• Another Sunday morning in Paradise Circus. Keto was still sleeping while his brother, Kudi, was wide awake, listening to the blaring sound of the alarm like it was an opera rendition. Keto suddenly sat up and hurled a big red clown nose at the alarm clock, shutting it up immediately. Satisfied, he laid back down to continue his sleep but was jolted up by the sound of a siren outside their tent. Keto grunted in frustration.
    “Apparently a sound sleep is too much to ask for around here.”
    Kudi got up from bed
    “Come on, it’s time.”
    Keto grunted again and pulled himself up. The circus performs every day of the week, except Sundays which were reserved for meeting and assignment tasks in preparation for the new week’s activities. On the way to the arena which was the usual venue for the meeting, Keto kept complaining and ranting about everything while Kudi just tagged along, wishing he was momentarily deaf.
    “Horace better not assign us lame tasks this week else I will give him a piece of my mind. We should be accorded due respect around here; I don’t see anyone else do the things we do.”
    Kudi was puzzled:
    “But what do we do?”
    Keto gave Kudi a disappointing gaze and shook his head.
    “I sometimes can’t believe we’re twins. What do you mean by that question? Ever heard of a circus without clowns? This whole freak show thrives because of us!”
    Kudi nodded even though he didn’t quite understand what Keto meant. Keto went on:
    “But mark my words, one day, all this is going to be ours to control. We are going to rule the circus and take it to new heights others can only imagine.”
    By the time they got to the arena, everyone else was already present and Horace was ready to address them; he gave the clowns a side glance and paused as they silently walked over to where the others were standing and joined them.
    “I’ll keep this meeting brief and precise. Last week wasn’t one of our best weeks; our performances were below average, which led to a low turnout of spectators; we all know what that means – low profit.”
    Keto turned his head to observe the reactions of the others. Usually, this would be the point where the murmurs and objections would begin, but they were all silent and listening with rapt attention.
    “This week, there will be changes in tasks. Lucas, Keto, and Kudi will be in charge of clean up, Alena will man the kitchen, Marley will be in charge of selling tickets while the rest will retain their previous tasks.”
    Horace paused and faced Marley.
    “In addition to selling tickets, you will also be responsible for selling our merchandise over there. Our merchandises are of the best quality, so people that buy them will be getting the highest possible value for their money, and will also be doing us a favor by promoting our business. And to everyone else, let us remember that the task comes first, always.”
    The meeting came to an abrupt end, much to Keto’s amazement. He pulled back Kudi who was leaving with the rest.
    “What just happened?”
    “The meeting is over, let’s go begin our chores.”
    Keto hated being assigned to clean-up duties, he was waiting to voice out his protest along with the rest – assignment of tasks was usually greeted with objections and protests. For instance, Keto expecting Marley to say that he was neither good at marketing nor accounting, or give some other excuse as to why he should not be assigned to the booth, but he accepted the task without so much as a snide comment, and so did everyone else, which was unprecedented.
    Back at their camp, Keto could not shut up about how the meeting had went, despite Kudi’s constant nudging about completing their tasks for the day – the last thing in his mind was doing any chore. Finally, he decided he was going to have a word with others – maybe they were feeling the same way he was. First, he went to Marley’s tent and found it empty.
    “He must have gone to our spot.”
    Keto had a spot behind the arena where, together with Kudi, he usually hung out with Marley and Lucas to smoke every morning – it was their daily routine. He assumed Marley had already gone there, so he made his way there. He was forced to take a detour when he saw the ticket booth open and Marley moving about in the booth. Keto walked over to the booth to have a word with Marley.
    “Whatcha doing, pal?”
    “I’m arranging the booth. Gotta move the merchandise from the store into this place, so people can see them when they come to buy tickets. But first, I gotta make room for it.”
    “Man, you’re really taking this seriously. Let’s go smoke some joints first, you can do this later.”
    “The task comes first.”


  • Keto was startled by Marley’s response. He left Marley and went to look for Lucas. ‘Definitely, Lucas must be at the spot rolling the joints already’, he thought to himself, but he didn’t meet Lucas at their usual spot. However, he saw him nearby, carrying a bucket into the toilet beside the arena – the public toilet meant for circus fans who come to see their shows. Keto hurried after Lucas.
    “Hey! Whatcha doing?”
    “But we gotta get stoned first.”
    “The task comes first.”
    “Oh fuck that! Not you too.”
    Again, he walked away from Lucas and went to look for Voodoo. He searched the entire premises but could not find Voodoo so he concluded that he must be out, performing his task as well. Keto went back to his tent disappointed.
    “I must’ve woken up in a different dimension – a parallel universe where everyone has lost their mind.”
    “We should go do our chores as well.”
    “Fine! If clown hell does exist, I’m in it right now.”

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