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By Sarah Hapgood

"Do you remember that line at the end of 'They Shoot Horses Don't They?'" said Adam "Something about the dance of fate goes on. Well that's what all this feels like".

"Yowsir, yowsir", said Julian, sleepily.

They were both lying side-by-side on a bunk in one of the wagons, their naked bodies running with sweat in the noonday heat. Inside the wagon it was dark and stuffy.

"They had about three months of it didn't they?" said Adam "In the film I mean. We only have a week. Strange to think there's only a day left to go. We finish at midnight tomorrow".

Someone could be heard pushing a wheelbarrow past outside, and a male voice shouting "He wants this cleaned up for the act!" Adam climbed over Julian and picked his shorts up from the floor.

"Where are you going?" Julian muttered.

"I'd better get on", Adam sighed.

"Oh don't be so damn hearty".

"You stay there and sleep", Adam kissed his shoulder "I'll do a tour of inspection, see how everyone is".

"I'll have about half-an-hour", said Julian, already drifting off "I'll be glad when this show's over and we can sleep without feeling guilty about it".

Adam dressed in his singlet and shorts and stepped outside the wagon. A little girl, one of the Tearfuls' many children, was running out of the ring wearing a blue tu-tu, having successfully performed another solo dance act. This child was a born trouper, Adam was as proud of her as if she'd been his own. Little Tracy could do any dance to order, be it ballet, tap, even some impressive acrobatic leaps. Her proud assertion was that when she grew up she wanted to be a chorus-girl at the Little Theatre. Adam wasn't the only one who believed she was already way too good for that.

Nearby, Tamaz was sitting on chair playing with some coloured buttons on top of a packing-case. He was muttering to himself, and occasionally hammered the wooden arm of the chair with his fist, shrieking "No, I don't accept this!" Adam assumed he wsa having one of his turns and walked past him towards Fradie, who was typing on top of another packing-case. He wore a baseball cap, which made him look younger.

"Well well well", said Adam "If it isn't the corrupter of little boys. I'd give up being a writer if I was you, Fradie, and become a pimp instead. It's obviously your true calling".

"The kid came to no harm", said Fradie "What's the big deal? You fags are all the same, you make a three-act drama out of nothing".

"What are you working on?" Adam picked up the small pile of papers lying by the typewriter.

"A novelisation of my diaries", said Fradie, squinting at him through his cigarette smoke and looking more than ever like a myopic tortoise "I'm just doing the brothel incident last night".

"I trust names have been changed to protect the guilty?" said Adam.

"I told you, it's a novelisation".

Adam scanned the first page.

"What's all this about 'the kid' being so awed by the talent on display that he had trouble picking out a woman? And 'the kid' having to look to you for guidance?" said Adam "Toppy was asleep when I found him!"

"You have to have a little dramatic licence".

"I'll say! And Patsy certainly hasn't made him take a vow of celibacy, as you claim here", said Adam "I hope you're going to change that".

"The celibacy bit sounds better", said Fradie "There's no mileage in me saying Kieran has a free-and-easy approach to sex".

"But everyone in the world knows he has a free-and-easy approach to sex!" said Adam "Except when it comes to Joby of course. If you're going to slander someone, at least make sure it rings true!"

Adam spotted Joby walking across the grass, pulling a small sledge on which stood his and Ransey's refreshments for the next few hours.

"Joby", Adam handed the pages back to Fradie and went to join his old friend "I haven't seen you all day. How's tricks?"

"Ransey's got me working like a slave as usual", said Joby "I can't stop and chat or he'll have a go at me. I swear he stands there with a stop-watch until I gets back".

"I bet you'll be glad when Saturday comes and you can legitimately ignore him", said Adam.

"It'll be bliss", said Joby, with feeling.

"Until next year", Adam laughed.

"Someone else can help him in the box office next year", said Joby "Perhaps Toppy can be groomed for it instead".

"BISHOP!" Tamaz suddenly leapt to his feet and screamed "BISHOP!"

"Oh dear", said Adam "And he's been so good up to now. Come on Joby, you'll have to help me with him".

Tamaz sat back down on the chair and drummed his heels violently on the grass.

"Stop it", said Adam firmly, used to this kind of behaviour from Lonts in his younger days "You'll hurt yourself".

"Bishop", Tamaz spat "Bishop coming from the City to get me. You can't deny it. I overheard that clown Bardin talking about it. There's a bishop coming to get me, flying in today. Wants to try me I expect, and then execute me".

