The Story of Bob Smiley and the Sailors

A carni stumbles to the port-o-potti. A hawk drifts above. Manure pools in the stables where pigs and other obese lie adorned with ribbons and trophies. At this, the Mercyville County Fair, Bob Smiley and the Sailors are scheduled for a reunion performance after six years apart. They had split because of Wayne’s pretentious move to Aspen with his family, which was only forgiven after he went bankrupt and moved back to Mercyville. (He was forced to sell his boat, though Garth, Wayne and Mark still refer to themselves as “the sailors.”)
With Wayne back in the clutches of middle-America, the quartet stands proudly outside the Festival Hall. Garth begins the bee-bopping the melody for Let Me Call You Sweetheart. Wayne snaps his fingers, and Mark starts in with the bass, and Bob, his voice like a snow cone to the teeth:
I am dreaming Dear of you, day by day.
Dreaming when the skies are blue, When they're gray…
They feel like a hundred dollars – like Disneyland in ’91, when they got paid a hundred dollars and used it all to ride Space Mountain as many times as possible until Mark threw up and they had to cancel the next day’s show…
Meanwhile, beside them, Tyrannosaurus Jones’ Jellyfish Trapeze has a trailer full of creatures the ingenious Jones has adapted in a laboratory and trained to perform elaborate acts: A monkey who can scuba-dive, a cat who sleeps a lot, an iguana who can tell if you have cancer and whether or not you are scared of lizards. It is a marvelous array, and not long into their performance Bob Smiley and the Sailors feel they are singing in the shadow of Jones and his surreal subjects. The crowd is clapping and hooting, all their attention on the vampire bat which Jones has trained to brush his teeth… Their reunion show is getting flimsy! Six years apart and an emptied retirement account can't yield such an emberassment! Bob Smiley and the Sailors really have to turn it up. They begin to sing louder and louder:
Birds are singing far and near, Roses blooming ev'rywhere
You, alone, my heart can cheer; You, just you.
And still they are unheard. Garth is growing aggressive. Bob is sweating, barely able to hold his harmonies as he glares over at Jones and his stupid vampire bat. Resentment swims through their old-timey tunes.
But Bob Smiley and the Sailors would be the focus of the show once again… The mutant rat (“Barnie”), which Jones has failed to train but still injected with a violent regimen of steroids, growing irked by the conflict of noise outside, breaks free of its cage and lumbers towards Mark and tears off his arm straightaway. Then the rat gnaws on Mark’s neck and blood spews and oozes from his fresh wounds. Suddenly the crowd shifts quickly from Jones’ demonstration to the scene of the ongoing massacre. In panic, the quartet has stopped singing and attempts to save poor, struggling Mark from Barnie’s jaws. But still, it is the four of them, the quartet, together after all this time. And still, the crowd screams and oohs and awes and gaspes. All eyes are on them.
This is it, they are at the top once again. Just like Disneyland in ’91.

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