Love Death Circus – Chapter 15

A Missed Opportunity At the end of the week, Willa is still hospitalized but practically cough free. Her appetite is back so everyone who visits her hospital room smuggles in a treat. On Sunday, Zip Abrams walks through the door wearing a man’s three-piece pin striped suit and carrying a huge heart-shaped box of chocolates. She drops to a knee in front of the bed. “They no sooner met but they looked…” Zip stands … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 14

The ER “I called her ten times, on the house phone and on her cell, and she didn’t answer!” Jackie Armarillo is in old grey sweatpants and a hoodie. Her voice is high and thin. “She didn’t answer!” Jackie tries to peek at Willa Woods through the small window in the hospital room door but half dozen people in scrubs are blocking her view of the bed. “I got over to her place and, … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 12 & 13

Chapter 12 Working Clowns An hour later, Frank jogs to the BART station. It takes him three tries to get the machine to print him a ticket and then he finds himself standing on the eastbound platform when his westbound San Francisco train arrives and leaves without him. He switches sides and waits another 20 minutes. He’s lost in the midst of a routine he’s done hundreds of times. The seven-minute ride through the … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 10 & 11

Chapter 10 Cancer is Easy Back in her office, Dr. Sands says, “We only have a few more minutes to…” Willa interrupts, “OK. Let me put this a different way. Breast cancer is a glamorous disease. All the ribbons and races, lots of services and support for us brave women fighting the good fight.” The doctor sits quietly, listening. She gives nothing away. “On the other hand, no one wants to hear about bipolar … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 8 & 9

Chapter 8 A Hero’s Welcome “So there’s my mother sprawled out on the floor in her kitchen.” Frank Singer takes a sip of his Oolong tea to give his roommate Willa Woods time to visualize the scene. It had been a long night; now it’s late morning. Frank is rested enough to feel terrible about leaving Willa and Tina at the memorial show, but why apologize when you’ve got a good story to tell? … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 6 & 7

Chapter 6 The Crazy Lady Zipporah (Zip) Abrams is killing it with her crazy old lady act. Frank Singer stands in the wings wearing a wet pink dress on his body and a big smile on his face. Zip and her old partner Bob Meadows were his favorite clown team and since Bob moved to New York a decade ago, Zip’s been the one. She read the phone book at Frank’s fortieth birthday party; … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 5

Dead & Alive In the darkness, the rhythm section starts a slow, hypnotic version of Duke Ellington’s Caravan and a shaft of light appears center stage. As the trumpet comes in, two long red silks, aerial tissu, unfurl from the flies and hang in the shaft of light. Virginia Barre walks to the tissu and pulls the two strands apart. She stands center stage, a young woman with dark brown skin wearing a blue … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 3 & 4

Chapter 3 Pippi Longstocking Willa Woods is hugging the porcelain goddess. Her stomach has long since run out of food to disgorge and her abdominal muscles ache from heaving. “Better than sit-ups,” she says to herself, and it’s true; her abs haven’t been this strong since a brief career as a trapeze artist ended with a nasty fall. That accident was in the exact same theater where she should be right now, setting light … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 2

Quebec Calling Frank finds his phone at the bottom of the duffel bag. He flips it open, ignoring the gauzy pink cloud at his feet. “Hello?” “Bonjour. Am I speaking with Frank Singer?” Relief washes over him – it isn’t his mother. It isn’t Berit. He isn’t an orphan. “Yes, this is Frank.” “Mr. Frank Singer? Allo, my name is Angelique and I am calling from the Cirque du Soleil casting départment.” Someone from … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 1

Early Morning in the Mission A huge pink dress lies over Frank Singer’s right shoulder. The hanger hook digs into the first two fingers of his right hand. It’s raining in San Francisco’s Sunny Mission and the theater is still three blocks away. Frank puts his head down and keeps walking. With every step, a small duffel bag full of juggling clubs bounces against his left hip. His regular clown costume, a plus-sized red … Read More

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