You choose the Florida coast.

Before you know it, the pirate ship has gone aground on a beach. After gathering your belongings, you disembark, only to discover that you’re in the middle of a camp.

“It took you long enough!” a woman says as she slaps you between the shoulders. “Come, I’ll help you with your costume. The show begins at dusk.”

You stare at her with incomprehension. 

Before you can argue, you’re pulling on a tight bodysuit decorated in red and blue diamonds. Although it makes you feel foolish, you’re starving. Hopefully, they’ll feed you dinner after the show, and you can head home in the morning.

A gang of clowns comes to fetch you, triggering a lifelong phobia. You panic and try to escape, but they have more practice running in oversized shoes, and they catch you when you fall on your face. You’re still stunned when they carry you into the big top and load you into a cannon. There’s a loud noise and then you’re flying through the air. Your screams drown out the applause from the crowd below. 

You expect to land safely on the net below, but they used too much gunpowder. Instead, your body punches a hole through the tent and you fall into lion pen. 

Just before a lioness devours you, you realize at least someone is getting dinner tonight.


For more from Jackie Dana, check out Story Cauldron, where she explores her relationship to stories and storytelling.

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