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Two Together in Eternity
Two Together in Eternity

Two Together in Eternity


Mr. Ephialtes' Hutment of Eternal Happiness was a regular feature of the yearly entertainments of the Australian summer. It ranged from Christmastide to Australia Day at the end of January when, until not too long ago, the entire nation would shut down, like France did in August. The huts, like outdoor movie screens. aerial firefighting equipment and surfers, were an endless summer item, for they would be used in Europe in their summer as the European winter was Australia's summer.

Burt Benton always enjoyed the atmosphere of the area of huts more than the variety of acts inside the Eternal Entertainment hut, as not every show inside it was worth its separate admission price. The main entertainment hut was at the end of an area that featured Continental European food kiosks and a beer hut. On the grounds was an old fashioned looking miniscule carnival that matched the old wood of the huts' structure. There was a Ferris wheel, carousel, shooting gallery and games of fun and chance. All were built of or trimmed in wood with painted scenes of Victorian world locations. In olden times the fairground rides were designed to take their clientele to different worlds, not to make them sick; for it was a place of romance, not excitement. In separate Victorian large wooden huts were a Mirrors of Eternity Hall and a Wax Museum of Eternity; inside an imitation grotto was a Tunnel of Eternal Love.

Music was provided by an automatic steam calliope that also was a wonder to behold. An ancient looking roller coaster rode on top then to the bottom and back up top again of the imitation Alpine mountain range wall that surrounded the Hutment grounds. At times a person dressed as a cherub with a stupid look on his face travelled through the air on a wire playing a lute and carrying a bow and quiver of arrows. Stupid Cupid, he thought.

The grounds had a feeling of magic in the fun-filled summer evenings. Children's clowns and a trio of troubadours dressed as Harlequin, Columbine and Pierrot wandered through the small crowd singing and playing timeless tunes with mandolin, guitar and violin; at the moment he recognised that they were playing Nino Rota's Lla Ri Lli Ra from Nights of Cabiria.

Then, there she was...

She really wasn't tall, but she damn well looked it. It was partly her quality clothing of a suit coat jacket worn over a knit V neck sweater with her long legs tucked into tall black leather high heeled winter boots. It was mostly the way she looked into his eyes with her own hazel eyes that seemed to bore though him; he felt her intense matter-of-fact self-confidence. She was slim, but not emaciated, he sensed that she had physical and well as inner strength...Suddenly she was the only person in the world as she stood legs akimbo blocking his path, and the entire world grew silent except for her voice. He didn't know why, but he had the feeling that they'd be forever together...

'Are you part of the show?'

'I'm the one trying to bring it down to find my friend. I believe Mr. Ephialtes took her away and he's keeping her.'

She spoke slowly, deliberately and determinedly. Her French accent gave her an other worldly presence. He was taken with her sudden appearance and he was so entranced with her self-confidence that anything she believed, he'd believe as well, yet he found himself asking her,

'How did he manage that and why did he do it? I'm Burt Benton; tell me and there might be two of us to find your friend.'

'My friend Hélène found out the truth about him...'

He had never seen eyes like those with an intense look like that,

'My name is Christine Renard and I will take Mr. Ephialtes and his entire show down, if I have to burn the entire place down to the ground and him along with it and send him back to hell where he belongs...'

It wasn't a threat the way she said was an oath...She seemed tall because she stood tall. She was the fearnaught irresistible force that was going to go through the immovable object, or she'd die trying...

'I'll bet you will, but tell me the story from the beginning...'

If she was mad, then he would be too...because he was afraid of never seeing her again.

'The two of us were the closest of friends back in France. One day his show was near where we lived. When we went to see it last August, we were separated, then she ran up to me in fright screaming that Ephialtes was evil incarnate, and to run for my life. He was after Hélène because she knew his secrets and he would never stop. She said we would meet at my house, but I never saw her again. I went to the police who did nothing and they said...', her voice changed to one on the alert, 'Do not look at them, but those troubadours are watching us...'

As they do, he thought.

'Let's see the wax museum', he suggested.

They entered what appeared to be a Victorian era wooden building that would be taken down and rebuilt for every location of the festival. In the intensely air conditioned building were various costumed historical figures. She stopped like a frightened deer when she saw Helen of Troy.


'Gee...Your best mate is Helen of Troy?'

'No, it is her! Ephialtes has transformed her from a human being into a waxwork!'

Him and 10,000 other people. He realised that the reason that Christine stood out was because she was as mad as a cut snake. He wondered if he took her to the shooting gallery and won a teddy bear she'd introduce the toy as her father...then he could ask teddy for his daughter's hand in marriage...

