Under the Big Top: Chapter 1

In the ad-school system, crimes of art, copy and Adobe are considered especially heinous. In Atlanta, the semi-dedicated detectives who overhear and record these ridiculous crimes are members of an elite underground writing ring known as the Circus Chroniclers. These are their stories.

Assley wasn’t like the other girls. She was ~UniQu3~. When other girls were putting peanut butter on their toast, she was dutifully slicing avocado whilst bathed in crisp morning light. She was purposefully scuffing her tennis shoes, she was walking around through the streets of her suburb with a Polaroid camera, snapping away, letting the photos drop where they may; a modern Gretel, leaving trail of angst in her wake.  

And then one night, the blind prophet Sylvester snuck into Assley’s attic bedroom. Maybe it was a dream, maybe a vision or perhaps he was actually just a criminal and was LITERALLY in her room. Normally she dreamt of young Michael Cera, sponge-bathing in his Sunday best but that’s besides the point. This eve it was Sylvester who came into her bed and ultimately, into her heart. (There’s a moral here: Sylvester was an expert thief who’d been working in the Black Market dealing PrismaMarkers and Exactos but more on that later.)

Assley was roused from slumber by his seductive whisper.

“Michael Cera? How intriguing,” Sylvester mused, “You are #deep just as I suspected.” 

Assley sat up in bed to stroke Sylvester’s useless eyeballs, “How is that you are blind and yet are the only one who really sees me?”

“Because I’m not a vacuous nin-kom-poop, obvi” said Sylvester, blushing self-conciously as he twisted his hair expertly into a man bun. 

“You look like a street urchin,” Assley blurted, “but I’m into it.”

“Ah, the Circus goggles are upon you,” Sylvester said cryptically, “You have no idea how ahead of your time you are.” 

“The Circus?” Assley said in wonderment. 

“It’s like this place, where you do like stuff,” Sylvester scrunched his brows, “Um, we like make fake things that matter but also don’t. Fuck. Okay, it’s like art school but with a purpose.” 

“So SCAD?”

“Not exactly, no. We’re different. Grungier. We have a vending machine that deals out cheese sandwiches, honey-buns, LaCroix. It’s raw, visceral, you know, uncensored. We’re all just a bunch of misfits,” Sylvester waxed, growing misty eyed.  

Assley reached out to comfort him, a mere shoulder squeeze, but there was so much feeling in that simple gesture that they both became aroused.  

“Touching is free,” Sylvester whispered as he unsuccessfully tried to locate her mouth, “but printing is gonna cost ya.” 

“How much!?” Assley moaned. 

“A dollar,” he paused, “per page.” 

“Oh, do me on my Urban Outfitters duvet,” Assley screamed, barely able to keep herself together.

Sylvester began to take of his Converse.

“Keep them on, ” Assley ordered. 

“You have the body of a young Lena Dunham,” Sylvester said as he pushed her back into her ironic throw pillows.

“Omg, have you read Not That Kind of Girl?” 

“Hush, now” Sylvester said, putting a finger to what he thought was her lips but was really her nostril, “let’s put on some music no one else has heard of.”