Royal Easter rip off
500 Words: First Memory
It was as if the old carnie had lured us in with his husky voice, so cracked and craggy, yet so enticing and persuasive. He was no mythical siren luring sailors to their rocky deaths but he definitely was a shyster expertly luring innocents, like us, to part with their hard-earned cash.We obediently paid the admission price and he ushered us into the tent, dark and musty, then barged past us to lead the way through to what seemed to be a small room. We shuffled in, standing at the entrance and peering excitedly in. It was very quiet and the nervous tension of the room triggered us to smirk and giggle into our hands. We waited for what seemed like ages before she appeared.As we saw her moving behind the sheer sheet that was hung from floor to ceiling, we stopped our fidgeting and stared through the gloom. There was no colour in the surroundings. The atmosphere was monochromatic. The lady slowly and silently sat down on a wooden straight-backed chair. The lighting where we stood watching was nonexistent, where she sat it was dim. But we could just see her indistinct profile through the cloth. The lady was in shadow and yet she cast a shadow. I couldn’t make out what I was supposed to.My mother and uncle had a hushed and whispered conversation. There was lots of pointing and extended neck action as they tried to get a better look. My younger brother and sister and I just kept staring, bewildered. We’d only been there for a few minutes before the old carnie told us our time was up. He moved us on. He had another group of suckers to rip off. We managed to feel our way out of the tent, stumbling back into seedy sideshow alley. My family regrouped, laughing and chatting, questioning and deliberating. All of us offering our opinion and debating the opinions of the others.We were at the Royal Easter Show and, at only seven years of age, I had just seen The Bearded Lady. Or had I?