Frederick Piņa




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Vanishing
Vanishing
The Juggler
A Chariot of the Dead
You Don't Deserve
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I Just Cried
Yellow Doll
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Alone for One
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children as, it's the forgotten best
Today Is The Best Day
forgive the absence
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Even the Worms Dance, Tongues Tonight
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Mirror
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Grains
flies as joiners of porcelain
Silk as Brown does Claire
you're looking tasty your honor
Forgotten
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In the Gallery
Eramos Asi
Rage On The Rails
On the Snow, Covered
Squirrel
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the Pool is pulled
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In the Missing
Chipped off the Corner
Once Younger
Fistful of 9's
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Avoid the Almonds
The Corporation, Inside
the Feather weights a million doubts
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Padre Mio
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Limon con Leche
The Boy Who Fell Off The 2nd Floor
Evangelical Sisters
Indifferences of Man
Champagne and Other Things
Warning from an Umbrella
Broccoli
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Ex Hilio
Agnes Balchan
Claire
Zebra : Crow
Shadowed, I Owe Nothing
Waiting
halves of me, have
Shortened by a Leg
the magic of meghan
Give me God, Give me Gold
And So It Seems
Per Sons of Au
A Day Gone, Now
Windows through
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I Know Now What I Fear
One Eye Over The Land-Less
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In Blood
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Liat Hazan: Installation Artist
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I Have Been Purchased
I Bite Her Hand
Rusted Nail, Rusted Tail
The Ego of Enemy Lies
How the Beggar Is Buried
Opening Skies
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Pleasure Covered by the Art of Sin
Of Molasses & Sandal Wood
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I See You Ramona
Frogs At Dawn
Red Rain
Los Angeles 2005
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Rosario Dawson
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They
Melon, Berries and Honey Too
Jealous Am I
2 Lbs. of Love
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A Stab At A Wound
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I Didn't Ask For This
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Tables to Teeth
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I Am Here
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On Paper
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Hill-top Whores and The Price of Pleasure
Strawberry Sunday
Inter-locking Inwards
Above the Arch & Curved Curiously
Missing Memories
Ashes
Bloody Body
The Taste
Life Isn't Personal
Voices of Vanity
Stones & the Path of Clarity
After Midnight
You Always Feel
Those Tears
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White Sheets
Contact Me...
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Madman In Love
Love Is
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Angel of Light
Two Shells
Affection Lost
Time Does Not Forgive
Before I Am Famous, Or After I Am Dead
Tonight Is
Encapsulation
Brooke, Train on the Door
Jenai
Involved, Tangled & Trapped
Inexplicably True
Childhood
Invisible Train
I Will Never Fully Say
Olivia
Unable To Me
Innocently I Imagine
Satan
A Flower & A Rose, By The Stream of A River
Sweetness, A Pillow
Dear God
The Juggler

By Frederick Pina

Eating the last rock on the ground. Audience after audience member was simply astonished at the Juggler. He was tall, but lately everyone’s been whispering about his shrinking height. His teeth are fake. He lost them in a juggling accident years ago, yet, the smile is never off. He was in a bit of a bad mood today, but performed to the public park crowd as usual. After peeling his equipment, he seemed tense and did a bit of stretching. A little girl laughed near by. The Juggler, feeling playful, removed his fake teeth’s, horrified, the little girl ran away, and soon, tears begun to flow in the juggler. He didn’t make a dime today. Walking towards the bus stop, the true “identity” of the “the clown” as he is known is Taylor Tom. He was much in the juggler’s mind. People had been changing the features faster around his shows. Many fears had risen at childhood in the performances, and yet, he smiles, no one knew of his fake teeth, except for the small girl now. Tear after tear, feel and the juggler begged to be let on the last bus. The bus-driver didn’t like the juggler; he had a fear of men with painted masks.

“I had a nightmare about a man wearing a mask last night.”

“Really ?” Responded, with slight concern.

“Yes. I believed it, it felt so real.”

“What was the dream if I may ask ?” But the bus-driver seemed dismayed enough the other passengers, quiet up.

