I dropped the dame at her hotel and headed to John’s Freak-X Show. A motley bunch of nomadic entertainers who had set up camp nearby. Where else could one find a monkey man? Plus the monkey man’s sightings over the past 3 months had always occurred in the vicinity of the camp. There had to be a connection. I knew John quite well. He’s a good friend. Only tried to kill me twice.
We overcame our differences over the years and John eventually came to disclose his deepest secrets to me. Helped a little by alcohol. John claimed that he didn’t run a mere freak show. He said that most of his freaks had inhuman powers because they weren’t human. I scoffed at him but didn’t totally disbelieve him. There was something weird about this group.
I approached John’s trailer, the one with the big X in a circle, and knocked.
“‘Jonathan. Open up old man”
“Dad’s not in.”
Kal startled me. He has this knack of sneaking that would drive the hardiest ninja to commit seppuku in shame. Kal’s the physical manifestation of the word ‘Dork’. Loose clothes, thick glasses, oiled hair and extreme introvert behavior. Acne was the only thing missing apart from the usual 180 plus IQ. He’s too normal a nerd to hang out with a group of freaks.
But Kal was the reason the freak show started. John claimed that Kal was rocketed to earth from a dying planet and had crash landed in John’s fields. John and his late wife Martha didn’t want to hand him over to the authorities. So they abandoned their identities to keep Kal safe. They dedicated themselves to finding and protecting others like Kal. Quite a collection they had now!
“I’ll tell him you had come around.”
“No. I’ll wait till he has made up his mind about the huge creature that was dragged into his trailer by 6 men!”
Kal scratched his head. “You have x-ray vision too?”
“Who else does?”
“Uhhh. No one. Not me for sure! No sir. No x-ray vision or heat vision for that matter! Errr…Just wondering how you guessed it.”
“Six sets of footprints leading to the trailer and away from it. Large part of the grass is flattened as if something huge was dragged. Plus the trailer’s wheels have almost sunk into the ground because of the weight. Unless John’s put up around 200 kilos, I assume there is something else that is causing the trailer to sink. It has to be a creature otherwise why not discuss it outside instead of dragging it in?”
“It’s Samson the strongman.”
“Never met him earlier”
“He is a recent addition. We took him in around 4 months back. He’s got anger issues.”
Strongman. 4 months. Anger issues. The angry monkey man who beats people to their death with his bare hands made his first appearance 3 months back. Maybe I can solve this case by dinner time.
“So what is Jonathan doing about him?”
“Discussing the matter with Chakram and his creepy friend. They think he is the infamous monkey man.”
Chakram was the old crone who considered himself the resident herbalist. He once tried to palm me a potion for regaining vigor at a cost that made me lose the vigor I had left. He always seemed a bit too greedy for his own good. Now he seemed to have attained a creepy friend to add to his charm.
“You might as well go inside. You’ll probably guess everything standing out here anyways.”
Kid’s got smarter. Probably had some of Chakram’s potions. I knocked the door again.
“Let me in John. I could help with Samson.”
The door opened and a haggard looking John beckoned me in. First thing I noticed inside the trailer was that I couldn’t see the inside of the trailer. It was hidden around a giant lying prone on the floor. Two others had somehow managed to squeeze themselves inside besides the giant.
Chakram looked like a witch whose favourite cauldron got stolen. With them was one of the most indescribable men I had ever seen. Though ‘creepy’ as Kal eloquently put it wouldn’t be a bad start. He exuded anger, strength, cruelty, cunning and a lack of personal hygiene. He did all this from the confines of a wheelchair. He had the air of a man who would eat his own child if it was needed. He snarled at me.
“What the fuck you looking at old man? Never seen a cripple before?”
“Never saw one with such sunny disposition before. So John, old friend, are you redecorating? A new rug would have done wonders for the floor. A dead giant is not to my taste though.”
“Oh no no no no no no no. Samson’s alive. Just unconscious. I have concocted a special gas to knock him out. He is too angry to be kept conscious. Isn’t he, Mr. Savage?”, Chakram whined in his nasal tone.
Savage. The name suited the man in the wheelchair. Matted dirty hair, unkept beard, bloodshot eyes and scarred muscular arms. He looked like a caveman brought back to life. He snapped at Chakram.
“No names in front of strangers Chakram. Don’t make me remind you again.”
“Yyyyyes. Mmmmmister Savage…….Ohhhh….Ssssoory Mister Saavaa….I mean….I think I’ll shut up now.”
Chakram would have been an amazing ventriloquist. He hardly spoke from his mouth.
“Hmmm. So what is an unconscious giant doing in your trailer John?”
“What’s it to you old geezer? You stay out of our business. John has too much on his mind. Don’t you John? Escort this man out.”
Clearly something was wrong here. John was old but he was tough. For 15 years he had dealt with and managed people who seemed to possess super powers. Yet he was letting Savage boss him around.
“Fine. But John, we need to talk about Wayne. Come out for a bit, will you old pal?”
Wayne was John’s other adopted son. He was a trapeze artist like his parents before him. John adopted him after his parents were shot dead while returning from a movie. Wayne never really got over the incident but dedicated himself to the show and to John.
John accompanied me outside. He seemed too tired to ask me anything,
“Sorry. I don’t have anything to tell about Wayne. But you got some interesting company in your trailer. Samson is a telepath. Chakram is a kidnapper. Savage is the monkey man.”