The Fool and the Clown

Once, long ago, in a town very far away (in the Bavarian Alps, I believe) there lived a fool. Now this fool was, of course, very foolish, and, the town in question being a small one, was something of a celebrity. So he was allowed to sit on a small brick wall all day and go, "Dum dee dum dee dum dee dum dee doo, huh." People would take pity on him, and give him food, and shelter him when it hailed (he liked the rain, and everyone knows that fools dry off faster than normal people and never catch pneumonia). So the fool was set for life.

People, of course, grew quite bored with their idyllic farm life, and would look for anything to pass the time. As a result the town had a small University within it, but more on that later. Other than the University, the main conduit of excitement for the town was the post office. The post office, of course was not wholly efficient. In fact, the town was lucky if the mail got delivered once a month, but along with the mail the postman would bring news of the world and of upcoming events in their region. The latest event had been quite exciting, "Crazy Earl's Traveling Yak Emporium." People had talked of that for weeks afterword, for Crazy Earl had managed to breed a plaid fruit-flavored hermaphrodite Yak and had held a one time Peepshow/Cookout for those interested.

In early May, however, the postman came, and brought the most startling news these simple peansants had ever heard. It came in a small, rolled up tube. The entirety of the town, including the Fool looked on as the postman tacked up the two corners of the tube, and slowly unrolled with a steady, professional hand...The Circus was Coming.

A hushed silence fell over the crowd. Everyone was in awe. Many had heard of the wonders of the Swinging Bros. & Ripoff Daily Worldwide Circus Troupe, but none had seen, or known them. The Circus Was Coming.

Then little Tommy Monaghan said, "The Circus is coming to THIS Town!" All fell back in amazement. The Circus was Coming.

For weeks the peasants looked expectantly towards the small railroad tracks and very small unloading depot just a mile outside town. Finally, some of the more eagle-eyed townsfolk caught sight of small black whisps just above the horizon. The Circus was Coming.

Two days later the train was clearly visible. The town buzzed with expectation. The Circus was Coming.

A week after that the train rolled into the depot. The entire town gathered around. They saw the brightly colored cars, and the wonders they held inside. The Acrobatic Giraffes of the Serengeti, The Fire Breathing Lions of Borneo, Areala: The Human Arrow, and, riding in the bright red caboose, was the clown. THE CIRCUS WAS THERE!!!

In a single day the circus was set up completely. The midway, filled with cheap, dangerous, rides. The popcorn, the cotton candy, and, of course, the big top. The peasants marveled at incredible quickness of the circus. They were awed. The circus opened the next day.

What a day it was. (please excuse me, my flowery prose is running thin) Hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of people rolled into the valley where this town was situated. All were there for one thing...The Circus. (Except one old fart who stopped in specifically to heckle the Fool, he went to the Circus as an afterthought). They filled the seats in the big top, and The Fool, being a celebrity, got box front-row seats for the show (free of charge, of course). What a show it was.

The crowd was loud, very loud. But the lights went off and a nervous hush fell over the masses. A single spotlight shone from the very highest point of the big top. A ringmaster, with a red velvet coat, white pants with a black racing stripe, a handle-bar mustache, a black top hat, calf high leather boots, and a long, long bullwhip, trotted out and addressed the crowd. He smiled, a smile with all the hopes and dreams of a thousand children, and he said, "Lay-deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee's angentleman! Welcome to the most astounding show on the planet!!!!!! And now let the show go on!!!!"

First out were the Acrobatic Girraffes. They were majestic, they were fantastic, they were...very, very tall. They did flips, rolls, pyramids, anything that a cheerleading squad might do, and more. The crowd was astounded and guzzled the special "long necks" that the Circus sold. The giraffe's pulled it off without They were amazing.

The Fire Breathing Lions were fantastic. People expected them, and people with seats in the upper twenty rows had brough meat, and cooked it over the huge jets of flames that these horrific beasts spouted. A few people were incinerated in the blasts, but everyone was having an amazing time, and no one really like them anyway.

