Nothing To Lose

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Nothing To Lose

Post by Danry on Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:21 pm

"All you have to do is sign on the dotted line. What have you got to lose?"

He had been right. I had nothing to lose, except maybe being human. I remembered signing the dotted line, and I remember waking up the next day a completely different person. Short, choppy locks the color of muddy blood, bright green eyes [that I discovered could let me see in complete darkness], not to mention the giant cat ears perched on my head and long, fluffy tail coming from my backside. It was one of the weirdest things I had ever seen. The ring master, which is what he was apparently called, informed me that the signing of the contract had granted his Cirque to physically change me.

I should have read the fine print. Now, I didn't regret my decision, I was happy to be off the streets, have a roof over my head, and food in my belly, but... what exactly had I agreed to?

He led me around the Cirque and explained, in short, some things: this wasn't a prison, I would sleep with others like me [half people?], there was time for practice and socialization, but I was there to entertain the mundanes.

"Practice what? I can't do anything entertaining."

"My dear, you are now extraordinary, and part of your integration here is to learn how to be more than what you were."

He definitely confused me. I had no idea what he meant but just followed him along until he led me to the trailer which would be my new home.

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Re: Nothing To Lose

Post by Machine Man on Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:44 pm

"Alright everyone, settle down," the Ringmaster commanded, his voice loud and deep. He was a large man, not wholly unpleasant to be around, in his middle age. He had a short, neatly clipped beard, and dull brown eyes, the color of mud. He was fair enough, though I found him to be somewhat unreasonable at times.

"We have a new addition to our family." Ringmaster gestured to the young girl. "I'd like to introduce you all to Cleo..., err... Moira! Where the hell did Cleo come from..."

"That's me, Ringmaster," Cleo piped up. She was the snake woman standing not far from me. Everyone had a little laugh.

"Alright, alright, settle down! Anyway, Moira is our newest family member, and she'll be joining the tumbling act with Eric. I want you all to treat her nicely." This was news to me, but I really wasn't disappointed. The girl was about my age, and she had the same feline features as I did. Maybe I'd actually be able to relate to someone. I mean everyone there was odd, but I was the only feline breed, so all the kids wanted to pet me and pull my tail and yell in my ears.

The crowd moved up, slowly and individually introduced themselves. Most of the troupe was very friendly and accepting, though the seal twins could be rather annoying. It finally came to my turn; I was in the back of the line. I figured if she and I were going to be working together, our conversation would probably be the longest.

"Hey, I'm Eric. Nice to meet you." My South African accent was plenty thick, but I thought I was pretty easy to understand. I ran my hand over my head, feeling the short hair under my palm.

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Re: Nothing To Lose

Post by Danry on Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:01 pm

"Moira, pleasure to meet you." It felt like I said that about a million times, and I tugged nervously on my hair. Thankfully Eric was the last to introduce himself so I didn't have to say that anymore, but I was a bit on edge still. I was, apparently, going to be in a tumbling act with him. I knew what those were and I could barely walk two feet without tripping and falling. I didn't think that was going to work out too well. Was it possible to be fired?

"So, I'm, uh, going to be working with you?" I felt my ears drop slightly in nervousness; it was one of the weirdest sensations I'd ever felt in my life. Immediately they perked up again and I reached up and tugged on one, almost as if to assure myself they were real. My brow furrowed and I let my hand drip to my side, realizing how much of an idiot I must look like at that moment. Redness spread across my cheeks, and my ears flattened against my head.

Can this get any worse? I thought miserably. How was it this hard to get along with these people? I had made friends with the other street rats almost instantly, how come this was different? It couldn't have been because they didn't look human, because I didn't either.

"Sorry.. this is just.. really new and, frankly, a little bit odd."

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Re: Nothing To Lose

Post by Machine Man on Mon Apr 02, 2018 12:00 pm

"Heh, yeah, I guess so." I had never had a partner before, even before I left home. I had lab partners in school I guess, but really i'd never had to show someone... anything before! But there I was, standing with a girl that was a lot like me. Very hot and very different from the others. I swallowed hard, feeling a little shy as I scratched at the back of my head, the short hairs soft and fuzzy against my palm. "Well c'mon, i'll show you around."

I led Moira out and toward the common area, which was basically just a big bonfire in the center of the camp. "The tents and campers are arranged in a certain format. The Ringmaster chooses his spot, then from there it's the eating tent, equipment storage, training tent for the indoor acts, entertainment tent, then the sleepers." Figuring that she'd like to find out where she would be sleeping, I towed my new partner around to the sleeping area.

"We're not always out in nature like this. A lot of our shows are in the city, so pretty often we'll camp out on the blacktop. Can't have a bonfire there though, so there are goods and bads either way. Ringmaster doesn't assign sleeping spaces, so it's basically who has room and who will take you." I left out the fact that, at that time, I was only sharing with two other people, so there was a space in my tent. I didn't want to scare her away by coming on too strong.

