You Can’t Get There From Here
by Jefe B
Watch, says Frank. He mounts the unicycle swiftly and circles the yard.
Now you, he says. Frank holds my hands for balance at first, picks me up from the dust, wipes the blood from my split lip. Again, says Frank. After three days, bruises cover my body. A ringing persists in my left ear. But I am circling the yard.
Now we add the juggling, says Frank, pulling from his shed a wagon loaded with cannonballs.
Our finale will be something Frank calls the Wheels of Fire. He saw it performed in Germany during the war. Two men on motorcycles in a spherical cage of wire mesh, buzzing around one another, each high-speed pass a near collision. A ring of flames introduced at the end of the act. The crowd roared, says Frank.
Each day, through the bars of my locked cell at the back of the hayloft, I watch Frank return with spare parts. From the pile of debris two bikes begin to take shape, one large, one small, flimsy looking contraptions of battered chrome. He assembles an iron ring and ignites it just as the sun is setting one evening. He looks up toward my hayloft and begins to make his way across the yard.
I watch Frank approach. I finger the rusty manacle at my wrist. I hide a cannonball in the hay. I look out beyond the rustling trees to where I know the dirt road joins a stretch of black top, leading away.