I got shot out of a cannon last night. You know, one of those cannons at the circus where a daredevil is shot hundreds of feet across an arena and into a giant net -- that's exactly what I did last night -- with an extra twist.
I was chasing this guy (I don't need to bore you with the details, only you should know that this guy was a real troublemaker) through the city and we ended up at the old fairgrounds down by the wharf, where, apparently, the circus was setting up (or shutting down, I never really stopped to ask). This guy runs into this huge tent and I followed him right in, cursing up a storm and throwing whatever change I had in my pockets at him. I've been a lot more frivolous with my change ever since the whole 'medieval adventure' thing that went down the other day.
I see this guy who I'm chasing (who looks suspiciously like NYPD Blue's Dennis Franz) climb into one of these giant cannons. Right before he slips down the barrel I see him strap on a helmet and I figure out what he's up to. Fortunately there were two cannons, and they were side-by-side. I slipped the carney that operated the cannons a fiver and said: "There's more where that came from if you can help me catch that human cannonball that looks like Dennis Franz."
You know, I've always wanted to jump in a cab and say "Follow that car!" This was kind of the same idea, just not as cool as paying an actual cab driver to trail another car...I guess I'll just have to settle for this whole cannonball thing.
So the carny, bless his bourbon-soaked soul, began packing the cannon with just a little more gunpowder than usual -- "Rock and roll." I said, indicating that I knew what this toothless, kick-ass old souse was up to. He was too immersed in his work to respond so I grabbed the first helmet I could find and slipped down the barrel.
It's a nasty experience, being trapped in a dirty black cannon, especially when you realize that you can't move your hands or feet at all, not one bit. Apparently the cannon I'd crawled into wasn't used as often as the other one, and a family of racoons had made their home at the bottom of the barrel. Well, they were none-to-pleased to have this uninvited stranger disturbing their nap, let me tell you, and they scratched and clawed my feet up something fierce. Of course I couldn't do much about it pinned in a barrel so tight that you can't even flex your buttocks without a serious investment of willpower.
Only seconds had past and already my eyes were welling up with tears -- partially due to the fact that I'm a clinically-diagnosed claustrophobic, partially due to the racoons ravaging the soles of my f*cking feet -- either way, the man who looked like Dennis Franz wasn't sticking around for triscuits. I heard a loud boom -- but I wasn't worried, I knew he wasn't getting away.
"Fire away, Smitty!" I yelled, assuming the loping, sub-human carny was named Smitty.
Apparently, it was, as an explosion went off somewhere beneath me, my feet, and those rabid racoons. It was deafening. In a half a second I was soaring through the air, a cloud of blood and racoon chunks following closely behind me. The hind end of one of the racoons somehow settled on my head, tail and all, and all of a sudden I looked like Davey Crocket (or Daniel Boon!) hot on the tail of some evil Mohawks. Up ahead was Dennis Franz -- I'm just going to start assuming it was Dennis Franz -- and I was gaining on him.
I looked below at the colourful world of candy and clowns whizzing by beneath me. It was pretty, and I pulled out my funsaver and snapped a few quick pictures. I returned my camera to my ever-present fannypack and redirected my attention to Franz, who was now only a few feet ahead of me. The extra gunpowder had given me the speed to overtake him. But this was no race. This was combat.
I soared up over his back -- he didn't even know I was following him at this point -- until I was almost spooning him. Then, with my jagged and unkept fingernails, I raked his back, from the base of his skull to his tailbone. He screamed and twisted in the air. We began throwing punches -- it was something out of that movie Point Break, minus the smouldering sexuality Patrick Swayze brings to every role he takes.
We must have been quite a sight, soaring through the circus tent like that, Dennis Franz and me, li'l Danny Corvettlaufer, trading fists and looking good.
I knew we were running out of time and space -- I looked up ahead and saw the lion-tamer training his lions with a flaming hoop. We were headed straight for it -- without a little teamwork, we'd never fit, and end up a firey ball of human flesh, melting and melding, and finally crashing into the floor of the tent. I held Franz close, trying to make us tight enough and small enough to fit -- no easy task with Dennis Franz, let me tell you.
"I didn't know you were a flamer!" Franz quipped.
"Oh, I like to 'hoop' it up as much as the next guy!" Before I had a chance to have a chuckle over my clever hoop reference, we were shooting through the flaming ring -- I made it, but Franz didn't, and his entire back caught aflame. We were descending quickly -- there was only one way out of becoming a stain on the floor. I turned my back to Franz -- now he was spooning me -- and wrapped myself in him. He was screaming by this point, he didn't notice that he was being turned into an insulated jacket. A flaming, insulated jacket.
When we hit the floor it sounded like the wheels of a jet plane touching down, except this jet was leaving meaty chunks of flaming Dennis Franz all over the runway. It was psychologically troubling, but it worked -- Dennis Franz's soft, flaming, meaty exterior had provided me with the padding I needed to make a safe landing. When we finally grinded to a halt, there was only his moustache left.
By this point the entire tent- hell, the whole circus had caught aflame -- no big suprise. I mean, what would you expect to happen if you lit Dennis Franz aflame and shot him at a circus tent? Anyways, everything was burning, the tents, the rides, the booths, everything. Even the animals, it was hilarious, you should have seen those elephants burn -- "Flaming elephants!" I said to one of the first fireman on the scene. "Sounds like some sort of new cocktail!" He didn't find it too funny, but, of course, he had a job to do.
I went home last night with a feeling of accomplishment -- my feet were a little raw and infected from the racoon bites, but it made me feel better knowing the little bastards were blown to bits when the cannon went off. I'm still wearing my Davey Crockett hat, thought it's started to smell funny, and I don't remember Davey's hat having hind legs, either. I still have a whole lot of Franz-skin hanging off me, so I think I'll get my sister to make a wallet out of it or something -- she's really handy with that kind of thing. How many people can say they have a wallet made out of Dennis Franz? This is a good example of how one can make the best out of a bad situation.
This morning I went down to the fairgrounds to see what kind of damage my altercation with Dennis had wrought. Suprisingly, there was nothing there. Nothing. No burned tentshells, no smouldering clown carcasses, nothing. I saw a salty old fisherman feeding seagulls down at the wharf and I asked him where the circus had gone to, other than hell. He didn't seem to get my joke, but said that the circus had quit using this location back in '83. He said the fairgrounds had been cold and empty for some twenty years now.
I don't know why the salty old seaman and the circus company would conspire to appear as if they'd never existed. Perhaps it was an insurance issue, or perhaps by suggesting to me that the whole incident never happened I would wave any potential lawsuits...I don't know, I'm sure they have their reasons. It was a good time, though, especially the flaming meat-jacket thing...
..ooh, remind me some time to tell you how the whole Dennis Franz thing started, it's kind of interesting. I haven't heard that NYPD Blue is writing him out of the show, so maybe they'll finish off the rest of the season using old stock footage of Dennis, I'm not sure, I'll keep you posted.
Well, I've got to get to the pharmacy -- my feet mysteriously healed overnight, as if nothing ever happened -- but I'm going to buy some anti-bacterial cream just to be safe. And get those pictures I took developed.