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Re: Nothing To Lose

Post by Danry on Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:32 pm

So the living arrangements weren't too different from my previous life on the streets. That made me anxious, I didn't want to have to ask around and beg for a place to sleep... that was terrifying. Maybe he knew somewhere that had room and could accommodate me? Couldn't hurt to ask, right?

"You wouldn't happen to know anywhere that has room? Asking around is.. a little nerve-wracking." Being honest and straightforward was the only way to go, right? I mean, other than that it seemed like a decent enough place. As long as I did the practice thing, and didn't manage to kill myself trying.

Turning my gaze to my surroundings, I took it all in and tried to memorize as much as I could. Not watching where I was going I stumbled over a small pothole, nearly falling flat on my face. Luckily I caught myself on time and managed to straighten out before completely embarrassing myself. I cleared my throat and averted my gaze as if that could somehow make what I did unnoticeable. Of course I would trip in front of the cute boy, of course, why would I be graceful and fluid when I wanted to be.

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Re: Nothing To Lose

Post by Machine Man on Mon Apr 02, 2018 4:15 pm

'Oh god she's asking. What do I say? Do I tell her that my tent has room? Would she want to be pressed against me trying to sleep? Almost no space between us? Damnit, stop thinking about that. You know things happen when you think thoughts like those. Stop it!'

"Oh, uhm, yeah. There's actually a couple of choices. I think MJ has a space open in her camper. She's the snake lady, but she uses up pretty much all the space in there. She's got a long body. Uhm... Cordie I think has a space... no wait, they filled that last week. Well... my tent only has three people in it. We could squeeze in one more." I could feel my cheeks heating up, thinking about these sleeping arrangements.

Thankfully my embarrassment was masked by Moira's sudden fall. Immediately reached out and grabbed her arm near her elbow, but she had managed to stay off the ground on her own power. "Heh, still new to being a cat huh? Well don't worry. That whole 'all cats are graceful creatures' thing is a total myth. It took me three days to learn how to walk with reversed ankles." I chuckled a bit, hoping that sharing my own story would make her feel less embarrassed about her near catastrophe.

'Heh... cat-astrophe...'

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Re: Nothing To Lose

Post by Danry on Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:47 pm

"Thanks." I murmured softly, brushing hair away from my face. "I'm not sure how used to this I can get." I smiled a little, trying to joke, but I'd almost stepped on my tail twice already and my ears kept twitching as pieces of conversations drifted by on the wind. I didn't know I could now hear really well, too.

"Would you mind terribly trying to squeeze me in to your tent? I don't take up much room and I would rather sleep with someone I hardly know than someone I don't know at all." The phrasing of that statement didn't seem at all wrong to me, until a few moments later, but luckily my red hair hid my red face, at least mostly, from view. Again, I cleared my throat in an attempt to draw attention from that fiasco, "How long have you been here?"

'Way to be subtle, genius. Change the subject so obviously maybe he'll throw me to my death on purpose.'

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Re: Nothing To Lose

Post by Machine Man on Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:56 pm

"No worries. You will get used to it, I promise. It's a lot to take in right off, but you'll get there." We picked our way through the camp, the fire roaring off to our right. I used to be someone who was always hot. Slept naked with the window open, ran the fan in the middle of winter, all to keep cool. But since the change, no matter how warm I felt, I always wanted to be just a little warmer. I guessed it was a cat thing. The fire felt good from that distance, but still I could have been closer and been completely fine.

"Uhhh, sure. That shouldn't be an issue. Just need to ask the other two first. C'mon, i'll take you to meet them." The tents and campers weren't far from where we were, just about a minute's stroll. During that time I pointed out the random notable places, including the restrooms. "Don't worry, no litter boxes," I teased, swatting her hip with my tail. I figured all that was so new to Moira; the last thing I wanted to do was make her feel like an alien.

It was still mid afternoon when we found the sleeping area. Tents and small trailers littered the area. I slept in a large camping tent at the very edge of the camp, since I never really liked to listen to everyone get drunk and laugh their asses off while I was trying to sleep. Not that I had any trouble sleeping; like a cat I could sleep though just about everything, as long as I was comfortable with where I was. Near the entrance were my 'roommates' were already hanging out, as always.

"Les, Alec, this is Moira. Moira, this is Les and Alec." Les was a small girl, older than I was but smaller than even me. She didn't wear shoes. She couldn't. "Les is a lemur girl, and Alec is basically a werewolf, except he can't change back. Guys, Moira needs a place to sleep. Figured since we had an open spot i'd see if you all were okay with her camping with us."

"Of course, Les said, leaping up from her chair and bouncing to Moira, studying her with her large eyes. "Oh goodness you're cute as hell! Yes you can stay with us."

