"Step this way, my pretties. See the show tonight for only a small piece of change. We have it all. Peep in on the smorgasbord. You will love every minute."
"Just flew in from starfall because I heard about the show. How much to see the show?"
"Whatever you think it is worth, my good friend. Whatever you think it is worth to see the show of shows. Peep in and see the poor creatures struggle under the lights. What would you pay to see the show of shows?"
The man handed Uncle Joe a handful of coins. Uncle Joe pushed the curtain aside and motioned for him to step inside.
"We're only here for another few moments, and then we'll be elsewhere. You've caught the show on a good night, my friend. A very good night indeed!"
The man stepped into the show. He stumbled in the darkness and then looked over the horizon. The show was about to begin.
"I have to go, darling. There isn't anything more I can say. I just have to go."
"Don't be so fucking dramatic. Just get the fuck out. Now!"
The man who needed to go grabbed his coat and walked out the door. The woman who sat stretched across a bed covered with a white bedspread sat up as he passed through the door and threw a shoe at the door. It hit the door with a thud and fell to the floor.
The woman began crying.
The man who came to see the show stepped back from the scene. It was intense, but rewarding. This show of shows was indeeed everything it claimed to be. The man took a box of candy out of his pocket, slipped a couple pieces into his mouth and turned to his right. Another scene from the show of shows was about to begin.
An older man in a brown trenchcoat was staring out the window from some kind of office with a computer on the desk. Snow was falling outside the window. He walked towards the desk, which was cleared of any papers or artifacts, except for a single piece of paper. The paper was a letter that thanked him for thirty years of service to the company. It also told him that his services were no longer needed because of a reorganization of the company. It wished him luck in finding alternative employment.
The man crumpled the letter and shoved it into the pocket of his trenchcoat, picked up a hat and walked out the door. He went into an elevator, pressed the button to instruct the elevator to take him to the ground floor of the building, and slumped against the wall. There was a vacant, hopeless look in his eyes. He thought about ways to end the pain of his now completely empty life. Three years earlier his wife had passed away from cancer, his daughter had died in a car accident and his son was in prison. A second son had died in a helicopter accident while on manuevers with his military unit.
He went to the bar down the street from his office, drank eight glasses of Scotch on the rocks and then stopped at the liquor store on the way home. He finished the bottle he bought in the front seat of his car. He left it running, parked in his garage with a hose running from the tailpipe into the window to the seat behind him.
"Crazy, my friend, is it not! The show of shows! Peep in on the creatures who live below! Enjoy yourself! See some more shows!"
"These are all so draining and painful, aren't there happy shows to see?"
"Isn't that what you wanted? To see such things? No matter! If you want happy scenes you will have them! It can be arranged! This is the show of shows!"
The man stepped back into the building. He pulled aside a curtain and saw two children running through a field of tall grass.
"We're going to be friends forever, Mary."
"Of course we are, silly. Why wouldn't we be?"
The two children, one a boy and the other a girl, took each other's hands and ran on across the field. The grass would swat them in the face, no matter how they tried to avoid it, and they laughed everytime on of them felt a sting. There was an old car buried in the grass somewhere ahead.
They climbed into the front seat of the car, a rustic relic from a generation ago, and pretended to be driving. They pretended they were a married couple, out for a lazy Sunday drive. The girl asked the boy if he wanted to kiss her.
"Yuck. No way."
"Grown ups do it. They like it. Aren't we best friends? Are you a scaredy cat?"
After some further debate and squirming on the past of the boy, they kissed.
"There is something familiar about all these shows," the man told Uncle Joe. "Why do they feel so familiar?"
"Shards of memory, images from the depths of one's soul! This is the show of shows! This is no ordinary peep show! This is the show of shows!"