Finally the long awaited summer holiday from school had arrived! Billy had been wiling away the hours at three primary haunts; the Orpheum theatre, Pounds Hollow swimming hole, or the Pool Hall.
Billy also enjoyed visiting his buddy Carl and playing cowboys with Carl’s Daniel Boone action figure and, the new army action figure, G.I. Joe. Although Billy thought that the Daniel Boone figure was the coolest…Carl insisted on playing with the image of the television actor, Fess Parker, exclusively.
During that summer Billy’s mom’s friend, Francine, asked her if Billy could spend some time with her son Tommy and travel to Clarksville, Tennessee with them for an overnight stay. Tommy was an only child, as was Billy, and Francine was a single mother. Rumor had it that for a price Francine would be a gentleman’s friend for a night…when he was lonely and needed company. These thoughts were a bit beyond Billy’s understanding…but he was curious.
Francine and Billy and Tommy traveled to Clarksville and Francis purchased a room for the three of them at a Holiday Inn. After they unpacked Francine announced that she would be ready to take them to dinner after she freshened up!
All of the sudden Billy heard Tommy exclaim, ‘Mom…go to the rest room to change…did you forget that Billy is here?’
When Billy turned to see what the commotion was about….there was Francine naked from the waste up! A picture that was worth a thousand words and that became indelibly imprinted in Billy’s young mind!
August arrived and it was almost time for school to resume, but not before the annual trip to the State Fair. Carl accompanied Demetrius and Jane and Billy. The boys ruminated regarding how many, what were called in those days, Freak Shows that they would take in!
They settled on two of the shows for certain, the disappearing woman and the headless man.
Now the disappearing woman was a bit of a let down when they watched, with their own eyes, her vanishing, but then observed her through a crack in the curtain!
However the headless man was another matter. Before them was a body, without a visible head, it’s arms and hands moved and it’s feet wiggled! Across the room, fully ten feet away, was a head of a man that was grimacing and winking and appearing in a general bodiless state! A woman in the front row of the show fainted and had to be carried out of the tent theatre! A baby cried and an old man…laughed!
Lightning struck, just outside the entrance to the show…followed by a loud peel of thunder! The Fair Worker who was showing the headless man suddenly became frenetic and began running about the tent explaining that we all had to leave immediately!
Billy could not help but insist on going back to the tent to peek through a opening in the back of it. When he did…there was the headless body walking in circles and…the head that was still on the display table…admonishing the body to relax and calm down…as they had experienced thunder storms before!
Note: Photos of Headless Man are courtesy of Google.