Alec nodded. He smiled and stood, standing and sniffing at Moira. "Don't worry, that whole 'dogs hate cats' thing is just a vicious rumor. You're welcome to stay with us."

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Re: Nothing To Lose

Post by Danry on Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:05 pm

The little joke about litter boxes actually made me smile, and feel a little less weird about what I had changed in to. He was cute and sweet, what a great combination. I did my best to memorize where everything was all while trying not to trip on anything else, or step on my own tail. It made me a little more aware of what I was doing and I found that my step was more graceful, and if I wasn't really concentrating too hard my tail kept itself out of my way, just kind of swishing softly back and forth. If it didn't sound narcissistic I'd say that I looked kind of cute.

Then I met Les and Alec. In less than a minute both of them managed to turn my face red. Les, while cute and tiny, gave me a compliment I wasn't expecting, but had she looked in a mirror lately? She was adorable. And Alec... Alec sniffed me. I found it a little more confusing than embarrassing, until I remembered that I was a street rat and he could probably smell the last time I showered.

"Thanks," I replied, absently pulling at my hair again. It was a nervous habit I didn't have until after Devon. "I'll try not to get in anyone's way."

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Re: Nothing To Lose

Post by Machine Man on Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:31 pm

My two roommates smiled at the new third, then decided to head off to get something to eat. I smiled and offered the new girl my hand as I pulled back the flap with the other. "Welcome to Casa de Freakshow," Inside there wasn't much of anything, just a set of mattresses. They were actually really comfortable, and the whole thing was kept cleaner than clean. "We have a cleaning crew that comes in every day to clean things up. Ringmaster is kind of a neat freak when it comes to his attractions."

Stepping inside, I showed Moira just how clean it was inside. "As far as the arrangement goes, you can put yourself wherever. Alec and Les are a thing, so you can't sleep between them. Trust me... you don't want to. The empty mattress is here, these are Les and Alec's, and this one's mine." It may have seemed kind of pathetic to someone who was used to having a real bed, real roof, real family, but this was a good family too. It felt more real to me than the ones I left behind.

"Did you bring anything with you? I can show you where you can store your personal items."

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Re: Nothing To Lose

Post by Danry on Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:34 pm

"No, I don't have anything." I smiled a bit, liking how clean it was. And the mattresses! Oh, it had been so long since I'd slept on a real bed. "Definitely better than sleeping under a park bench," I murmured.

Maybe it would be better for me here, better than that house I used to call home, better than sleeping in boxes in alleys and under benches or bridges. Away from all the crap from before, from people who acted like they gave a damn. Yeah, I could make it work here. Definitely. But sharing a tent with him? He was cute as all get out, and we would be around each other a lot, what with me and him working together, but how could I concentrate around him. He was.. stunning to look at. Absolutely gorgeous.

'He can't read minds can he? oh, Lord, I hope not, I might die of embarrassment.'

"So, when you're not working or practicing what do you do for fun? "

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Re: Nothing To Lose

Post by Machine Man on Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:30 pm

"Mostly I just hang out around the camp. I don't really go out much." Not that I didn't have the opportunity. I had plenty of friends in the circus, but most of them had paired up already, and I didn't really feel like being a 3rd wheel, or 5th... depending on who went where. "Sometimes I like to go out and go dancing, but I always wear a hoodie if I do. Too many questions otherwise, or I get teased. A lot of people think the ears and tail are fake. It's easier just to hide them."

I backed out of the tent and headed toward the food trailer, my new charge literally only a tail's length behind and beside me. "Sometimes we have games and things here, especially if we just came off a good show. Profits aren't great all the time, but when they are, Ringmaster will give us some to splurge on activities. This one time, we went bowling, and no one wanted the lanes next to us, so it was kinda great." I smiled happily, thinking back on those times when, rather than explain what we are and what we do, people just avoided us. "But sometimes we go places and people want to take pictures or sign autographs. Usually in bigger cities where we've done shows before and they recognize us from that, or from social media."

"What do you like to do? I'm sure we can fit something in."

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Re: Nothing To Lose

Post by Danry on Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:09 pm

Following him out and towards the food tent I made sure to memorize my steps. It would do me no good to get lost. "I like dancing, not usually with others though. It kind of looks like a fish out of water having a seizure." I smiled, remembering what I had once been told by my brother. He had been so honest, sometimes too honest. Thinking about it now made me chuckle, when then it had mortified me. "I also really like to paint. Mostly nature or skylines. I had been working on the horizon in Copenhagen before... Before Ringmaster found me."

I didn't have any of my painting supplies, but maybe if I was there long enough I could get some new supplies. Maybe while I was still learning the ropes I could draw funny pictures of people, at least do something to pull my weight before I inevitably killed myself tumbling.