Then they wheeled out Areala, the Human Arrow. Who was launched, head first, into a concrete piling. Killed on impact. Oh wells, she was kind of a stupid act anyhow.

Then, the lights went out again, and the spotlight came on. Instead of the ringmaster, though, it was a clown. But what a clown, not just a clown, but THE CLOWN! He had huge orange hoop pants, red suspenders, big yellow buttons to hold the suspenders on with, giant red shoes, a huge blue afro, a big red nose, black and yellow polka-dot shirt, white gloves, and a face to match it all. The Clown looked about. And smiled. Not a kind smile as the ringmaster, but, you know the kind, a smile of a person who enjoys punching puppies. Then, the clown called out...

"I need a volunteer!"

Everyone raised their hands, all wanted to be a part of this historic event. The Clown scanned the crowd, a pointed at the fool,


"Me? Hyuk, uhhhhh..."

"Yeah, you, come 'ere"


The Fool jumped the small barricade and walked towards the Clown. The Clown smiled again, and said...

"I'm going to ask you threeeeeeeeeee questions!"

"Um, okay, shoot"

"Are you a horses head?"

After about ten minutes of consideration the fool said,

"Nope, not a horses head, nope, nope"

"Good. Are you a horses midsection?"

The Fool took considerably less time and answered in five minutes,

"No, not a horses midsection."

"Well, then, if you're not a horses head, and you're not a horses midsection, you must be, the HORSES AAAAASSSSSSSS!!!!!!"

The crowd went nuts. People's brains were hemorrhaging because they had never laughed so hard in their life. The Fool was so dumb, no one would fall for that! Thousands died, the town had to dig mass graves to bury them in. People were laughing about the Clown's joke for many months afterward. Two years afterward the thought of the Clown's wits could still make people chuckle.

The Fool, needless to say, was very, very upset at this. It wasn't like when a few people made fun of him and gave him food or clothes, no, he had been humiliated in front of thousands, and deep in his capitalist heart he was saying, "so what's the payoff?"

So the Fool decided to do something about his condition. He went to school. Everyone in the town was taken aback by this. "What business does a Fool have going to school? He wouldn't be much of Fool then would he?" The Fool, of course, payed no attention to them. He did, however still sit on his wall everyday when he was done with his homework and on weekends, so people weren't horribly offended. The Fool had ulterior motives, though. He didn't care about not being a Fool, he cared about getting back at the Clown. He did OK at math and science, but at history and language he excelled. History he loved for it's great wits, punsters, pranksters, and jesters (who were called Fools), and language he loved for it's ability to hone his own skills to a fine point, or a dull club as was the Fools case at first. He raced through grade school in just seven years, much to everyone's surprise, and through middle and high school in six. All were shocked.

The Fool made one friend throughout these school years: Peregrine Finch. Peregrine was bright, talented, and butt-ugly. He helped the Fool along with kind words and occasionaly let the Fool copy his homework. He was hit by an oxcart on the way to his graduation. The Fool resolved that he would not only get revenge on the Clown for embarassing him, but would do it for Peregrine and all the other downtrodden and beaten people of the world (or the Bungled and the Bothched, as Jeff Bridges quoted Nietzsche as saying in "The Fisher King").

So the fool went to the local University, but on the fateful entrance day, the postmaster came. Everyone was still buzzing about "Ben Yurick's Flying Weasel House" in which the aforementioned Mr. Yurick launched a small house full of weasels fifteen feet into the air and let the force of gravity take over from there. This time the postmaster pulled out a rolled up piece of paper. He tacked up the two top ends of the paper and rolled it down...The Circus was Coming, again!

The Fool smiled to himself and watched the horizon, for the town practically shut down in anticipation of this earth shattering event, and the Fool would not have classes until after the circus left. All looked on with him, until many saw the small black smoke puffs on the horizon. The Circus was Coming, again!

Two days later, one could see the train clearly. Everyone wanted to see the circus again. Many had waited forteen long years. The Circus was Coming, again!

