I bet you're wondering what happened to my horse, Maple-leaf. Me too. He said he was going to meet me at the most abandoned, dilapidated spot in East Chicago. Good luck finding that. That's like finding crappiest crap in a pile of crap. Exactly like it. Maybe he had something specific in mind, but I'm lead to believe he ditched me on purpose. That hurts. That hurts a lot, Maple-leaf.
Now, I never did anything wrong to Maple-leaf. I mean, sure, I rode him. But isn't that what horses are for? I mean, I wouldn't care if people rode me. ... Wait. Maybe now I'm starting to see his point of view. I would care if people rode on my back. At least, if a big fatass like me did. Ever heard the term "Circus Fat"? Neither had I, till I was at the circus.
"He's fat, but I don't know - circus fat?" said an incredulous, straw-hat-wearing circus employee chewing on a toothpick. He name was Dwelvin.
"Damn right I'm circus fat! You sayin' I'm not?" I said. Why did I say that? I don't want to be circus fat. I just like to be defensive. "You think you're better than me? Fatter?" I continued, wishing I hadn't.
"That don't make sense."
"Hmmm, maybe he's circus dumb," his friend chimed in. Jelvis.
"Naw, I know circus flaws, and he's circus fat at best," said Dwelvin.
"I'm dumber and fatter than anybody you got," I said, thinking "Shut up, Ron."
"Awright," Dwelvin said, "you got one day to prove yourself."
"Pfff," I said, "Pfff. Gimme and hour." Now I was actually into this and pretty engaged. I'll admit that sometimes I'm pretty stupid. I said one more, "Pfff."
So they set me up one display. People paid a lot of money. Why? I don't know. People are stupid. Can't blame them. I am too.
Actually, that's a cop out answer. "People are stupid" is a stupid answer I hate. Only something as stupid as people would come up with it. The real reason is I was FAT. I mean, once-in-a-life-time, come-and-see-this-honey-before-his-heart-explodes, is-there-a-neck-under-there? fat. So that's not so stupid. You only get to live once. Might as well see someone really fat.
(I should back up and say that the reason I'd become circus fat was because I'd been traveling through Canada during syrup harvest season. I did it while riding with my horse, Maple-leaf. Remember him? He's the one I've been talking about. Drank a lot of syrup, and I mean a lot. It had a significant effect on Canada's gross exports.)
Dwelvin and Jelvis were impressed. They graciously took me on to their circus, offering me a state-of-the-art hole in the ground to sleep in, as long as I dug it every night, and the finest straw you can buy in bulk on the black market. They argued about it. Here's how it went:
"He can't sleep in a hole. That's inhumane," Dwelvin said.
"Oh yeah?" I said truculently, meaning I'd be willing to fight him to prove I could do something. I just like being defensive.
"Well, you could," Jelvis said, bewildered.
"Damn right," I said, "I could do it every night for as long as you employ me."
"Well, I don't think that's necessary."
"Watch me," I said, hard-assedly. Then I stared them down to prove my hard-assedness. But they didn't know what I was doing it for, so they just looked confused. So they looked at me, confused, and I looked at them, hard-assed, for a long time. Just stared and stared. I won, because it got dark. I did the same thing with the OSHA employee who came later to try get me out of the hole for my own good. Beat him!
Now, you'd think just touring as a freak, you know - being yourself, would be easy. Just be. That's all you have to do. Not so. First thing I did was change my name because I thought I should have a stage name. "The Iron Noodle" just confused people more than anything. What did it mean? Wait, are you the fat guy? There were lots of questions. I was clearly the fat guy.
But the second thing, my bigger problem, was that I couldn't stop losing weight. I was on a strict diet of horse-grade oats.
("He can't live on horse-grade oats, Dwelvin."
"Oh, can't I?" I butted in. I showed them.)
Those things clean you out, the horse-grade oats. I went from circus fat, to alarmingly fat, to pretty fat, back to circus fat again for some reason, but finally just to chubby. It didn't help that I jogged alongside the circus caravan all the time.
"Only the horses run alongside," they said.
"You saying the horses get something I don't get?"
"No, you get a car all to yourself to sit down in. Why did you choose to butt in on another conversation?"
"Pfff," I said. "Pafuhfffffffffffff."
I sure was challenging them a lot. It feels good to win. Feels good to be right and prove it. I stand up for my rights.
You know, I guess I could've stopped losing weight, now that I think about it. I mean, physically I could've. But this was a moral decision more than anything. All my decisions are. I mooned them and made fun of their white-trash heritage for a long time as I ran alongside the caravan.
While I was showing them what's what, running alongside the caravan and flirting with dehydration, I noticed something.
"Maple-leaf?" At first I thought it was a dehydration hallucination. I'd had them before. Last time I thought I saw a cactus trying assassinate Barack Obama. They gave me such guff for diving on Obama. Give the guff to the cactus! I'm a hero! Bureaucrats...
The point is, it was Maple-leaf! Reunited at last! He'd been on display as "The Only Horse We Have with Four Legs", which speaks to the poor quality of the other horses. Sure, some of them had wooden legs that made it look like four, but it's not the same. Real horse legs don't come from stolen construction site materials.
We chatted for a little while, then both agreed that we could probably do better than this circus. I have my background in vast knowledge of the universe and he's a pretty fast horse, so there are good job markets for both of us. Dwelvin and Jelvis gave us very fair severance packages, especially considering we'd both resigned. I told them to fuck off. Happy ending for everybody.
Oh, and Maple-leaf had ditched me on purpose.