...gonna treat you/ Like the queen you are/ Bring you sweet things/ From my candy jar....
Light breeze lifts our white cloaks, our shimmery organzas, creating billows of floating motion. A path of fallen leaves stretches like a golden runner in front of us as we process. I wonder if this is the last time we process together, this group. Next year, I think, will be different. It always is.
A child looks in awe. "She's been doing this a long time," says the woman with her. "When your daddy was little, she...." I do not hear the rest of the sentence. This is a good thing, perhaps.
Paul brings chocolate raspberry brownies. They are too rich for eating more than one tiny bite at a time. Thank you, Paul. We gorge ourselves on Scotch eggs, brownies and fruit. Gigi taps a pear, asks a question with her eyebrows. It is a special pear, harder, sharper, large as an apple. I stretch my eyes with my fingertips. After one moment of horrified shock followed by one of amused comprehension, she rolls around in silent laughter. I shrug and crunch another bite of my Asian pear.
Isabelle Glass is back, and That Girl and I return for a second, smaller, forray. Lust delayed, fulfilled, assuaged, relents.
"I've got a name in the blog," gloats the Mome Rath. "I'm in the blog," responds the gloatee. "Yeah, but I've got a name."
The organist has painted a portrait of the four of us, oil on canvas, and I am touched beyond words. I cannot hug her as I'd like to: I haven't powdered yet and my makeup will smear all over her Redskins shirt. If you pray, pray for her. Her health is poor, and since Ken and Bill and Jim have departed permanantly, leaving holes in my heart, I worry.
Firehorse makes accuses me of littering. "Choose your punishment! Do you prefer public humiliation, or branding?" I make my choice not based on personal preference, or character integrity, but on which is funnier to communicate physically. I lick my finger and touch the air with a sizzling sound. "Branding it is!" He brands me with a red stamp. "I don't have an L for littering, so you'll have to have a P for piracy."
At the front gate, I slip on slick ground and go down hard on my knees- the stilt has betrayed me. I am irritated at the interruption, bruised by the landing, unperturbed at the embarassment (Martin goes down all the time, often deliberately) encouraged by the positive reaction to my assisted stand-up, and most upset that my trousers are dirty for the rest of the day. Ah, vanity.
I watch my associates, the ones I created literally and the figurative one, smiling. Fluffy stays with us for our entire stilt-walk, leaving only when we peel off to O'Shucks to swipe swigs of beer. We swipe so much beer, hard tea, and meade that it seems like a good idea to get off stilts and go to the wine garden for more swipeage. Two wine-sodden superhero-booted spandex-clad clowns slither and saunter, slightly sloshed, back to MimeCamp.
I have made friends with three (young, attractive) musicians from Montreal. They sit in our camp chairs, relaxing between sets, murmuring sensual sounds, though they might be talking about replacing brake shoes for all I am following. I describe something, cursing, then ask them to pardon my French, which they are speaking. One of them tells me that even in French, one says ‘excuse my French’, rather than ‘Pardon my American.’ I wonder if he is pulling my leg. I wonder what ‘pulling my leg’ is in French. Hilby trots into mime camp for something or other, saying "excusez moi s'il vous plait, you beeg fat bott eas een my vay."
Hilby and Martin take us to Sputnik for a treat- they have gone on and ON about this resaturant. The food lives up to their accolades and we exit stuffed and satisfied, with a new favorite place to eat.
"It's the last weekend," my mother qualifies. "Do you get to play with the patrons?"
Mom. That's my job description.
"I mean, I guess, do you get to be outrageous since it is the final two days?"
Mom. I could hardly BE more outrageous, unless I were to strip naked, and it is just not the weather for that.
I am informed that someone with whom I've had an ambivalent relationship may or may not be returning next year. Ambivalent again, I am not sure how I feel about this, at the same time wondering whether it will affect my life, performance, art, in the slightest, and then deciding that that’s enough mental energy to devote to this subject. And yet, in this moment of writing, I break my promise to myself. And if I edit this paragraph later, I’ve broken it twice.
The weather is wonderful, the crowd oddly subdued. It is the Day Of Wrong. I watch the crowd, clad in tie dye, in drag, as Storm Troopers, less impressed by wrongness than in previous years. I notice fewer Designated Patrons celebrating our final day of the season than I expect. Perhaps they are all in one of the pubs.
After stilts, we head out for a serious Renaissance Retail Experience. The Bee Folk for honey, candles and soap; the Fairie Booth to pick up Trixie our pixie, freshly repaired; Page After Page for books and sealing wax; the giant slide, just for fun- and as an efficient way to get down the hill; Holy Cow to look at pocketbooks; passing by Half Moon Travel Cloaks, who stubbornly refuse to create a warm wool cloak in Mimi-pink; High Point Crafts to look at fans and dusters, ultimately buying a (what?) walking stick (my ankle has barked at me all day, probably specifically to cajole me into making this elderly purchase); Blessed Scents for more soap; Bull's Eye for a bag made of cowhide shaped like a mouse which we do not find and buy instead the skin of an ermine, which the baby girl names Herman, then Thurmon, and carries with her everywhere; Souveniers in a vain attempt to find a 2006 coffee mug, coming away with a MRF logo T-shirt so my son can stop playing Marlon Brando/James Dean in his white T-shirts jeans and leather jacket; and finally, Steak 2 for a final serving of curly fries.
If I had forethought enough, I would have filled a cooler with frozen chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick, of which I had (only!) two this season, and in fact I did think of it and rejected the idea as a bad one after the scale reported that I had not lost a pound, no not even one, over the run of the Faire.
Crooked Finger Man finds me, gets my address, promises to send something. I kiss him goodbye, aware that it could be for the last time. "I have loved you these many years, my lady," he says again. And I, you, sweetheart.
I wipe my daughter's makeup from her face, drying her tears at the same time. She articulates my grief for me. "Here, everybody treats us like we are special and they love us so much and now we have to go back to being our regular selves."
Don't I know it, darling.
I relate this to the boys later, my husband included." Ahh, zhe angst of zhe clouwn," Hilby sympathizes. "So you tell her she eas special and she haahs so many peeople who loves her as herself."
Sure I told her that.
There is a pause. We twinkle at one another for a moment.
I mean, it's bullshit, but I told her.
Hilby snickers. "Jah, ov course, eat's so totally boollsheet."
So totally bullshit. My specialty.
(Wrap It Up; The Fabulous Thunderbirds)