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Satin Circus -- Hey, Rube! by D'Otter (critique requested)

Hey, Rube!

 “You know that you are on the side of evil!” the young lion screamed. “You named yourselves the Satan Circus!

Satin Circus,” the old otter told a police megaphone. “All our performers are gays and lesbians...”

Devil worshippers!” the lion screamed. “Impure! Lovers of vile, disgusting! God has sent me to clean your filth from this world!”

“Look, I'll take Zack's place,” said the otter. “I'm not just the ring master, I'm the proprietor, the guy in charge! Wouldn't you rather have the guy in charge?”

I'll have you in jail!” The lion scrubbed his hand through the beginings of a mane. He nearly stumbled backwards, but caught himself. He aimed a black-and-silver remote at a slender, young bunny in a hunting vest, its every pocket stuffed with explosives and a detonating circuit pinned to the lapel. The bunny was kneeling with handcuffs on his wrists and ankles, looking back and forth between the lion and the old otter.

“Oh, see how he desports himself,” the lion growled, sneering at the bunny boy. “Half man, half woman and full of pride! Back to hell! By the hangman or by my hands! But... you should have a fair trial... so that justice is seen! It has to be seen! It has to...” He turned to the german shepard in plain clothes standing beside the otter. “You! Police!” he screamed. “You arrest the Satan Circus right now! Take them away! Try them for witchcraft! It's still on the books and the penalty is death! Or I'll blow up the bunny!”

“Sir,” said the detective dog, “I want you to calm down. If you blow up that vest, innocent people will get hit with blast rubble on the ground below. Think of the blast rubble, it will spray out for blocks at this height. You don't want to do that. So just calm down, okay?”

“That's not gonna happen,” the otter said, softly. “He's high on something, he won't listen.” The otter turned to Zack, whose big ears lifted towards him. He said something softly; only Zack nodded. Then he cranked the megaphone to full volume. “Hey rube!” he yelled.

His cry echo'd off the building next door. It was answered by a cannon blast. A harpoon from the higher roof next door landed beyond them, trailing a stout rope. As the bunny started struggling with the cuffs on his wrist, a sleekly-muscled coyote jumped out of nowhere, grabbed the harpoon and hooked its tines around a flag pole. As the rope sprang tight, he stepped forwards, pulling a knife out of nowhere.

“No!” he detective cried. “Drop the knife!”

I warned you!” the lion screamed and raised his remote towards the bunny boy.

Then three things happened at once. The coyote threw the knife; it tumbled end-for-end until it slid quietly and neatly into the remote, slicing it in half width-wise and knocking it from the lion's hand. The bunny shrugged out of the vest, holding both sets of handcuffs, sprang to his feet and threw them at the lion. An iron pipe slid to a stop on the rope just beyond the edge of the roof, clinking against something embedded in it; a pair of ridiculously long silk curtains unrolled beneath them, nearly reaching a roof further down in the side of the office tower.

The bunny boy lept up onto the rope and ran to the pipe just as the bomb vest and cuffs hit the lion in the face. Grabbing the pipe, he swung down under. He wrapped one curtain around either leg, did the splits and slid downwards, rapidly gaining speed. Soon he was lost to view. The coyote, meanwhile, leapt back into whatever hiding place he'd leapt out of.

Now!” the otter said, nudging the detective. “Get him!

“Huh?” the dog replied. “What... oh, down! Get down!” he yelled. “Get down on the ground!” and he charged the young lion, four uniformed officers behind him, all yelling as loudly as they could.

The lion pulled the bomb vest out of his face and threw it at the police. He turned and tried to run to the edge of the roof where the bunny had disappeared. The police were faster. They pounced on him and dragged him down under them. A taser hissed and crackled, then three, four, five! The lion screamed, his voice full of despair mixed with horrible pain. When the tasers fell silent, he writhed once, clawed a little at his chest, then fell forwards onto his face, whimpering pathetically.

A mickey slid out of his jacket pocket. The detective held it up.

“Rum!” the old otter said. “Nearly empty,” he added, stooping to examine something on the roof. “That would explain things. I guess even Christian fundies don't get enough courage just from their convictions to try what he did.”

“Where's that knife thrower of yours?” the detective growled.

“Why do you want him?”

“I told him no knives! He's lucky that knife didn't cross the wrong circuit and set off the bombs!”

“You mean this knife?” The otter stood, the remote in his hands, and pulled the knife out of it. The blade was pure white. “Ceramic!” the otter continued. “Holds a scary sharp edge, never rusts, hardly dulls and the white is even more visible to the audience than silver. And most important today, it's non-conductive! Perfect weapon for the job. As for Jason, from the same distance, he could've split a playing card edgewise. He knew exactly what he was doing, detective. And since he didn't hurt anybody, why don't you just let him go.”

The detective's face fell into a nearly feline non-plused expression. Then he scowled.

“If there's an inquest, he'll have to testify,” he replied.

“As a witness!” the otter retorted.

“We'll see,” said the detective.

The otter opened his mouth to say more, but just then a door marked stairs burst open behind them. Zack came bounding across the roof and threw himself into the otter's arms as the other four officers frog-marched the lion boy through the door the other way.

I did it! I did it!” he exclaimed. “A seventeen story dead fall and I did it perfectly! Tell me it was the longest, pleeeze? Was it the longest?”

“The record so far is twenty two feet...”

I get to call Guiness! I get to call Guiness!” the bunny boy sang. “I'm so proud of myself! Are you proud of me, too?”

“Hey, wait a minute!” the detective said. “You! How did you get out of all that... stuff?”

The bunny giggled. “Before I switched to aerial silks, I was a contortionist and an escape artist. And high wire for a while. Handcuffs are easy to get out of! The vest was trickier because I had to get it off without triggering anything, but it wasn't too hard! I bet it looked good on video! Did somebody record it?”

“Jason had one angle, Smokey had one beside the cannon and you saw the one Fin and Shell were working when you reached their roof. It'll be on the company website in half an hour. Hey detective, can we go now? Zack has a call to make!”

The detective looked away. He shook his head and waved them towards the door. “Don't leave the city,” he grunted.

“Hey detective?”

The sheppard looked up at them.

“Don't feel bad that you needed our help,” the otter said, smiling. “We're experts!”

Copyright © 2013 by Allan D. Burrows, All Rights Reserved

Satin Circus -- Hey, Rube! (critique requested)


first in my Satin Circus series

This story was rejected for the Furnal Equinox 2014 conbook; apparently it wasn't circus-y enough for their theme. (Oh well, try try again as they say.) It still has excitement, drama and more! See life-threatening danger, thrilling escape, justice served with a chaser! As circus folks take care of each other as only circus folk can! And watch out for the twist folks, this ain't no ordinary circus!

Zack Rabbit is used by permission.


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    wait a minute,in the thumbnail, were those pee sticks for pregnant chicks? o_-

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      Nope, just throwing knives.

      I needed an image quickly for a thumbnail for the first time I posted it and that was the first thing I could think of. I can't afford to buy art and artists hate beggars. Pictures of actual rabbits working aerial silks are pretty rare. So I settled for representing the knife-throwing coyote.

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      ...thanks for asking, though!