The Circus Comes to Town

By H. Maker


Our little town of Pakville was buzzing with excitement. After years of quiet boredom, the streets of Pakville had come alive and there was excitement in the air - The 3 Ring Circus was coming back to town. Like all children I always enjoyed going to the circus. I loved to listen the big bands with the band leader, twirling and twisting his glittering baton through the air, majestically and proudly walking through the streets of our town. I watched the hilarious performances of the clowns and the jesters as they stumbled and fell performing their crazy antics, the noble and wild animals dancing and jumping to the crackling whip of the ringmaster in his splendid uniform.

Private DoitAll, Ringmaster of the Circus, promised us a blockbuster show, with breath-taking performances from his best 3 artists, Skimmer, The High Flying Trapeze, the rising star, Alfy, The Human Canon Ball, who streaked across the skies in a blaze of light and landed in far away places and then there was the Brady Bunch, the Dare Devil Riders.

There was a mad rush for tickets and excited citizens converged from nearby towns to watch the show. The parks and streets, which are normally in a mess, were immediately cleaned up and tastefully decorated with buntings and posters of the three-star performers and the air was full of expectancy.

The promoters had planned well and the entire town council had been given free front row seats for all the performances, as such they bent backward to provide them with electricity connections and traffic police to control the mass surge of spectators. There were conflicting reports as to which act drew the maximum crowd, but it seemed that all three were very popular. Surprisingly, there were no outward incidents and the entire program went off in a disciplined and festive atmosphere.

The star artist of the High Flying Trapeze had been out of circulation for almost eight years due to an injury from his dare devil performances. But after eight years of treatment by specialists, he had emerged hail and hearty, no worse for his isolation from his family, admires and fans. Circus Regulators had banned him from performing in the circus and had accused him of tampering with the trapeze and had cancelled his license. But, much to the annoyance and embarrassment of the Regulators, the Supreme Authority of Circuses, after eight years of deliberations, had lifted the ban and had allowed him to be back in circulation. As such, he felt vindicated and was ready for action.

His statements were magnanimous and he announced that he held no grudges against the Regulators and was willing to forget the past. He requested all performers to work together to ensure that the 3 Ring Circus was a big success. He was in full command and took to the road, full of vigor and confidence and plunged into his performance like a professional. His fans loved it and followed him around the towns in a long trail of donkey carts, motorbikes, cars, buses, trucks and anything else with wheels. Every town he visited, he was treated like a hero returning from battle. They showered him with rose petals, distributed sweets and sang and danced in the streets, chanting his name.

Alfy, the Human Canon Ball, was another performance that was incredible and failed any logical explanation. Its star performer, like the Flying Trapeze Celebrity, had been out of circulation for personal reasons. But his magnetic personality and oratory could mesmerize and thrill his fans and supporters, just by talking to them, describing his flight through the air via a telephone. They would throng into the streets, sit patiently and listen to him in awe and wonder for hours.

As for the Brady Bunch of the cloth, well they have been around for a long time, going round and round in circles, but getting nowhere and have had some good and bad years, depending on the competition. But with the arrival of the evergreen Trapeze Master and the popular Human Canon, the popularity of the Dare Devils was waning, but still had a following that could not be ignored.

And so, on a bright sunny day, the Circus came to town and the citizens of Pakville waited with excitement and abated breath for the celebrations and performances to begin. The last time the Circus had come to town, all hell had broken loose, and our little town had been turned upside down.

There were week-long wild parties, with frantic fans, running amok in the streets, disrupting traffic, closing down schools and businesses, forcing everybody to join the celebrations. There were daily firework displays and the usual aerial firing, which is normally associated with such celebrations, shattering the quite silence of the night, keeping the fire department and the LEA on their toes.

Unfortunately, all the noise kept the old and the women and children shaking in fear. Even some senior citizens were heard mumbling and crumbling about the disruption of city life, but then, what are a few sleepless nights, compared to the thrill of having the Circus in town.

However, the increasing popularity of the three main performers was worrying the Circus organizers, including DoitAll and there was talk that the performers were considering that if they were so popular and such crowd pullers, why have the Ringmaster and not go into business on their own?

But then, the one advantage that DoitAll had over the best of them was his Ringmaster’s uniform, without which, Uncle Sam and the other financiers would not back the circus. It would also be very difficult to control all the clowns and jesters and the performing tigers and monkeys of the circus. No matter how popular the star performers were, without this symbol of authority, the Ringmaster’s Uniform, they would not get anywhere.

So the big question on everybody’s lips was: would this tussle between the Ringmaster and the star performers get out of hand and disrupt their daily lives? Would it lead to the compulsory holidays of the past and closing of schools and businesses, create chaotic traffic jams and put a strain on the already overworked law enforcing agencies and become a thorn in the side of the Town Council and the citizens?

And if so, who cares? How often do we get a chance to see such talent and excitement? And as to who will win the coveted Pride of Performance Award? Well, just keep watching and listening to the clowns and the court jesters and you will get an idea


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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