"I haven't been bowling in a long time, it would be fun to do something like that again." I folded my hands behind my back, lacing my fingers together, breathing in the fresh air. Being a cat person did wonders on my sense of smell, I could pick up on so many different smells; types of food, the scent of nature all around us. It was startling, but incredible.

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Re: Nothing To Lose

Post by Machine Man on Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:48 pm

I laughed as she described her dancing, but only because it was such a familiar thought. "Don't worry about it. Most of the people here can't really dance either. I can teach you though if you want. As far as painting goes, you'd really want to get to know Allison. She's the Ringmaster's favorite. She sells her art when we bunker down in the city. Works out pretty well, especially if we're in the major cities, or if we're on the pier somewhere. She's really good." I briefly recalled a painting she did of me once. It was... flattering, to say the least.

"Well you're in luck then, cause we're heading to Chicago next, and they have a pretty nice alley near the grounds. I'll see if I can get a group together to go. Won't be for a few weeks though." We ended up at the food tent finally just as the smoke began to rise through the large hole in the top. It was a good time to show up, as it meant that they were just putting things on the grill. Early cat gets the cream.

I held up the flap for Moira then followed in behind her. The table was already set up with pots and dishes full of vegetables. On the grill, Allison had chicken and pork, and a large pot sat on a warming burner. That could only mean one thing, and my ears perked straight up when it dawned on me.

"Teriyaki bowls," I said loudly, clearly elated. "It's my favorite thing to eat here. Ali does this sauce she learned before she joined the circus. Ancient Chinese secret." The last part I whispered, though I knew she could hear me. Alli was one of the oddest ones in the whole litter. Her change left her with the features of an owl, which I thought was particularly cool. Her arms and hands were those of a human, but her feet ended in those signature strong talons. A pair of bleach-white wings folded around her sides, jutting from her shoulder blades, so long they dragged on the ground behind her when she walked. She moved like an owl, too, able to turn her head completely around, and huge eyes that could see for miles.

Ali giggled when she heard my exclamation. "I figured it'd been a while. I know how much you like... Oh, who's this? A new arrival?" Ali's curiosity was cat-like, but she was a genuine person, kind and sweet as sugar.

"Yeah, this is Moira. Moira, this is Allison, but everyone calls her Ali. Moira here is a painter too."

"Excellent! Well it's nice to meet you Moira. You must be famished, by the looks of you."

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Re: Nothing To Lose

Post by Danry on Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:50 pm

"Oh, I am. It smells absolutely delicious." I smiled at Ali, trying my best to get used to the fact that she looked remarkably like an owl. I had to remind myself several times not to stare, each time only made my cheeks grow red hot in embarrassment. "But I'm not really a painter," I moved the conversation along, hoping neither of them caught on to how awkward I was feeling. "I like to paint, does not mean I am any good. I've heard that you're really good, though. I'd like to see your work sometime."

This place, the longer I was there, felt more like a home than mine ever had. There I felt alienated, like I was deformed or some kind of abomination, but here I was actually no longer fully human and I was accepted with open arms and kindness despite my new... look. It was funny, in a sad way, that strangers made me feel the way your family is supposed to.

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Re: Nothing To Lose

Post by Machine Man on Sat May 05, 2018 6:22 pm

"Well give me a few minutes, darlin', and i'll get you a plate whipped up quick. You're first in line." Ali went back to grilling, flipping and seasoning the meat with practiced hands. If she was half as good at painting as she was cooking, then she would be teaching Moira quite a bit.

I turned toward my new friend and smiled as my stomach rumbled, the smell of food stirring it into a tizzy. "Shouldn't be long, by the smell of things. Is there anything you'd like to see while we wait? When you live here you kinda tend to forget what new people might like. I don't remember a lot of my first visit." In truth I really just wanted to get her alone for a bit, though not in a creepy way. I wanted to get to know the girl some more, figure out her past and what we had in common. I mean I wouldn't kick her out of my bed, but I doubted that either of us was even thinking about such a thing being remotely possible. Maybe it never would. I hoped it would happen eventually though.

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Re: Nothing To Lose

Post by Danry on Sun May 27, 2018 7:41 pm

"Well, we're going to be working together, and I'd like to see where that would be." I said, a bit hesitantly. I was nervous about being part of a tumbling act, even though I was part cat, I didn't think I had the dexterity or skill to not end up killing myself. But I kind of wanted to know more about it, see where we would be performing.

I also, maybe, kind of, wanted to spend a bit more time with Eric. He seemed genuine and kind, and I liked his company. It definitely helped that he was cute. Though, did I really need to think about spending more time with him alone? We were going to be sharing a tent, our beds close to each other. I tended to toss and turn a lot at night, what if I rolled into his bed? I felt my ears flatten against my head again, embarrassed at myself for thinking something like that. Of course that wouldn't happen!

"I hope I'm not going to be starting right away, I'm not very good at anything."

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