Herman Fuller Presents: Maya the Magnificent
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Maya the Magnificent

Once a




Only Of

Death And


Now A




Civilized For



Come see our marvelous musician! Caught in a ferocious life and death struggle somewhere in the depths of the mountains!

Now tamed, hear her sing with human voice and dance with astounding grace! Come see her live in the Menagerie of Mayhem!

2 PM this Sunday at the Clackamas County Fair.
One show, One chance! Come one, come all!

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.

Maya the Magnificent

started when we set up shop right outside Damascus. We had performed one of our biggest shows of the year, almost everyone had a part in the Big Top Performance. Even Fuller was pleased with the turnout. After we cleaned the Big Top, we started packing up the circus. That's when I heard a noise behind the Carnival Confectionarian's tent. I went to investigate. There she was, in all her glory: Head stuck in a trash can.

One of the Freaks screamed when they saw her — frightened her away. Fuller was furious. We've never had bears come in before. I never saw him as angry as the night she came back searching for food. Fuller took it upon himself to do something in the fucked up way only Fuller can. He dragged her to his tent and didn't come out all night. Every moment of the night, we heard him crashing around in his tent doing his 'work' along with the occasional whimper from Maya. One day, he gathered the Circus together. He had an introduction to make.

Fuller presented her to us as "Maya the Magnificent". She could sing and dance like she'd done it since birth, he claimed. Whatever he did to her, calling it singing and dancing was generous. He "gifted" her with sick parodies of song and dance. With an almost manic smile on his face, he made her perform right there and then. With a crack of his whip, she started her twisted performance.

She stood up slowly and unsteadily onto her hind legs. She teetered at first and the whole circus waited with bated breath to see what Fuller's newest creation would do next. With a start, she jerked forward. Nearly falling into the audience of freaks, she took a few hesitant steps forward. Then a few steps back. Then some to the left. Over time, it became clear that it Maya's movements were supposed to be a dance. Fuller was chuckling quietly in a corner, looking at Maya with a face that almost suggested pride for the creature in front of him.

Maya started more complex steps, her face betraying that she was not quite in control of her motions. As she flailed between the horrified onlookers, it seemed the spectacle could not be more grotesque. Fuller, of course, ensured it would be and more. Slowly, as she staggered, Maya opened her mouth. Fuller's eyes widened in anticipation and he turned on a calliope. There was a click, a pop and a sound like metal grinding on metal before a voice poured from Maya's lips. It was light and cheery and singing the words to a song Fuller often played. It barely matched the motions of Maya's lips and it felt like a recording. As the song finished and Maya settled again on all fours, Fuller turned and handed the coarse rope of her leash to Sal the Menagerie Master.

Just like that, Fuller had made an act from nothing. Every day at 2, Fuller and Sal would dress her in a dingy tutu and a hat. I'll never forget that tutu; It was tattered and filthy and made Maya trip over herself. At first, she had a solo act, but the audience didn't like when she tripped or refused to perform and made Fuller enter the ring with his whip and a chair. Not willing to lose out on an act, he handed her over to the Clowns. Their act was a horror; They tossed Maya around and around making her do things like ride a tricycle or swim in pie custard. All while Maya's strange voice sang over the cackling laughter of the Clowns. The audience loved it but Maya was more miserable than ever.

The other Freaks did what they could, but she was in a sorry state. She was covered in gashes, her feet had sores and her fur was matted from the custard. Her singing broke down, kept playing the same circus song over and over. What struck me though, was her emotional pain. Behind those soft brown eyes, there was something intelligent, something broken. Something that could understand pain and who would inflict it. Something that could understand revenge. It was not the simple brown bear that had walked into our Circus; This was something much darker. We should consider ourselves lucky that many weeks later, she only left. Of course, she couldn't leave without giving us one final show; a two-part act in which she made Sal disappear before her grand finale. I saw her that night, dancing away into the dark, illuminated by the light of the burning Big Top tent.

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