DUNCAN FANKBONER


the monkey that got loose in the circus

all of a sudden
there were signs everywhere
bright colored banners
that fluttered in the wind
and said "Free Circus Day"
and promised prizes
and that was exciting news
because everybody loved the circus
and everybody went
and when they got to the gates
everybody was admitted free
and given a giant bag of peanuts
and the circus was wonderful
wild animals, clowns, high wire acts
and more clowns and a parade
and at the center of it all
announcing each act was
the ringmaster dressed up
in a top hat and white gloves
a smart suit and black mustache
he would announce each act
and ask for a hand for the one
that just finished
several acts had finished
when the ringmaster came out
and taking the microphone announced:
"Folks, we have a problem
a monkey has escaped
and is running loose in the circus
and we need your cooperation
until we catch the little devil!"
there was a general gasp in the audience
but everybody remained seated and waited
for the monkey to be captured
and while they waited
they ate their free peanuts
after ten minutes or so
the ringmaster announced:
"Folks, thank you for your wonderful cooperation,
we are on that devil's trail!"
and just then the monkey appeared
at one end of the grandstand
and ran from one end to the other
he grinned and jumped and ran some more
the audience screamed and clapped
and picked their feet up
a few of them threw peanuts
so the monkey would have something to eat
and later the ringmaster came out and said:
"Folks, bear with us a moment more,
there is some speculation
that the monkey is sick
so we are going to close the gates
and make sure he doesn't escape
into the community, bear with us!"
and several more times
the monkey appeared
sometimes under the grandstand
and other times in center ring
where he would jump and clap his hands
and screech and run this way and that
and the people watched and laughed
and continued to eat their peanuts
finally, the ringmaster came out in a hurry
and grabbed the microphone and reported
that the monkey was cornered
and that he was almost caught
and as he made this announcement
guards appeared at each of the gates
and locked them
some people noticed and said "Hey!"
but the ringmaster just laughed and said:
"Bear with us folks, we're almost there"
and then a cage appeared
and was rolled out into the center ring
and the band struck up a colorful tune
and all of the performers showed up
and the ringmaster grabbed the microphone and said:
"Folks, I have great news, we've got him!"
and a spotlight opened onto the cage and
the people clapped and yelled and laughed
at the monkey as he scrambled
from one end of his cage to the other and screeched
a few more acts performed and then
it was time to leave
and people headed for the exits
where long lines developed
because the gates were locked
"Hey!" somebody yelled
and then another person yelled "Hey!"
there was some pushing and shoving
and some hard words were exchanged
but the gates remained locked
so they went back to their seats
and waited for the gates to be unlocked
some still had peanuts left
so they ate them and then
they waited and waited and waited
occasionally someone would yell "Hey!"
but that was all and nothing happened
it just grew quiet
so they sat there eating peanuts
and waiting
until all the peanuts were gone
and then they just continued waiting
until every last one of them starved to death








2005 Underground Voices