Mind of the Manic

mind of the manic, sideshow square busch gardens howl o scream

Once upon a time, circa the days in which I had free time, I’d write about any given reality that was not this one. Consequently, there are a great deal of rogue concepts and tall tales scattered between Word documents and old spiral notebooks. But the linear story told here is that of a manic marionette living in a soul stealing sideshow.

During the summer of 2017, I was in-between seasons of Howl O Scream, mentally burnt out with my then job, and finding my creative trigger itching for an outlet of entertainment.

Channeling my HOS withdrawal and anticipation of impending rehearsals, I figured it would be good character development and that much needed entertainment to write from the perspective of the character I played, Madeline. What would be going on in the world of a living marionette doll whose home is an otherworldly circus?

And thus, the diary-esque journal entries you’ll find below from the Mind of the Manic.


The Ringmasters were right. They’re always right. The Evil Encore was a success! Our debut in the hamlet Festa Italia went perfectly. To quote, “The dolls performed, the crowds they cheered until all those people… disappeared.” Of all the attractions throughout Europe, the Sinistro Brothers’ productions proved to be the crowd’s favorite. We always are. Everyone loves us. The crazies, they love us. But are we meant to be loved?

Should they love us?

I think so. Maybe? It depends on a person’s tastes. Our show is a bit unconventional. A little crazy. A tad bit insane. But normal doesn’t entertain. It’s excitement… and we bring our own sense of that. You wouldn’t find any other spectacle like ours. We are the greatest. Entirely flawless. Wonderfully enigmatic. We are the wonder. We are the mysterious. We are the phantom. We are the deranged. Morbidly psychotic. Freakishly eccentric.

We are Circo Sinistro.

We are Sideshow Square.

And I think you should love us… all the while of being afraid.

There is so much to do to prepare for the show. We don’t have much longer. There isn’t the time for games.

Tell that to the clowns.

Although, I do believe that they have the capacity to understand that they must take this seriously. If they fool around now, they won’t be ready for the Square. And they must be. They’re our… aggressive force… of “recruiting” people. And do we love “recruiting.” It’s what we do. Recruit… play games… Only then can we play. Not when there’s so much to be done.

This year’s lineup in the show is still being determined. I know I have been privileged with that honor again. It must be a reward for always being the perfect and proper one. Several of my troupe mates have told me so. Including the Ringmasters. I’m the perfect marionette. I always will be. Nothing could change that.

I miss my strings though. They’re being worked on to be fixed so they’ll be just right. Just perfect.


Perfect is the standard. Fall short and you die. At least, I think you should. Why continue or be if you don’t succeed. Anything less is a failure and failure is a threat to success. So, if you fail, you must be disposed of. We couldn’t have one ruin everything for the many. You must hit your mark.

It’s just like throwing knives. You don’t want to miss your mark; it could cost someone their life.. or maybe you should. Oops.

But then maybe that’s the point of that act. In our show, it may very well be. Because no one fails in our show. Ever.

But I think everything’s quite nice. We have beautiful costumes… ribbons and laces.. only the finest of things.


Always perfection.

Only perfection.




It’s not too much to ask for.


Perfect… everything.

You know, living in a sideshow is actually the greatest home anyone could have. To live somewhere enshrouded in such wonder and awe and fear. Where magic is alive and you’re in another realm. I pity anyone who couldn’t live in such a place.

Where else could you find such a versatile skill set in each and every performer? Dolls built with a machine gun feature and can dance. Dolls who can throw knives and perform aerial though they’re tied to strings. Even trapeze artists who perform without hands. Everyone has a skill, a talent to perform beyond what’s expected. What anyone would ever believe.

Talent and perfection is expected in the Sinistro Brothers’ productions. Like one would expect a fish to swim. It’s seared into the soul of every performer. You must always hit your mark.


Or the Ringmasters won’t be happy. And no one would want to face that. Trust me… I would know. I, the perfect marionette?

Now, some of you may cry. But that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to enjoy. With that said, let the good times roll!”

What is it like to be lonely? Isolated. Trapped inside yourself.

Everyone thinks you’re fine or you’re perfect. That there’s nothing wrong. And yet, when they’re presented the problems, they dismiss it. Because they don’t understand. They don’t understand it. What it feels like.

They don’t understand you.

And so people say and think you’re not alone, it isn’t true. Because no one else is you. Explanations and rationalizing does nothing. They don’t understand it. Not even the ones who say they’re here for you. Because suddenly you went from being perfect to being imperfect. Like you needed a reminder of what you see every day. They only see it when it suits them. Because you’re always wrong. Your problems aren’t real. You deserve them.

And at the end of the day, you’re always still alone. Only you understand you and nobody else will ever understand you because you’re irrational. Get over yourself.

It’s almost time. I’m excited to see all of my friends and who won’t be… returning…

What was that Trickster? Play the calliope? But that’s only for- ooh, I know what you mean.

Today has been a dreary day outside. It doesn’t fit the mood, the excitement. There are ten days until the Black Out period begin. When it’s crunch time.

Well, unofficially there’s ten days. No one has said a word to us yet. It’s presumably ten days. It needs to be ten days. Otherwise we’ll have less than two weeks to prepare ourselves. Like that would go well.

I do not have patience. Especially when my expectations aren’t being met. It makes me feel a bit bothered. Empty. I don’t like empty. It makes me mad. In both senses it makes me mad. In both senses it makes me mad.

And now, I feel like throwing again. It’s a distraction. A good distraction. I need one, otherwise I’ll go insane.

Tick tock tick tock sigh.

Guess where I am?

Sideshow Square.

We aren’t open. We meet next Friday.

But little do people know…

Little does anyone know…

We’re ready, are you?

… we’re not happy…


I don’t know what we’re going to do. No one has told us anything.

They say we’re no longer going to have our strings.

But we loved our strings!

The crowds loved our strings!

How can we be marionettes without our strings? That isn’t possible.

Ringmasters Dolls? But aren’t we already?

We have begun.

Many are being granted the privilege of returning but we do have some first time ‘recruiters.’

Margot and I are still not pleased. It seems more clear that we will not be getting our strings this year, but yet they still call us marionettes. How? I’m uncertain.

There is a contingency plan- so they say. Margot and I will not do without.

The Ringmasters seem to be okay with this… maybe it’ll be alright…

Tonight is the night. The next night. Night. Tonight.


Tonight is when we find out what’s supposed to be of the marionettes.

The Manic Marionettes.

Manic Marionettes.

We’re marionettes. Not human beings.

We’re not humans. We’re dolls.


What are we?

What are we?

What am I?

I don’t understand.

Even the Ringmasters don’t approve.

The puppeteer took our strings.

But I don’t understand.

Then what do we become?

We’re living dolls. But they’re giving us clown faces. Clown like faces. With our same doll costume.

They’re changing things. And I don’t understand.

I, the perfect, the proper, the creepy marionette.

They said we’re not marionettes. That we’re not Manic Marionettes. And that’s not true.

That’s impossible.

It isn’t real.

It’s not.

That’s a lie.

I’m a marionette.

I have always been.

I don’t understand.

I don’t get it.

Give me back my strings.

Why are they doing this?

It’s impossible.

I’m a marionette. A manic marionette.

I don’t understand.

I really don’t understand.

I’m a marionette.

I’m a marionette.

I don’t get it.


Present Update

Back from the Sinistro circus, I am still working on transcribing the journal entries here. They continue through to the end of the 2017 season and jump to the 2019 season (resuming after my stint as an English harlot in 2018). So, keep an eye out for future entries! This notice will be replaced once all of them have been posted.

xo Madeline

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