Ride ‘Em Kinker!

Contributor: Nicholas Slade

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I went into work to this circus that I’ve been at for over a year now. You see, I’m a kinker, or performer in circus talk, and I had pretty much done it all here. I’ve been a clown, a horseback rider, and even an acrobat. Our boss is Mr. Jerry Gorman, a veteran of the circus business. He’s as greedy as they come and a complete lunatic to boot. Always trying to be innovative, he’d ask me to do the craziest jobs. I never turned them down though, as they always seemed like a good challenge and luckily my skills always came in handy. Little did I know what he had cooked up for me that day when he called me into his office.

I walked in to see Mr. Gorman with a big smile on his face. He seemed very pleased with himself.

“Jean, I came up with a brilliant idea for tonight’s show,” he told me.

“And what’s that?”

“Bullfighting. The audience will love it. And you, my boy, shall be our matador.”

“Yeah, I don’t think so.”

“Why not? You’ve never turned down a performance from me before.”

“None of those performances involved me being gored by a two ton animal.”

“Now, it doesn’t weight that much.”

“Ah, can it. Besides, I have absolutely no interest in harming a bull, it would completely go against my standards.”

“You don’t have to hurt it, just give the audience a good show.”

“My answer is no.”

He stared at me for a moment as I turned to walk out. “Hey, how’s your friend Rick doing? I know he’s such a hard worker here. You know, it would be a real shame if he, I don’t know, suddenly lost his job or something.”

I closed my eyes. “Damn.”

So there I was, standing in the center of the ring, wearing a ridiculous looking jacket, holding up a red cape made out of old scarves, and looking at a large, angry looking beast. “That’s it, I’m dead.” The bull charged at me with full force. I instinctively used my acrobatic skills to jump onto the bull’s back.

My friend Rick, who was acting as my assistant, followed me on horseback. “What are you doing?” he yelled out.

“I don’t know,” I yelled back.

“Why did you jump on it’s back?”

“It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

I looked down at the bull’s neck: it was covered in scars. This bull must have been through many fights in the past. With nothing left to lose, I tried talking to the bull. “Hey now, calm down, no one’s going to hurt you.” The bull looked up at me. Does this thing really understand me? I thought. “I promise, you’ll never have to fight again, now please stop.”

On cue, the beast stopped, throwing me to the ground. I looked up at the bull and it licked me with its large tongue. I guess I can add bull whispering to my list of skills. I stood up and patted the bull on the head. My boss ran into the ring. “What the hell is this,” he yelled. “I told you to fight this bull, now do it.”

I looked at the bull and, like it understood me, it proceeded to chase Mr. Gorman around the ring. “Help me,” he yelled.

Rick rode up next to me. “What’s going on?”

“Oh nothing, just doing what our boss asked, giving the audience a good show.”

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Nicholas Slade is a writer currently living in Florida. Originally from Mississippi, he moved to Florida in 2012 and is currently studying for his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. He has previously been published in Farther Star Than These and Yesteryear Fiction.
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