By Amy Theobald Ross
Under the terms of the contract given to the juggler after the audition, he promised and was promised many things. He would perform two shows daily and drop only three balls in 300 tosses. He would juggle coffee mugs occasionally, and was allowed a few more misses with those. If they broke, he would pay damages as he had when he bent his mother’s spoons as a child.
This was barring unforeseen hardships (sudden blindness, chronic inner ear imbalance, or the break-up of his already tenuous family) as well as earthquake, fire, and participation in spectacles like the running of the bulls.
In turn, he would receive modest wages, an account at The Trophy Shop—which sold balls, mugs, and the funny pants that had come to be known in the trade as requisite—and the placement at every show of a sweetly smiling young hype girl right up front.
Amy Theobald Ross is an editor who writes short stories and even shorter stories. A flatlander who longs for the mountains, she currently lives, works, and reads in Illinois with her husband and two daughters.