Ivor rose as the man entered his private tent.

“Mr. Byre, or should I call you Mayor Byre?” Ivor shook his guest’s hand and smiled.

Both men sat, Byre smoothing out his suit as he did. “Please, for a campaign contributor like you, Ringmaster, call me Roderick.”

“And of course, you may call me Ivor. The contribution was nothing, Roderick, the least I could do to support the candidate who is looking forward. I saw your new voting machines. I cannot wait to cast my vote for you.”

“Ah, then the Circus will be staying a tad longer? I was trying to remember how long you had been in town. It’s been a week or two, right? I know your assistant, Mr. Wainwright brought by your donation – what was it? – four, five days ago?”

“Something like that, friend. We are awaiting a few deliveries still, so we will be here a bit longer.” Ivor fell silent, concentrating for a moment as his eyes began to glow. Glowing cards fell all around Roderick Byre’s head, and his eyes began to glow as well.

The room grew dark as Ivor’s spell worked its magic, and Ivor transformed. Where he had formerly been his normal, charming self, he had now become a dark twisted mirror image, his lightly tanned skin ashen and taught, his teeth pointed like sharp fangs, his glowing eyes, already unnatural, taking on a yellow tint. Ivor felt his full power surge in his true form. Looking back at his “guest” and sneering slightly, he uttered a single word, “Dance.”

As the mayoral candidate sprang from his chair and began waltzing around the room with an invisible partner, Ivor’s sneer turned to a genuine smile. “Interesting choice.” Ivor motioned, and the man approached him. “Lick my shoe.” Ivor extended one shoe to the man, who knelt and eagerly licked it. Ivor grinned from ear to ear, his black lips parting his monstrous face.

With another wave of Ivor’s hand, the man strode back to his chair, turned and sat back down as suddenly as he had sprung from it.

The room suddenly lit back up and both men’s eyes returned to normal, along with Ivor’s appearance. Roderick slumped slightly before sitting back up straight.

“Well, I am elated to hear your lovely circus will be staying in town, you must show me the secrets sometime though! I still haven’t figured out how you did that levitation trick! You must tell me before you move on from town.”

“Ah, but it would violate the showman’s code if I told you.”

“Well perhaps once I’m mayor, I will order you to tell me. Then you would have to show me.”

“Of course, Mr. Mayor, I would have no choice.” Ivor’s long, spindly fingers held out a small bowl of mint candies. “Care for a mint, Roderick?”

Roderick reached out, “Actually I would. I have the strangest taste in my mouth.”

“Oh, do you? How puzzling. Could you describe it?”

“Salty, a little sour, and a tiny bit spicy. Which makes no sense, as I had a muffin earlier, but that’s all.”

“Odd.” Ivor placed the dish down as Roderick popped the mint into his mouth. “I do believe that taste is how I have heard tiger urine described.”

“Hah, very odd, but I can guarantee I haven’t tasted any tiger urine.”

“I’m certain not, my friend. But I do believe you had best be going soon.”

Roderick glanced at his pocket watch. “Oh my, where does the time go? Sorry to rush, but I have another appointment. I’m very glad for your contribution and your friendship, Ivor.”

“And I yours, Roderick.” The two men shook hands. “Please, use my personal exit; it will get you to the town proper a bit faster.”

“Thank you again.” Roderick ducked out the side flap of the giant tent.

No sooner had Ivor sat down than his next appointment appeared. He rose and smiled as the man entered.

“Mr. Crowley, or should I call you Mayor Crowley?” Ivor shook his guest’s hand and smiled.

Both men sat, Crowley wiping the sweat from his forehead lightly with a handkerchief, “Please, afta’ all yuh’ve done, yah’all can call me Wilber.”

“And of course, you may call me Ivor.”