“I’ll tell you some other time.” But he continued driving. Letting out the last passenger, the Juggler kept to himself, but the driver asked he how long he would stay on. The last stop was fast approaching. Letting out a belch, the juggler begun scratching himself and singing unknown tunes to himself.

“Hey buddy, last stop is coming.”

The Juggler held himself, and let out a fart. After this he laughed and begun boxing. Dancing like a champ, he mimicked an audience of women, but deep down his heart was elsewhere. Tossing his small bag, the driver screamed, and the Juggler reached the front of the bus. Striking the bus-driver with his left hand, he choked him with his right hand and begun demanding for the wallet. The driver squelched and pleaded away with obscenities, Juggler didn’t like bus-drivers, and this man would be his eleventh victim.

 

“Hey ! Mr. Juggler, why don’t you ever smile ? I know your teeth are fake.” And the Juggler smiled, he had on a different color custom today. He had a pink one; today it’s red with small mirrors attached around his buttocks.

 

“Have you kids seen my new butt yet ?” The children became grossed, and the smile of the Juggler widened. 

“Why did you do that mister Juggler ? Why ? We’re kids and we’re not very much like this.”

“Soon you will grow, and all the lies won’t matter, your mommies and daddies lied and now I’m here. Watch the Juggler. Watch the juggler.” He had four glass vases in the air, they were filled with liquids and the children were all transfixed. One of the children never spoke. This was the one Juggler kept his eye on. Once, he stopped by window in the second floor of his house. The Juggler simply smoked. This was his signature. This was how he controlled them, by the smile.

“Mr. Juggler, will you juggle us ? All of us if the boys, you can do it I bet. Tell us you can mister Juggler, tell us you can.” Their excitement embarrassed Juggler; she was a little black girl. And Juggler likes her very much. She had beautiful hair, and colored nails, which in his heart, he felt little girls should look, resemble adult women. Once he tried to approach her, but she shied away. Everyone laughed when Juggler pretended to drop one of the vases, catching it with his foot; he winked his left eye like a true entertainer. Juggler loved the stage, he cried by the sight of children’s joy. He once had a child too. Six years ago, Juggler was just a lawyer in Queens. After fixing some breakfast to be taken to school, the simple father of Thomas, has the nightmare all parents dread, standing and crying, Juggler stood in the front door as the yellow school-bus ran over his seven year old son. He, the son, could not hear in either side, he was born deaf. He was angry of course, at the school district, at the intoxicated driver of the bus, who pleaded his innocence, claiming an epileptic episode had fallen on him. He lied in court. Even Thomas estranged wife showed-up, she wanted part of the civil judgment. There was more money than both knew what do to with, and she, the boy’s mother tried to care and cried crocodile tears. Juggler accepted the prison term, and drifted off into the alleys of New York. Sleeping amidst beggars and bums, the strange headlines amused Juggler. He was a serial killer, and he wanted to stop. Sending photographs, after photograph to detectives all around the police department. Juggler emerged as his answer to his un-barable pain.

 

“Juggler, will eat some rock again ?”

“Only if you spit them first.” All along the park, children cringed and twisted into knots of horror. All along the park, children dragged their mothers and fathers, even the littliest ones begun applauding the elegance, and skill exhibited. Babies would smile as Juggler smiled back.

 

Juggler could hear them whispering amongst themselves. Juggler really eats rocks. All the kids at school would say so. Juggler eats the BIGGEST rocks and the Juggler would simply pretend to continue on entertaining. Many of the children who watched Juggler, would awaken in the middle of the night. Screaming and kicking, they would tell their stories of seeing him again and again. That boy, on the middle of the street, they would say, and say they did. Parents begun calling one another, the fear had spread. Children were told not to give Juggler any money, Juggler was bad.

 

“I’m sorry children, but every time I eat a rock, I become an inch shorter. Soon, I’ll be smaller than Sam.”

 

Sam was the dog of the quiet black girl. The was blind, and the little girl like him that way, she felt more towards that dog than all her friends combined. This was the word amongst the fourth graders. Gossip wasn’t nice the Juggler would caution, yet, it continued and kicking rocks against the trees was how he best released his anger. He didn’t want to kill around the kids.

