The Circus is in Town

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Welcome to the greatest show on earth! Featuring exotic animals, powerful canons, and death defying stunts performed by a family coming apart at the seams.

Please direct your attention to the center ring!

Laura Markson has been a member of the circus her entire life—almost nineteen years! Traveling from town to town as her "bonus dad" seeks legal employment, she's never known a life outside the circus--and she's finally had enough! Ladies and gentlemen, tonight you are about to witness history, as Laura not only attempts a risky triple somersault from her 3rd floor bedroom window, but also tries to land in the passenger seat of her Internet boyfriend's '88 LeBaron! BoogityBoyz74 has just inherited a tin speed shack in Temecula, California, and he's promised her a better life out west. The engine is running, Laura! Good luck! One! Two! Three!

Dogs have been man's best friend for thousands of years. They've earned a place in our hearts with their loyalty, hunting prowess, and ability to sniff out powerful explosives. Tonight we have the honor of introducing you to three very special Shih Tzu's--unlike any creatures you've ever seen! Watch closely, folks. These formerly cream-colored palace pets are turning *beige* as Human Chimney Aunt Gloria exhales punishing clouds of second hand smoke in their general direction! Notice how they seem extremely relaxed? It should come as no surprise that Mrs. G has been working with these doggie wonders for nearly fifteen years—sinking them into a dreamlike fatigue affiliated with canine emphysema.

Uncles are a dime a dozen in this fallen world. Yet our very own Uncle Fun is no common uncle, and coming from three generations of unemployable Lithuanians, he's no stranger to "knockin 'em dead" four nights a week! Bound to wheelchair, his eerie croaks for another shot of mouthwash are falling on deaf ears. The Scope is upstairs, but that won't stop this legendary performer from getting evened out! Hold onto your seats, folks, as Uncle Fun will now attempt to climb out of his wheelchair and walk up the stairs! Drum roll, please. He's going…he's almost there…he's made it! He's made it! Have you ever witnessed something so magical?

Arthritis chained him to a wheelchair, but now he can dance.

Clowns. Sherbert-colored clowns. A Volkswagen Beetle. Sherbert-colored clowns that *stream* from a Volkswagen Beetle! We'd do this one ourselves if it didn't mean buying from the Krauts. Fuel-injected Skylark, perhaps? Watch Cousin Gilstrap as he piles up the kids for a fun ride to "the ice cream shop." "Any flavor they want!" (But first Gil needs to settle a score at Stocks and Blondes.) With a complex series of threatening hand gestures and verbal cues to "stay in the fucking car," Gil demonstrates his command over the beasts, notorious for their ability to bite through bone! How do they all fit? It's an exquisite pageant of physical compression! Their faces look like spoiled fruit, but please, folks, do not be alarmed!

It's the only life they've ever known.

For the past four years, husband and wife Bill and Vicky Markson have been calibrating a firearm strong enough to quiet Cousin Julius without putting him underground. Has it been that long? The Markson 1050 BB Repeater Air Pistol boasts an eighteen shot BB reservoir for repeat shooting, custom grips, slide cocking action and a squared trigger guard. And here comes Cousin Julius! He's high on nitrous oxide and chirping about his snore fetish. Is that a bullwhip in his hand? Hold onto your seats, folks! Bill and Vicky will now attempt to "quiet" Cousin Julius into a tarp slung over a Bowflex on the other side of the room. Put down that whip, Julius!

Count down, everybody!

Three! Two! One!

Blast off!

About the author:

Tony Antoniadis lives in Brooklyn. His fiction has appeared in Open City and has been excerpted in the New York Times. He has work online at McSweeneys, Mr Beller's Neighborhood, Opium Magazine, Really Small Talk, and Yankee Pot Roast. He's read his fiction and humor pieces at KGB Bar and Junno's, and currently edits for anderbo, a nascent literary journal founded by the inimitable (!) Rick Rofihe.