When Fiction and Real Life Collide

The Smile Ambassadors

Many of the characters in The Smile Ambassadors are based on real people.  Some the names are thinly veiled to protect the guilty…In the case of The Professor, (the owner and operator of Big Time Sideshow), the real life counter-part is The Curator, (aka Jim Zajicek, owner of Big Circus Sideshow).

Jim and I met several years back in Tucson at the Pima County Fair.  Jim’s show had a 100 foot banner line.  I had a ten foot front single-o known as America’s Smallest Travelling Museum.  We would share coffee and mini donuts, framing out ultimate shows and basically cut up the jack-pots.

Jim didn’t show up last year in Tucson.  He fell very ill and fought off colon cancer.  We all thought he had it beat.  He even booked a shortened summer run.  Earlier this year he played Tallahassee.  Things were looking up.

The cancer came back.  Jim spent…

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