In a matter of mere hours, Clementine's world had completely changed. Gone was the patched dress of the orphanage, replaced by a lovely white dress with yellow ribbon. The new shoes slightly pinched her feet but the girl didn't mind as Mr. Hollander, who was now her father, escorted her through the carnival.
Her father! The man had told her that she was an orphan no more and insisted that she call him "Papa". Curiously, she had no mother but she thought the man in his black bowler with the lime green band was fine company by himself. Clementine's head turned constantly, making her long main of blonde ringlets sway as she took in the gaily painted wagons and performers who could juggle and swallow real fire.
They passed a man in a white suit selling bottles of tonic that claimed to both ease the pains of femininity and restore masculine vitality. Clementine didn't know anything of those ailments but thought it a wonder that one medicine could cure both. Wilbur Hollander laughed as she noted this but pointed out that there were scientific wonders aplenty as they neared the dawn of the new century. Surely, 1896 was an incredible time to be alive.
A melody from a calliope floated into Clementine's ear. Spotting the source, she sucked in a huge breath.
"Oh! Mister...I mean, Papa! That's a carousel, isn't it?"
"Yes, it is. Would you like a ride?"
"Papa, may I? Please?"
"Of course!" Hollander laughed as he handed an attendant a coin.
After giving her wonderful father a peck on the cheek, Clementine hopped aboard the carousel in search of the perfect mount. The wooden steeds were brightly painted with cut-glass gems sparkling where they were set in the carved saddles and bridles. But it was a golden stallion with a main of fiery red, lacking any tack - bejeweled or otherwise - that caught the girl's fancy. Rubbing its nose for a moment, Clementine then climbed onto it.
For a moment, she teetered with her belly across its back. Facing toward the carousel's center, she saw her gaping face in the mirror and nearly giggled. Then she grasped the brass pole and swung herself into a sitting position with her legs draped on either side. Watching as another father set his young daughter stop a horse who that she sat side-saddle, Clementine wondered if her own position was un-ladylike. But her mount felt just right between her legs, slightly warm as if really alive. Remaining as she was, she turned to give her father a wave.
Wilbur smiled and waved back at his daughter. His daughter - yes, she was his now. He had certainly appreciated the brief show she had inadvertently performed for him. As she had mounted the horse, her legs had been jutting out toward him and her precarious angle allowed him to see up her dress.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Mr Double's Palisade
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Changes last made on: Thursday, October 19, 2017