Traveler: Storyteller Tales: Not Amused

            It was an amusement park, not exactly a circus even if Glen’s little sister got to ride on a merry-go-round with real, live ponies.  Glen was too big for ponies.  He decided to wait until the morning when they were supposed to go see some stallions perform.  Meanwhile, Glen’s brother dragged him into the haunted house which was not too bad, except when the witch came out of the pitch dark.  Glen screamed before he realized it was just a dummy.  Still, it was fun overall, and the first fun he had since leaving Malaga at the end of the school year.  He could not prove it, but Glen felt sure he had been to every museum, cathedral, Roman ruin, and climbed every stair in Europe.

            The family spent two months traveling up the coast of Spain, along the southern coast of France, through Switzerland and down into Italy to Rome.  From Rome, they went to Venice, over the mountains again to Vienna and an amusement park that boasted the tallest Ferris Wheel in the world.  Glen was no fan of heights, but he was willing to go up the wheel when it got good and dark to look down on the city at night.  After all, the thing was so big it had train cars to ride in!

            “Tourist.”  The woman called from a corner booth.  Glen laughed.  His family was seasoned.  They knew better than to go look at whatever junky plastic trinket the woman might be selling.

            “Tourist.”  The woman called again, and Glen was surprised to see his family turn in the woman’s direction.  She looked like an ordinary older woman in an ordinary dress with her reddish-brownish undoubtedly dyed hair up in a bun.  True, she did not appear to have the expected trinkets in her hand; but her family went straight to her like iron to a magnet.  Glen held back and jumped back when he saw the dark purple mist come up like hypnotic gas.

            “Mom!  Dad!”  Glen yelled, but it was too late.  The gas reached out for him, but he put his hand to his mouth and ran off.  The woman noticed, but then she had four tourists in her web, two parents and two children, and she needed to be sure they were properly under before moving off.  When she looked up again, she saw no sign of the boy.  There was a man in a puffy white shirt, tight pants and high black boots where the boy should have been.

            Giovanni turned his head a little to keep the woman and Glen’s family in his peripheral vision.  He thought about the circus he once ran.  Don Giovanni’s Circus, The Greatest Show on Earth.  Okay, so he did a little temporal stealing around Y1K.  The woman moved.  Glen’s family followed behind like a string of ducks.  Don Giovanni moved as well, but he was seen.

            “But I haven’t anything to wear!”  Doctor Mishka complained, but Giovanni went away and Mishka appeared dressed in a dress which looked more suitable to 1933 than 1963.  She called her doctor’s bag to her hand and followed.  When the woman looked back, the good Doctor pretended to look for something in her bag.

            “I don’t have anything to wear either.”  The Princess made the same complaint.  “How about Diogenes?”

            “Fine.”  The Doctor left that time and place and Diogenes came dressed in Casidy’s shirt, pants and boots.  The shirt was a bit tight.  Casidy had been a skinny fellow, but the vest covered the tightness and fit well enough if he did not button it.

            “I could have taken the turn,” Casidy said.  Diogenes just nodded, but said nothing.  As chief of spies for Alexander the Great he was well practiced at following his prey without being seen.  At last, though, the woman and Glen’s family turned a corner and Diogenes could not avoid being noticed.  He walked right past them all and as soon as he was out of sight, he left and Glen returned, dressed in his own clothes. 

            Glen stayed behind the bush and watched the woman walk up to a front door.  It was a house that in New York would have been called a brownstone and in London might have been called a row house.  An elderly gentleman in a smoking jacket came to the door.  Glen could not hear well, but he saw the woman turn her head one last time and he heard her words.

            “No, I was not followed.”

            It did not occur to Glen that the words were in German and he should not have been able to understand them.  He was too busy being concerned about his family.  He watched them be swallowed by that house, and the front door closed and he did not know what to do.  He was pondering that and took two steps forward to get on the sidewalk when he felt a hand around his mouth and got pulled back into the bushes.

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