Black Windows by KM Elkes

Between the matinee and the evening show, Moldo The Magnificent packs his dumbbells in their polished Oakwood case, peels off his leotard, then puts on real clothes and real shoes.

He drives out of town to find those quiet suburban streets where the house colours shift from peach to vanilla to peach. Moldo eases along each street, never hurrying to find the right place. When he parks, he winds down the window and listens to the hiss of sprinklers watering perfect lawns.

These are the homes of the older girls, the late-teeners who come to the circus and yawn at his shows, a hint of candy floss on their lips. Sometimes he takes them back to his trailer and they lie together, listening to Jimmy Jewel and the Travers Duo. He tells them, yes, he will take them away with him. Yes, they can travel the world. Yes, he knows all about the doldrums. These girls, who tell him all about the doldrums and the blues.

Moldo always chooses a house with black windows. Sometimes he climbs into the backyard, takes off his shoes and socks and sits on the lip of the swimming pool, drawing his feet back and forth through the cool blue water until it is time to leave.

After the evening show, while the animals are still restless in their cages, Moldo lies in the soft drip of night and thinks of those older girls, the late-teeners returning to their homes, the long shadows that must pass across the backyards, the way their colours shift from peach to vanilla to peach.

KM Elkes began writing in 2012 and has since been published in a number of anthologies and won or been placed in competitions such as Fish Publishing, The Bridport Prize, Aesthetica Creative Writing Award and Bristol Short Story Prize. He is co-Editor of The A3 Review magazine. He tweets via @mysmalltales.

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