"Don't be silly", said Adam "Bishops don't have that kind of power these days".

Tamaz hurled a gob of spit in his direction, jumped to his feet and slapped Joby round the face.

"You betrayed me", he screamed "It's all your doing. You wait for years to get revenge and then you snap me up like an oyster".

Adam whacked Tamaz hard in the jaw, and Tamaz fell back onto the grass. Joby jumped onto him and sat astride his stomach, pinning his arms above his head.

"No one's going to take you away", said Joby "Listen to me, I promise you. Why should I want them to after all this time?"

Tamaz closed his eyes against the harsh blue of the sky and lay panting for a while. Nearby, Fradie could be heard feeding another sheet of paper into his typewriter.

"Tamaz", little Tracy, still in her tu-tu, knelt on the grass next to them. She held out a plate of sliced lemon which the dancers sucked on to avoid dehydration "Take one of these".

Joby took one and slotted it into Tamaz's mouth. Tamaz sucked on it peacefully.

"Is it true someone's coming to take him away?" said Tracy, looking concerned.

"Nah", said Joby, reassuringly "Place wouldn't be the same without him".

Tracy smiled.

Joby got back to the box-office to find Kieran sitting on top of the safe, smoking a cigarette. There were several sticking-plasters wrapped round his toes.

"What are you doing here?" said Joby, pulling the little sledge into the room "Where's Ransey?"

"Gone to have a wash and a shave in the Gents", said Kieran "He asked me to keep an eye on the safe, as you weren't here to do so".

"I bet he went on about that!" said Joby "Your dancing-partner held me up. Went on about a bishop coming to get him. Seemed to think one was flying in on the next air-buggy".

"I hope not", said Kieran "How's the demon seed now?"

"Back to counting the buttons", said Joby "Seems to be under the impression they're in lieu of the coins the punters chuck you at the end of each act. Poor sad git doesn't realise you're keeping 'em all".

"Not true", said Kieran "I'll buy him some new frillies with his share".

"Good", said Joby "'Cos I expect he's gonna need surgically removing from that teddy by tomorrow night".

Someone rang the brass bell on the counter in an imperious manner. Joby sighed and went over to the window where a grey-haired middle-aged man wearing gold-rimmed spectacles was standing, and looking very pleased with himself for no obvious reason.

"You can have a six-hour ticket, a twelve-hour or a twenty-four", said Joby, going into his well-worn spiel "These entitle you to a pass into the Festival for the said amount of time. Of course you can come and go as you please, you don't have to stay here for the whole time. The twenty-four hour will take you up to the close of Festival tomorrow night".

"Then I'll have the twenty-four", said the man "I came in on the air-buggy last night, but I've been busy with telegraph messages so this is the first time I've been able to get here".

"You don't have to apologise to us", said Joby, writing the time on a ticket and sliding it to him across the counter "We won't take offence. I hope you enjoy the show. Give the turnstyle a shove, it can get a bit stiff at times".

"Don't you know me?" said the man "Isn't my face familier?"

Joby glanced helplessly over his shoulder at Kieran "Do we know him, Kiel?"

Kieran walked up to the counter and stared at the man in a manner reminiscent of the Gnome Woman.

"Have we met?" he said, dubiously.

"I have the highest-rated show on television", said the man.

"Oh well that explains it then", said Kieran "You see, we don't have a telly".

"Yeah, the only bit of telly we watch is sometimes when we go to Persephone's bar", said Joby.

"But that's crazy", said the man, appalled "The service has improved beyond the City walls these days. Television is now accessible in most of the known world".

"Maybe", said Joby "But the sets are still too bloody expensive!"

"What's your show then?" said Kieran.

"You've not come across 'My Extraordinary People'?" said the man.

Joby and Kieran glanced quizzically at each other and shrugged their shoulders. They hadn't come across His Extraordinary Anything. The man pushed the turnstyle irritably and came into the box-office.

"I host a daily live show", he said, bustling over to Ransey's deckchair and sitting down "Highlighting the extraordinary people of our time. They can be famous or not-famous. Heroes, anti-heroes, or better still, outright villains. I give the general public, in an invited studio audience, a chance to meet these people and ask them questions. I'm here to make you an offer you can't refuse. I want Tamaz".

"He's not for sale", said Kieran, disliking the man's bumptious attitude.

