A tiny creature travels with the circus through the galaxy.
Pixie walked past the enormous Rhinophan, standing lumbersome in its stall, down the corridor where the strange, exotic and sometimes dangerous animals of the galaxy were kept. Having graduated from the freak show only a few months before, he still did not have much camaraderie with his new colleagues, the clowns. When he was alone and lonely he liked to spend time with the circus animals.
Stopping before the enormous Entmoose mother he greeted her, “Hello Gracie. How are you today?”
Gracie snorted gently and swayed slightly within the confines of the stall in greeting. The tiny Pixie seemed positively miniscule next to this, largest of all the animals. Pixie took a handful of hay and reached up to offer it to his large friend. Gracie slowly bent low and took it between her lips.
The sound of the great afterburners adjusting the circus ship into orbit around Fraterland Prime announced the arrival of the circus to the location of its next show.
With the entire ship vibrating at his tiny feet he looked at Gracie and sighed. “Well, the show goes on. Ready Gracie?”
The vast sign announcing the circus had arrived in orbit was lit. When the children and the hardworking men and women below on the surface saw the lettering in the sky, slowly circling above them, the excitement spread from house to house. ‘Come one come all. The circus is here!’
Pixie was in the observation deck where he watched as the various personal transport ships rocketed up from the surface and docked in the parking bay of the ship. Barnaby junior, the ringmaster and owner of the circus ship, always liked to stand here before a show. He stood now next to the tiny clown.
“It’s a good turnout,” remarked pixie.
“Yes. It’s these kinds of planets that often get most excited about the circus. It seems they don’t even realize how ordinary their lives are until they see the sign up in the sky.”
Barnaby turned to leave. “Well, I’ve got a show to prepare.” As he walked off he added, “You better get down there too.”
Pixie stood alone, watching the people arrive. He thought about what Barnaby had said. He had been in the circus most of his short life and, accordingly, it did not seem so out of the ordinary. He barely remembered his home planet, where everyone looked more or less like himself and his diminutive frame and pointy ears would not make him such an exotic fantasy creature in others' eyes. Pixie turned away from the window where the planet slowly turned below. He went off to work.
The crowd filled the stands of the arena in a steady flow. All wore the standard grey uniform of the citizens. The children pointed at the various fixtures, the trapeze, the animal cage, and pestered their abiding parents with excited words. A single clown entered the arena then and began to entertain the people with his antics. The crowd cheered. The clown’s exaggerated make-up smile seemed to get wider as he put his hand on his belly and laughed, pointing at an unfortunate victim in the crowd. Then the ooh’s of surprise as the bucket full of water turned out to be full of tiny bits of sparkling paper. Suddenly the lights went dim and Barnaby’s voice came through the speakers.
“Ladies and gentlemen!” The crowd became silent with a hush. “The wonders of the galaxy await you. Welcome to Barnaby’s Galactic Circus!”
The children cheered with a roar and soon enough the adults added their applause.
The spotlight lit the Entmoose which was entering and being led before the crowd, followed by the clowns, and then the trapeze artists and everyone else in the circus. Upbeat and frenetic music played on an organ.
The ringmaster’s baritone voice boomed. You see before you an Entmoose which hails from a far distant corner of the galaxy. This fierce animal is so large it must consume twelve live cows a day!” The childrens’ mouths gaped and even the adults pointed in wonder.
Pixie watched the show unfold from backstage. The trapeze artists defied death with grace, the animal tamer displayed his courage, and soon enough he was on.
The clowns were keeping the crowd occupied as Pixie was preparing to go on. He stood high above the crowd on a rafter wearing a harness attached to some wires. The spotlight shined on him and, with a deep breath he, stepped off. He pretended to fly although the false wings on his back did not flap. Barnaby announced his arrival.
“May I direct your attention up high above you where a real life fantasy creature is flying through the air. People of all places throughout the galaxy have the same stories and legends of faeries, and Barnaby’s Circus has made a friend from among them. Please welcome a creature from a far off and fantastical land, Pixie!”
The tiny man gestured with a flourish of his arms as if he was making a graceful flight. Some oohs’ came from the crowd as he descended, and then he touched his feet to the ground and the invisible wires disconnected.
They had set up a false wall with a door, above which was a sign which stated, ‘No Admittance’ in the native language of the planet below. By this door was a man dressed up as a Fraterland policeman, with his black uniform and hat, standing solemnly at guard.
Some in the crowd chuckled as Pixie walked proudly up to the guard and faced him. The confused look on the policeman’s face was priceless to the people.
Pixie, without a care, walked over to the door and reached for the handle to open it. The guard jumped to stop him and Pixie, jumping back put his hands out as if to say, ‘what? what is wrong?’.
The guard put out his hand in the gesture of, ‘give me your papers.’ Pixie reached into his pocket and brought out a tiny piece of paper and handed it over to the man. The guard unfolded the paper, and unfolded it, and unfolded it some more until it was too large to handle easily. The crowd laughed heartily.
Finally the guard showed his impatience and angrily pointed away, as if saying, ‘leave now!’. Pixie protested his innocence.
As Pixie walked off in a huff, out of the spotlight, the guard straightened his uniform roughly and composed himself before resuming his stolid watch over the door.
Then, after a dramatic lull, the tiny head of the small clown slowly peeped up over the wall directly behind the guard. The crowd laughed and cheered. The guard gestured his confusion to the crowd. ‘What? What are you laughing at?’ Finally he looked up to see Pixie behind the forbidden wall and he went through the door to chase him. Running around in circles just beyond reach, ducking through the legs, and making the policeman look the perfect fool. All the repressed humor of the people in the crowd burst forth.
Then another policeman walked up, looking angry and waving his hands as if to say, ‘show over,’ to the people. Pixie stopped running around, knowing that this policeman was real and not part of the show, but the crowd, unaware of this, kept laughing at the man, thinking it a brilliant display of comedy.
The lights came on causing everyone to awaken as if from a dream. Pixie stood regarding the real policeman who turned to the tiny man and pointed, yelling angrily at him in a language he did not understand. Pixie mimed, pointing back and moving his mouth exactly as the man did. The crowd laughed until the announcement came over the speakers.
“The show is over. Go back to your ships and go home. Barnaby’s Traveling Galactic Circus is forbidden.” It was not Barnaby’s voice but that of a Fraterland policeman.
Slowly the people began to realize that the show really was over and things became noticeably quiet. As the people rose to leave, with the children crying, a line of police came and stood watch along the edge of the stage rings.
Pixie stood watching the solemn procession. Removing his wings, he exited the stage.
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