Day 206: The Carnival In Orbit’s Head

The Carnival In Orbit’s Head
Matt Zurbo


Orbit had a problem nobody would admit.
He seemed still, dull. But the opposite was true.
(Little boy.)

At night he would whisper, “Help! Please, stop…!”
(In bed, in stress.)

There was a carnival in his head.
(Boy’s head, surrounded by loud sound effects: TOOT, TOOT! WHISTLE! HONK!)

The carnival in Orbit’s head judged everything he did.
“Why did you do that!?”
“What on Earth were you thinking!?”
“How could you forget his name!?”
(Dancing girl, trapeze artist, and lion tamer all shouting at Orbit.)

“You embarrassed yourself!”
(Holding up lone daisy for hoity-toity girl who is walking away. Carnival people rolling around laughing at him.)

The trumpeters of doubt would BLAT!
(Boy sitting at bus stop, trumpeter blatting LOUD in his hear, other kids not noticing.)

The drummers of guilt would BOOM, BOOM!
(Boy, as board in class, writing 5 as an answer to 2=2. He is wincing, as man with BIG bass drum is banging it right next to/at him.)

The trapeze artists of fear would SCREAM…!
(Boy, scared, hiding behind pole, watching mean kid bully, while two trapeze artists standing on 4ft wire, shout at boy to do something, one pointing at bully.)

“Do more! Do less! Be braver! Be smaller!”
(Kid, confused expression, top of his head missing. Several characters from carnival, including stall operators, are standing in head, looking over its rim, down at him, shouting.)

Then, one day, the real carnival came to town.
(Boy watching trucks roll in.)

And WOW!
(Boy, standing in middle of carnival crowd, games and rides either side, melting ice-cream in hand, looking up and around in awe.)

“The lights, colours, smells, noise,” Orbit sighed. “Sweet silence!”
There was too much going on for him to hear the noises in his head.
(Lots of sound effects, people shouting, speakers blaring. boy looking content.)

The carnival workers in Orbit’s head were not happy at all!
(All holding hands over ears.)

Determined, they made even more noise.
“What if you get lost?”
“How embarrassing are you?”
“You look like a fool.”
(Boy arms out, running through carnival in panic.)

“Oh, hello. How may I help?” asked the fortune teller, Gypsy Rose.
(Boy hiding in fortune teller’s tent, clinging to curtain.)
“I’m sorry, Miss,” Orbit said. “I’m hiding fro the carnival in my head!”

“Ahh!” she sighed. And put a small speaker up Orbit’s nose.
(Fortune teller putting tiny speaker up baffled boy’s nose.)

Gypsy Rose commanded. “Leave the boy alone!”
(Speaker on end of stand in middle of carnival characters, all of them staring t it, wide-eyed.)
“Are you kidding?” said the carnival. “Orbit is who we be!”

“Hmm…” said the fortune teller, but before she could go any further…
(Fortune teller using telescope to look in boy’s ear. Orbit, head titled, wincing.)

“Come quick, Gypsy Rose!” the clown barked. “Strongman Sam needs help!”
(Both startled as clown bursts through curtain.)

“Miss Gypsy, I need advice” the strongman asked. “Everyone thinks I’m strong, but I have all these doubts and fears I cannot shake.”
(Fortune teller and boy listening to strongman, who is dejected, shoulders slumped, head lowered, sitting on hay bails. Clown or three one edges, watching.)

“Psst,” said the dancing girl. “I worry I’m not good enough. I lie awake all night, stressing about all sorts of stuff.”
(Dancing girl in pink tutu, pivoting on tip of toes, hand cusped next to mouth, whispering to fortune teller and boy.)

“Woh! Said the magician. “You too!? I thought I was the only one!”
(Magician, taking top hat of to wipe his brow with relief. All sorts of doves, rabbits, weird creatures and cards falling out of hat. Sidekick chimp doing the same.)

“Life is easier on stage! Under the pressure of the crowd.” 
(Magician, confident, gesturing. Next to him a 8ft monster is looking at reader, startled, as it is disappearing in cloud of smoke.)

“But at home, all alone, the thoughts in my head are too loud!”
(Magician at home, sitting on edge of bed, in PJs, fretting, corks in ears.)

One-by-one they asked the fortune teller’s advice, until the King of the Carnival came.
(Waiting in front of big queue, the King of the Carnival is sheepishly holding his crown.)
“Sometimes I feel like the crowd just want to run us out of town! It’s like I’m just not doing good enough!”

Double wow, Orbit thought. These people, big and brave and bold. They are all just me, with fears and doubts never told.
(Boy, with viewing platform around his head, and all of his carnival standing on it. They and him are watching things to the left of reader.)

If Orbit looked real hard, he could see their own carnivals, circuses, bands, zoos and mobs in their heads.

That made Orbit feel happy! Free!
(Boy walking happily, confidently away from carnival crowd in street in background, jugglers, musicians and clown riding giant unicycle still in middle of crowd.)

At home, Orbit announced to the carnival in his head, for all of them to hear.
(Orbit sitting with device on head. It has a camera pointing into his ear, and an arm that reaches from headpiece out to hold a small screen in front of him. The headpiece has a projector in it’s middle, that is projecting the carnival workers and performers onto the screen. They are all looking blankly back at boy.)

“You are just me, I know that now. Nothing more or less.”
(Orbit walking in front of a line of carnival workers. Each one has the same face as him. One hand is behind his back, the other is happily pointing his finger up, as if making a point as he walks.)
“I invite you to do your worst, but also tell me your best!”

From there on in the carnival would point out a sweet songs, a great sunset…
(Carnival workers and performers, small, standing around and on boy as he sits back, taking an a pretty sunset. The workers are jumping up and down, hugging, getting excited.)

Cheer when he kicked a goal. Understood when he missed.
(Boy, biting tongue with effort, kicking soccer ball.)

And life, it breezed on by…
(Back of boy, walking away. Small sound effects. Toot, toot, whistle, honk.)


The End

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