The acrobats and the trapeze people eye each other up.
It never abates, their competitiveness.
The acrobats wonder how complex it is to do gymastics on a swing.
The trapeze people wonder why there’s a fuss over some jumping around on the ground.
With training they could do each other’s jobs. Neither are inclined.
The acrobats build pyramids, temples with their bodies.
They fly around the big ring, battling gravity.
They do a graceful job of it.
Acrobats are supple, lithe. They can fold themselves in half.
They don’t have margin for error. Too much rides on each grip.
They don’t suffer from pressure for a perfect performance.
Usually, theirs’ is.
If there is a miscalculation, a moment of uncertainty, it shows.
That showing does not earn the acrobats a wage-cut.
Why does it earn the wild animals a slap?
It is time the ringmaster laid down his whip, think the tigers.
Their great minds think alike.
Why he holds so desperately to his voice of reason is not hard to see.
He is not in charge of anything without it.
The big cats are tired of it all. The cages, the show, the people.
They hold a referendum. Kill the ringmaster.
Their views are extremist, built up of fresh resentment.
The tigers have every right to be resentful.
They haven’t bred in centuries.
Something about circus policy.
Not that a tiger would want a cub under circus conditions.
The tiger does not want a circus under circus conditions.
The elephants voted last time to kill a person from the audience.
They were certain that method of communication would work.
They heard of their cousins trying that in India. It worked.
They got the bullet.
The acrobats believe there is a way to teach a flying clown to land
– something about a somersault, a roll –
for when the net set to catch his fall is removed.
There is talk about an acrobat doing the act dressed as a clown.
The talk is ignored.
What about the Two-Headed Polio Twins, the hairy Ape Lady?
The fun really begins when the Dwarves come out, all cartwheels.
Their dimensions are an optical illusion for normal eyes.
I suppose some might say that the likes of Dwarves and Ape Ladies
are not fair game for a show-and-tell?
That the Two-Headed Polio Twins have feelings, too?
The Twins can articulate their feelings.
That is the only difference between them and the tigers.
I suspect there are many sane freaks on this planet
who would gladly take money to be stared at by curious people.
Just pay them well.
Capitalism is an industry, after all.
And that trap, celebrity, appears to be everything.
But the capitalists these days do not quibble.
They want what they want.
Money is no object.