 

“Come on mister Juggler, just one rock. I never seem to a clown eat one before, please.”

Fat Nicky, always the fattest, but pretty as a skunk, this the Juggler said, all the kids would laugh. But Nicky did not, ever, as the smile on Juggler grew.

“If I eat a rock, I’ll become shorter, I’ll put myself back in school and I hate school.” The children begun to throw rocks near him, Juggler disappointed them now, they left, and we didn’t make a dime.

 

The wind blew softly, the leaves fell, it was fall. The season of lost love, or tears, depending on whom you ask would often Juggler tell strangers, sitting next to him on the bus. It arrived late today, and everyone’s lips were on the murdered driver. Chuckling at their tones in their voices, Juggler would try to entertain the adults, all while the bus moved. Driving at a slow speed, the driver would look through the rear view repeatedly.

“Hey ! Sit down, now !” Would echo across the empty spaces.

 

“I like him. That mister Juggler, sure is funky.” Said 86-year old Bernaldine Bennards. She wore the pink shoes with the same black dress. Her hair was fleshly combed, never a strand out of place. Her nails were cut neatly, and all her teeths were bleached.

 

“You are one radiating magnificence Ms. Bennards.” Gushed the Juggler, he chomps on his joints at her playfully and makes some cat claws. He was thinking of making a full of himself. He wanted to make her laugh a bit.

 

“My grand-son’s said he’s seen your show in the park.”

“Really ? I think I have. He’s the one with the pink Afro ?”

 

They did laugh indeed. The pink Afro was a choice of the clown. But the boy confusses clown with Juggler.

“Your son wants to be a clown. A real Juggler only juggles so, I would suggest to him that he raises Andy the drunk. He tried to be a clown for eleven years but never made money than t pity in the eyes of his audience.”

“Oh, don’t be so silly Juggler.” Laughing at the speed of drool. She laughed and slapped his thigh as if she was his mother. He attempted to be gleeful yet infuriated he became inside. No matter. This he thought,  hidden did not make the strange the out day. .

 

“Juggles, why don’t you come on over and give the poor boy some private lessons huh ?”

Juggles, the word continued to repeat itself in his mind. Juggles. Just why did she have to do that. Juggler could feel his pulse quickening.

 

“You know Mrs. Bennards, I have the feeling somebody on twinc is the wold is becoming, fast. I say, never get angry to someone near that person. Does what I say makes any sense ?” She nodded and looked at the pink shoes for the remainder of the journey. Chomping his teeth, Juggler thought of how he would best kill the driver of the bus. He thought of wrapping his head with a plastic bag. Yet, he felt the muffled screams wouldn’t satisfy his death lust.

“Have you been hearing the news Juggles ? There’s a serial killer on the loose ?”

“Oh, really ? I’ve just been living in the darkness. I suppose, my vision and my doctor told me not to read newspapers in the dark, it’s injuring my eyes.”

 

“Really ? Your eyes are going bad ? Maybe you should eat more cabage. I think cabbages solve all of our problem Juggles.”

“Please, don’t call me Juggles, it reminds me of some nightmares I had as a child.”

“Really ? Nightmares ? Perhaps some cabbage would help that. I mean, even children should cabbages, I feel life is so much better with a refrigerator full of the greenest, freshest cabbages.”

 

The Juggler keep averting his eyes, thinking of wrapping his fingers around the neck of the driver, he didn’t like the driver and his lips begun to curl. Making two fists, Juggler was drooling a bit, on purpose, so the lady sitting would leave the topic.

 

“So, this Mr. Serial Killer guy, what is his like ?”

“I thought you didn’t want to speak to me Juggles.”

“Well, the reason I haven’t broken all of your teeth is…”

“Excuse me ?” Asks the 86-year old. Eyes quite astonished. Somewhere along the lines of wrinkles, she had sweat beads, Juggler thought of licking the sweat and make-up off. Stranger thoughts have invaded the mind of the Juggler. He had pain in his ankles and believed  that this bus-driver should be spared to avoid any detection, suspicion or delaly his hunger.

“I’m sorry ma’am. I had a rough day at work. I was thinking of my boy. He’s been gone for so long. I do miss him.”

