Sunday May 1st, 2011

The exercise:

Welcome to May! Let us write about: the lion tamer.

This morning I picked up the rest of the soil we needed, and then after lunch I finished filling up our backyard boxes. Kat's already got a herb plant in there (Italian parsley, I think), and I'm sure we'll have them packed full of goodness real soon.

It was a beautiful, sunny day, but tomorrow is expected to be rather crappy. I think I shall take it off and rest up.


"They'll never eat it."

"It's worth a shot," Tom said with a shrug. "I have to try. I can't take it anymore."

"It's your funeral."

"Thanks for the encouragement." Tom pulled two boxes out of his plastic grocery bag and took a deep breath. "All right, here goes nothing."

"And here I am, without any popcorn to enjoy the show."

"I can see now why the poor clowns are so terrified that you'll steal their jobs," Tom said before stepping into the lion enclosure and closing the gate behind him. Shaking both boxes so that their contents rattled loudly, he called out, "Okay, you smelly-breathed bastards! Who wants a Tic Tac?"


Greg said...

A day off after manhandling all that soil around sounds deserved :) We're just coming off the end of our second four-day weekend in a row (blame Royal Weddings and a late Easter), so we've had lots of time off lately in the UK.
Is this the first time you've a dialogue this long on this blog? I think it works well, though I have no idea what the narrator's respondent is like from her (his?) three lines. A name, perhaps, would give me something to peg them with.

Technically, this story-section comes between your last view of Dr. Septopus and this one, but I wouldn't worry about reading it.

The lion tamer
Dr. Septopus stared at the bright, silvery expanse ahead of him. What kind of person put a lake of quicksilver in the middle of a cat sanctuary? Cats didn't drink it, and it was liable to poison people -- or cats -- that got too close. And he was thirsty.
Behind him, the Jinx sat back on its haunches, confident that its prey couldn't escape, and watched with interest. Somewhere high above, a parrot wheeled in the air, scenting for flies and decaying, fishy corpses.
A sudden movement to Dr. Septopus's left made him spin that way, and because he had slightly fewer tentacles on that side, he wobbled and then fell over. The lion that was approaching, its mane bushy and huge, its face scarred, and one eye blinded by cataracts, sped up.
The parrot wheeled once more, then plunged, arrowing down from the cloudless blue sky like a bird of prey, feathers ripping away from its body as it tucked its wings in, like ice ablating from a meteor.
Dr. Septopus screamed. The Jinx stood up, readying to spring and defend its lunch, and the parrot pulled up, howling in like a banshee as it air braked and sank its claw into the lion's scalp.
"Who's a pretty lion tamer?" squawked the parrot, preening its now ragged feathers. The Jinx sat down again, a smile playing around its muzzle, and Dr. Septopus went rigid with shock.

Watermark said...

The Lion Tamer

He was momentarily interrupted by the sound of a random car horn outside and his eyes flung open. It took him a few seconds to remember where he was, his heart racing in a panic and his mind rushing with thoughts as he eyed his unfamiliar surroundings.

“Go on, you were saying. About the lions.”

He turned to the direction of the voice and realised that he had been in the therapist’s office this whole time. A deep breath managed to gush its way out of his nostrils and he closed his eyes once again, slowly bringing himself to sink deeper into the dark crevices of his mind.

“It was one of those sunny spring days and we had just arrived at a town in France. Language, you see, became another one of my talents. I learnt to pick up words and phrases wherever we went. Anyway, I knew that we were in France when I heard the lion tamer speaking to this little girl in French. I couldn’t make out what the whole conversation was about but I remember feeling frightened. The little girl must’ve been around my age at the time and, her face, she looked like she was about to cry.”

His breathing was short and fast. He had to pause as he felt an agitation rise within him.

“Would you like a sip of water?”

“I’m fine. No. I’m fine.”

“Why did you feel frightened?”

He felt his mouth dry up.

“His mannerisms,” was all he could manage as he recalled the times the lion tamer had threatened to feed him to the lions. It was a joke of course. No one had ever dreamed of harming the ringmaster’s son. But for some reason, the lion tamer had always gotten a kick out of it. He could still remember the lion tamer’s face. His cheeks, glowing like two shiny pomegranates and extenuated by a massively unkind smile while his piercing eyes glared at him beneath a messy set of eyebrows. The lion tamer would shake his fat, grubby pointer finger at him and utter the words that had always made him shudder. If I see you talking to that clown again, you’re getting fed to the lions. And as a cold fear climbed up his spine, the lion tamer would throw his head back and laugh out from the depths of his belly, holding firmly on to his whip as he turned towards his pet lions.

He let out another long breath through his nostrils as he thought about it all. Growing up in the circus had definitely left its mark on him.

morganna said...

Off yours, Marc (sorry, a little short of inspiration & time this morning):
Into the cage he goes,
Bravely carrying his Tic Tacs.
Will he come out alive?

Heather said...

Marc- I love Tic-Tacs (a guilt pleasure of sorts) so if you lions don' want them, I would be happy to take them off your hands. Fun story! Elections not go as you would have wished or did Palin get through again?

Greg- Loved, loved, loved, the parrot! Excellent work. I only watched a clip of the Royal Wedding (just so I could see the dress), but I would have happily accepted an entire day off for such an occasion.

Morganna- So direct in this one! I can tell you were short on time and inspiration. I look forward to your next one.

Mine is shameless, I know. But why not?
Tears flowed down his face, the deep canyons of age acting as river beds. Fatigue drooped his red clad shoulders low. Behind his closed eyes, the dreaded scene played out again and again. The surprise and shock made him shudder. He felt the pressure, the ripping and tearing of his flesh as his right hand was pulled away from him. He remembered the red splashes, the absolute terror, the long fall. An immense sadness filled him at the loss, the constant reminder being it's absence. Those short moments of his life burned so vividly that they became his life. The definition of it. The flame that set his afire.

Now the beast was dead. The errant fool with astonishing intelligence and the certainty of it's species. The animal that was feared and loathed by too many and admired by too many more. He was dead. "Justice!" his fellow performer's had called it. "Justice!" they sang from the center ring.

Still, he felt no real joy. He didn't know the jubilation that others were experiencing. He understood loss more deeply than the others. He had an insight they could never have. Yes, the beast had taken something precious away from him, but no matter how vicious he had been. No matter what mercy he lacked, what lies he fed upon, what scenes played through his mind, his absence was sure to be noticed. His death only added to the pool of violence and sadness.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, I think a name would have helped. I just couldn't be bothered to come up with one :P

Loved the image of the parrot diving through the air.

Watermark - ha, I wasn't even thinking that prompt would lead to more of that story - but I'm glad it did! Fantastic description of the lion tamer :)

Morganna - no apology required :)

I'm always happy when my take inspires others to write something related to it.

Heather - I used to eat whole containers in... a very short period of time. The cinnamon ones were a particular favorite.

And as you can tell from today's post, no, the election did not go as hoped. I think it was even worse because there was hope CanadaBush was going to lose power...

A friend of my wife's posted something on Facebook that we both liked a lot. It was a quote from Martin Luther King, about not being able to banish darkness with dark - only light can banish the dark.

That pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter, but I like how you portrayed it as well.

Heather said...

The quote is falsely attributed to martin Luther King Jr. It was actually his father. But yes. The statement is accurate and appropriate. Had you put MLK as the prompt, well, my take may have been different.