Given how objectionable Nineveh found Kaiju when he first arrived in my apartment, I was surprised by how blasé she was about the advent of three kittens in the bedroom. Her response to orange tabby Huckleberry, floofy Kiwi, and impossibly tiny classic gray tabby Fig was remarkably like my nephew's initial response to my niece: she simply behaved as if they weren't there. I have seen her sniff them cautiously a few times, and there has been one hiss and one growl, but other than that it's business as usual. It's possible she doesn't consider them cats and they're therefore not her problem.
Kaiju, on the other hand, has been fascinated by the kittens from day one, when he vaulted the thirty-two-inch baby gate confining them to the bedroom and began looming over them with heavy tread, like one of the Japanese movie monsters from whom I took his name. Unlike Godzilla or Mothra, however, he seemed mostly interested in observing the tiny creatures. They in turn were wholly unconcerned by this Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon version of themselves. Huckleberry doesn't trust me any further than he could throw me, and tends to run for cover as soon as I get up from my chair, but he was happy to attack Kaiju's switching tail, which caused further switching, which caused further attacks. They both looked confused while this was going on, but neither of them seemed fearful. So if Nineveh is like Aglet responding to his new sister Luna, Kaiju is like me reacting to children in general. Which inspired this colorful comic, which was super fun to assemble and color to get just the sideshow-banner look I wanted.
About that: it's helpful for my purposes that authentic sideshow banners, the kinds actually used back in the day for sideshows, have an oddly samey style. Do a Google Images search for "sideshow banners" and you'll see what I mean. The cartoonish figures, the scrolls, the lettering, the circular "violators" or "snipes" (as I understand designers call that kind of element) reading WHY? and ALIVE, even the color palette (tending toward reds and yellows) -- you see them all over and over. I'm sure many people have researched sideshow art and could tell you why this is; all I know is that it's very useful for those of us who wish to evoke the notion of the sideshow. Probably this notion is more interesting than your average sideshow itself, the idea of people so inherently interesting they're worth paying just to look at -- and under that, the idea of people who maybe aren't that inherently interesting making themselves seem so by how their appearance is presented. Maybe you know the story of how P. T. Barnum approached seven-foot-seven Jack Earle and asked, "How would you like to be a giant?" The sideshow evokes this odd idea of inventing the truth that is perhaps relevant to every human life, just condensed and unavoidable for those of us with, say, horns or extra limbs. What could cut more quickly to the heart of human experience than those two circles reading ALIVE and WHY?
BONUS AUTHOR PHOTO:
Jack Earle, incidentally, was actually Jacob Erlich, a Texan Jew. I wonder if anyone has ever determined who was the tallest Jew ever recorded. I can say with confidence that it was not anyone related to me.