A day later the Billions Sisters & Bunkem Trailing Circus rolled into the depot. The train looked as spiffy as ever, with maybe a few more paintchips missing from the sides, and perhaps some of the metal bits looked a little rusty, but other than that everything looked fine. On the side, painted in huge murals, were the acts. The Break-Dancing Monkeys of Munich, The Fire Breathing Lions of Borneo, The Acrobatic Giraffe's of the Serengeti, and, riding in the red caboose at the back of the train, was The Clown. The Circus was HERE, again!

Men ran around the circus grounds, and once again th circus rose from the site in but a day. The Midway, with it's deathtrap rides, the freakshow, the cotton candy and popcorn, and the big top. Hundreds, Thousands, Tens of Thousands, once again spilled into the valley of the town once again. Some had never seen the circus, for many it was but a dim memory. They all came for the Circus. They filled the stands like so many colorful ants. Once again, the Fool, being a celebrity, was given front row seats.

The lights dimmed and a single spot light shone down from the top of the big topThe ringmaster once again came out, wearing almost exactly the same thing that he had been thirteen years ago. Perhaps his top hat was a little ragged, and his boots were a little less shiny, but his coat was immaculate, and his handlebar mustache was still perfectly groomed, and he still wore that stunning smile. He announced, "Laaaaaaaaaaaay-deeee's andgentlemen, welcome to the MOST FANTASTIC show on the globe!!!" The crowd went wild. "And now, the Acrobatic Giraffe's of the Serengeti!"

The crowd hushed as the Giraffe's came out. They started with a few simple flips and tumbles. Then they moved onto a pyramid. One of the Giraffe's leaped, but not enough. It's caught one of the poles holding the big top up, and it's neck wrapped around it knocking over the rest of the Giraffe's. The crowd went crazy! It was amazing! Sure, an animal got hurt, but seeing something that big goof up, oy!!

" and now the Break Dancing Monkeys of Munich!"

The Funky Monkey's came out to the heavy bass beat and started dancing away. Head spins, back spins, tail spins, flips, jumps. They all wore little leather jackets and sunglasses and it wasn't long until the audience grooved along with them. After some intense dance numbers (including a deviation into a scene from, "Riverdance") the Monkey's left the ring. The crowd was getting geared up for the next amazing act...

The Fire Breathing Lions of Borneo!!! Except, they were more like the Bic Lighter Lions of Borneo. Still, people had brought marshmallows also, and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. The Lions left the ring, and the lights dimmed.

A single spotlight shone down, and the Clown stood there, the same as before. He smiled, the crowd gasped. He peered around, the crowd held it's breath. He spoke, the crowd listened.

"I neeeeeeeeeeeed a volunteer!"

All raised their hands. The clown looked, and grinned, literally, from ear to ear. He scanned the crowd. He pointed, once again, at the Fool.


"Me, hyuck?"

"Yeah, you, c'mere!"

"Uh, okay"

Once again, the Fool leaped over the barricade and walked unsteadily towards the clown.

"Waddya want?"

"I'm going to ask you threeeeeeeee questions!"

"Uh, shoot"

The Fool was ready.

"Are you a horses head?"

The crowd was utterly silent"

"No I am not a horses head!"

The fool said after two minutes.

"Are you a horses midsection?"

A pregnant moment.

"No I am not a horses midsection."

The clowns eye's gleam cruelly.

"If you are not a horses head nor a horses midsection, you must be the horses aaaaaaaaaaasssssssssssssss!!!!!"

The crowd went berserk! The Fool had fallen for the clowns joke a second time! What and idiot! What a maroon, no one would fall for the same thing twice! People laughed so hard their hearts burst, but the fatalities were not as bad, for it was the same joke, but it still illicited some laughter over the course of the next few months. All went home happy and the circus left yet a again.

