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Send in the Clowns 
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Smiley McSmiles
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Post Send in the Clowns
Looking into her yellow eyes with a strangely somber face the black cat softly exhaled, “You make me feel like something worth being: like I could actually be someone instead of just pretending.”

Grape took the paw laid on top of her own and smiled slightly at his words.

“When I look into your eyes, I know that you only see the best parts of me. I used to think it was because you were blind to my faults, but you were just looking past them to something you saw deeper.” He smiled a little and rubbed the top of that purple paw with his black thumb.

A light huff of wry amusement escaped her lips in response, “It just never seemed like a big deal to me. All your machismo and grandstanding. They weren’t the real you, just a façade.”

She grasped his rubbing paw between both of hers and scooted to face the one she loved. “I know I’ve been all over the place recently, but I keep realizing more and more that this charming and considerate cat in front of me is where I truly belong. And whenever I see you with that little bit of eye-candy hanging on your arm, I feel more and more certain that I have everything I need right here.”

Max looked downward at their clasped paws with that same sardonic smile she always loved. It was clouded over by those deep, solemn eyes.

“Ruby looks at me and beams just to see me. When I look into her eyes, I feel as if I am the most important cat in the world: as if I’m the only one who matters.” Standing he walked to the window and laid his arms on the sill to look out. Grape looked on with eyes widening.

“It’s like all my pretending isn’t even pretend when she fawns over me.” Trailing off, he let out a small sigh.

The pause stretched as the realization kept sinking in further, until the dazed cat could finally force her breath out again. “So that’s it?”

Another pause, followed by a soft nod.

Grape felt a slight shock go through her. Slowly the frustration and sadness began to mingle on her face, ears down and back. She felt the bitter emotion well up to where it could not be contained, and she sang to the one she was losing.

“Isn’t it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground
You in midair
Send in the clowns.”


The biting sarcasm perked Max’s ears up, and he turned slightly toward the young cat bearing her soul.

“Isn’t it bliss?
Don’t you approve?
One who keeps tearing around
One who can’t move
Where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns.”


He could hear how slowly the frustration mounted in her words and along with it the sorrow. Aquamarine eyes turned down, as she continued.

“Just when I’d stopped opening doors
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours
Making my entrance again with my usual flair
Sure of my lines
No one is there.”


Grape sighed. Her own sardonic smile spread as the tears began to well up quickly to be dashed away. In response, Max turned fully to acknowledge the import of these words sung to him.

“Don’t you love farce?
My fault I fear
I thought that you’d want what I want
Sorry, my dear
Where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns
Don’t bother, they’re here.”


With a light nod, Max walked up to his beloved. “Grape, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come. Why give out hope which cannot be delivered on? It wasn’t fair to you.” He held her gaze for one more moment, “I hope you will forgive me.”

She watched as he turned and walked out the door. As it closed softly behind his tail she felt the weight of her sorrow laid upon her, and turned away toward the window where he had stood, no longer fighting back the tears from rolling down her cheeks. Her voice choked out over the swelling tide.

“Isn’t it rich?
Isn’t it queer?
Losing my timing this late
In my career
But where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns…”


There was a pause. The emotions slowed their pace as she looked back to the closed door, one final tear tracing its way down the dampened fur.

“Well, maybe next year”

As the final note hung in the air, Grape turned to her basket and curled up inside, holding her tail and wiping her eyes. Then she drifted off to sleep.

----------

"Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim

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Thu Aug 13, 2015 4:54 am
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Post Re: Send in the Clowns
Great job, Obbl!

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Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:42 pm
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Post Re: Send in the Clowns
Really nice job on this Obbl! I love how this came out!

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Thu Aug 13, 2015 2:07 pm
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Post Re: Send in the Clowns
I really like the way you related the song to Max and Grape. Makes me wonder what Peanut (who I can see knowing where that song was from :lol: ) would think if he were to hear all of this.


Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:11 pm
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Post Re: Send in the Clowns
:cry:

****, man, this was really sad!

Great job on the emotions, though. Made me really feel for the two of them.

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Tue Aug 18, 2015 9:24 pm
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Post Re: Send in the Clowns
D:

That is all, Obbl. That is all. ;_; good read!

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Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:10 pm
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Smiley McSmiles
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Post Re: Send in the Clowns
Thank you, guys
I needed to get this out, but I'm glad you all enjoyed it as well

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Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:39 am
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Post Re: Send in the Clowns
Obbi, i just discovered this melancholy little story .... Sorry to be late. But it's very, very good.

It's really sweet and tender despite the sad sense of finality. It made me think of that episode where Grape is certain she has alienated Res and sorrowing the loss of a friendship ruined even before it began. We're not prepared to Grape in deep pain. Your sketch give us another, different image of Grape hurting. ... . wounded, bleeding, but still poised, in control, no tears from the "clown". Building the break-up around this special song, gives her response a cool, dismissive tone, a sophisticated put-down of Max's banal discourtesy. "Well, of course, it's not as if my heart could be broken by someone like YOU, but it is a bit of an inconvenience. Disappointing, you know." That she has to fight to hold off the tears, keep her detached pose, and partial slips only makes her seem stronger and Mac's appeal for forgiveness sound insincere. The close is tender, compassionate, and hopeful even though we leave Grape alone, for the time again abandoned.

Thanks and regards.


Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:06 pm
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Smiley McSmiles
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Post Re: Send in the Clowns
NHWestoN Wrote:
Obbi Obbl
:P

Thanks for your kind words. Though I hope you too will be able to forgive Max. This was written during the 5000 BC arc when Grape was fawning over Satau and some were discussing the possibility that Grape's perpetual flirting could be the end of their relationship. This seemed a natural extension of that time.

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Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:58 am
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Post Re: Send in the Clowns
You're more than welcome, Obbi.

I don't like Max, but I love him. When I begin with Housepets, I thought he was a cad and a kinda sleazy. I still do to some degree. Over time. I've also come to see that there are levels of pain and vulnerability that he's trying to hide from Grape and everyone else. On those occasions where his "The Suave Worldly Mr. Maxwell" facade slips or even collapses (such as at the end of the Gallifrax Protocol arc), his guileless, heart-broken openness is really moving and tender. Sure I can forgive him ... because as you so artfully place him in your story he is again rather a cad, but you also sense that his coldness arises more from being emotionally inarticulate than cruel indifference. And, as we're seeing in the current Temple arc, he wants so much to be a hero, to be better than he is, to be admired, to not be "pathetic".... but then, would he still be our Maxwell?

Grape, I think, has a wandering heart and kitty hormones, part of the humor of her legendary "crushes". I know there was a one-half after the King-Bailey wedding, she hits Maxwell with "Maybe we could get married sometime"" but that went nowhere fast! She can be very tender at times; I love the "Take the Long Way Home" panels where she gently steers Peanut into asking her for a date. At the same time, she can be so engulfed in her own feelings that she is oblivious to the hurt Peanut feels or the insecurity Maxwell experiences because they want her affections, too. Would the story possibilitiesI be richer if Grape, like KIng, "picked her one and only" ... probably not.

Gosh, I can't believe I just subjected you to all this bilge! Okay, enough of me. I enjoyed your story, profit from your insights into this beguiling little comic world, and wish you a happy weekend, Obbi. Regards.


Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:39 am
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