The Circus Comes To Town at The Hallow

Prompt: Three people walk into a bar . . .

Three people walk into a bar called The Hallow. The entire bar turns towards them curiously as they enter. The Hallow is not the type of place where strangers come to haphazardly. It is a little hole in the wall with old wooden tables and chairs and a lovingly worn bar top where people order drinks. The patrons all know each other and are friends whether they come everyday or once a month. But these new people have never been here before.

The first inside the old wooden door of The Hallow is a young woman in a pink cheerleader outfit. She is beautiful with long golden brown hair and deep-set hazel eyes. Angus the bartender, ID’s her immediately surprised to find out that the young-looking woman is 28-years-old and well past high school age.

Following the cheerleader is a cowboy. He is in his thirties with matted golden blond hair under his hat which he removes as he steps in the doorway. He is wearing a leather vest, red checkered shirt, jeans, and cowboy boots. He hums some country western song to himself which Mavis ( a local patron) hears and identifies as Garth Brooks to anyone who will listen to her.

Stepping on the cowboy’s heels is a clown, his face painted white with red diamond eyes, a ruby nose, blue diamonds on his cheeks and a big red fake smile. The clown reeks of alcohol and his diaphanous clown outfit is dirty and old. He goes up to the bar and tells Angus the bartender he’ll have two shots of whiskey, then settles down with a beer beside the cowboy and the cheerleader. The cowboy and the cheerleader take one look at the clown and immediately try to move so the clown won’t notice, to another table, but fail miserably when he tells them to “take a seat.”

Mavis wonders if she missed Halloween as she and the other patrons stare transfixed by the three costumed customers drinking at the wobbly table. The cheerleader, Malinda, flicks her thick ponytail and asks the cowboy Jared for a gin and cranberry to drink. Jared buys it and another beer and it’s clear to all watching that something is going on between Malinda and Jared. They stare at each other and talk caught up in their own world, the cheerleader primping and fluttering her lashes at the cowboy, while he leans into her space, his hand on her knee. The clown looks at them in disgust.

In an instant, the clown pulls a huge riffle out of the front of his costume. He points it at the patrons of several tables, then at Angus the bartender, before aiming directly at Malinda and Jared holding hands. “What freak show did you two come from?” he asks in a loud sneering voice.

” Highschool, it was are ten-year reunion. It was a costume party,” Jared explains quietly. He can feel Malinda shaking under his hand on her leg.

” What do you want from us?” says Malinda gripping Jared even closer.

The clown sneers at them and shoots at the wall above their heads to frighten them. He yells at Jared to gather all the money from the cash register and bar patrons in the room.

It was later in the night so customers were mostly depleted of cash but the bar and tip jars were full. The clown glares at Jared as the cowboy hands him a bag full of cash and demands more beer from Angus with the tip of his gun. He rants and he raves as he puts back several more beers and then takes his money to leave. He shoots Jared in the arm for good measure.

Malinda leans over Jared who is in great pain and stops the bleeding of the bullet wound with her beloved cheerleading sweater. “Well honey” Malinda says at least we’ve still got each other.” Jared nods and smiles before grimacing again at the pain in his shoulder. At the high school reunion he got back together with the girl of his dreams, Malinda. She smiles at him while gently helping him forget about the pain, telling Jared about her life since she last saw him.

The police are called to the scene and statements are given about the clown and robbery. It’s 6 am before everyone is able to leave and go home. The cheerleader and the cowboy go together hand in hand and this makes Mavis smile lost in memory as she leaves to go home to her little two-bedroom apartment.

Eerily another man in a clown costume wanders by, in the daylight. The patrons from the bar can see the circus tent being set up not to far down the road. ” I guess the Circus is in town” Angus the bartender says shaking his head.

The new clown who is in the middle of all the bar’s customers going home pulls out yet another gun and yells for everyone to get back inside. Nobody listens to him. So, he shoots up into the air. People continue going to their cars like nothing is happening. The new clown becomes outrageously mad and starts yelling and screaming. The police who are just around the corner literally, come back and arrest the new clown. “Why didn’t anybody listen to me” whines the second clown.

“It’s been done.” says a police officer matter of factly.

Poem: Complete

You can be by yourself,

And feel as if you’re all alone.

You can be right next to him,

And still feel like you’re on your own.

And you can be in the middle,

Of the most boisterous crowd,

And feel as if you’re lonely inside.

But you can be by yourself,

And feel so comfortable on your own.

You can be right next to him,

And feel like you need no one else.

You can be lost in the crowd,

And feel as if your part of something bigger.

Lonileness is all in how you view it.

It’s dependant on how you feel this moment.

But a moment can change in an instant.

And a smile can light up the street.

When you’re by yourself or with someone else,

And perfectly complete.