Revenge of the Juggler


The surrounding crowd went wild with applause after the juggler's grand finale—juggling four blazing torches while circling and spinning "high in the stratosphere"  on his giraffe unicycle.

Everyone on the street had been totally entertained by the half-hour show at the annual fall foliage fair—everyone that is except little John Paul. John Paul was a street performer's worst nightmare, a ten-year-old heckler with a seemingly endless supply of nastiness. The juggler had tried everything in his arsenal of heckler lines to fend off the brat, but to everyone's consternation, John Paul was still there when the last torch went out.

As street shows go, it had been a pretty good one for the itinerate performer; in fact, people were actually being more generous than usual, probably due to the sympathy factor. After all, everyone had survived John Paul, and the expert juggler had been very funny cutting the kid down to size with some clever jokes. The problem was that the kid was incapable of embarrassment. Scores of people shaking their heads and begging him to leave didn't bother him a bit. He reveled in the attention. This was truly a boy in dire need of some parental...guidance.

At the end of the show, people filled the juggler's top hat with beautiful crisp green bills. This was the applause that really mattered; it was gas for his car, food for his stomach, and a roof over his head. As he moved through the surrounding crowd, making friends and answering questions, he'd occasionally glance back at his now bulging hat, which sat on the pavement in front of his bright red box of props.  From the corner of his eye he saw John Paul sneaking up on the cash. Suddenly hovering over it, the delinquent pulled a dollar from his pants pocket and began to lower it toward the pile of dough but then quickly pulled it back. Over and over he dunked the bill, as if to say, "Look at me, I'm going to give you some money. Na—ha ha."

Never looking directly at him, the juggler kept track of the brat's continual teasing. He also noticed that no one else seemed to be aware of John Paul's on-going stunt. There was the kid, smug grin and all, desperately trying to get the man's attention, dipping the bill up and down.

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