Sideshow Fables

Circus fiction for freaks and geeks

"Fish Eye Lens"  by Keith Karabin

As I’m sure you know, I’ve already planned my escape. Yes, you there, with my porcelain orb of freedom clutched clumsily in your pudgy digits. I know you saw me waving! It was very smooth of you not to let on. Good. Good. We’ll need to be smooth, still water calm, to pull this off.

Careful! The Keeper was looking your way. That man and his bulging teeth, his unshaven neckline—the gritty, greasy, garlic foulness of him—always calling out to passersby. Encouraging the gawkers, the pointers, the throwers.  I
will be free of this voyeuristic prison! I have longed to be out there, in the beautiful, whirling colored lights and strange songs, with you.

I can hear Belly chortling from the cell behind me. Well, I call her Belly. Here. In my head. She hears my thoughts, too. As do you, my accomplice. Let her laugh! Soon it will be
my turn to laugh. As it was with Twitch, once circling the cell to my left desperately and Mouth-Breather, ever sullen, to my right. Soon, soon it will be my time! Yes! I see you are ready to act! Careful now…and…

Drat! I mean, don’t worry about it, my cunning accomplice. We are not done in, yet. It hit the side of my prison. You were close. Yes, very close! It is merely my time to shine! I’ve honed these telepathic powers of mine, the very ones that allow this communication, to unfathomable heights. I shall use my telekinesis to aid you by pulling the orb to me—curse you, Belly, be silent! This requires the utmost concentration. Together, now…on my mark…and…

What were you thinking? I didn’t say mark! You almost freed Belly! Have I erred to put my faith in you? My freedom? No. No. I knew it from the moment your face swam into view of my cell. You, you, are my savior. Don’t worry about the Keeper, he couldn’t know I have these great powers. I have hidden them, slyly. Take heart, we must act as one. This is the last chance for our cunning stratagem to work! I’m focusing my mind…and…

I see the orb above! I felt the disturbance of my cell that meant freedom to Twitch and Mouth-Breather! My cell vibrated with the very power of it! Hoorah, my deft accomplice, my daring savior! You, I shall never forget! Chortle your final, moronic chortle, Belly Up, for the last laugh is mine!

Sweet green freedom! It’s the Keeper’s wand in my very cell! I’ve dreamed for so long of it’s mesh embrace! Up, free of this cell forever!

I can’t breathe. The horror! Aid me, my savior! Is this the end?

No. No. Sweet coolness. Breath returned. Perhaps that was simply a test.


What is this? It reeks of plastic in here! I’ve been duped! I thought you were my savior!

A grinning child proudly holds a plastic bag in pudgy young hands. It is swollen with water that reflects the frenetic lights of the carnival in its surface. A goldfish swims wildly inside. “Why is he swimming so fast, Mommy?”

“He’s happy that you won him at the ping-pong toss.”

“He’s funny! Look at his mouth move, it’s like he’s talking!”

This cell is smaller than the last! Oh, the villainy! The betrayal! How dare you grin at me? Fie on you, false savior! Fie on this prison, and you my new Keeper!

No matter. It cannot hold me.

I’ll think of a plan, just you wait and see.



About the author:  Keith leads an elite band of freedom-fighters based in Hatboro, PA made up of his wife, “Suz” and one year-old daughter, “The Beebz.” He battles the combined forces of poverty and indolence by day as a psychotherapist, and by night as a writer with numerous published newspaper and magazine articles, both in print and online. Visit him at