Her face softened, she could see something in his eyes.

“I know you’re a good man mister Juggles. I just need to make some life. I’m a Christian woman, and old woman will you never know who’s who anymore.”

Juggler laughed, a hump on the road and everyone bounced with the rhythm of a fork. A fork thought Juggler. Removing, this fork from his pocket, he told Mrs.______ to give this to her daughter and wish really hard before sleep.

 

“And why would I have my child do this ?”

“She said she’s been having nightmares.”

“Mr. Juggles, I have my words. I need to say to you. Now, it is not the time. I need to find the energy for it. I work as a seamtress, did you know that ?”

“No, I did not.”

“Well, my stop is approaching. Let’s continue this another time.” She left the bus, and the eyes of the bus-driver were firmly on the Juggler. Driving with seemingly an eye on the road and another on the rearview. Juggler stuck his tongue repeatedly. Knowing full well he rode for free.

“Don’t come here freak. Everyone knows about you.” Were the parting words of the driver. Juggler flipped the finger. Somewhere along the alley, Juggler stopped to look at the bus leaving. He could not help to think of his son. All the blood his little body left on the streets and side-walk. At night, behind the dumpster and grey rats. The  snoring of the seamen and Vietman-vets would remind Juggler oddly of his married life. He met his wife on a bookstore in Brookyn. He was a law student and she a nurse, but she hated her job. She made these statements so often, he just teased her with his grin. Sitting in coffee houses, they lean into each other. She was abused by her mother and she cried in front of him. She was an inch taller and had nightmares she would say, and as a little girl dream of marrying a handsome husband, and he, would shrink with the years. Reaching for a glass, Thomas only nodded and sipped beer. Stella was his favorite, and so were her eyes, they were brown, and the way she smiled, he knew he was in love. Dreams, secret promises along with fears were said, Thomas had wanted to be a painter, his parents objected and had him thrown out they would tell her, holding his hand about all the emotions he could not express. He disliked law, it limited his dreams, handicapped the mood exchanged yet they still kept their eyes on each other. He felt ashamed of being a bit of a square, she was the life of a party, she even wore jeans without underwear, a topic which lighted his eyes. She wanted to see Israel, and he did not. She had a long tongue. Over the candles, by his eyes, he’d whisper. “Now it’s time for silence, now we listen to our hearts.” Tears would roll down his eyes. She take them off, her fingers were there, always, to clasp his.

“I want to be someone else Thomas, I want to vanish away.”

“I don’t understand. I don’t understand.” Echoing into her mind. She feared growing old. She never told him these fears. In the end, he walks by the pound, the singing and roses given weren’t much. She walked out of his eyes, he did not see her after giving birth. Crying alone, by the screams of his child, Patrick held  himself, he was afraid, he was un-able to see himself in the mirror. Feeling like a failure, he imagined her moving, she didn’t leave a note, she didn’t say a word, whispers withered and so it scarred this man, how life dimmed. Being a soldier was an option, yet he did not intent on abandoning the heart of his son. The absence of each other’s lives, the absence of all that once were,  how is it that people fall so easily asked secretly. This is your father, whose studies, whose papers yet written sit by the lamp, whose bulb is as broken, shattered and dark as his soul. Heaven to smile a voice said, learn it well, spread the grin around. Anger didn’t enter, anger didn’t register, for he did not wish it to be seen, by his child, by his eyes that were much like his mothers. At night, under the covers, Thomas would think of her, her hair and the smell it left in his nose. Writing love notes was his passion, he head no intended in his dream, and he would roll from the discomfort, trapped, the miniture pain, screaming to grow, again, he would cry.

 

“What would you like for breakfast ?” Asked Thomas, he was proud to be there, early mornings, preparing his son’s favorite, waffles and strawberries cut like lips.

“Can I have more syrup dad ?” Energetic, and all brightness, glowing on his face, Thomas loved seeing the eyes of his son, seeing a bit of her, in them. He was a gentle boy.

“Yes, which one, chocolate or butter-scotch ?” Smiling, he winked his eyes, at the boy, sitting like a pelican, he was careful to listen.

