Daily Prompt #21: Carnies

“C’mon man, aren’t you excited,” he asked.

A good friend and I were at Rocket Mountain the other day, a local theme park.

“I’ve been hundreds of times already,” I said, loathing.

“You gotta enjoy yourself every now and then,” he said, nudging my side as the gates opened.

As everyone scattered through, the hustle and bustle of the rides, games, and vendors began to fill the air with a resonating feeling. I shook it off, thoroughly trying not to enjoy myself.

After a few hours, the place started to calm down and it became a sight-seeing endeavor rather than a race to what you wanted to do. My friend and I were waiting for the circus show to start, sitting outside the large yellow and red tent, eating popcorn.

“What’s eatin’ you bud,” he asked.

“Nothin’ man,” I handed back, trying not to look so dismayed.

“Well,” he said, tossing another piece into this mouth, “something’s been eating you all day. You look like you hardly enjoyed yourself at all.”

I let out a breathe, “honestly man, I guess it’s just being an adult sometimes; that just seems to do it to me. I know you can’t really throw blame for your problems at something but, I haven’t really enjoyed myself because I’ve had my mind on responsibilities all day. It’s just something I can’t shake.”

My friend gave an apologetic look. “Hey man, I get it. It sucks trying to enjoy yourself when you’re thinking about all the crap you should be doing instead, but sometimes the best things for your future is to relax those gears just a bit. If you think about’em all the time it’ll get to ya’, then you won’t be able to work on anything.”

I kept that on my mind while we were entering the circus tent.

The place was one big center stage. bleachers lining the sides, the middle of the tent was coated with hay debris and high walls painted with red and yellow stars, variegated patterns throughout. The place look big from the outside, but the inside was proving far roomier.

As the show began, my friend and I claimed an empty section of bleachers (the show never really picked up unless it was tourist season), and waited for it to start.

“I think we need to find your inner kid again,” he said.

I scoffed at the notion. “Been dead for a while now bud.”

“I think we could revive him if we had something to get his stubborn adult counter-part’s mind off of being an adult. Maybe a– clown would do the trick,” he said with a sinister smile.

“Shit,” I whispered. Worrying about all the adult stuff, and not having been to one in years, had made me forget why I didn’t go to these shows to begin with, until now.

Clowns would appear halfway through and start asking for participants from the audience. As this thought swepped through my head so did a rush of adrenaline; my dear friend had already motioned one in our direction.

“No, no, no, stop, stop,” I yelled, but the clown was already on its way over, jeering an eerie look.

He came closer, then closer, then—THWACK!



As the ambulance drove off and the police were getting my statement, I asked if he’d be okay and if I was in any real trouble. The officer shook his head.

“This happens all the time, kid. I don’t see why they don’t replace the clowns with dancing girls myself, but I don’t run the place. Just make sure you control yourself a little more next time,” the officer said sternly.

My friend walked up to me as the cop walked away. “Dude, forget trying to revive your inner kid, we’re getting you in the ring, manly- man style. You’ve got enough pent up stress to knock out Hercules. That clown didn’t stand a chance.”

“I didn’t mean to hurt him.”

“Yeah, right,” he said, “either way we gotta get going. I have a gift in mind for you.”

“A stress ball,” I asked.

“Nope,” he said. “I’m getting you a punching bag.”

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