It was a bright, sunny day when Mia showed up at the bus station, holding her ticket. She held one hand over her eyes, shading them against the mid-morning sun and watched the traffic on the roadway pass by, cars of all colors and shapes and sizes and destinations. She smiled as she knew her own destination, her own personal journey she was undertaking this very day.
Mia had always wanted to be an astronaut, from her earliest memory of lying back in the damp grass in her front yard, the nighttime air cool over her face as she looked up at all the stars. How many, she wondered. Or did it even matter? The possibilities were endless, as vast and unexplored as the night sky... and right then and there she knew in her heart she was destined for great things.
A low rumbling sound interrupted her thoughts, and she looked over to see an arriving bus. But not the Greyhound bus she had been expecting, but a brightly-colored, almost gaudy, old model GM that came lumbering up and wheezed to a stop, the air in its tanks hissing. As the dust settled she was able to see the side of the bus and the faded images painted there; "Circus".
I didn't know the circus was in town, she mused.
She had always wanted to run away and join the circus, even before she had wanted to be an astronaut. She recalled images of activity and excitement as the carnival workers would scramble to set up all the tents and how they worked so seamlessly to raise the center pole, the longest, heaviest one and what seemed the most difficult to her, the foreman yelling and cursing all the while as they worked. The smell of engine grease mixed with the unmistakable scent of baled hay having been battered around and transported from one site to the next.
And the clowns.
What had he said? She struggled to remember, it had been so long ago. He was tall, handsome, even through the heavy powder on his face. She had smiled as he came near and noticed the tiny earpiece in his ear. How odd, she thought, and looked closer. He caught her stare, smiling through his makeup and then, with only a hint of acknowledgement, leaned in close and whispered in her ear, "It's okay, I'm with the FBI."
It had been her lifelong dream to become an agent with the FBI, as long as she could remember. She had applied immediately after high school and been accepted. She had always suspected she had a good word put in for her by the man she had met so long ago, the handsome clown. She had worked hard to be where she was now, a secret agent, she was working on yet another undercover mission; infiltrate, evaluate and gather information. It was one of her favorite things to do and she was good at it.
Her earpiece buzzed in her ear. "All good, Agent? Intel reports the space camp bus will be on site in less than a minute. Get ready."
She smiled and brought her hand down, whispering into the tiny microphone at her wrist. "All good. Looks like we're on our way."