Chapter six: Alice.
We were moving again, this time to Australia, which would take quite a while. So far we’ve been to 13 states in America, England, Africa, and Russia. I’m the only one who’s really done any sightseeing, because everyone else is so busy practicing their acts or going out to eat burgers and fries. When they go out, everyone goes, except me. I’m not invited for anything.
Just before we left, a nice lady came to work at the circus. She claimed to want to sell cotton candy, which was pretty surprising because that was probably the most boring job in the circus, along with selling popcorn.
Her name was Alice, and she was very pretty. She had soft golden hair and rosy cheeks. She wasn’t too short or too tall, she was just average. Her uniform was cream yellow, which matched the color of the cotton candy.
She smiled at me when she put on her uniform before the show. I smiled back.
“Are you the popcorn seller?” she asked me.
“Yes.” I replied back.
“Why on earth did you choose that job if you could very well juggle or do acrobatics?”
“I didn’t choose it, I…” then I realized I was right. I did choose this job, even though I didn’t want to. My boss had said that I could learn to dance if I really wanted to, although at the time I thought that it was useless. I had chosen to sell popcorn.
“I guess I thought it wasn’t possible. Why did you choose this?”
“Because cotton candy is my life!” she laughed. “I learned to make cotton candy when I was just four years old, and I still love it now.”
“How much is Mr. Gone paying you?” I asked. Then I realized that it was kind of a rude question, but Alice didn’t seem to mind.
“Fifty dollars a month.” She said. “What about you?”
“Er—six dollars a month.”
“Oh my!” Alice exclaimed. “Why does he pay you only…” but her voice trailed off when she saw the beautiful acrobat enter the room. She gave her a thousand megawatt smile as she past by. Mellissa only tossed her hair dramatically.
“You’re jealous of her, too?” I asked.
“No.” Said Alice. “I want this job. I only want her to like me. Oh, excuse me.” And she left.
Why was Mr. Gone paying her fifty dollars a month and me only six? Was he playing favorites? How rude.
The next day was all about packing the tents and the swings and putting the performers in the cars. They got to be in the biggest, most comfortable car. I was shoved (not literally) into the smallest, most uncomfortable car. Ugh.
There are five cars in our circus train. The first two are for the really important employees, like the acrobats and magicians. The then the two middle ones were for the less important ones, like the dancers and singers and clowns. And the last one was just for me—the unimportant uncomfortable standard car, although this time I didn’t mind because Alice would probably be there, too.
Before they put me in the small car, we had to pass through he big car. The jugglers and the acrobats and the musicians were all there.
And the cotton candy seller, Alice.
I gasped and she looked at me. She smiled and waved. I didn’t wave back.
I sat on the car’s hard bench and thought. Why was she getting the special treatment? There was no reason why she would. Maybe she talked her boss into it. Or maybe she sweet-talked him. Either way, it was really no fair.
We arrived at Australia in two weeks, which included a lot of night stops and snack breaks. Halfway we went on a plane. I was pretty tired from the journey, so as soon as they set up the tents, I hit the sack. For a long time.
When I woke up, I found a note on my table. It said:
Viola—meet me in my room after the first show. I think I should tell you something.
I scoffed and got out of bed. I would meet her if it meant I could at least know why she gets the special treatment. I mean, popcorn is enjoyed all the time in the movies, and houses, and circuses. Cotton candy is just for carnivals and circus. I’m just saying I’m more enjoyable—well, popcorn is at least. Cotton candy gives you cavities.
After the show I went to Alice’s room. After I opened the door I gasped.
Her bed was a soft pink color and the mattress was definitely not thin. It was comfy and pink. She even had a fluffy carpet. Did I mention that the bed was PINK???
“I suppose you’re wondering why d—I mean Mr. Gone is kind of giving me more payment and stuff than you.” I crossed my arms and nodded.
“You’re going to be surprised, but Mr. Gone is actually my dad.”
Well, that explains it.
“Well, that’s unfair!” I exclaimed, leaving the room and slamming the door behind me.
The next day I went to the town square to see if there was anything worth seeing. There were no concerts, and I couldn’t find any rock climbing places.
So I went to the beach.
It was calm there, with the waves rolling forwards, and the soft brown sand between my toes was very comforting. I watched the people having fun out there in the ocean, splashing and swimming and surfing. I longed to go in there, to have fun.
But the trouble was I didn’t have a bathing suit. Besides, I hate getting my clothes wet.
I bet you’re thinking, “who doesn’t own a bathing suit?” well, I don’t, because I have to save my salaries for the cheapest foods at grocery stores, like potato chips and peanut butter. Not a very good combination, but it works.