'How did he do that? Have you told the police?'

One for the dummy squad, but who was the real dummy, Hélène of Troy or him for believing her?

A coffin creaked open and Dracula rose to stare at them.

'It's pretty bloody realistic here, it creeps me out too, Christine.'

Dracula blinked his eyes.

'Let's go somewhere where we can talk...'

'We cannot go outside again, the troubadours are watching us! Follow me.'

She seemed to know the ins and outs of the creep joint wax museum and the entire grounds. She carefully looked out an emergency exit that he never realised was there until she slightly opened it. She lead him into a similar emergency egress that lead them into the Hall of Mirrors. She regained her confidence and began to loudly whisper,

'The police in France did not believe me.'

'Maybe not, but if your friend went missing, they would have to investigate; whether she was turned into a waxwork or a baguette.'

'I must tell you...they are seeking me for Hélène's murder! I have spent time in an institution psychiatrique.'

That was as obvious as the lovely nose on her beautiful face.

'Ephialtes telephoned the police when I continued making enquiries and planted Hélène's dress covered with blood in my room. He told them where to find it, so I left France when I escaped. When I heard that he was in Australia...'

In the Hall of Mirrors their reflections were joined by those of Harlequin, Columbine and Pierrot and they did not look happy. They weren't used to the mirror maze, but she was and she led him outside whilst the troubadours were still bumping into the mirrors.

An arrow struck just in front of them in the wooden structure outside. The wire mounted Cupid had missed and had a savage look of anger on his face.

'Come with me, Burt!'

She lead him to the Tunnel of Love where they boarded one of the pontoons that slowly took them on a circular ride through Victorian painted romantic scenes illuminated by coloured lights.

Inside the dark of the artificial cave she began to give more details of her traumatic adventures when one of the clowns popped out of the water and came at them with a large knife. They moved out of his way as his blade stuck in the cushioned seat of the pontoon between where they were sitting.

Burt punched the clown in the face where he went back in the water, his second blow hit the clown in his solar plexus; he pushed the clown's head under the water, as he inhaled.

'Suck it up, Bozo!'

He kept the clown's head underwater as their pontoon travelled towards the exit, for it was kill or be killed in Clown Alley...

They exited the ride and she lead him towards the main gate, but the carnival's own security force dressed as comic opera gendarmes blocked their exit. They returned the way they came through the land of fun and games then they heard the sound of screams...

The dead clown floated out of the Tunnel of Love face down.

As the calliope played Senza Fine, the three troubadours grabbed his body and started making funny voices, then threw the recently deceased into the air and caught him. The crowds thought it was part of the show and laughed and applauded. They took him into one of the wooden structures not open to the public then came back outside with the clown waving and bowing. This clown had identical facial make-up but he was taller than the dead one as the gaps between the cuffs on his sopping wet baggy top and trousers showed against his arms and legs.

A hand reached out and pulled Christine inside one of the hidden emergency exits of one of the huts. Burt kicked in the door then kicked the living shit out of Dracula and a gendarme that had grabbed Christine and literally had their hands full trying to subdue her.

She ran into his arms.

'Don't ever leave me, Burt!'

'We'll always be together, Christine! I knew that when I first saw you!'

She lead him into Mr. Ephialtes' Hut of Eternal Entertainment where the show was in progress. Mr. Ephialtes himself was on the stage as the Master of Ceremonies; he looked like the love child of Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum and The Human Slug.

Discrétion was not a word in Christine's vocabulary. She shrieked,

'Why have you murdered my friend????'

Ephialtes went into apoplexy.

Burt realised that Sluggo Ephialtes' security wouldn't let them leave the grounds, but if they created a disturbance the cops would be pleased to arrest them and take them out. The audience hushed in silence. Burt saw his cue,

'Answer her, Turtle Man! Why have you killed a young woman?'

There were gasps in the audience.

He was on a roll, someone would call the police for sure,

'Mur-der Tur-tle! Call the POLICE! Mur-der Tur-tle! Call the POLICE! Mur-der Tur-tle! Call the POLICE!', he clapped his hands and the audience began chanting and clapping with him.

Turtle Man looked like he would have a fatal heart attack if he kept it up; the paramedics would be just as good as the cops.

Columbine came on the stage to attempt to save the day. With the clowns and troubadours coming to both sides of the stage preventing their exit, their only escape was staying on stage.

'Don't really call the police, ladies and gentlemen...this is part of our wacky show.'

