Hm,” Sarah said. “Well, I guess if there have to be clowns around, they might as well be on fire.”
I laughed, she laughed, she asked me to call her tomorrow.
If only she knew what I had seen. Two burning clowns... ha ha... two clowns who were only the smallest part of it, were only the beginning of a fire that will consume us all.
That flash of foresite, burning through my brain blotting out all thoughts of copping a feel or making it round the bases, chilled me to the bone.
It starts in a circus, a calliope hooting it's insanity laden tune as screaming children with white knuckled grips wirl on the merry-go-round, broad bellied barkers in black tophats and tails describing the wonders behind tattered curtians, yours to see for only a buck a head. As the sun sets over the big top a booming voice anounces, "the show is about to begin".
Gathered round the three rings now. Clowns in cars, elephants and trapeze. The ring master struts about the middle, all red velvet and gleaming black boots. "And now, from the farthest reaches of wild borneo and beyond, brought kicking and biting from the poisonous swamps of deepest darkest asia, Bazooko's Circus is proud to present The Desert Mud Man and His Clever Canines!"
The tent goes dark for a moment before a single spotlight washes the center ring with it's burning yellow glow. We see the ring master step back to the edge of the light as a small bent figure, covered in mud and rags, shuffles into the ring. The Mud Man has taken center stage.
He slowly lifts his head and turns it about, casting his gaze across the darkened audience. His eyes empty, he brings his hands together in a single loud clap and the dogs file in.
Dozens of Miniature Poodles, Shih Tzus, Bichon Frises, Chihuahuas, Maltese, and Papillons silently circle the ring, perfectly ordered, perfectly spaced, all wearing sequined costumes with ribbons and bows. The Mud Man claps again and from the darkness the calliope begins to play. He begins to move around the ring in a slow rythmic dance, his arms drawing strange symbols in the air, his feet stamping up dirt in time. The dogs begin to sway with him, rising one by one from their positions and moving towards the center.
The Mud Man claps again and the music speads up. He is whirling now, his arms a blur, the mud flacking off of him in a great dusty cloud, and the dogs begin dancing, swirling around the Mud Man, jumping between his arms and clear again faster than the eye can see, they circle and leap and flip through the air. The crowd is clapping in time now, whistling and stomping, and egging on the wild dance.
Faster and faster they whirl, dogs and man. At a signal from the ring master two clowns come in with hoops in their hands and take up positions on the edge of the ring. With a snap and a whoosh the hoops burst into flame and the dogs begin leaping though them, one after another in a blinding whirl of fur and fire.
The Mud Man claps again and the music speeds up once more. Dancing even faster now, dogs and man are blurs of motion. The crowd cheers and hollers for more.
The music pounds and suddenly the Mud Man stops, panting and clutching his chest. With a moan he falls over dead in the middle of the ring. The dogs stop their maniacal dance and let out a howl of anger and pain. The ring master runs over to the Mud Man's collapsed form, feeling for a pulse. The dogs circle him, growls thrumming deep from their throats, drowning out the music.
The ring master realizes his mistake and slowly stands up. He stares into the eyes of a toy terrier and mumbles, "staaaay". The dogs leap, tearing at him with their sharp little teeth, yipping and biting. Crushed red velvet and blood spatter across the ring. The crowd begins to scream and rush for the exits. The dogs, finished with the ring master, turn on the clowns with their burning rings, still frozen with fear and confusion. Dogs rush them, tearing through the fire, fur aflame, and grapple for the clown's throats.
The two clowns try to run, flaming Silky Terriers clawing at them until they too are burning.
The big tent, its exits clogged with desperate patrons, burns fast.
Out in the darkness and beyond the circus grounds all one hears is the pitter patter of little doggy feet and howls of anger.
The worlds smartest toy dogs are without a master and blood is in the air...