January 30, 2014: Graceland

Song: “The Boy in the Bubble” by Simon, Paul from Graceland

Listen to it here

 (image from nolanlawson.wordpress.com)

(image from nolanlawson.wordpress.com)

With a loud “thwack!” a heavy canvas curtain whips up and into its housing. Revealed is a small stage lined with several similar glass bottles filled with a translucent turquoise liquid. THE BARKER leaps through an orange curtain onto the stage, cane in hand, fake smile plastered across his face.

THE BARKER

Hey-o, hey-o, hey-o. Ladies! Gentleman! Boys and girls! Come closer my friends. Gather round, gather round, gather round.

Now, friends, I know how life is these days. Same as life is for me. The rich get richer and we get stepped on. Where’s our square deal, am I right?

Well, fine folks, that’s what I’m here for. I’m here to make sure you get a fair shake. I’m your medicine man, I’m you artist, I’m your magician, all rolled into one. You want a deal? I’ve got you the deal of the century! I do, I do, I do.

The real product, what I know you want, I’ll bring that out in a moment. Trust me when I tell you it’ll be worth hanging around for. You can trust me, I’m the Barker, I won’t lead you astray.

But before we get there, I’ve got something that I know you’ll be surprised by how much you want it.

THE BARKER spins and sashays dramatically. He walks to the pyramid of the glass bottles and gracefully grabs one of the top, spinning it, and passing it back at forth in the air between his hands.

THE BARKER

See, friends? See! Power Tonic! The cure for what ails and what might ail you someday. A steal at 2, 3, 4 times the price. But you, all of you, none of you, need to pay, 2,3, 4 times the price. Like I said, I’ve got you a deal today and boy oh boy, it is the SWEETEST of deals!

Power Tonic! Sweet on the lips, sweeter in the life! If you are interested in this magical bit of medicine, of medical art, really, you walk over to our stand in the back, you talk to my good friend Bristow and he will take care of you.

Is that not the great deal I promised you?! Does The Barker not do what he says and says what he does? Trust, my friends! Trust, brothers and sisters! Put it in me and I’ll take care of you. Yes sir and ma’am, The Barker’s here for you.

But now, I promised you something more, didn’t I? A tonic’s great and our tonic’s the best, but you came for more. You want something. And I’ve got it.

The two sides of the stage burst open with a small fireworks display. A young boy awkwardly walks on stage through the orange.

THE BARKER

Here he is! Your next pop star! He may not look like much but he’s something special. The voice, the moves, the cuteness without the threatening sexuality to scare off the pre-teen girls. Here he is! My deal to you. My second great big deal! No one else gives this to you, just The Barker!

Use him, devour him, broom him. Love him on his way up, hate him when he hits the top, mock him as he falls. He’s not a boy! He’s a commodity!

But wait, I can see some of you losing interest. A boy pop star’s not your speed, right? You prefer something in the fairer sex. Well, well, well, today is your lucky day!

The Barker’s here for you and I get you. You like what you like, right?

A second, smoking fireworks display goes off and a teenage girl takes the stage.

THE BARKER

There she is. There she is. America’s Sweetheart, am I right? Demand she never change! Punish her for any agency she might demonstrate! Objectify her while shaming her discovery of her own sexuality!

Chew them up! Spit them out! The deal I give you! Let them taste the fame and then shame them for their ambitions! We build them up, we say nothing but yes, and then we get to call them spoiled and ungrateful!

All for you folks. All from your good friend The Barker. Giving you the best, never leading you astray!