his hotel and walked to it after checking in, much to the consternation of the receptionist. He played a shooting gallery game, hitting an unprecedented nine out of 10 targets and winning a lucky silver-plated left hind rabbit paw (shot by a cross-eyed man on a moonlight night). He slipped the paw into his pocket and wandered on.

He felt drawn, guilt-ridden, to the sideshow, outlawed in his country. For a mere $5, he could purchase the privilege of viewing ten exhibits through ten doors. The first, he was told by the carnie barker, was something English for an Englishman. A lord found himself a lady at an American beauty pageant while playing away from home. He took her to the sideshow, where he was hypnotised by the expert sideshow performer Marcello. Since the lord had a laugh like a donkey, the lady told Marcello to turn him into one. The lord's braying amused her briefly, but she wanted something else. She told Marcello to turn him into a rabbit, as he'd been after her like one. He did. As the lord hopped about the stage, Marcello dropped dead of a heart attack. No one could snap the Englishman out of his trance.

Having viewed the unfortunate man, Ben remarked dubiously that it could be any old bloke pretending to be a rabbit. Ah, said the carnie man. Collapse )