Under the Big Top | Dara Hurd-Danilson

Two dogs walk into a bar…

What kind of dogs?

Does it matter?

It matters.

All right, they’re bulldogs.

French or English?

English. They’re English bulldogs. Satisfied?

I’m starting to get a visual. Go on.

So these two bulldogs walk into a bar…

It’d have to be a pub if they’re English.

It’s not! It’s an American bar. Look, the bus will be here in ten minutes. Do you want to hear the joke or not?

Ten minutes or ten hours, it makes no difference to me. I’ve got all the time in the world. And I’m not getting on that bus.

What are you talking about? This is our big break! After fifty years, Denny and Lenny are finally back under the Big Top. You’re getting on the bus.

I will if you show it to me.

It’s packed in the suitcase.

That doesn’t look like a suitcase to me. More like a cardboard box. I just want a peek.

If I give you a peek, will you get on the bus?

Cross my heart and hope to die…only I don’t have a heart, so you’ll have to take my word for it. Trust! It’s a beautiful thing.

I swear if you weren’t a dummy, I’d kill you myself. Give me a minute. It’s at the bottom of the box…I mean suitcase.

“You say potatoes, I say patatoes…potatoes, patatoes…let’s call the whole thing off.”

Here it is! Now stop singing, you’re embarrassing yourself.

Who’s tah know! We’re sitting on a bench in the middle of a graveyard.

I’ll know. Now hurry up and read it, the bus is gonna be here any minute.

I can’t. I don’t have my reading glasses.

Since when do you wear glasses?

Since the Bearded Lady put a bullet through my head. Look! You can see clear through. I would think under the circumstances you would show a little compassion. After all, I did take a bullet for you.

It was fifty years ago.


Give it to me!

Skip to the good part. All that legal mumbo-jumbo strains the sawdust.

“Date” and “Time of Death”?

Yesterday. High noon. I was there.


Death by bookie. Nasty business by the way.

You’re telling me. “Funeral Arrangements”?

That’s the ticket!

“Please join us in celebrating the long and illustrious life of the world renown ventriloquist, Leonard Lumbrowski…” Wait a minute! They got it wrong. It’s “Lambrowski”. How could they spell it wrong? It’s my fucking epitaph, for Christ’s sake.

P.T. could never spell worth a damn. Look at his signature. It looks like a clown signed it.

He was a clown.

Exactly! Now about that joke…

Too late, the bus is here. You coming?

Only if the Bearded Lady apologizes. How’d she die by the way?

Kardoff the Knife Thrower.

So no close shave for her?

Get on the bus, Denny.

I will if you say it.

All right! But, clear the sawdust from your throat, you’re off pitch important link.

How’s that?

Not bad for a dummy. You ready?

I was born ready.

On three. One…two…

“Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth!”


Dara Hurd-Danilson is a freelance writer, a children’s book author, and a member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators, the Songwriters Guild of America, and the Writers Guild of America. Author of the soon to be released fantasy fiction trilogy Between Heaven and Hell, she lives in Sacramento with a six-year-old pug who is the Denny to her Lenny.