I eagerly followed the slow thread of cars off the interstate and pulled into a cleared section of the field. Leaving my car behind, I followed the crowds through the muddy grass and rotting pumpkin field to the gate in front of the line of tents, tents that were carefully placed in a straight row pointing directly to the main event, the object of my summer long obsession. I approached the entrance to purchase a ticket, and the young man selling tickets looked familiar. Not just the ticket seller, but the entire experience began to feel familiar, as if I had been there sometime during my childhood, or if maybe I had been there last Saturday night. I was shaken out of my hazy nostalgia by a slight growl from an odd creature that was stationed near the young ticket sellers’ feet. I describe the creature as a creature because I could not identify exactly what it was. I cannot say that it was an animal, because it was not an animal, it resembled a dog while not quite being a dog. It was made from some type of metal, I assume, and run by steam based on observation of small puffs of steam fluffing out of the ears. I was held by its brightly lit pink eyes for a moment before I was able to look away and move onto the thoroughfare. The moment I passed through the main gate, the setting sun disappeared, and the lights on the big top electrified and projected the color the man in the café could not explain. I wandered through the smokey smell of popcorn past several tents as random lights flickered on. Shadows formed from inside the tents of strange, large creatures. Some shapes resembled the shape of elephants, but were not exactly elephants, others resembled the shape of horses, but were not exactly horses. Some were a fuzzy combination of both. Music started, from somewhere, mixed with sporadic hollow mechanical animal sounds emanating from inside the attractions. My reporter instincts pushed me to visit every tent, but a magnetic draw to the big top pulled me past the small curiosities to the towering pavilion at the end of the row. I quickly found myself seated in the main event, grasping my notebook to record every detail. The first act to come into the ring was a small group of Peruvian acrobats. Having been to Lima several times as a field reporter, my skepticism was immediately aroused. Never in my several tours in Peru have I ever seen an act quite like this. Strange, small men in pink fuzzy outfits silently meandered into the arena. From there, an explosion of action and sound erupted that I cannot quite describe. In fact, I am not able to remember much more after the beginning of the performance, and my notes have stopped. To clarify, my notes did not technically stop, but instead, the words of my notes stopped, and at some point I began to write symbols and squiggly lines on my notepad. I found myself back in Denver shortly after the event. The journey home is not something I remember, but the experience will be with me forever. I had hoped to spend the summer locating and revealing every detail of this mystery to you, my readers, but I can only repeat the rumors being passed around about this new phenomenon. There is certainly something out there, the origin of which is questionable but somehow familiar. The only thing this reporter can state for sure is, despite the complex blue haze of digital entertainment and never-ending stream of information available to our modern fingertips, there is still mystery, unseen beauty and something indescribably real, all contained under a canvas tent, in a field somewhere. Find it if you can. 33 ILLUSTRATION SOURCED FROM: JUANJO NEZNA, ¡SARTRE CABRÓN!

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