“Ok, don’t be a silly bugger dad-o. You’re teasing, there’s no such thing as butter-scotch syrup dad.” It’s voice pleaded, him, was the delight. The energy released which Thomas believed, goes, life isn’t personal. So that he was soon.

 

“Where’s my mommie daddy ?” Asked the child. His eyes were fixed on his father. Awaiting an explanation,  he averted the child for the very first time, he tried to not think of the question. Holding his skin, goose bumps rippled through-out the forearms and neck of Thomas.

 

“WAKE UP BOY, WAKE UP !!” Screamed Plastic Panic, an old drunk with blood stained hair, he was kicking the Juggler, and wiping the spit from his beard.

“What, um, what time is it ?” Juggler demanded, in a void which echoed his hunger, he had no make-up and had no teeth. He teeth were stolen, as she slept. Beggar after beggar Juggler asked, kicking and yelling. He demanded his teeth back.

 

“You’re nothing but a waste Juggler. I don’t like you.” Snapped Barry the bowler.

“Tell me where you’d put my teeth. I can’t smile without them.” And everyone around did. They’re smiles were terrorizing.

“Why ? Why did you do this to me ? Tell me why would you steal another man’s false teeth ?”

“They were fakes Juggler, you conned us. We thought that your smile was genuine, you know ? You conned us. We don’t take deception lightly.”

 

“I WANT MY TEETH BACK !” His face reddening.

“We loved you Juggler, we let you eat with us and even use our toothpaste and toothbushes.” Many chuckled at the remark. Some even flat out laughed. Juggler’s legs begun to tremble. His knees were weak by all the large bulbs. Usually his anger is never publicly shown. These were how he live has passed them, wall hopes and dreams evaporated, all enemies died from age. They were after fresh blood, it was evident in their eyes. Knuckling up, Juggler reached for his bag, a kid to his oil cage and they al dashed for him, he did not fear death. Juggler did not screamed, reached for a blade, he started slashing the ankles of four men, he fell, and then remained, he wrabed the crotch of one of them, he yelled, it’s echoes reached all thought out the neighborhood, dogs barked and windows were opened, a few men stuck their heads to see, the sun was barely out.

 

“You’re a dead clown Juggler. You hear ? We don’t want you around here anylonger.”

“Kill him ! Kill the Juggler !” Spitting on his face, missing it immediately, Juggler wished to bite them, this bum bleed, and this, spitted in return. The thieves who now plummeted him. A police cruiser rolled by, the cheeky officers looked at the Juggler.


“Help me !” Yelled Juggler again, blood splattering, his clothes were soaked in sweat and red. The man above from the window watched, and listened.

 

“HELP ME… HELP ME !!” No one came. This destroyed Juggler. After the fight was over. Juggler thought of his victims, the bus-drivers killed and their families in more of a similar hand. Passing a Roman Catholic church, he thought of the funerals of the dead. He felt remourceful, yet, these emotions wouldn’t change the evidence against him. Looking at the door, the door handle, Juggler decided to skip his performance today, he walked up the steps and listened to his heart. Listening to the rhythm of the beats, waiting for the heart to speed up. One of his attackers had a broken jaw, in the midst of so much, he felt the sting of satisfaction. He came close to killing one of the, having had his head firmly between his hand, he was close to snapping his neck. Yet, he did not. As the door was now before him, it opened, and a priest exited.

 

“Good morning sir, how may I help you ?” The priest had blue eyes and black skin, he was African he said in an accent laced-speech.

“I need help. I need to see myself again. I can’t help myself pastor.”

“What is you name sir ?”

“Juggler, they call me the Juggler.”

“I’ve heard of a juggler. The children’s entertainer ?”

“Yes, that’s me. I love children very much. But I hate everyone else.”

“Everyone was a child once Juggler.”

“Everyone was a child, I just hate adults. They’re selfish and careless.” Ushering him in, Juggler noticed the church was empty. They were empty candles lit near windows, yet in all the gothic atsmphere. Juggler did not see the statue of Jesus. Walking to a back entrance the priest begun looking closely at his guest.

 

“What happened to your teeth ?”

“They were stolen. Don’t laugh.” The priest did laugh indeed.

