Ringmaster, The

Date Written: 

A poem, inspired by the story The Rubber Circus.

Ringmaster Kyra grinned as she surveyed her circus tent
"My circus is the greatest; every coin has been well spent!
I have no doubt at all no other circus can compare.
I'm used to being best, and I've the best show anywhere!"

Hearing this boast, one of Kyra's Clown's peeked out and smirked.
She could have some with this, she thought, if her plan worked.
"But have you been to Morganville?" the mischievous Clown said.
Ringmaster Kyra turned, then raised her brow and cocked her head.

"Tell me of this Morganville, they have a circus there?"
"Oh yes," the Clown chirped merrily, "And it's beyond compare.
The Ringmaster's a giant man, ten times taller than me.
He presides over a big top that towers over the tallest trees."

As Kyra fumed, the scheming Clown could scarce contain her mirth.
She'd keep on going with her prank for all that it was worth.
"Their lion is so huge, they feed it three whole cows a day!
And every week their elephant eats twenty tons of hay!"

Ringmaster Kyra's left eye twitched as she held in her ire.
She listened still and silent, though her eyes now flashed with fire.
The Clown wouldn't have continued had she known the consequences.
"...and the smallest of their clowns is even bigger than this tent is!"

The Clown just chuckled as she saw the other's wounded pride.
"I've heard enough of Morganville's Giant Circus!" Kyra cried.
"I'll make this circus biggest if it's the last thing that I do!
"We're going to be the biggest, and we're going to start with you."

Kyra took a deep breath and her gut began to swell.
She filled herself with air until her cheeks puffed up as well.
The Clown looked on with fear. "Just what do you intend to do?"
Kyra grabbed the Clown, she pressed their mouths together, then she blew.

The other performers stared but they could not believe their eyes.
They watched as Kyra blew the Clown up to a monstrous size.
The Clown filled out like a balloon, her body growing round.
Her costume tore to tatters, pieces scattered to the ground.

The Clown tried to protest then as her body groaned with strain.
The Ringmaster ignored her, took a breath, and puffed again.
"I can't take any more," she begged, "you really have to stop!"
Kyra said, "You have a choice: you'll be the biggest, or you'll pop!"

Who'd have thought the Ringmaster would snap at a mere jest?
But she'd clearly lost her mind in her desire to be the best.
The Clown moaned deeply in despair as Kyra kept on blowing.
Miraculously, her body kept on stretching more and growing.

But soon the Clown was creaking, pressure more than she could bear,
Her cries for mercy muffled as she overfilled with air.
She slowly stopped expanding as she just ran out of room
She closed her eyes, she clenched her fists, and suddenly -- Kaboom!

The troupe remained transfixed as they had watched the Clown distend;
They were too stunned to move at all by her explosive end.
Ringmaster Kyra slowly looked them over where they stood.
The Clown had not succeeded, but perhaps another would.

The Strongman had stayed stoic as the poor Clown disappeared.
He barely even looked up as the crazed Ringmaster neared.
The Strongman fared much better, more than doubling the Clown's size.
But as he grew, he'd never fill the tent he realized.

Begging would be futile, so he didn't even bother.
The Ringmaster was mad; she'd simply pop him, then another.
Unlike the Clown the Strongman faced his destiny with calm.
He uttered not a peep before he went off like a bomb.

The Tattooed Lady held her own; she blew up tall and wide.
She became a giant mural as her artwork magnified.
Though she presented quite a sight, her limits were surpassed.
The Tattooed Lady vanished in a technicolor blast.

Ringmaster Kyra stomped her feet and sputtered in frustration.
"Why is it that none here can withstand a little bit of inflation?"
But none of Kyra's circus folk could hear her as she cursed.
Most had fled in fear; all those who stayed behind had burst.

"It looks like it's all up to me to make this circus great."
So Kyra huffed, puffed, and tried to make herself inflate.
She'd never tried to take inside more than one breath before.
She happily discovered she was capable of more.

Her topcoat quickly split apart as her belly distended.
Her buttons popped, her seams were ripped as clothes were swiftly rended.
Her arms and legs were forced to stick out stiffly as they swelled.
The last shreds of her clothing flew apart as they rebelled.

Freed from the last of her restraints, the Ringmaster broke into a grin.
She was inhaling the air much faster, but she strained to keep it in.
She looked up as her head approached the circus tent's high ceiling.
She inhaled more, her rubbery body groaning, creaking, squealing.

Sensing victory looming, with one last profound endeavor,
She pursed her lips and took a boggling breath - her greatest ever.
Quivering and quaking her entire body surged.
The tent was left in ruins, and The Ringmaster emerged.

Kyra yelled and cheered with joy, "I've done it, I'm the best!"
She was quite huge, well over ninety yards across, she guessed.
She stopped as suddenly she felt her skin turn strangely tight.
"Oh my, what's going on with me? Something isn't right."

A sudden realization struck and filled her with concern.
Still swelling, she had finally passed the Point of No Return.
The pressure that had filled her was still making her expand.
Her skin could stretch no further, nor keep up with the demand.

Panicked now, Kyra desperately tried to exhale.
But not a single puff escaped; it was to no avail.
The Greatest Ringmaster of them all felt her impending doom.
And with a final, tortured squeak, poor Kyra went KABOOM!

Author's Note: 

This poem was inspired by The Rubber Circus. It's a short story about a rubber man who starts up a circus with rubber animals and a rubber clown. He wants to have the biggest circus, so he blows them all up big. Then the clown says that he's not the biggest, and that he's seen an even bigger clown...

Has anyone else noticed just how twisted children's stories can be?

Chat logs are a wonderful thing. I can actually go back and review the conversation from Champagne Moon that spawned this story. She had sent me The Rubber Circus, and thought it would make a good basis for an inflation story. She asked if I could do my own modified rendition of it.

At first it was extremely troublesome to write. The original is an illustrated children's story, it's very brief and simple. My writing style was far too verbose to make it work.

Around that time I ran into an old poem by Shel Silverstein titled The Smoke-Off. And it was this stanza that triggered the idea:

So a note gets sent to San Rafael for the championship of the world.
The Kid demands a smoke-off; "Well bring him on!" says Pearl.
"I'll grind his fingers off his hands! He'll roll until he drops!"
Says Calistog, "I'll smoke that chick til she blows up and pops."

And then it hit me: write it as a poem. It's really amazing how much more efficient my word usage becomes when everything has to rhyme and fit into a certain meter.

I fairly quickly got a rough draft done and sent it to Miss Moon. She made some suggestions, edited it a bit and fixed the meter. I was quite pleased with the end result.

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