Vintage freak show banner depicting two-headed baby as seen at Coney Island
Facsimile = an ancient, dusty, wax model floating in a filthy jar filled with formaldehyde

Coney Island is where I see my first freak show. I am five and my father holds me up to see the stage. Outside the tent, a painted banner depicts a ferocious man with a head shaped like a ten-foot-wide light bulb. But, inside the tent, the meek, sickly man on-stage has only a slightly swollen head. He drives a nail up his nose to try and compensate for his disappointing deformity. My father explains that the man has a disease and the show is a gyp. There is also a woman on-stage who has dry, scaly skin. Outside she is depicted crawling through a swamp on all fours – a woman’s head on the body of an alligator. But, inside – no such luck. Another gyp.

Boy Outa Brooklyn a murder memoir by Jack Antonio
Image: The smiling face of Steeplechase Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn
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