Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Fire Breather

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This week (commencing Monday 4th March 2013) has been a very interesting week for me. I have been very fortunate, to be selected as winning writer in two group competitions, for short story entries.

The biggest pleasure has been in the Writers Discussion Group, where I posted this little dark number. The prompt was a picture of a Circus, and the rule was 600 words or less, starting with the line...

'I never told anyone...'

Here it is.

'The Fire Breather'

I never told anyone. It was safer, hindsight being such a wonderful thing, to say nothing and just hope that it never occurred again.

I was running out of choices though. How many circuses were still out there?

I had left the last one rather hurriedly, and was so, so close to coming unstuck.

The one thing I had gained from all those years working under the ‘Big Top’ was the way a person could be so easily lost in all the grease-paint and costume.

Lost? I mean disappear if you really want to the truest sense of the word.

When Mr C. suggested I was what he was looking for, I was like a dog with two tails.

I must have freaked him out with my spontaneous fit of laughter, tears rolling down my whitened cheeks and staining the jaded, smudged, ruff around my scaley neck.

‘What’s so funny?’ he said.

I declined to respond.

I knew how my mind worked and desperately wanted to confess, there and then.

I knew I had limited opportunity, so apologised, and gave that pathetic sad shrug that clowns in grease-paint seem able to get away with.

‘When can you start?’ he asked optimistically.

‘How about the six tonight?’ I replied.

‘No, I want to check you out before I let you start for sure. Tomorrow will be fine’ he insisted.

‘Got a roof for tonight?’ he enquired

‘No, it’s just me and my bag. I can sleep under the stars, tonight. Actually suits me better. I’m not one for sharing - not very good getting close to people really’ I replied.

A little too honest, perhaps, with hindsight?

‘We got a spare tent at the back of the top. Last guy left it when he blew out rather fast on us. Still got a bed and a sleeping bag in it, if you want it?’

‘Outside will be fine’ I replied ‘at one with Mother Nature’.

‘Funny, a clown who doesn’t like to get close to other people?’ he asked, his eyes rolling and avoiding my own, delving a little too deeply, perhaps.

‘Not everything you see on the outside, matches what lies buried beneath’ I replied brusquely, not needing a grand inquisition before I’d even got my first show in.

‘Sounds a bit deep to me?’ he said

‘Look, either you want me or you don’t. I haven’t got time to be liked, and so I don’t like liking back. Is that such a crime?’ starting to get a bit pissed off, and sensing this was not going to end happily.

‘Don’t know if that’s so good for the rest of my team?’ he sneered.

‘Then perhaps I’d better be getting along and we’ll call it quits’ said I, now starting to wonder why I keep getting myself into these spots?

‘What makes you so special that I can afford to keep you here? He asked.

‘I’m also a fire breather, a damn natural one at that. The best’ I confessed

‘Fire breathers are ten a penny, what makes you so special?’ he sneered again.


‘Let me show you’ I grinned.

A few minutes later, after I had shown him unequivocally, that I was the best there was, I was just walking away from his tent, when I bumped into one of the other clowns.

‘Hi there’ he said

‘Hi there’ I replied, smiling

‘Something smells good. Someone cooking in there?’ he inquired.

‘Yes, someone is’ I replied, and started walking once again.


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