"You haven't seen the offer I'm gonna make you", said the man "I gather you're doing this Festival to raise funds for the town? Well whatever you make this week on box-office receipts ... I can triple it".

"Just for Tamaz?" said Joby, in surprise.

"You're going to stick him in a studio and set the public onto him?" said Kieran.

"It'll get the highest ratings in the history of television".

"I doubt it", said Joby "There aren't enough people in the world these days for that!"

"And what happens to him after the show?" said Kieran.

"I own shares in the City Circus", said the man "I'll put him in it, perhaps locked in a cage like you do with him now, and then the public can pay to go in and see him".

"Hang about", said Kieran "Tamaz's mind is a wee bit foggy at the best of times these days. I doubt he'd respond well in a direct confrontation with an audience".

"You leave me to worry about that".

"And who is me, exactly?"


"Tamaz's bishop", said Joby, quietly.

"What are you guys dithering about for?" said Biscop "This is the chance you've been waiting for. Three times your takings just for getting rid of Tamaz, getting him off your back. How says it, Your Grace?"

Normally Kieran corrected anyone who called him Your Grace these days, by reminding them he was back to being just Kieran. He decided for Biscop he'd make an exception.

"This needs discussing amongst ourselves", said Kieran "It's not a decision I can make alone".

"I'll go and get Julian", said Joby.

He ran out of the box-office and hurtled round the back of the stands, meeting Ransey along the way.

"Where are you going now?" he cried, in exasperation, throwing his towel to the floor.

"Something's come up!" Joby yelled back.

Julian called a meeting of all the Indigo-ites in the box-office straightaway. This was a bit of a tight fit, but Biscop was excluded from the proceedings for the time being. In the meantime Tamaz was sedated and kept out of his way in one of the wagons, with Jonner sitting on the steps guarding him.

"Well?" said Julian, as Ransey leisurely scanned the sheet of figures which Biscop had handed him.

"He means it", said Ransey "These are roughly three times what we make when we're going at full capacity. He's certainly put together an attractive offer, and the town could do with this money".

"All for little ole Tamaz?" said Adam, stretching out his long legs on the counter-top.

"It doesn't surprise me", said Ransey "He's been a huge draw at this Festival. Each time he skates it's standing-room only".

"It's him and Patsy they've come to see", Adam protested "It's the combination that's so extraordinary. I doubt it'd work anywhere near so well if Tamaz performed alone".

"Think what it would be like to be able to sit on deck in future without him ranting at us", said Toppy.

Lonts looked dangerously as though he was going to hit Toppy.

"Why is Toppy allowed to speak in this meeting?" he said, shaking Snowy at him indignantly "He's the youngest, he shouldn't have a say!"

"Toppy is allowed an opinion, Lo-Lo", said Adam.

"Not if he's going to come out with rubbish like that", said Lonts "Tamaz is one of us now. We shouldn't sell him off".

"This is a lot of money though", said Ransey, looking at the sheet of paper again "I don't know about a new ward, this would build a whole new hospital!"

"Sickening ennit?" said Joby "We work like slaves all week, and he gets three times our entire takings just to fund one poxy show!"

"Twas ever thus, Joby", said Adam.

"That still doesn't make it right", said Joby "I know exactly what kind of show he says he does. We had 'em in our time. Freak shows without the dignity, that's all they are. Like the Coliseum, with the audience screaming for blood all the time. We can't put Tamaz in that. The poor sod doesn't know what he's at most of the time".

"We have to evaluate and balance Tamaz against the welfare of the whole town", said Ransey.

"Oh there speaks an accountant!" said Julian "Look, I've been exposed to Natalie's preachings about the hospital too. Yes, it does need a lot doing to it, but it's no good just chucking money at these things, that is simply papering over the cracks. It needs long-term thought".

"With this money we could give it all the thought it needed", said Ransey.

"You're obsessed with bloody figures you are!" Julian snatched the piece of paper out of his hands and tore it to shreds.

"I suppose he's right", said Adam, sadly "It is one person against that of the whole town".

"No it's not", said Joby "You heard Tracy earlier. Would she have been like that if she didn't care about him? And she's part of the future of Toondor Lanpin! There's got to be another way round this, there has to be. Oh why did that pillock Biscop have to turn up? He's ruined everything".