“You’re not supposed to laugh at me. You’re supposed to be good.” Said Juggler, his voice cracking and his eyes on the sandal on the priests.

 

“I am sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you.”

“I wasn’t frightened of your laughter. I just didn’t like it.”

“You strike me, if I may, as a man who doesn’t notices enough of his surroundings.”

“Excuse me ?” Snapped Juggler, his eyebrows arched and lips trembling from the pain of the beauty. Trees were all over the backyard of the church, yet, Juggler could not spot the look of the Lord.

 

“May we sit ?”

“Yes, certainly so Juggler. By the way, my name is Father Michael. I noticed you need some stiches. One of our nuns is a nurse, a former nurse to be exact.”

“No, no, I won’t need any medical assistance. I heal rather quickly. I am truly a bit of a dull man. I just suffer from a more astronomical side once dust settles.

 

“Ah, an adulterer. May I suggest a pink condom ?” Oddly, Juggler did not find the comment strange, he simply absent-mindely looked at the frogs hopping around the grass. There were seven frogs, all jumping and seemingly dancing to some invisible tune, for Juggler server a number if times, a tune, chimes of sorts. These were the thoughts, he looked at the patterns on the frogs back, changing slowly as the clouds covered the sun.

 

“Father Michael, I have committed many sins.”

“Before we enter these topics, I need you to ask me as question first.”

“A question ? On what ? The frogs ?”

The wind blew, and the frogs seemed angrier, they danced and jumped with greater energy.

 

“No. We’ll discuss them later, now I need you to ask me, how did I know you would be standing by the door ?” Juggler chuckled nervously. He sensed some heat beneath his ear lobes.

 

“How’d you know I would be standing, at the door ?” Smiling, Father Michael glanced at the jumping frogs. All of them stood still now.

 

“Juggler, I saw you in my dream last night. As I opened the window, I saw a smile, in my mind, and I laid down. During the hours which I rested, you entered my un-consciousness, I saw you smiling. I saw you singing by the middle of a forrest, every plant had died after you finished and I opened, in this dream a mysterious echo traveled, and told you would need my assistance.” Juggler saw the frogs, their eyes closed and fell slowly to sleep. They had one solid color on their bodies, pink.

 

“You dreamed about me ?” Demanded Father Michaels. “Yet, we’ve never met in the past.”

“I don’t know father, my life has been very strange lately. I can’t explain myself fully.”

“I think you are a great man Juggler. God has revealed you to me, you are to become a great leader. You will need me in your journey. You are a good good man Jugger.”

 

Juggler had murdered six bus-drivers, and had a city of police officer after him. Every night, the news on television is of the clown with the smile. The frogs looked peaceful, and as the Juggler looked towards the heavens, the clouds were shaped by faces of.

 

“You must be mistaken Father Michaels, I am a sinner, I’ve have seen tears all my life.”

“Jesus is all around us.”

 

Tears rolled down the face of Father Michaels, placing his hand on the shoulder of Juggler, Juggler thought of his teeth and how ridiculous he must appear without them.

 

“Father, I don’t understand what you speaking about. I came here to seek clarity, instead I feel more lost. I just needed some company I guess. I never believed much in religion.”

“I was once an African bullfighter in Sudan Mr. Juggler. I killed God’s creatures as a job. I got paid well to entertain my audience. We all have audiences Mr. Juggler. Wether you are aware of this or not.”

 

“You’re a spiritual man, how you say these things to a man you barely just met ? You don’t’ know me, you don’t know my background, you don’t even know if I am a dangerous man.”

“You have kind eyes, and a gentle soul. I am never wrong. I am usually, almost to be exact, always correct.” Laughing like a drunkard, Father Michael’s face seem to have the glow of a new sun. His teeth were bright, and had broad shoulders. Next, father Michael bestowed seven kisses on each side of the check of Juggler.

 

“Why aren’t they any statues in the church ?” Asked Juggler.

“You ask so many questions Juggler. Do you think I don’t know who you really are ?”

“Father, I have been many things in my life. In other for me to maintain my sanity, I need to change.”

