Chimera

"Come one, come all!" cried the carnival barker. "See with your very eyes the dreaded Chimera! One of a kind! Only thing like it on earth! Only 2 tickets! Only here can you see this miracle of nature, a fusion of two creatures!"

I emptied my pocket for any remaining tickets and looked at the contents as they fell into my hand - a piece of chewing gum, a paddle ball toy I had won from the age guesser, and a single red ticket. I tucked the toy away and walked up to the barker with the yellow suit and black pinstripes.

"Will this do?" I asked, holding out the ticket and gum. "It's all I have left and I really want to see the monster."

The barker looked down at the offering in my hand with a curious expression on his stubbled face. He knelt down to meet me at eye level.

"Tell you what, kid," he said with a smile, "just for you I'll let you in for a single ticket. Be sure to tell everyone you know about what you saw here, okay?" He winked as he snatched the ticket from my hand and shooed me along toward the opening of the tent behind him.

I was small, so it was easy for me to slide past all of the crowding adults to try and get closer to the animal pen. It smelled absolutely awful in here, like they didn't let the creature out very much. I figured it must be very dangerous indeed f they didn't want to risk going outside. I pushed further and further past the adults and around a few kids. It was dark beneath all these tall people, as if under a canopy of suits and brightly-colored dresses, and too-large hats.

Finally, seeing the light at the end, I pushed past to the edge of the animal pen and I saw the "miracle."

It was a dog in a lion costume with a plushy snake tail afixed by a button flopping limply behind it. And the dog was covered in mud. I watched him walk around disinterested before he flopped down on his side and began chewing his "tail."

I crept my way out of the tent, past the forest of adults, and emerged once again into daylight.

"What did you think, kid?" the barker asked as he saw me.

I struck him in the knee with the paddle ball and stole his tickets.