“Putin involved in this thing now?
Rando’s touching the problem shoulder.
“It’s, uh, a lot better. Up to par, up to snuff. On an even keel with Righty.”
You named your shoulders?
“No, I call my shoulders by their names.”
I see the distinction. Glad to hear about the shoulder. What’d you do?
We know what you did at first. It’s on YouTube. What have you been doing for it lately?
“Ah. The ancient Indian art of chutney.”
I’m pretty sure that’s not it, but what are talking about?
“You trace a mandala in the air in the disappearing orbit of motion: not just gone, but never quite there in the first place.”
The thing where you swing the clubs around?
Oh, I thought you were learning to juggle.
“No, I learned that in the bunkhouse.”
So much happened to you that summer.
“Crazy characters, wild tales. But, yeah: one of the guys in there knew all that clown stuff: juggling, and fire-eating, and pickpocketing. Name was Patches.”
Wait, I thought Patches was the blind cowboy.
“Yeah, uh-huh. But that Patches died within hours of leaving the bunkhouse for the first time. And, you know: can’t let a great nickname like that just sit fallow.”
“Great guy the second Patches. Escaped from the circus.”
You don’t have to escape from the circus, Bob.
“Really a superb guy. Didn’t last long, though. You know the trick where all the clowns come out of the little car?
“Can’t substitute a horse for the car. Angers the horse.”
I would bet. This Patches died, too?
“He lived through the stomping. Strong work ethic, circus folk. Back at work the next day. Unfortunately, he was mysteriously mauled to death by a tiger that afternoon.”
Where’d the tiger come from?
“That’s why it was mysterious.”
“Went to his funeral. Traditional clown service: the wreath squirted water at ya, all the balloon animals were black, whole deal.”
“Pallbearers wore their squeaky shoes, though.”
Tough to maintain composure.