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The Jesters' Show

by jadeactor


What am I today?

I wake up from my bed, and walk toward a shelf. The shelf has multiple masks on it. I ponder for a while, finally stopping at a mask with a smile etched on it. Ah. Maybe I can be happy. The weather, the atmosphere, it's all perfect. I touch the mask.

A sudden burst of happiness ambushes me. What a nice day! Maybe I could touch grass, take in fresh air, and see the sunlight-

No. You don't deserve this. Why do you need happiness? So pathetic. You know happiness is a weakness. Stop- I put the voices in my head by banging my head against the wall.

"Shut uuupp!" I shout. "I am the court jester, this is a job I desire! Fuck off!" My smile returns. I look in the mirror, my visage having a bright smile. Yet, it feels fake. Why? I like to entertain people, it gives me happiness! I dig around for something that I needed, and there! I found it! A syringe!

It contained a bright red liquid, slushing around. I bring it to my shoulder, and grit my teeth as I bring the needle down on my arm. The pain is temporary, as I feel a warm feeling spread through my body. Yes, the liquid happiness worked!

Liquid happiness is a small drink I bought from my friend. I found that it helps me best with my occupation. It triggers the brain to secrete dopamine which makes me happy! And it worked, as the smile in the mirror seems real now. I am happy.

There is nothing wrong with me.

Nothing.

I take a stroll along the halls of my school. There is still some time before school starts. Suddenly, I spot a brown-haired guy attempting to shove his books in the locker. I approach him, and slap him on his back lightly.

"Jesus, Julia! Ya scared me!" The brown-haired guy recoiled back from shock, and dropped his books. "Sorry, I just couldn't wait to see ya, Matt!" I reply nonchalantly.

Matt has been my friend ever since elementary school. He's the quiet guy in our circle of friends. "Are Jane and Mike here yet?" I ask. "Nope, but they're gonna be here soon though," Matt replies.

Great. This will be really taxing. I walk to our classes with Mike, talking to him about his problems and occasionally joking about. Finally, when we reach class, we sit and flip some bottles before two people, a brunette and a black-haired male stumble in. I chuckle under my breath. 5 minutes late.

"Latecomers, I see." The teacher clicks her tongue. "What is today's well thought-out excuse? Intrigue me."

Jane puffs. "Well, miss, I spilt-"

"-some coffee on my shirt-" Mike gasps for air.

"-and a car crashed-"

"and I tripped on my way to class." Did Jane and Mike just finish each others' sentences? "Stop interrupting me!" shout both of them. As expected of the Andersen twins. Both sit back in their seats while the teacher deliberates their punishment.

"Alright, you two. Extra homework for you. No buts!" the teacher finally proclaims. She ignores the dissatisfied pleas of Jane and Mike. More consoling. This is gonna give me a headache.

Maybe ya don't need to. There are plenty of options. Ya have an abundance of kitchen knives, sleeping pills, and rope. Hell, there's a bridge next to this school. Come on! The voices in my head pound against my skull. I excuse myself to the toilet. While running through the halls, I try to think of an answer. The happy juice! I can use that, but I have no money. Damn it! I need to find something to distract me, and get me money. Hmm, what could it be?

Eureka! I can take a part-time job! While in the toilet, I take out my phone I sneaked from home and search for jobs near me. I find no jobs, except for one, which is...

A clown. I have to be a freaking clown. 25 bucks per hour, but...

Jackpot! echoes the voices in my head. Ya can entertain people, and finally give a meaning to your pathetic life. Ya might not be able to do it, though. Maybe ya might screw up somewhere... Better to end yourself than live with shame. Death is better than dishonor, as the samurai of old used to say.

I ignore the voices in my head. Sign me up! I submit my application, and ooh! The deadline is this afternoon! Ok, I can wait this out. Just...ten...more...hours.

I lay in my bed, waiting for a message. I get the mail, and... I got in! I get the location of the meet, and all I have to do is entertain some kids, right? Easy! I cycle to the location of the job and reach a bright red-and-white striped circus tent. I enter the tent and see... a clown?

Not just any clown, though. A handsome guy roughly my age. A really hot one. Jesus Christ, who is he? The makeup made him look better. That devious face... No. I am here to make money. Don't get distracted.

"Welcome." His voice is deep! I snap myself out of it. I am not like a character in a fictional story that hopelessly falls in love with someone. That's so cliched! No, if I push myself more... I will not succumb. "I presume that this is your first time at the Fairlane Circus? Let me show you around." He walks, no, strides toward a door and I follow him. I'm immediately blinded by the amount of people there were. I thought that this would be a little...milder.