 

Inside the church, they walked back to the entrance. They looked into each other’s eyes and simply waited, then smiled. Father Michael took off his cross and reached for the Juggler’s hands.

 

“Juggler, I understand you’re good with your hands. Hold this for some time. They’ve brought this poor soul a great deal of luck.”

“Thank you Father Michael.”

“Come back soon, will see how it transpires.”

 

As the wooden door shut behind Juggler, Father Michael turned to sand, and laid there. A custodian and a maintance amn entered the church, and saw the mess. Cleaning the sand took several hours. The weight was more than sand weights.

 

Walking into Washington Square Park, Juggler sat by the fountain and decided to take the day off. No more entertaining.

 

“Hi Juggler. Are you going to juggle today ?” Nodding no, the Juggler was in low spirits, he did not lift his eyes, he just nodded and nodded again. It was his favorite child, the black girl.

 

“It’s me Juggler, it’s me.” She snapped her fingers. Juggler didn’t notice, nor hear her, she tried to smile, she was hurt. Examining his face, she demanded answers, but Juggler did not suffice.

 

“Juggler, it’s me. I’m your favorite. You told me so yourself.” Repeately this, several other followed. She felt defeated and walked away. Her mother looked at the Juggler, head hung, and shoulders slouched, it was easy to see how broken the man was.

 

“What’s wrong with him mommie ? What’s wrong with mister Juggler ?” Asked the black child.

“I don’t know Karreena, the Juggler just isn’t feeling like his old self.”

“But I’m his favorite, every kid on the park knows that.”

“Every kid ?”

“Yes.” She answered, full with enthuasiams. “Yes mommie, Juggler always, always looks at me when he juggles the dragon poison.”

Karreena’s mother had earrings, and nails painted pink. She had a joyous smile, and some light make-up. Think of what her daughter just mentioned, she continued to wash the little one’s hair. The bathroom was small, but Karreena loved bath time, many secrets have been exchanged there. She told Karreena many family secrets, and fears which haven’t been heard or completed.

 

“What is this dragon poison ?”

“Is what’s inside the jugs, the vases he catches with his feet.”

“Really ? Are you sure it’s dragon poison ?”

“I know so, he even takes it in front of all of us.”

“Juggler drinks dragon poison ? Honey, they aren’t dragons anymore. Sugar, they never were ever dragons in the world.”

“But mom.” Said the black girl, with the horror and disgust of a 40-year old.

“Listen to me, okay ? Listen to me now. I don’t want to hear anything about this Juggler and dragon poison. It’s all lies. He tells you kids nothing but lies.”

 

She begun tearing up, she didn’t enjoy seeing her daughter cry in the shower, or for that matter in the nude. She found it insulting for a female to cry in the nude.

 

“Mommie, he spits out gold rocks. The juggler, he makes us kids rich. Really, look under my bed.” Mother ran towards the child’s bedroom. They glowed like small suns. Shielding her eyes, mother screamed, and all the shine vanished immediately. The little black girl entered the room, fully nude with bubbles and lather, her hair had changed colors also.

 

“Honey, what happned to your hair ?” Asked the panicked mother.

“You washed it mom, don’t you remember ?”

“I didn’t. Who ? What’s happening here ? Why is all this happening ?”

“What ? What is happening ?” Raising her pitch, asked quite sincerely the daughter. Mother had fallen.. She held her head and begun shaking in denial, something wrong had just occurred, she needed composure.

 

“What’s the matter mommie ? What’s the matter mommie ?”

“Tell me who gave you all this gold ? Answer my questions ?”

“The Juggler gave it to me, he visits me every night mom. He says I’m a good girl and then he hiccups a gold stone.”

 

“Who’s been in this room ?”

“The juggler. He visits me every night. He goes by the window and he smiles at me mommie. He smiles.”

 

The bus arrived late today again, the driver was a woman name Tiara. She had black ahir and black nails, painted with some glitter on the surface. She was heavy-set, yet spoked softly.

 

“Good evening, the fare is two dollars.”

“I know what the fare is. Thank you very much.”

“Well, pay up them. I have to be at the station on time, and I’m late already.”

“Yes ma’am.” Said Juggler. Holding a brown paper bag, he looked through the trash and found some half-eaten donuts.

