Everybody loves the circus, but McMurphy’s Fantasmagorical Wonder Show has seen better days. Their train’s broken down in a desolate stretch of Kansas prairie, they’re not going to make their next show, and they’re out of money.
The two foremen scurried away. McMurphy leaned back against the coach and inspected his cigar. He figured he could nurse this stogie along for another week, if he was careful. Heat shimmered in waves over the swaying stalks of wheat, and a hawk called out somewhere in the distance. From the other side of the train, he could hear Wentworth giving directions to the roustabouts as they unloaded and stacked all the bits and pieces of their little circus.
He chuckled. There wasn’t anything out here. Maybe a couple of leather-skinned dirt scratchers and their scrawny offspring, but it wouldn’t do any harm to pretend he was going to put on a show. It would keep their minds and bodies busy for a few hours—better than sitting on the train stewing about their delayed wages.
The fortunes of this second-rate traveling carnival are about to change. Things certainly couldn’t get any worse, could they?