Story Go Round 08/30/2003, round 1, #2

High Wire Wanna-be

Carmen Miranda de Leon growled in disgust at the mere thought of it. Her son had suggested the idea to her the previous night over their supper of tortillas, rice, and beans, and at the time she had laughed - but now... as the food cooled down on her plate she began to develop a liking for it. She smiled at Ponce Pilot with maternal pride and fed him another heaping bowl of gazpacho. Trapeze artist! Indeed! She had always been proud of her sculpted body, her firm calves and solid shoulders. But to respond to the ads in that little bulletin of a newspaper they had in their village ... she gazed into the distance as she chewed her food thoughtfully.

"And mom," Ponce persisted, his food also untouched, "You've been saying how you want to work with your hands! Tell the firm to stuff it!"

"That's not polite," she said gently. "And anyway, they pay me well. Are you really ready to give up our comfortable life for an uncertain income?"

"You could work your way up to being in Cirque du Soleil, Mom," he enthused, "And papa and I would follow you around and get jobs setting up the tent--"

"Mi sueñador picante" she called him.

The next day she went to the agency that placed the ad. A fat little balding man with a salacious grin sat in front of a fan in a plain office under a portrait of Castro. She hesitated to get employed with a radical, but she saw bowling pins for juggling and her heart rate picked up. Franco saw the glint in her eye, and summoned her forward.

"Work with animals before?" he asked briskly.

"Despacio, por favor," she begged apologetically.

"Have you worked with animals before?" he repeated more slowly.

"Well, we keep pigs," she offered hopefully.

He looked away, and the fear rose inside her like the mercury in a thermometer. She had to impress him somehow. Inspiration seized her and she jumped up in the air, diving for his desk. She hit it rolling and came to a stop on her feet behind him, holding both the fan and the portrait straight up in the air.

Franco looked impressed. He also looked threatened by her talent and ability. "Well,I see," he said slowly, taking the portrait from her and wiping off the smudges with his shirt.

"I see someone needs to be a star. Well ... I will make you a star." He produced a smudged document with writing and a line for her signature. Uncaring, she signed. "Have costume already?" he wheezed, eyeing her form.

She set her bag on his desk and withdrew the blue and yellow striped jumpsuit her sister had made her several years before.

"Excellent," he chuckled. "Go put it on while I make a call."

She emerged several minutes later to find the police waiting for her. "I don't know how you managed it, señor," the lieutenant said to Franco, "But that confession is just what we needed to break this case open."

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange