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Ungulen held up an enormous hand to quiet the din. But it was no use. None of the circusfolk would be soothed tonight.

Nearly all 200 employees of the circus were gathered in the big top for a general meeting. They all sat in the warped wooden benches. Goren Hargus dabbed his forehead with a handkerchief at regular intervals, gauging the mood on a moment to moment basis. The meeting was not going according to plan.

“What d’ya mean no cigarettes in the budget!” one of the jugglers yelled and hurled his most recently emptied box of cigarettes at Ungulen. A screed of workers jostled to their feet in agreement “Whot kinda circus is this anyway!”

“There’s been a bit of trouble,” Ungulen continued, “with lamping up the big top tent. It’s pricey and it’s longstanding and it’s got to get done. Now, there was a bit of an incident with a major part–“

“You broke it! I saw yous!” A lever boy screamed, excited that he had something to add. A general sarcastic murmur overtook the entire tent.

“Alright, yes. We broke it. But blame ain’t got two cents in its teeth. We’re working with the monies we’ve got.”

One of the Keurmite brothers — the eldest — suddenly ripped off his head and threw it at Ungulen. On its soaring arc, the head spat at Ungulen and got him squarely in the eye during mid flight. Everyone laughed. Even the head laughed, after it bounced painfully off of a bench and onto the floor.

“It’s her fault! Miss elephants!” Rustia jabbed an enormous finger in Violet’s direction. “If she’d of made a good elephant show, there’d be more money for everyone!” Violet shrank into her seat.

“Enough!” Ungulen screamed with all his goatly powers. Most everyone stuffed up their ears. He was like an alarm bell.

“Now we’re going to move up the major so everyone’s pulling doubles this month,” Ungulen declared.

Now the shift employ were really mad. People started overturning benches. They threw more things at Ungulen besides just their cigarette boxes and their heads.

“Marrionetta will return shortly and–” but Ungulen never got to finish this statement because Mingey hopped up on top of her sister’s shoulders and started chattering.

“That’s right! Where is Marrionetta, anyway! On vacation up with mister doctor in The Emerald House while the rest of us toil away for our evening bread! Well I’ll not take it lying down any longer! Rustia and I are going up to knock some sense into that horrid old witch and drag her back down the hill if we have to!”

And with that, Rustia rose and reunited herself with her unicycle, shouldering Mingey all the way. They took off screaming and gesturing towards the The Emerald House. The big top emptied itself as nearly all of the circusfolk followed the sisters up the hill on their warpath. Ungulen made a run for it to try and head off some of the drama. Goren Hargus trudged up the rear, running totals in his mind.

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