Herman Fuller Presents: A Short, Sharp Lesson

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Feast your eyes on this daredevil feat of pyrotechnical accomplishment! Fun for the whole family! Made possible by the actions of the loyal cast and crew of Herman Fuller's Circus of the Disquieting.

The role of Exploding Man will be preformed for this showing by Thomas Davisson, in light of his recent actions
Witness what fate awaits traitors

The following is a page from a publication entitled To the Circus Born: Herman Fuller's Menagerie of Freaks. The identities of neither publisher nor author have been established, and scattered pages have been found inserted into Circus-themed books in libraries across the world. The person or persons behind this dissemination are unknown.

Exploding Men

a hardline stance on the issue of betraying the circus. For betrayal of the circus was a betrayal of the family (or so Fuller liked to suggest). As such, the Exploding Man act was introduced, a way to send a message to other wayward members of the circus "Family" while still drawing a crowd.

The first of the Exploding Men was Thomas Davisson, a younger fellow employed as a member of the build crew who had been caught poaching a few dollars and trying to skip the circus in the middle of the night. Fuller was obviously eager to finally employ the act, though seemingly more for the boost in attendance such a spectacle would cause (the tour had hit a mild downturn at the beginning of the fall).

The event itself began at six in the evening, on a crisp autumn day. Attendance had well exceeded expectations for a surprise, untested act such as this, and crowds were eagerly awaiting the show. And what a show they would be given! A stage had been constructed on the floor of the big top, and as guests entered they bore witness to the monstrous construction of fuses and dynamite that laid atop it. And atop that was the man of the hour, Thomas Davisson, bound and gagged. He had a black eye, having obviously been roughed up by Fuller’s men before being transported to his nitroglycerine throne. The stands filled to near bursting, Fuller, acting fully in his role as ringmaster, hushed the crowd and read out Davisson's crimes, trumped up and met with jeers and boos by the gathered spectators. Even if his men were not loyal, Fuller's audience was.

The explosion itself did not disappoint. The fuses had been laid all around the tent, and upon lighting the spark raced around through the stands, splitting and recombining, treating the audience to what could have well been an act to itself. This was of no comfort to Davisson, who had obviously thought it would be quick, and having already said his prayers, seemed at a loss for how his final moments should be spent. Just before the fire reached the powderkeg beneath his feet, the spark died. Relief filled Thomas' eyes, which was swiftly snuffed out by the ear shattering blast of the dynamite going off, blowing his body apart. The showmanship was brilliant.

His head flew off into the audience, and a small girl no older than five caught it, holding her prize high in the air. An usher quickly made his way to the child, trading her a massive head of cotton candy for the head of Davisson, his eyes still darting around the room as he tried in vain to breathe using lungs he now lacked, tongue desperately gulping down air. He was unceremoniously tossed to a pair of jugglers, who expertly included him into their rhythm, alongside knives, swords, and more sticks of (unlit) dynamite. They delighted the crowd until intermission was called.


Exploding Men

To the Circus Born

To the Circus Born: Herman Fuller's Menagerie of Freaks

In the lull that followed, the stagehands gathered together all the scattered remains of poor Thomas. What was intact enough to still feel was writhing what little muscles Thomas could still control, his eyes betraying horrific pain as the circus doctors began carefully stitching together his components for the encore.

Fuller intended that carnies and audience alike would take the lesson of Thomas to heart. However, the many repeat showings of “The Amazing Exploding Man” in the years to come would show that this effort was perhaps misunderstood.



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