A wag from the audience shouted,

'Answer her, Turtle Man, or you're in the soup!'

The audience broke out in laughter and applauded.

Columbine had a sneaky look on her face.

'Ladies and Gentleman, the Lovers of our Commedia dell'Arte!'

The audience applauded, this wouldn't bring the police...Turtle Man still quaked in fright.

The white faced clown wearing the dripping suit of the clown Burt drowned came on the stage and gave a loud stupidly annoying laugh, put his arm around Burt, then spoke with a German accent.

'This iss all part of our show!'

'Cram it, Clown! So's this!'

Burt's fist smashed into his nose; even Blind Freddy could see the blood gushing down the white makeup on his face.

The audience hushed into silence as if there were question marks over their heads.

Christine shrieked and jumped like a tigress on Ephialtes, knocking him to the ground. She sat on him and began savagely beating him. The audience screamed, but some laughed. They were divided whether it was slapstick show business or assault and battery.

'I hear zomthink strange...',

The bleeding clown put his hand to his ear, started dancing and pointed down to the orchestra pit. By his cue, the pipe organ and percussion that provided the musical accompaniment for the acts loudly began playing Sam Cooke's Chain Gang. The clown encouraged the crowd to loudly shout the Hooh!s and Hahhh!s matching the stroke of the percussion.

With a large mark on his face from Burt's foot, Dracula stood on a stool in the orchestra pit facing the crowd with a microphone in his hand and started singing Sam Cooke's lyrics as the audience joined in providing deep bass Don't you knows as well as the Hooh!s and Hahhh!s; Burt had to admit that Dracula sang pretty damn good...Sitting on top of Turtle Man, Christine instinctively beat to the beat, matching her powerful punches to Ephialtes' head in time to the Hoohs! and Hahhhs! that became louder as the audience clapped along. The bleeding clown continued swinging his hips from side to side and chanting and clapped with them, but gave pained and worried sidelong glances to his prostrate shaking boss Ephialtes.

Burt exploded,

'This is real you idiots! Somebody call the police! A girl has been murdered!'

They 'hadn't seen nothin' yet'...

'Tell everyone what you did to Hélène!'

Christine pulled out the knife the clown had tried to stab them with inside the Tunnel of Love. When he shook his head, she cut off Ephialtes' ear and threw it on the floor of the stage. The crowd went hysterical! Ephialtes passed out. The music and singing stopped....

The dancing bleeding clown adlibbed,

'Friends! Romans! Countrymen! Lend me your ears...'

He wiggled his ears with his fingers to the audience with half of them laughing.

He turned to Burt.

Like the child he once was, the clown stuck his thumbs in his ears, waggled his fingers and stuck out his tongue.

More of the audience laughed and applauded.

Burt turned to the clown.

Like the commando he once was, Burt powerfully clapped his open palms on the clown's hands driving the thumbs into his ears and making the red and white clown bite through his tongue.

Burt ripped it out of his head like a piece of raw meat...

The audience screamed and gasped.

The crowd comedian shouted out,

'Bad cat got 'yo tongue?'

The audience roared laughing.

'What you're seeking is down there!',

The unfazed Columbine pointed her finger down then shouted as she beckoned,

'Come to me!'

Christine ran towards Columbine with her knife screaming like a banshee, Burt instinctively followed.

A trapdoor used by magicians opened and they both fell beneath the stage. The gendarmes were waiting below and overpowered them as they heard Columbine boast,

'That, ladies and gentlemen were our Two Goofy Ghouls of our Grand Guignol!'

The crowd wildly applauded. Dracula shouted,

'You'll see our other wax ears and tongues at our Wax Museum Chamber of Horrors!'

Below the stage, chemical soaked rags were over their faces, the last thing he heard was laughter and applause...

* * *

Some days later two men were walking through the Wax Museum and stopped in front of the figures of a long tall Cleopatra and a determined Marcus Antonius.

'Crikey! Doesn't that Mark Antony look just like Burt and not Richard Burton?'

'Doesn't he just! I haven't seen him around lately, have you?'


Author Notes: Winter's here Down Under! I have served in several military forces and farces and am the author of three Extra Dimensional/Ultraterrestial military science fiction novels; MERCENARY EXOTIQUE, OPERATION CHUPACABRA and WORK IN OTHER WORLDS FROM YOUR OWN HOME! as well as two travel books THE MAN FROM WAUKEGAN and TWO AUSTRALIANS IN SCOTLAND (all from I live happily ever after with my wife in paradise (coastal Kiama, NSW Australia).

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About This Story
19 May, 2022
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