Monday May 30th, 2011

The exercise:

Write something which takes place at: the circus.

Kat and I had lunch at the beach today, which we managed to squeeze between resting around the house. We were considering going out to watch a movie this evening, but Netflix won out.

We watched Dirt! The Movie. I think our farmer is showing.

Mine:

"I haven't been to the circus since I was a little girl!" She leaned against his arm as they entered the massive tent, smiling dreamily up at him. "Thanks for taking me - this is such a surprise!"

He grunted in response as he checked the seat numbers on their tickets. Looking up, he spotted their section and led her towards it. She was too excited to notice his sullen silence.

"Do you know if they have trick riding?" she asked, her head constantly moving as she tried to take it all in. "That was my absolute favorite when my dad brought me. I used to pester him all the way home, pleading for him to let me learn how to do it."

The man looked at her out of the corner of his eye but continued to say nothing. It would all be over soon, he reminded himself. Just hold on a little longer.

A few minutes later the lights went out and the crowd was filled with excited whispers. Then the plump ringmaster was illuminated by a massive spotlight and they were properly welcomed to the show. Under the cover of darkness, the man finally allowed a smile to appear on his lips.

"For our first act of the evening," the ringmaster bellowed, "please welcome Kole the knife thrower! Now, I understand that someone in the audience has volunteered to help Kole with his act... would this lovely young lady please step forward?"

"You're up," the man said with a sincere smile as his wife was caught in a second spotlight. "Have fun, sweetie."

5 Comments:

Greg said...

I love those days where even a trip to the beach for lunch seems like too much effort from getting up and not resting around the house. I just have trouble being in the right frame of mind to have them very often!
After I read your story today I thought that the man had prepared the whole thing as a nice surprise. Then I re-read it, and now I wonder just how much fun his wife is going to have....

The circus
"...and then the elephant mounted the bearded lady!..."
"...we saw the lion chasing this one clown, and, and, and I think the lion was hungry and he thought the clown would make a funny dinner..."
"...never seen a penguin put in there before..."
"...the clown car fell apart because the elephant sat on it..."
Miss Snippet sat with her head in her hands, trying to ignore the commotion of children on the coach around her. A class trip to the circus had been a far worse idea than she'd anticipated.

morganna said...

Suzie shifted restlessly, listening to the noise from the big top. She longed for the quiet of her own home. But it was showtime, and the show must go on.

'Yo, Suzie, you're on!' came the call and she pranced out under the bright lights.

'Suzie! Suzie! Suzie!' She heard the chant and twirled and pirouetted before joining the girls in line for their act. After many years in the circus, she was known and loved at every stop.

She and the other girls pranced along in their act, high-kicking like always. This was Suzie's favorite part of being in the circus. She smiled as she high-kicked.

Tonight, something was wrong, though, and she wobbled as she came down hard on her ankle. Something snapped, and she went down with a crash, moaning.

The ringmaster came running out, followed by the circus doctor. He murmured to the ringmaster, 'Something's wrong, Bill. You better stop the show.'

The ringmaster hesitated, then saw the truth in the doctor's eyes. He raised his voice and his arms. 'I'm sorry, folks, but Suzie won't be getting back up tonight. I'm afraid that's the end of the show for tonight. Save your tickets, they'll be good again tomorrow. Just show them at the ticket office and you'll get in free.' He lowered his arms and the main lights went down as the seat lights came up.

The crowd left, reluctantly and grumbling. When they were all gone, the ringmaster returned to Suzie's side, with the doctor. The ringmaster turned to the doctor. 'Is there really no hope, Doc?'

'I'm afraid not, Bill. When an old elephant goes down like this, there's nothing we can do.' They looked down at Suzie's eyes, pleading for them to make the pain go away. A shot rang out, and her eyes closed for the last time.

The vet turned away at the look in Bill's eyes. Bill sank down by Suzie's head, leaning his head against it. 'I'm sorry, old girl. There was nothing we could do. I'm gonna miss you.'

Marc said...

Greg - I suspect your second reading was more accurate than the first :)

That penguin line cracked me up. As did the 'funny dinner' bit.

By the way, Gabe stuck up a new How the Best chapter, in case you hadn't noticed.

Morganna - aw, that was a very sad story. Very well written though - full of great little details.

Heather said...

I counted three red blips on the little black box as I hung my keys up. Four messages. The air rushed out of my lungs leaving me feeling deflated as I contemplated the likely messages. One from JoJo. Surely she had received the message I left her yesterday explaining that I needed a doctor's authorization if she planned on returning to work earlier than the first note indicated. I could imagine her tirade about how Patricia the Pachyderm should not have to suffer her absence. That would have been tolerable if Patricia hadn't been so antsy lately, proving JoJo correct.

There would probably be a message from Eric as well. He'd want a full explanation of why I was adding an additional 100lbs of food for the goats. "Was it a typo? No! Well, how much food does one goat need!?" he'd ask rhetorically. The problem wasn't with the goats. It was with the children dropping more on the ground than into the mouths of the goats. Happy customers brought in business. Goat food equated to happiness and that was not something Eric had ever understood about this business. I wondered if his parents had ever let him feed the goats.

Who else? Oh Cyndi "with a y and then an i". The Diva of Darlington, I'd taken to calling her behind closed doors. I couldn't imagine what would be wrong with her working conditions, but something always was. Past requests flashed through my mind: making the pachyderm dung smell better; ordering less vivid balloons to help with her hangovers; requesting reimbursement if her manicure or pedicure chipped due to the nature of her work; and my all time favorite of imposing fines on animals that were too loud and startled her. At least, after the initial headache, her requests presented some humor.

These three were a three ring circus onto themselves. Sometimes I forgot that I worked for the zoo.

Marc said...

Heather - what a great collection of characters! I'd love to hear more from them :D