Read Wasted Lives, a Detective Mike Bridger novel Online

Authors: Mark Bredenbeck

Tags: #thriller, #detective, #crime fiction, #new zealand, #gangs, #dunedin

Wasted Lives, a Detective Mike Bridger novel (35 page)

BOOK: Wasted Lives, a Detective Mike Bridger novel
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The Ringmaster
stood in the dead centre of the spotlight, surrounded by his
darkened audience, arms held wide, revelling in the moment. The
carnival music died away, leaving silence. No one dared speak.

Ooh-Gah’, the sound of the old-fashioned car horn broke the
hushed anticipation. The Ringmaster gestured towards the noise with
another swish of his cape.

Send in the clowns…”

The ring lit
up with flashing lights, the music returned in frenzy, and a child
size car ambled onto the sawdust-covered circle in the middle of
the Big Top. Four colourful heads with painted smiles swayed back
and forth, as the little car careered around in figures of eight.
The old horn was blaring out its merriment and the Clowns clung on
for dear life.

The Ringmaster
stayed where he was, watching the clown car with practised
amusement. The Clowns were shooting water guns into the crowd as
they moved around the ring, the noise of the small 50cc engine
drowned by the squeals of delight thrown out from the darkness. One
of the Clowns fell off his precarious seat, rolling head over
heels, as the little car turned sharply. The other Clowns laughed
silently at him and made their escape as fast as they could. The
stricken Clown tripped over his large shoes and rolled again as he
gave chase to his callous chums. The laughter from the crowd grew,
the music played on.

Outside the
tent and unseen, restless animals stomped irritably in their cages,
waiting for their turn in the spotlight. The generators placed
under their cages that provided power to the concession booths,
belched diesel fumes, adding to their confined agitation. Further
away, on the roadside, silent objectors stood motionless, their
faces anonymous behind masks. The silent protest vigil ignored by
the majority, only there for the spectacle and not the morality.
Back inside the tent lithe bodies dressed in tight sparkling
spandex climbed rope ladders into the darkness above.

Clowns tired of their amusement and tried soaking the Ringmaster
with a bucket of water, the children loved it.
“Away with you… we have no time for your shenanigans”
The Ringmaster brushed off the Clowns with another swish of
his cape, and they retreated with mock admonishment like chastised
schoolboys. The Ringmaster went back to his audience,
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls… please
turn your attention skyward and prepare yourself to be

The lights
turned up, illuminating a muscular man and a petite but strong
woman standing high on wooden platforms either side of the ring.
They were looking at each other across the darkness between them, a
seemingly impossible gap. A slight nod of their heads, a trust
passed between them, the crowd fell silent again. The dull thud of
a drum bounced like a heartbeat around the bleachers, slowly
building intensity, the crowd stamping their feet in approval. The
drums stopped and the man swung out across the ring, thirty feet in
the air. The crowd drew breath as he dropped from his perch and
expertly caught the cross bar with his knees, swinging back towards
his side, upside down. Carnival music returned to the

Holding her
own swing, the woman leapt gracefully from her platform on the
opposite side and then swung towards the now returning male. It was
a practiced move, delivered for the audience hundreds of times. It
was a simple jump and catch, no need for a net… She let go with

The crowds’
collective breath held… There was no meeting of hands, no strong
arms to grab her and take her to safety. She was tumbling in front
of the shocked audience, watched by the male as he swung away
helplessly. A child screamed…

The sparkly
spandex clad woman landed with a dull thud at the feet of the
stunned Ringmaster and then lay still. The carnival music played





BOOK: Wasted Lives, a Detective Mike Bridger novel
9.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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