"Not necessarily", said Kieran "All his grand ideas have proved one thing to us: Tamaz has pulling-power. And this whole Festival has proved we've all got it, every man, woman and child in this town".

"And so?" said Julian, reeling him in to his point.

"Why hand Tamaz over to him for him to make pots of money?" said Kieran "His offer may be generous, but we could make what we've made this week at any time, not just every July. We could put on smaller shows throughout the year, and donate the proceeds to whatever is needed".

"Yes!" Bengo began to pace excitedly up and down "I can see it all now. We could do a Yule-tide show ..."

"Bringing back panto, that great British contribution to world culture", said Julian "How wonderful".

"And at Hallowe'en we could do our own Cabaret of Horrors", said Bengo, his eyes shining.

"We'll leave out the pig's urine and the elephant crap this time I think", said Julian "Sit down, Bengo".

"But this is the way, isn't it?" said Bengo, looking as though he would burst into tears if Julian thwarted him "Please, I don't ask for much ..."

Ransey gave a deep sigh of exasperation.

"If you lot go back on this", said Bengo, firmly "I shall return to the Village of Stairs with the other clowns on Saturday".

"You hate the other clowns", said Adam.

"With good reason", said Joby "I've never met such a nasty little bunch of gits. No wonder Ully's on the sauce all the time, if he has to try and keep that lot under control".

"Bengo, you are not going back to the Village of Stairs", said Julian "And Tamaz is not going to the City with Biscop, and if Ransey's that bothered about it he can offer to go in his place. I'm sure the odious public would be equally fascinated to hear about some of his antics".

"I'm not bothered about it", said Ransey "I was just explaining the finanical situation to you that's all. I don't want to see Tamaz being treated like a coconut-shy either".

"Is that true, Ransey?" said Adam.

"Yes it's true", said Ransey.

"Looks like we've all come to a decision then", said Julian "Wonders will never cease. We'll implement Kieran's plan, which to me sounds much the most desirable solution. Anyway, it wouldn't do this town any good to have easy money chucked at it. People lose initiative that way. And at least this way it will belong to everyone. If we all work for it we might all look after it. Meeting adjourned. I'll tell Buzzcock to pack his bags".

"B-but shouldn't we take a vote or something?" said Toppy, quailing under Lonts's ferocious glare.

"What for?" Lonts bellowed "Haven't you come to your senses yet?"

"I j-just thought it was procedure that's all. Pendor used to tell me about meetings ... " Toppy trailed off uncomfortably.

"Do you wish to voice an objection, Toppy?" said Adam.

"N-no, I agree with everyone", said Toppy "I just thought ... procedure ..."

Lonts gave an exclamation of annoyance and stood up. He tucked Snowy under his arm, glared at Toppy, then shook his head in sorrow and left the room.

"I think I've upset him again", said Toppy.

"Not hard", said Joby "Just keep away from the water-butts for a while!"

"Did you think I was impressive earlier, Joby?" said Lonts.

"Why? What have you done?" said Joby, suspiciously.

"I was dignified".

"I must've missed that", said Joby "Will it ever happen again?"

"Don't be silly Joby, you were there", said Lonts "When Toppy was being all awful, and I controlled my temper and I walked out without saying a word".

"Well it made life easier didn't it!" said Joby.

"I'm tired", Lonts yawned and stretched out on one of the front benches.

"Hardly surprising", said Joby "It's twenty-past three in the morning".

In the ring the pianist in a negligee was tapping out some melodious piece which was having a soothing effect on her audience. The candles on the top of the piano created a flattering glow to her fair hair which was pulled back in a chignon.

Joby dozed blissfully, sleepy and yet aware of everything around him at the same time. He saw Adam step through the curtains from the back ring, rubbing his wet hair on a towel, from where he'd given it a quick wash in the water-butt. He noticed Lonts sleeping with his huge feet on Joby's lap, smiled and retired backstage.

After a while Joby was annoyed to find Biscop creeping stealthily towards him across the benches. Since his meeting with him earlier Joby had done his homework on Biscop. He had cornered Persephone, when she was supervising the delivery of drinks to the refreshments section, and got her to tell him what she knew about the said man's show. Persephone, being one of the few people in the town with a television set, was counted as something of an expert on the subject.

"I remember when they first started a couple of years back", she had said "The shows I mean. They were great fun at first because they were so different. But you get sick of 'em after a while. The people he has on are always so ... so grotesque. Just everything about 'em. And that includes the audience, ESPECIALLY the audience! And he's a right little jerk an' all. He just whips people up into a frenzy, and then makes himself scarce from the studio when things get unpleasent. He's a lousy M/C".

