Circus Dwarf

You wake up in a darkened circus tent, wearing a bright blue and yellow clown costume and a fluffy red wig. There is a dwarf standing over you with bucket of water. “You okay?” he asks. Write this scene.

Post your response (500 words or less) in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “Circus Dwarf

  1. kathleenmagner

    Jarret sputtered and spat out lukewarm water. “Quit it, I’m fine.”

    Stepping back, Maggy set the bucket beside her, the rim dampening her stout hip. “You’re going to kill yourself if you keep trying this.”

    Jarret sat up and ripped off his feathered wig. Draping an arm over his knee, he nursed the bump at the back of his head while his baggy sleeves of blue and yellow fluttered and his ruby pants billowed from the nighttime breeze sneaking through the big top’s flaps. The colors and sequins dulled in the lone lantern’s faint light, but the meaning behind the bright hues irked him all the same.

    “What else am I supposed to do?” He pitched the wig at Maggy’s tiny feet. “I don’t want to end up wearing this all my life.”

    “We are who we are.” Maggy shrugged and chucked bucket at him. “Your folks will be worried.”

    “They’re always worried.”

    “If you’d stop trying to break your neck they might not have a reason.”

    Standing, Jarret collected the wig and bucket, and walked with Maggy whose thick blonde plaits bounced at his waist. Once they cleared the tanbark ring, he held open the back exit, the one the audience never saw coming. The fairground’s oil lanterns poured inside, their topaz glow dancing along the steel and wire. Gleams scampered up the narrow ladder and onto the spit of board as easily as any of the Nazzarenos. The fly bar from which he’d fallen hung among it all, empty and impotent without momentum or a proper acrobat at the reins.


    Sighing, Jarret turned his back on the array and let the tent flap fall closed behind him.

    With a wave, Maggy shuffled toward the stoutest wagon in the back lot. “I’ll see you in the morning?”

    His arms burned at the reminder. “The juggling routine?”

    She nodded, waved again, and then sped her trundle when her husband called in his high-pitched welcome. For a moment, Jarret envied her stature, one fitting her into a circus slot with ease. She wasn’t going to be a master of ceremony, or the beautiful Adrena riding Trent’s white stallions in silken sashes held on by will alone. Maggy would do her bit with the rest of her kin, tumbling, generating laughs, being the butt of jokes or, if he could manage it, being juggled like one of Barrington’s clubs.

    The idea made him laugh, a sharper less amused sound than they’d want from the crowd.

    Shaking his head and massaging already strained biceps, Jarret ambled to the sapphire and emerald striped wagon tucked near the perimeter, stopping to fill the bucket along the way.

    “There you are!” Harriet rounded the campfire, a spitted chicken with skin browned and glistening in her hands. “Been making a nuisance of yourself?”

    … Click here to read the rest and feel free to leave a comment.

  2. catbr

    For the life of me I couldn’t remember much of what had happened the night before. I had went out partying with a bunch of friends to our favourite hang out. And now, what in the world? Why am I dressed in a clown suit wearing a red wild looking clown wig? And why am I laying here in…a circus tent? Oh my God, what have I done!
    “Hey, are you alright?”
    “Jesus. Don’t do that. You scared the shit out of me.” I couldn’t believe I was laying there in some, what I assumed to be, God forsaken circus tent that smelled like horse shit, talking to a midget.
    “No need to bite my head off. You performed pretty good last night. The audience really loved it. They were clapping and laughing their heads off at your antics.”
    “My antics?” This midget must have been on acid last night.
    “Yeah. It was great. You and a bunch of other people showed up at the late 3 ring performance. You kept yelling out that what the place needed was a good clown act and that you used to be a clown. So the owner took you up on it. And voila, a star was born.” He just stood there pointing his gnarly little midget finger at me and laughed. While it was true I did do a little bit of clowning at birthday parties a few years back I couldn’t believe what this weird little midget was telling me. I was embarassed and couldn’t imagine what I had done. I had absolutely no memory of it.
    “Didn’t the owner realize that I had a couple of drinks?”
    “Oh yeah, he was drinking himself. He didn’t care. He thought what the hell and decided to let you show the audience if you had any talent. Turns out you did. He thought you were great. Oh by the way he told me to tell you that you can have a permanent job with us if you’d like.” He looked at me hopefully. There’s no way I could leave everything behind and join the circus. But then again I didn’t really have much of a life anymore since the company I worked at had just laid everybody off and was packing up to move to China or wherever the hell they were going. I actually liked the clowning I did at those kid’s birthday party. This might be something fun to do for a while anyway. Maybe there’s something to that old saying “I’m going to run off and join the circus.”
    “Tell the owner I’d like to speak with him. Maybe we can make some kind of a deal.”