[Originally written on this date in 2005]
Tonight was the first time something went wrong with a sideshow act in public. While I do not discuss my Outlaw Cirkus performances, there were many moments when injuries were acquired, though whether that was on purpose or not is a mystery. Despite outlandish claims, I am human made of flesh and blood, skin and bone; I am not impervious to pain but I pretend to be as it helps people understand that the acts I perform carry an inherent risk.
Sometimes I have to laugh at the fact I willingly walk, jump and lay in broken glass when it was a big bad evil as a child if encountered on the beach. Memory dictates my sister cut her foot on a piece that had been lurking in the sand; there were tears and red stuff gushing everywhere. The point being, no matter how gullible rubes are, glass is sharp – the more you test its boundaries, the more likely you are to find out how deep it can cut.
Earlier in the evening I was relaxing before heading off to the Rail, drinking the remaining watermelon flavored Smirnoff’s. My daily meal was had earlier than usual which resulted in catching a buzz a lot quicker than I thought I would, but I did not want to consume any alcohol while I was at the venue. A few too many slivers of glass in the feet convinced me it was a bad idea, not to mention it started to feel unprofessional since I did not want to give people the idea I needed to get liquored up before performing.
When I arrived at the Rail I was pleased to see the audience’s participation in that evening’s pajama theme. Where else would you see people in their bedroom attire sitting in a bar waiting for sideshow entertainment other than in New Jersey? Reasons why I love being a lifelong resident of this state just keep on growing.
Inside there were plenty of people complimenting my new hair, so that boosted my confidence a lot and filled me with adrenaline in anticipation of Electric Sideshow’s set. It was all going incredibly well, particularly during the Human Drinking Straw routine when Windex was used as a substitute for the usual jar of skulls ‘n’ blood. Following that with the Condom Floss and not having to struggle fishing it through my face got a great reception. Some guy in the audience actually requested to keep it, and I was more than happy to oblige.
Then came the glass routine: introduction went smoothly and we thoroughly convinced the audience how deadly the shards were; microphone was placed next to the pile as I slowly shifted my weight onto it, every pop and crack amplified. This is enough for the crowd to applaud but they have no idea of how much I am capable of. Restraining myself, I feign hesitation and jump in the glass – they want me to do it again. This time when I come down into the pile, I have a small pain in my right foot. As mentioned, in the past I have had small pieces cling to the bottom of my foot that maybe create the tiniest drop of blood no one sees me wipe away.
Well, when I got off the glass and looked down, I realized I had a large shard sticking out of my foot! Or should I say it was in my foot.
The act is cut short and I walk away from the stage to find a place to sit down. My partner comes over to pull the piece out and the blood started to flow. Not sure why he chose to do that, I was more concerned with the small puddle forming and then someone has a white shirt to clean up the floor. Someone else is shoving paper towels into my hands, I look at them like ‘what do you want me to do?’, and finally I am escorted to a chair where the cut is examined. Though it is a bit deep, the bleeding has stopped and I get a band-aid to put on it.
The ultimate compliment was paid to me at that point: “Out of all the sideshow acts here, yours always makes me cringe.”
Yea, that’s my job.
For the remainder of my time at the Rail, people kept commending me on even having the guts to perform the routine in the first place. It seems that while they were aware of my blood loss, they also understood it was part of the risk and the fact I was willing to put myself through that somehow earned their gratitude.
When I got back to the house I needed to be alone and went for a walk despite my foot being sore. Too many thoughts about things I did once upon a time without ever worrying whether it was dangerous or not where filling my head. Then the car accident. Now this. We are not invincible yet want to be perceived that way when defying logic by shoving nails in our noses, swords down our throats and needles through our flesh. It is a strange position to be in, especially to make the choice to do these things to yourself.
All I know is that I had wanted Jon to come pushing through the audience to tend to my not so serious wound, treating me to water ice and much ribbing afterwards so I didn’t get hung up on things that didn’t matter. Kind of like what I am doing right now.
Shit happens, that’s what Jon would say. You can’t enter into this lifestyle under the delusion it will play out the way it does in books or movies; it’s real, dirty and gritty to the end yet there is something you still love about it. Maybe I just want to hear the soothing twang of his voice as he chuckles and assures me everything will be alright.