Once upon a time, there was a clown with the name Isidor.
Now, Isidor, he is a well-known circus artist, known all around the region for his antics and his amazing jokes (and he would wholeheartedly agree with you if you’d ask him straight up because he is not known for his modesty). His makeup is very distinct, and you can quickly pick him out even if there were dozens of clowns around (also should they all come out of a tiny little car), with his pink nose, colorful face paint and giant white shoes with red laces. His face shows on many billboards and airships around Pryland; advertising his latest show in the most attractive way possible. He is also the host of the circus and announces every act in his warm and pleasant voice, making everyone stump their feet in anticipation on the wooden floorboards in the tent, greeting every artist with his splendor.
Today it’s a warm evening, a summer’s breeze rustling through the trees surrounding the big red and white striped circus tent. The last of the audience from tonight’s show has left, on their way home, happy with the performance. However, Isidor does not enjoy this beautiful night as much as he probably should. He is tired from his latest appearance. He is sitting on his bed in his bright yellow wagon with wheels as high as a man. In front of the small windows are pots with blue and red flowers, petals closed and ready for the night. And behind the windows, the curtains are drawn to give Isidor some alone time.
The truth is, Isidor is not a happy clown right now. He likes to perform and make people cheer and fall off the large wooden benches with laughter. Isidor loves to announce every act and welcome the artists in the bullpen. But every night he sits in his wagon, on his own. It feels as if he is not needed anymore when the show continues to go so well every night.
Two of the trapeze artists even jokingly remarked that his job was just to make people laugh between the acts. “Nothing to it,” they said.
Truth be told? He feels lonely, looking in the mirror and wiping the face paint off of his face. Isidor realizes he hasn’t laughed in a while. After he’s done and looks at his face, he puts on his usual attire, steps out of his wagon to make a tour of the campgrounds to make sure everything is alright. To get his mind off of thoughts tumbling around in his head.
As Isidor walks around the ground, among the wagons of the other performers he hears a lot of activity, groans, and cheers. He sees the strongmen Tomaz and Pjotr, two brothers who are incredibly strong and can even lift an elephant. They are practicing a new act, dressed in their polka-dotted leotards, flexing their muscles, lifting and throwing boxes and bins at each other. And even their giant ginger cat Fintan, who likes to be part of the act is flying through the air.
As he walks further, he hears the sound of a vibrating rope. He looks at the old man Bruna with his golden colored hair and follows his gaze upwards towards a rope hanging between two large poles. On the tightrope, the twin sisters Rupi and Rupa are juggling balls while remaining balanced on the taut line. It’s evident from their warm skin color and their golden hair they are the daughters of Bruna and come from a land far away.
Nearing the edge of the encampment Isidor passes by a black wagon covered in golden stars and hears the sound of a drumroll. Turning the corner, we can see a magician’s setup and a stylishly dressed man holding a short black wand. It’s the Fantastic Gunnar and his lovely assistant Arachne. In the corner, a little capuchin monkey is drumming fiercely on a small drum. In the middle of the open space, Arachne set foot in a circle, is covered by a blue and gold star-spangled sheet, and after a flourish of Gunnar’s little wand, a large puff of smoke suddenly appears, and the decorated cloth falls to the ground. Arachna has disappeared.
Continuing on his walk, Isidor passes many more artists and performers, each of them taking advantage of the splendid weather and the orange setting sun to practice their skills and enjoy the evening. Isidor once again feels that it’s going so smooth that he doesn’t feel needed. The people can take of the show on their own. See how good they all are!
Making his way to the center of the campground he gets down under a giant oak tree. Sitting and watching all the activity around him. In the distance a box sails through the air. Rupi and Rupa jump around on the tightrope way above the wagons, and past the carts, a massive explosion signals one of Gunnar’s other tricks.
Covered by the golden glow of the setting sun Isidor feels his eyes becoming heavy, and before he knows it, he’s fast asleep.
Isidor opens his eyes, and it is dark. He can’t see the lights of the wagons around him, or hear the regular campground activity he’s so used to hearing. There is no tent, and turning around, no tree. Looking down there is no grass, and even the flowers are gone. It’s dark and silent all around him. Then, in the distance a little twinkling light weaves its way through the darkness, flying up and down, left and right, as a butterfly in a summer’s day. Coming closer slowly Isidor decides to wait.
It takes a little while, but the light finally arrives where Isidor is standing. When he peers with eyes half-shut, he can see a little woman with fluttering wings. The glow coming from her chest and her heart within.
“What’s wrong Isidor?” Said the girl in the softest voice, like the sound of tiny bells. “I heard you from all the way here, and I feel that you’re not happy. “
Isidor replies, eyes looking down and a deep breath leaving his lungs. “Everything is going so well in the circus. Every act goes perfectly. I’m not needed anymore. They can do it all by themselves.”
“Are you sure?” the girls says, hovering before his face. “Let us find out what happened after they couldn’t find you the next day.”
Before the both of them, a large disc appears with runes around the edge. It’s as if the campground was scooped up and floating in mid-air and they are looking at it from high above. In the middle of the disc the giant oak tree shows as the center, and below the scene, the tree’s roots stretch out far and wide. Over the surface, tiny people are walking towards the red and white striped tent next to the tree. The disc becomes larger and larger, and before Isidor knows it both him and the tiny creature are standing inside the tent, at the edge of the bullpen, among the audience.
The scene before him is something he could never have imagined. Tomaz and Pjotr are standing around in their polka-dotted leotards, throwing cones and lighted torches at each other. At the same time, Rupi and Rupa are standing on their tightrope, trying to dodge the flames. And next, a big explosion makes the tent shake. Gunnar appears out of nowhere, surprised at the outcome as he was expecting Arachne to pop up. It’s chaos. Even the ginger cat Fintan is running in circles around everyone’s legs, not used to being in the tent with all this commotion going on.
“It’s not because something goes well without any problem you can take anything away Isidor. It’s you who decides the order. It’s you who makes everyone feel at ease with your jokes. You are as much a part of the show as every other artist out there,” she says, pointing towards the mayhem in the circle. At the edge, people are coughing from the smoke, dodging stray torches and just can’t follow what is going on.
The scene once again retreats, becoming smaller and fading.
Isidor opens his eyes. It’s dark, but not the same kind of darkness as before. Near the edge of the open space, he can see the wagons of all the performers, light on inside, spilling out the windows with an inviting glow. Smoke is rising from the chimneys as someone is baking bread. There are no more boxes flying around, the tightrope is hanging empty, and the air is clear of explosions and smoke. No aftermath of the chaos he witnessed before.
Looking up our clown can see a star twinkle in the night’s sky, and In the back of his mind, there is a faint echo saying .. “You’re as essential as anyone else Isidor. Now go and join your friends.”
Isidor gets up from his place underneath the big oak tree, making his way to one of the wagons where the sound of laughter escapes through the open door, welcoming him in.
The next day Isidor is once again present in the tent, welcoming the following performance with a glint In his eyes.
And the show? It went as perfect as it ever did.