Most kids run away to the circus, but my daddy drove me there.
He hits me hard in the eye with his right hook. Then in the gut. I flop around in the air like a rag doll. I let my brown puke splash where it may. I keep trying to ground my feet, but Boomer is fast. He keeps punching my cheeks and I wonder if he likes the way they feel, the way they mash under his paws real soft and cold. I always picture my spit flying out my mouth slow motion. It’s my mouth moves most when the kangaroo beats me.
My daddy had raised Boomer from a joey to be a boxer with the intent to sell him to a circus. He found one: THE Amazing Augusta Alcott All-something Circus. That was the way I first heard it. Daddy talks to the ringleader, Ms. Gussy, while I unload Boomer. I get him in the room-sized cage. He fights back hard today. But I can fight hard, too. I’ve won a few times against him. But he fights back hard today.
I can’t see out my left eye and I feel my nose clot up. I throw up my arms around my face. A few blows thump my head down then me down. His long dirty foot kicks me and I slide to a stop in the dirt on the metal floor. I lick the blood off my teeth before I black out. When I wake up, my daddy has left Boomer to the circus. And left me too.
This is the beginning few paragraphs of my newest story. It's about a girl between 9 and 10 whose dad has sold a boxing kangaroo to a circus and thrown her in as a bonus. Her name's Beneficence "Benny" O'Kelly. She becomes an "animal wrestler" for an all-child circus, where she also wrestles hardship and poverty.