The Day the Circus Died

In February my husband and I took the kids to the circus. Maybe it’s more honest to say I took myself to the circus and let the family tag along because I’m pretty sure I was the most excited to be there. I grew weepy when they dimmed the arena lights and started the countdown because I knew this was going to be my last circus. Pretty soon it’s going to be everybody’s last circus because Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey is breaking down the tent for the last time later this month.

It left me a little maudlin, this idea of broken tradition and unemployed acrobats and tigers, so I wrote a short story about a future where the circus lives on and Jersey Devil Press ran it in their May edition, dedicated to “the allure of possibilities.”

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Click the image above to read the story

If you missed the last circus in your town, don’t despair because you can watch the very last one – ever – live online on May 21…go here for details.

15 thoughts on “The Day the Circus Died

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  1. Hi Kristen!
    I loved your piece!
    You are such talented writer!!
    I am, and have never been, a circus lover.
    I know hubs and I went once when we were dating, I think!
    I probably just wanted the popcorn!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Wendy. I’m with you on the power of popcorn. It transforms mediocre movies into mesmerizing masterpieces. We did have popcorn at the circus…hmm.


  2. Love your story. We took our kids to the circus a couple of times when they were younger. There’s something about the fascination, the grandiosity, the spectacular of the thing. Ringling Bros. may be gone, but the reality there are different types of circuses that still travel around.

    A couple of my writing projects that I have started in recent years but couldn’t find a path towards finishing involve the circus. Maybe I need to re-visit one of those.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a bad experience with a Clyde Beatty Cole show that made me swear off small circuses but would make a funny story. I urge you to dust off your old circus stories. The world will need more circus.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very nice short story! Congratulations! I’m not a fan of the circus myself but it’s funny that lately, so many things I am seeing are about the circus. Which reminds me of a story…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Awesome short story Kirsten! I love exploring “picking up the pieces” and what happens next after routines and business or whatever is concluded. Enjoyed it very much. Thanks for sharing! And congrats on the publication!


  5. This had such a lightness to it, though the subject is change and loss. Tough to pull off that whimsy. My favourite line: “No one ever thought to sit the elephants down and explain the alternative.”


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