Love Death Circus – Chapters 24 & 25

Cirque du SoleilChapter 24

Beating Cancer

The third chemo’s a charm!” Dr. Courtney Sands almost giggles. Willa Woods laughs and goes to slap high five with her oncologist but Dr. Sands grabs her hand instead. “Let’s not get carried away. The tumors haven’t grown, which is good, but they haven’t shrunk either. The markers are all going in the right direction but it is still early days.”

And the only side effect is loss of appetite, which might make me look more like an aerialist and a less like the Michelin Man. This chemo is good, Doc. I can live with it.”

Let’s hope.”

How long does Willa have to take this poison?” Zip Abrams is sitting in on this appointment because Frank had to go turn in his play and collect his commission check. She’s looking almost corporate in a green tweed suit and black heels.

This course of chemotherapy will be a total of twelve weeks, Ms. Abrams.”

So that means Willa will be cured in time for what, Valentine’s Day?

Cancer is never technically cured, Ms. Abrams. We are hoping to achieve partial remission at the end of this course, which means that some, but not all, signs and symptoms of Willa’s cancer will have disappeared.”

Willa says, “Zip, it’s good news, believe me. I’m healthier than I’ve been in months. I’ve got a good feeling about this one.”

Yeah, and last time you ended up in the ER. Doc, what about pneumonia?

Pneumonia is always a concern with people living with compromised immune systems, like Ms. Woods.” The doctor smiles, “Ms. Abrams…Ziporrah, I’m taking good care of your friend. I promise.”

Zip looks at Willa and back at the doctor. They both nod and Zip exhales. “OK. Good. I’m just looking out for Willa. That’s my job since Frank’s not here.”

Dr. Sands stands up, they all say their goodbyes, and at the door, Zip turns to ask the doctor, “How long does she have to take this chemo, doc?

As I said earlier, this treatment is a total of twelve weeks. We are going into week four now.”

And she’ll be better after twelve weeks, right?

We hope she’ll be in at least partial remission at the end of this course of chemo.”

OK. OK.”


Chapter 25

A Done Deal

Monsieur Singer? You are perhaps calling about the rôle in Corteo?"

Oui. Yes. My affairs are all in order, Angelique.” Frank isn’t about to tell Cirque du Soleil that he just lost a play commission and is desperate for work. “How is the other guy holding up, the guy you got, temporarily, doing my role? I mean, the role. In terms of quality, I mean?

Of course, I cannot discuss one employee’s job quality évaluation with another employee.”

But I’m not an employee—”

Corteo is now in Paris. That is in France. Are you still able to join the show before New Year?

I can join before Christmas! Hell, I can join on Christmas, if you’d like. I’m not a big fan of the holiday so…”

D’accord. We will send you a plane ticket from San Francisco to Charles de Gaulle airport on 14 December, two weeks from today. Your contrat will arrive via email by 17:00 this evening, Eastern time.”

Fuck, yeah!


I said, ‘I will review the contract with my lawyer and send you a signed copy if we find that everything is in order.’”

Very good. Thank you…”

One more thing, Angelique; when will my first paycheck arrive? I mean, what is your pay schedule when someone joins a show like I am…”

Cirque du Soleil pays every two weeks, Mr. Singer. Via direct deposit into an accredited bank only. Per diem is paid weekly in the local currency; in your case, in Euros.”

Frank closes the phone and yells, “Thank you, Angel-Lady! Fly my ass to Par-ass!” A woman walking her geriatric Chihuahua smiles and gives Frank a little wave. He blows her a kiss, screams “YESSSSSS” and gets into the Datsun. “Thank you, Angel!

Frank sits with his hands on the wheel, staring at the tiny dog sniffing a potted cactus. His heart rate slows a little. He sighs. He just got the best job of his career, at least the best paying job. Now all he has to do is tell Willa he’s heading off to Europe for six months, or maybe a year if they extend his contract. She won’t mind that he’s going abroad while she stays home and slowly dies of cancer. Nah, she won’t mind.

©2020 Jeff Raz | ISBN 978-0-9979048-3-3