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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Animal · #2258331
It's all about the applause.
All Words: 1112

Once upon a time, there was a house.

If you could call it a house, that is. Maybe 'zoo' would be a better word. Or 'menagerie', if you'd like to get fancy about it. 'Farm', perhaps. Or 'circus'.

That's right, that's right. Let's call it a 'circus'.

In a circus, animals and people live together in close proximity. Each is carefully taught a particular stunt as a toddler or pup or cub. Each spends the rest of his or her life honing that stunt and performing it to an applauding audience. The meaning of life is about applause from the audience.

In this particular house – sorry circus – that I'm telling you about, there lived eight human animals, one canine person and two feline youngsters.

Of these, only the feline youngsters didn't have their stunts perfected yet. The eight human animals, even the very youngest, were aware of what they had to do to get applause from the onlookers. The canine person was what he was. The feline youngsters, being absolute kittens, were simply 'aw, cute'. That did get them applause, though, but it was of a more spontaneous type.

So anyway, our story begins with the proposed addition of a human to the household. Er-circushold?

One of the eight human animals had found himself a mate.

(Applause, applause!)

This mate was now going to come and occupy his cage room with him, satisfy his sexual urges and perform her own stunts to get applause from the audience.

However, there was an initiation.

Before she could be presented to the audience as part of the circushold, she had to perform her stunts for the existing human animals. Only if they approved of her would she be visible to anyone else.

If they didn't approve ...

Well, then, she'd have to remain in the cage, emerging only for meals, or if he decided he needed to satisfy the urge somewhere other than in the cage.

It wasn't as bad as it sounded. Her mother had trained her for this. After all, her mother had faced it herself, as had her own mother before her and all the mothers since mothers were invented.

They knew the cooking stunts and the dressing stunts and the gossiping stunts and the flattering stunts and they knew the ultimate stunt of all, the stunt that concealed that this was all a stunt. The sincerity stunt.

Each one tried to outdo the other in terms of the sincerity stunt.

Now here, the new female was at an advantage a disadvantage. Her mother hadn't taught her the sincerity stunt. With the result, she wasn't stunting when she said something, she was being truly honest.

Surely, true honesty would shine through all the stunting?

Ah, but you see, the human animals had been trained to look for the fake sheen of the stunts, not for the true glitter of honesty. Not being able to recognise it, they did not value it.

The only one in the circushold who understood real honesty was the canine person. His sincerity wasn't a stunt, either, so he could recognise true sincerity in another living being.

Having thus failed in the sincerity stunt, she was denied the right to perform for applause to the audience. The sole purpose of her existence now was to submit when the human animal who shared her cage came in and wanted to possess her.

She would've been unhappy but for the canine person, who made it plain he loved her most. The feline youngsters were growing and, following his lead, they deigned to notice the newest female more than they noticed any of the earlier members of the circushold.

So, she wasn't either happy or unhappy. She loved the canine person and she played with the feline youngsters when she could. And, in secret, she honed her own stunts for the day when she would gain her audience.

It came about in a very strange way.

To begin with, the oldest female human animal was careless with her precious necklace.

So the necklace was lost.

Now, for the sympathy of the audience, this female animal had been trained in the stunt of 'blame the servants'. She threw herself wholly in to the part. Her supporting cast, with the exception of the new female who was supposedly insincere, supported her to the hilt. The police animals did their bit. The media animals did their bit. The smallest servant was beaten up and tossed unceremoniously in to jail.

(Applause, applause!)

The newest female human animal felt sorry for the smallest servant. She was the only one who went to visit him in jail. The others in the circushold didn't approve of this, but she didn't care, she had already lost hope of any approval from them. Only the canine person welcomed her when he smelt the smell of the smallest servant on her clothes.

It was this smell that won the day, coupled with the confidences of the smallest servant, revealed hesitantly on one of her visits.

Putting these together, she summoned the police animals for another visit. And, in their presence, revealed the lost necklace. It hadn't been stolen after all, merely misplaced, carelessly.

The smallest servant was freed. From jail, anyway, not from servanthood. The media animals got back to work. The newest human female was now in the limelight, and she mentioned the role of the canine person, who got his share of applause, too. The feline youngsters did their stunts and got an 'aw' and their fifteen seconds on the TV channels as well.

The audience grasped the truth about the stolen lost necklace. They understood the role the canine person had played in uncovering the truth. Somewhere, the sincerity of the newest human female animal resonated with them.

They opened their hearts to her.

And the talent that she had been secretly honing blazed out.

Now you, dear reader, will want me to reveal this talent to you. Tell you her name so you may check whether you are familiar with it. If she's so famous, you ought to be familiar with her name, ought you not?

You are familiar with her name.

When I asked you if you were, you thought, "This story sounds like it could be —'s story."

Because all of us know of her. We know of the female human animal trapped in the circushold, denied her audience. Sometimes, she's lucky enough to gain the spotlight and then we know her name. At other times, she remains anonymous, and this story wasn't written about her, or about the canine and feline people who loved her and made her happy. She just remained anonymous.

(Anonymous, anonymous!)


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