Raw Bob`s Cabaret

by HRM on June 30, 2011

Flash fiction by Lacey Haynes

Raw Bob's Caberet

The Paxtons had been bled down from three to two by Raw Bob some ten years back. Shrouded in damp wool, this lumpy pair had come to see the show. Like Raw Bob, they too had been put away. But they’d been boarded up into a stale attic. Left to grow musty and dank by what he’d done.

A row up from the Paxtons sat his Mabel. A jaw just like her papa’s. He had told me about her once. Maybe I just overheard when he was talking to himself. Saying the words aloud so he wouldn’t forget. A rocking horse. Chipped bunnies in cream. Little yellow hair ties. I scrubbed and listened. I never minded hearing him talk.

Cleaning about the place day in and out, I got to know him all right. His first dinner, I saw him eating the raw onion bits first. Told me they were good for the blood. ‘Raw Bob’ I’d said, and he smiled. Liked my friendliness, I suppose. I got pretty busy when the place was full. Couple times he took the sheets off his bunk for me. He was easy in person. I couldn’t see that Paxton boy’s blood on Bob’s hands one bit.

I had to do it for Raw Bob that night. Pull the curtain. Show him off to the ticket holders. The Paxtons, Mabel, Others. The doctor, his magician. Raw Bob’s heart, the assistant, pumping the potion they’d come to see work. Raw Bob will shimmy. The audience will gasp. He’ll do the jitterbug. They’ll grow quiet. It’s always a real hoopla. Raw Bob will do his part. Frothing and leaking. Mr. and Mrs. Paxton, the living dead, will leave the smell of moth balls behind. No confetti or glitter mess, but still there’ll be cleaning up for me to do. The lot of them will watch him jiggle around excitedly under the restraints. Even if Mabel cries out, there won’t be an encore tonight. But it will be quite a spectacle, the main attraction. Always is. That one last dance.

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