 

“What you have there ? Diner ?”

“A little something for the mrs.” Juggler smiled and sat like a little sailor boy. Hands firmly on his lap, palms flat.

“Did I ever tell you about how I wanted to be an athlete when I was young, maniacal with children and having a really, really terrible yeast infectioni ?” Juggler looks out the window, sighs and nodded reluctantly no. He was ill, but made a promise inside his heart he wouldn’t kill anymore bus-drivers.

 

“Well, I always wanted to become a professional runner. I think running is fabulous for the soul. My period wanted nothing of it, I would hear all these positive thoughts.”

“The name is Juggler.”

“Juggler ? What kind of name is that ? Sounds like a rapist or something. You need a normal…” Juggler interrupted her by belching six times back to back.

 

“I’m trying to tell you my story.”

“No. You’re trying to keep on the merits of my name changing. I don’t appreciate it.” There was silence, the muscle of the motor was something to Juggler’s feet. He smiled softly, to himself and the bus-driver looked at him closer, she noticed his absence of teeth.  Pressing the breaks, the bus came to a halt. Two passengers fell off their seats.

 

“Why are you stopping ? I thought you were late.” The engine was still running. The had had begun to drizzle.

 

Beating her daughter, the black child begun to scream out for daddy. She yelled his name, Henry. Echoing all through the apartment, she looked at her daughter and begun shaking her violently.

 

“Juggler help me, help me Juggler. Please.”

“Juggler isn’t your father, you hear ? He is not allowed to see you. You are grounded young lady.” Yanking the little girl’s hair, she dragged about one foot before lightning struck.

 

“Why are you hitting me mommie, why ?”

“I love you,  I need you to learn, to obey me and to just, just…” A second strike of  lightning was heard, mother was afraid of lightning, she became nervous, dropping her belt she locked the little girl inside her room. She banged on the door, she screamed, and said a curse word out loud. Mother was stressed, and she didn’t know how to display her weakeness. She usually ran away, the key to the door was still on the lock, the little black girl knew this soon. She expected mother to fall alone, these were those times one just got drunk.

 

“Mommie, I see the juggler. In my mind, I see him. He tells me things, it’s not a lie. I’m telling you the truth.”

 

Reachinig into the liquor cabinet. She grabbed a bottle of black label Johnny Walker and did her best to ignore her daughter. Punkling down on the sofa, she heard images of her own mother, she died in a fire in Atlanta, and had never been the same since. She got pregnant three years later.

 

“Mommie, Juggler said it’s not your fault. The wasn’t your fault. He’s telling me to tell you this mommie. Please listen to me. I need you to hear me mommie.”

 

Mother had set the cap down, and could smell the aroma. The bitter taste, the front on the table which she placed beneath her tongue. She love couldn’t a secret passion, a secret shame.

 

Urinating in public, Juggler had lost all sense of up and down. Life seemed like a series of blurs. Children in strollers would be quickly rushed by their parents, noticing the man who just gave the joy and laughter fall to pieces. Juggler was rambling some songs, an African folk tune, and he clapped his hands, he had his penis still out, and he danced like a loon.

 

“You should be ashamed of yourself.” Snapped an elderly woman.

“How dare you ? What do you want me to do witht that ?” Other teenagers, girls mostly laughed at the Juggler’s size and puzzled face.

 

“Hey Juggles, why don’t you juggle that sausage of yours.” Drooling and slapping the wind, Juggler had lost it. He looked away at the trees, and begun spitting at the trunk, leaves and flipped the finger to the chirping birds.

 

“Sir, you’re going to have to stop this maniacal behavior.” An elderly man, on his walker and barely standing. His hunch on his back, has bird droppings all over it.

“Sir, you need to put that penis of yours away. Women and children use this public park.”

Juggler turned twice, did a circle and break-danced. The old man on his walker just smiled dryly, he shock his head, a police officer just arrived.

 

“Excuse me sir, you are exposing yourself, please…” Juggler spit landed on the officer’s chin. The officer pushed Juggler against the tree, wiped his chin and removed his cuffs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE END

Copyright (C) 2006 by Frederick Pina