The Fool was incensed. The Fool was pissed. The Fool left on a quest to become the worlds best cut-down artist and comeback man. He travelled to the sacred Mahi-Tenra temples in the Andes to study with the wise "sarcastic monks" for many years. He roamed the streets of Pittsburgh and L.A. talking trash with the best of the best. He went to India, and traded barbs with taxi drivers. He insulted the Queen Mum and lived to tell about it. He made Robin Williams look like he told jokes with the plunging pace of a quadruple amputee on the Late Show wih David Letterman.

He finally returned to the small town that had birthed him twenty years later. He flew through the special graduate program of "Insults and Wit" in three years. He became Academic Dean after teaching in this department in another five. He started to speak with a British accent and wear a monacle and Giorgio Armani suits. He was still known as the Fool, and would occasionally sit on his wall. Any who dared tease him were sorely tongue lashed, though.

Then, twenty-eight years to the day, the postmasted came. He unrolled the piece of paper, tacked so carefully at either corner. The Circus was coming, for the Third Time!

This was unheard of! Madame Guiseppe's Great Cow Race had come through twice, but the Circus was coming more often than Halley's Comet! Peopl were excited. The Circus was coming, for the Third Time!

This time the train pulled in without any fanfare, as it was a new bullet train and very fast, and created no small puffs of smoke for people to see. It was still painted very brightly. On the side it said Singin' Bros. & Farnum's Daily Circus! The acts were as incredible as ever the Fire Breathing Lions of Borneo were back, as were The Break Dancing Monkeys of Munich. The Extremely Tall Fellow from Zanzibar Who Could Recite Shakespeare while Doing Incredible Acrobatic Feats was a new one, but the caboose carrying the Clown had not. The Circus was coming, for the Third Time!

The Circus went up once again in a single day. Once again, the people poured into the valley of the town. Once again they filled the stands. The Fool, now a noted intellectual and therefore a celebrity in that way (as well as the former) once again got front row seats.

Once again, the lights dimmed. Once again the ringmaster came out. His coat was tattered, he no longer wore a hat, and his mustache was gone, but he still had the smile and bullwhip, even if, after more the fifty years of doing this, he was tired, and wrinkled, and a bit old. He smiled his famous smile, and said, "Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-deeeeeeee's andgentlemen! Welcome to the GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH!!!" The crowd roared!

First out were the Funky Monkeys. Except there was only one, and he had a prothetic leg. Halfway through the second dance number the leg fell off and he moved around in circles on the floor. The crowd laughed and was having a grand old time.

Then the Fire Breathing Lions came out. They made large puffs of black, black smoke. They made smoke signs, and they made hoops for each other to jump through. The crowd, as a whole, was impressed at the control the Lions had over their powers, and cheered enthusiastically. However, The Extremely Tall Fellow from Zanzibar Who Could Recite Shakespeare while Doing Incredible Acrobatic Feats was booed out of the ring with the chant of, "We want the Clown, We Want the Clown!" in the middle of, "Alas poor Yorick, I knew him Horatio..." and so the lights dimmed.

A single spotlight shone down from the top of the big top, and the Clown was there. His shoes were worn, his afro was white, and his hoops pants didn't look quite as hoopy. He still had HIS smile, and he peered around, and said the familiar words...

"I neeeeeed a volunteer!"

Only the Fools hand shot up now. He had made sure of that. The Clown gazed straight at him, grinned, and said,

"You! Come here!"

"I will"

And the Fool jumped the barricade.

"What is it you want, ay?"

"I'm going to ask you threeeeeeee question!"

'Alright, I'll oblige."

The crowd was silent. The Fool prepared himself.

"Are you a horses head?"

"No, I am not a horses head!" The Fool said emphatically.

The crowd knew.

"Are you a horses midsection?"

"No, I am not a horses midsection!"

The crowd gasped.

"Well then, if you are not a horses head and you are not a horses midsection, YOU MUST BE THE HORSE'S AAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!"

The Fools eyes blazed. He kicked the Clown and shouted...

"CLOWN!?!?! CLOWN!?!?!??! FUCK YOU CLOWN!!!!!!"

Contributed by: Jason Guyette

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