Day 140: Tightrope!

Matt Zurbo


One day Bonkers decided she was going to walk a tightrope.
(Bonkers, a little girl, at the start of a tightrope. Sign says ‘Start’. Small stepping platform. Tightrope about four feet off ground.)

Why? Who knows?
Maybe she just wanted to feel determined for a while!
(Walking with balancing pole, determined expression of face!)

“Hey, that’s my wire!” said the carnival acrobat. “Do you want some advice?”
“Sure,” Bonkers said.
(Acrobat bouncing off trampoline, to be up in air in front of Bonkers. Bonkers biting tongue in concentration.)

“The only rule is;” the acrobat warned, “DON’T LOOK DOWN!”
(Acrobat bouncing off this and that, people’s heads, mailbox, etc…)

“Wah, a cat!” hissed Bonkers. “Shoo!”
(Hands appearing from below, with open cat cage. Cat purring, rubbing against leg of Bonkers, who is wobbly, sweating, trying not to look at it.)

“DON’T LOOK DOWN!” the acrobat said.
(Floating, balloon tied to his waist.)
“Elephants?” Bonkers spluttered.
(Trunks squirting water all over her. Acrobat calling from below with loudspeaker.)

But that just made her more determined!
(Clowns now throwing custard pies left and right. One, we can just see the head of, holding a sign that says LOOK! And has an arrow pointing down.)

“Hey!” Bonkers protested!
(People on stilts pulling faces, a clown unnoticed by her, reaching from below to try and tie her shoelaces together.)
“Don’t look down…” the acrobat whispered.
(Acrobat holding into propeller hat as he flies behind Bonkers.)

Bonkers grit her teeth, made herself a pact – Nobody would distract her!
(Water balloons, giraffe, more people leaping.)

She’d make it to the other side…
(Lots of acrobats jumping, performers either side of her juggling all sorts of stuff over the wire in front of her.)

if only to show them where she was at!
(Two people running with one ladder each, filled with people and animals pulling faces.)

(Band walking tightrope behind and in front of Bonkers, playing loud. Bonkers wincing)

More and more crowd seemed to grow under her, laughing, fretting,
(Lots of trumpets and horns being blown from all over the page at Bonkers.)

going; “Ohhhh…” with every wobble.
(Bonkers off balance, balancing pole out of kilt because of small bird sitting on its end.)

“They’re just trying to distract me, Bonkers quietly fumed.
(Bonkers, only one foot on rope, even more determined expression, just looking ahead. Tw people holding a banner that stretched across the wire in front of her: DON’T LOOK DOWN!”

But didn’t let it show,
(Fireworks all around her.)
as underneath her, more and more noise continued to grow.

“Why are you so determined?” she heard the acrobat call.
‘I don’t know,’ Bonkers thought.
(Acrobat on pogo stick, bouncing up beside Bonkers, who is refusing to be distracted.)

The tightrope was like life, there was no turning back. It was scary, the worst, the thought of falling on her back.
(Tightrope taking Bonkers past top of haunter house ride, ghost coming out, trying unsuccessfully to distract her.)

But all the more reason, to slowly wobble on.
(Monkeys all over Bonkers, tightrope and balancing pole. Acrobat behind her, dangling from wire, monkey holding onto his foot.)

“Hey, why can’t I look down?” Bonkers asked.
“Can you walk a rope without falling when it’s on the ground?” he said.
“Sure,” Bonkers replied.
(Grey air, hard rain falling, Bonkers leaning into it as she walks on. Acrobat above her in cute, small, peddle-powered helicopter.)

“But if I put the very same rope up high, that’s different. There’s fear involved!”
“Oh…” said Bonkers.
(Lightening cracking everywhere. Hitting acrobat on the bum. People below, we can just see their heads, but they are running scared.)

Suddenly, Bonkers was aware she didn’t even know how high she was!
(Bonkers hesitating as balls and paper aeroplanes all looping about her, at least one kite – with key attached. Trumpet or two still playing beneath her, elephant snots still squirting water.)

(Bonkers glancing down, body and pole off centre. There is a small street sign beside her, pointing ahead, saying ‘Finish’.)

“No! No!”
(Bonkers losing balance…)

(Bonkers falling, face worried.)

(Bonkers bouncing back up again.)

(Bonkers sitting in middle of safety net, held tight by all characters from story, who are smiling. Acrobat next to them, cream pie in hand, balancing on back of clown on monocycle. The tightrope was only about five foot off ground.)

“You’re all mean!” Bonkers wailed.
“Mean? We were barracking for you!” the acrobat cheered.
(Crowd of people and animals, smiling, cheering, playing instruments, patting Bonkers on her back, while carrying her above their shoulders.)
“What a great first effort!” a clown boomed.

“Now, quick, go again…!”
(Elephant trunk placing Bonkers down as start again. Acrobat has welcoming hand out, facing wire. Everybody behind him, smiling, watching. Some clowns with pies in hand, ready and waiting.)

(Bonkers standing at start, alone, baffled.)

(Start empty other than Bonker’s foot, cutting from view as she heads off along wire again. One pie is being thrown by a hand through air after her.)

The End





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