"Right", said Joby, grimly.

"Still, cheer up", said Persephone, breezily "If he's the future of television, as he keeps being called in the City, then we're laughing. People are gonna want more and more of theatres and festivals!"

Biscop was currently labouring under the delusion that Joby would be the one to persuade to his way of thinking, as Joby had suffered the worst from Tamaz.

"You don't give up do you?" Joby snapped, when Biscop sat down next to him.

"I didn't get where I am today by giving up", said Biscop.

"Look, I've got nothing to say to you", said Joby, firmly "We've discussed it all and Tamaz stays here. You can offer us the moon on a gold watch-chain, but we'll still feel the same. Take a word of advice for once, Biscop. LEAVE US ALONE!"

"But I've got a ticket that says I can stay until the end of the Festival", said Biscop, smugly.

"Right", said Joby "Well don't say you haven't been warned".

The final day of the Festival had an end-of-term feel about it, being sad and joyous at the same time. The show had dominated their lives for so many weeks that it was going to create a void now it was over, and yet at the same time they were all very tired and longing for a rest, to be able to "sleep without feeling guilty about it", as Julian had earlier described it.

"We'll have a little rest", said Bengo "And then start planning for the autumn show".

These plans also at least helped to mollify Bardin, and gave him something to chew on other than his thwarted efforts to become a mega-star. After having met Biscop though, even he wasn't that desperate to get known in the City that he'd willingly be exposed to his practices, belying Biscop's proud assertion that "people will do anything to get on television".

In the evening the clowns performed a routine that was hilarious, although an academic studying comedy for a thesis would have been hard pushed to say why. The largest and beefiest clown, who bore an irresistable resemblance to Tommy Cooper, sang a lugubrious, rather gloomy song about how hard it was working down on the farm, whilst his wirier, more nimble colleagues scampered around his causing mayhem. They all wore baggy dungarees and nothing else, managing to expose plenty of bum cleavage and looking rather cute.

The routine was a huge hit with the audience, much to Adam's surprise. He had seen them rehearsing it backstage earlier in the day and had been filled with foreboding that it would be an embarrassment. But what had looked tediously unfunny out of the ring was a scream inside it. Lonts laughed so much he had trouble catching his breath, and Joby found it so funny that he quite forgave the clowns for being "such miserable little sods" off-stage.

"Unsophisticated", Biscop was heard saying afterwards "It wouldn't work in the City, and particularly not on television. People expect more subtlety on t.v".

"What, like your show you mean?" said Joby, in disbelief.

"People just want to laugh more", said Adam, getting increasingly impatient with Biscop's assertion that television was the best invention since the wheel "I don't see what's so wrong with that".

Lonts was now chortling at a children's puppet-show at large in the ring, which involved almost as much slapstick as the clowns' routine had done.

"That's not fair though", said Lonts, shaking his head at one point "The brown bear's always the one who ends up getting covered in sticky stuff. Why can't someone else take a turn at it?"

"I can nominate a few suggestions", said Joby, gesturing at Biscop.

Joby and Lonts exchanged significant glances, obviously having already arranged something unpleasent. Adam sighed, but didn't feel inclined to discourage them. He knew if he did Joby would only remind him of the time he'd hurled an apple pie at Vanod in Quipignon, with deadly aim. Instead he decided to remove himself from the proceedings and keep Julian occupied in the meantime.

He found Julian sitting with Natalie and Ully, having his picture taken by a visiting journalist for a City newspaper. The procedure was taking so long that the three of them felt as though they'd been frozen into a rictus-grin pose forever.

"Prisoners at the bar", Adam laughed "That's what it looks like anyway".

The reporter thanked them and shouldered his cumbersome camera. As he passed Adam he muttered "That Natalie. Just being near her drives me into a sexual frenzy".

"You conceal it very well, old love", said Adam, sympathetically "No one would ever guess".

"Codlik wouldn't like it if I let it show", said the reporter.

"He's not here though", said Adam, perplexed "And anyway you don't work for him do you?"

"He's outlawed flirting".

"How on earth can you outlaw flirting for pity's sake? Does he send a little man round with a concealed microphone to eavesdrop on people's conversations?"

