Here’s a new story, I hope Folks like it. (Image: Tubberton) chapter 1 - meet Waldo Wyde It was a beautiful early June, 1947 morning as the Sun shone brightly over the Big Top tents of the Clyde Wonder Circus. The roustabouts had been up since dawn getting things ready for the expectant big crowds when the circus opened the next day. The animal trainers were busy feeding elephants, horses, lions, tigers and performing dogs before putting them through their training paces. The performers slowly emerged from their individual trailers, rubbing the sleep from their eyes and wishing each other good morning as they headed towards the dining tent for breakfast. Joey Kemp, one of the clowns, happily greeted everyone on his way to the largest trailer on the circus grounds. The huge trailer had an extra wide door that led out to heavily, reinforced steps. Joey skipped up the steps and knocked loudly on the door. "Hey Waldo!" he yelled loudly, "Wake up, Big Guy, it's time for breakfast!" The trailer shifted from side to side as movement was heard inside. "I'm coming, I'm coming!" a sleepy voice answered. Heavy footsteps approached the door and Joey stepped down as the door slowly opened. Framed in the large doorway was Waldo Wyde, the Circus Fat Man. His large, round 680 pound form almost completely filled the extra big doorway space. Despite the wideness of the doorway, Waldo had to turn sideways to get his vast belly through the door before carefully coming down the steps, which were groaning in protest under the Fat Man's weight. "Think your door has to be widened and the trailer's shock absorbers reinforced again?" Joey giggled in a good natured fashion. "I'll submit the usual acquisition", Waldo smirked as he lumbered alongside the smiling clown. The two friends walk towards the meal tent, Waldo waddling, his round body swaying to and fro, with Joey spritely walking along, keeping at the large man's slow pace. The two men had been friends since they were kids, having grown up in the same small town together. When they were both 16 in 1941 they tried to enlist in the Army when the war broke out, but were rejected not only because they were too young, but also because of their body types, Joey being way too underweight and Waldo because he was greatly overweight. Not letting this setback discourage them, a year later when they were both 17, they attended a circus that was visiting their county and applied for jobs. Joey, because of his natural humor, was offered to be put into training as an apprentice clown. Waldo, in spite of his physical appearance, was incredibly strong and wanted to try out as a roustabout. The Ringmaster and owner of the circus, Clyde Brewster, was impressed by the young man's enthusiasm, but had to be honest with him that the roustabout position required a lot of climbing up poles and handling of ropes in order to set up the rigging for the various tents the circus required, and he didn't think the boy's round physique was up to the task. Seeing the disappointment in the young man's eyes, the Ringmaster thought a moment, then spoke in a serious tone of voice. "There is a position that we might consider you for", Brewster said. "What is it?" Waldo asked excitedly, "I'll do anything. Joey and me have been pals for years and it'd be great if we can work in the circus together. We're more than just friends, we're brothers forever", and he gave his friend a playful tap on the arm with his pudgy fist. "Well", Brewster said as he cleared his throat. "First tell me son, how much do you weigh?" "Well Sir", Waldo said nervously, his face blushing a little, "the last time I was weighed was at the factory in town where they have scales that weigh the heavy machinery, they're the only scales I could use since I was too heavy for the regular scales in the doctor's office. I stepped on them just yesterday and the numbers stopped at 560 pounds", and the young man blushed again. Brewster whistled when he heard the number before speaking again. "560. That's a pretty hefty number, son. Now tell me the truth, do folks make fun of you because of your size and how do you handle it when they do?" "Well, Mr. Brewster", the boy's chubby face breaking out in a big grin, "Some of the kids in town used to make fun of me, but as I'm pretty strong, all it took was me breaking a tree limb in two or bending a horse shoe, and they just clam up and want to be on my good side. There was once a big, tall kid who started calling me names and dared me to fight him. Well, all it took was for my fist to connect with his jaw and he was out for almost an hour, and when he came to, he didn't call me names anymore. So, it don't bother me none, they're just names, and I can take care of myself pretty good". "Very impressive, Waldo", Ringmaster Clyde Brewster grinned. "I'll tell you what, if you're brave enough and up to it, I'll hire you and Joey together to work as part of the show in the circus." "Part of show?!?!" both boys gasped. "Do you mean it, Mr. Brewster", Waldo asked excitedly. "I sure do", Mr. Brewster answered. "Joey has the makings of being a good clown once he's done his training. "And me?" Waldo asked hopefully. "Well Son", Clyde Brewster said seriously. "Here's where the brave part comes in for you. I'd like you to be part of our Side Show, working with the Bearded Lady, the Sword Swallower, the Little Folks, you'll be one of the attractions". "One of the attractions?" the young man asked quizzically. "Waldo, if you have no problem with it, I'd like you to be our Circus Fat Man. That means people will pay money and line up to take a look at you, some may marvel at your size, some may laugh and might say means things within your earshot. But, if you say yes, you'll get a good, decent salary, a nice, big roomy trailer to live in, and all the grub you could eat for free. And if you can develop an act, like breaking logs and bending horse shoes and maybe do some funny stuff with the clowns, we can make you part of the show under the Big Top. Now, you don't have to do it if you don't want to, and I won't be disappointed if you say no, but, would you like to be part of the Wonder Circus, Waldo?" Waldo looked at Ringmaster Brewster, then to his friend Joey who gave him a hopeful, encouraging smile. He looked back at Mr. Brewster who was kindly smiling at the hefty, young man. Waldo was quiet for a moment or two, then slowly turned his gaze back towards the Ringmaster. "May I ask you a question, Sir?" the boy said in a serious tone of voice. "Sure Son, what is it?" "Well", Waldo began to grin, "If I put on another hundred pounds or two, would my salary go up too?" Mr. Brewster blinked in astonishment for a couple of seconds, then he burst out in a hearty, rich laugh. "Why, of course Son, of course!" the Ringmaster said, wiping the tears of laughter from his eyes. "In that case", Waldo grinned as he held out his beefy hand to the Ringmaster, "say hello to Waldo Wyde, the new Fat Man of the Wonder Circus!!!" Since that day, Waldo and his friend Joey became part of the Wonder Circus family, not only popular with everyone who worked at the circus, but also with the crowds who attended the performances. There were some folks who made cruel remarks about Waldo's girth, but after showing his strength by bending a few horse shoes and telling some jokes provided by his friend Joey, the 22 year old Fat Man quickly won the audiences' favor and became a favorite attraction in the Side Show. As they entered the dining tent, Waldo and Joey were greeted by all the other circus performers, ticket sellers and roustabouts. "Hey Waldo, Joey, glad we got here first while there's still plenty of food!" Bruno the Strongman bellowed. Waldo laughed and waved back. He knew it was all in fun and that there wasn't any meanness or malice in the jokes. Waldo and Bruno even had a friendly competition to see which one was the strongest. Sometimes they would arm wrestle and for the most part it was a draw between the two, one or the other equally winning the bout. All the circus folks were like family and they were all fond of Waldo. And nobody needed to worry about any food going to waste. If anyone was unable to finish their meal, they'd pass the leftovers to Waldo who polished off the dish and still have room to finish his highly stacked plate. Since he was so well liked, all the circus wanted to make sure their beloved Fat Man kept his weight up.