Episode 1: Here Comes the Circus
Reggie Bunkler, recent inheritor of the Bunkler Brothers Family Circus, was going over some paperwork in his office when Mr. Bibby the clown knocked on the door. Bibby revealed that he was in desperate need of new kidneys, and needed help from Bunkler because the circus doesn’t provide health insurance. Bunkler explained that he couldn’t afford to help him, because the circus was a half a million dollars in debt. Bibby responded with a sad note on his slide-whistle.
Sasha, the circus’ star acrobat/trapeze artist was stretching in her trailer when Russian strongman Viktor Busliftor knocked on the door. They engaged in a little flirtation, finally proposing a picnic with champagne and strawberries (“nature’s kidneys”).
In the tiger’s den, animal trainer Gunther Gayfer-Wilhelm had just finished delivering a new tiger cub, whom he named Schatzi. He informed the cub that it would be replacing its mother as the circus’ new attraction—sadly, he would soon have to put down the mother tiger to harvest a replacement kidney for Mr. Bibby. Just then, the bearded lady Deb Henderson arrived, complaining about Bibby’s return. (“He only comes around when he wants something!”) Gunther let her hold the newborn cub.
Stoolts the clown was preparing for his act, as Truck the roadie did some adjustments to his stool-stilts. Stoolts reminisced about his humble beginnings, explaining that when he was a child, his mother put him in a crate of cherry bombs, accidentally blowing off his legs. To replace his lost limbs, his father attached two stools to his stumps, and since then, he’s made himself an inspiration to legless kids everywhere.
Sealman Rushdie, the talking sea lion, was rehearsing his new act: a rousing rendition of “All Along the Watchtower.” Mr. Bibby arrived and informed Sealman that he needed a new kidney…and he was willing to resort to desperate measures. (“Sometimes it’s an eat-world-eat world. It’s an eye for an eat!”) Sealman and Bibby began fighting, with Sealman finally knocking the clown down.
Viktor and Sasha were walking the tightrope, as Viktor reflected that this was a bad idea after a champagne picnic. However, it was the only way he could work up the nerve to win her heart. Upset by his presumptiousness, Sasha declared that her heart was not for the taking.
Truck and Deb complimented each other on their facial hair.
Gunther Gayfer-Wilhelm entered Bunkler’s trailer to inform him that he had harvested his tiger’s kidney for Mr. Bibby. Shocked, Bunkler exclaimed that he didn’t have to do that…he’d explained before that it was a 50/50 chance they’d need it. Tragically, with Gunther’s poor grasp of English, he had thought Bibby needed 50 kidneys, of which this would be the first. Despondent, Gunther sang a song about how much his tiger meant to him.
Sasha ran into Mr. Bibby and asked him about his condition. (“I have about 45-60 minutes left.”) She informed him that she had three kidneys, and that she would gladly give him one—if he could find it. Bibby searched her, and finally realized that the kidney was in her kiss. As they embraced, Viktor walked in.
Sealman and Stoolts were racing to get the last fish sandwich in the snack bar. Sealman easily beat Stoolts, but decided to share the sandwich because Stoolts was the only human who truly understood him.
Victor asked why Sasha had left him on the high wire, especially since he couldn’t turn around to see she had left. She apologized, explaining that she flees whenever things get intense. Interrupting, Bibby observed how muscular Viktor’s kidney area was. He challenged Viktor for his kidney, and they played tug-of-war by grabbing Sasha’s arms. In the end, Viktor released his grip, and Bibby mocked Viktor’s “weakness.”
Gunther came to see Truck, in need of his mechanical expertise. Gunther explained that he had removed his tiger’s kidney, and he needed a robotic replacement. After an extended period of confusion as to whether he needed a replacement kidney or a replacement tiger, Gunther pointed out that a kidney wouldn’t provide much of a show for the audience, so he needed an entire robotic tiger. When Truck pointed out that the weight of a robot tiger would surely crush him, Gunther contemplated some way of getting Viktor’s strength.
Stoolts went to visit Deb in her trailer.
DEB: “Guess what I made for you?”
STOOLTS: “A baby?”
She replied that, despite their night of passion, that wasn’t what she was talking about. Instead, she’d baked him a Coca-Cola cake. He declared it delicious, THEN took a bite. (“Yeah, I was right!”)
Sealman Rushdie came into Reggie Bunkler’s office to request vacation time for the upcoming mating season. Bunkler replied that, with the circus’ financial situation, the best he could do would be to give him upaid leave. Furious, Sealman accused Bunkler of discriminating against him because he’s an animal. (As if to prove the point, Viktor interrupted and asked for the rest of the week off, and Bunkler agreed.) Sealman threatened to quit, saying that he’d been working out some new moves to audition for Cirque du Soleil. Sealman then demonstrated his new act.
Viktor was standing on top of the circus train, contemplating his loss of the tug-of-war and considering suicide. He speculated that the Chernobyl radiation that had given him his strength was wearing off, and decided to go through airport security and get too many X-rays. Just then, Stoolts walked by to offer a sympathetic ear. After assuring Viktor that he was the strongest man both inside and out, Stoolts went on to explain that suicide was no solution: “I tried jumping off the train myself. It didn’t work…I was taller than it.”
Basking in the afterglow with Mr. Bibby, Sasha suddenly realized that Bibby had taken her third kidney during their passionate encounter. Furious, she accused him of using her, and he readily agreed. Now that he had what he wanted, it was time for him to move on. He left her his hat as a parting gift, and said that perhaps one day he’d return and fix this circus. Sasha angrily replied “This fircus is unsixable!”
TO BE CONTINUED…