"I don't know how it works", said the reporter, darkly "All I know is it does".

"Good grief, what an appalling thought", said Adam "Big Brother is alive and well".

"Don't look so glum, Ada", said Julian, once the reporter had gone "We're a Free State now, remember?"

"Thanks be to God", said Adam, inadvertently quoting his father for the first time in his life.

"Oh look here comes Biscop", said Julian.

"Oh no", said Adam, in dismay "No one's following him are they? Is he covered in anything?"

"Cow dung?" said Julian, optimistically.

"It would only be what he deserved", said Adam "Chekhov once said that mediocrity would eventually be hailed as genius, and in his case it's true. And if that happened it would be the end of humanity".

"Don't be such a pessimist, I have great faith in humanity", Julian winked.

"Jules", said Adam, sharply "Are you in on this?"

"In on what, dear heart?" said Julian, with mock-innocence.

"I can't stop", Lonts announced, appearing from the opposite direction in his stage costume "Glynis and me are on next, so don't tell me off, Adam".

"Tell you off for what?" said Adam.

"For what we're about to do", said Joby, following on behind with Bengo in tow. They were all holding metal buckets.

"Ada, I really think we should duck", said Julian, a smile playing about his lips "We don't want to ruin the few good clothes we've got".

He pulled Adam down to the floor and the coloured water, thickened with eggs and flour, that the clowns used in their routines, mercifully sailed over them. Three bucket-louds went over Biscop, into his hair, his suit and any open orifices that were currently on display.

"That's what we think of your sophistication, Biscop", Joby roared "The sophistication that exploits people. Get back to the City where you belong! We're a Free State down here, we don't have to put up wtih the likes of you anymore".

"Jules", Adam hissed "You WERE in on this".

"My idea actually", said Julian, proudly.

"He could sue us!"

"Let him. He'll make an almighty charlie of himself if he does", said Julian "Cheer up, Ada. It's all in a good cause. After all, we can't allow the end of humanity, can we!"

"Was it your idea to put gel on Toppy's hair this evening?"

"No, Hillyard's".

"I might have known!" Julian exclaimed "You lot won't be happy until you've made him into a little tart".

"Actually it was for entirely practical reasons", said Adam "You know how fastidious he gets about his appearance, and he hasn't been able to shampoo it properly lately, so Hilly suggested putting gel on it".

"Hm, well he'll have to stop being fastidious about his appearance once we get back to the Indigo", said Julian "It'll be back to poverty all over again. As if this past week and all that slaving our guts out never happened".

"And back to you complaining about everything", said Adam "But then you've been doing that since the Festival started anyway".

They glared at each other in mock-reproach and then burst out laughing. They were standing in the bar of the best hotel in Toondor Lanpin, the one the visitors had all complained about. If the visitors had seen the other hotels in town they'd have kept silent out of thankfulness!

The barman finished stacking their tray with beers and iced coffees and they took them over to their table. It was dawn, the Festival had finished three hours earlier, and had been judged by all to be a great success.

"I love the style of this building", said Adam "It reminds me of the Old Cheddar Cheese in London, all these little nooks and crannies".

"Not so crowded as that I'm glad to say", said Julian.

At the table in the alcove sat Lonts, Hillyard, Kieran and Joby. They were gazing out of the picture window which offered a sublime view across the marshes at the back of the town to the mountains in the far distance. The dawn mist had smothered the landscape, and a handful of people walking along the causeway gave the impression of moving underwater.

"For once I'm relieved Bengo's gone home", said Julian "I'm too tired to put up with his leaping about the room, gibbering with excitement. He's already started planning the next show. I feel it's going to take me an age to recover from this one".

"I could sleep for a month", said Lonts.

"That'll make it peaceful for the rest of us", said Joby.

"I've been thinking perhaps Tamaz won't have to spend all his time in the cage from now on", said Hillyard "We could still lock him in it at night, but perhaps leave the door open in the daytime".

"We'll play that one by ear", said Julian.

"Tonight the circus ring is silent", Kieran intoned, gravely "The clowns and the dancers have departed, there are no roars from the crowd, Ransey is with Natalie counting the takings, Finia's packing the costumes away ... all is silent for another year".

"Oh give it a rest", said Joby "You're beginning to make me feel depressed".

"No, that's tiredness", said Kieran.

"Exactly", said Adam, raising his cup in a toast "Here's to exhaustion, and a good job well done!"


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