"Follow me to the teaching area." He strides to another door, and this time I'm taken to a room filled with unicycles, brightly colored balls, and haybales. "Ya know how to juggle?" he asks, while sitting on a haybale.

"Uh, didn't ya get that information in my application?"

"The application asked if you could juggle. Everyone here can juggle. The question is, how well can you juggle?" His brown eyes penetrate my soul. "Oh, and don't bother lying. I can tell."

"I can juggle two balls at once." I cross my arms. He smirks. "Well, we all have to start somewhere," he says, nonchalantly. "Can you fake happiness?"

I am taken aback by that question. "What do you mean?" I ask.

"Well, we are clowns. Our job is to entertain. That is our literal job description. But what if people are acting obnoxious? You need to maintain a mask. If you can't do that, then leave. You've failed."

I smirk. "I specialize in that especially, sir." I hesitate to call a man my age sir, but it just felt appropriate.

"Cool. Also, drop the sir. I am literally your age. Name's Jake." We shake hands. "I'm Julia. Nice to meet ya." Jake spreads out his arms. "Welcome to the show." he says, still smiling.

The sky is dark by the time I get home. I lay in bed, transferring all my tension to my bed. Oh, right. Dinner. Meh, it won't kill me or anything. Once I close my eyes, though, the voices start.

Maybe he is good. A fellow jester! Very nice! You will fail him too, though. Just like everyone else that you've encountered. Just end yourself. Better to have eternal sleep than to fail. You don't deserve to live. Ya need a break. Do it... Just do it... Pick up the knife...

"Please stop... Go away..." I sob.

Hahahah! We are you. We are your innermost desires. To kill us, you have to do it. You know you're tired. But you'll never escape! Never. The mask will never fade. Or maybe you could commit a crime! Kill all those who dishonor you before committing seppuku. Or get executed. Very nice! After all, what has life done to you? All you've gotten is silence.

I continue sobbing. The voices, though, are relentless. You've never done enough, and never will. Give up. I bang my head on the wall, but the voices don't stop. I keep banging my head on the wall, and after a while, I feel tired. I fall back, red liquid clouding my vision.

The last thing I see are my doppelgangers standing over me, and taunting me, while smiling wickedly. Maybe I can be rid of them, but temporarily. I can never escape.

I am forever the court jester.


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235 Reviews

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Mon Feb 13, 2023 11:06 pm
4revgreen wrote a review...



Hey there! I saw chapter 2 in the green room but thought I'd read the beginning first of course!

The story opens really nicely with a rhetorical question for the reader. This immediately peaked my interest as 'What am I today?' is a really interesting question and got me thinking right away.

The overall idea of the story is really interesting but the narrative is a bit all over the place and could use some clarity. i think you've tried to squeeze a lot of information into one very quick-paced chapter which could be great if a lot of action was happening but it's also a lot of thoughts and dialogue I think could benefit from being developed on and expanded to make an even more immersive experience.
For example here:

I lay in my bed, waiting for a message. I get the mail, and... I got in! I get the location of the meet, and all I have to do is entertain some kids, right? Easy! I cycle to the location of the job and reach a bright red-and-white striped circus tent. I enter the tent and see... a clown?

The protagonist travels super quick from applying to the job to being in the tent. I think a slower exploration of this could tell us a lot more about the protagonist and how they are as person as well as this spooky new clown job! The story follows a character who wakes up, takes a drug to feel happy, meets up with friends, and decides to take a job as a clown; it is a bit disjointed and random, but that doesn't mean it's bad at all!

I think with some work you have a really cool concept on your hands. I can't wait to read the next chapter :-)




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Thu Feb 09, 2023 11:07 pm
vampricone6783 wrote a review...



Ahhhhhh this story is just so good! I hope that Julia is alright. I kind of ship Jake and Julia already. I like the romance (potential romance, anyway) in this story. I wonder what liquid happiness is though. Is it blood? I think that the beginning of the story was Jake’s POV. Is Jake even human? Is he undead? Wait, what if the Fairlane Circus takes away the souls of people who become clowns? Just a thought, though.

Excellent story and I wish you a lovely day/night.




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Thu Feb 09, 2023 3:48 pm
RavenNaal wrote a review...



This story was very interesting! The theme of someone I presume to be young having voices that taunt them is fun, same with the happy juice and wall of masks. All give a lot of details about who the character is and what they are like. Both the starting lines and the ending are great! "What am I today," really makes the reader question what is happening and who may the person in question be. The ending line is splendid as well, "I am forever the court jester." This really sums up the story and gives an understanding of the characters thoughts on their condition per se. The only thing I wish I could have seen more of was the characters background, possibly why they call themselves the court jester, their age and what their daily life is like. Other than just wanting more, the story is great. Well done!





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