Cirque de la Vie

Katherine Hetzel

Roll up, roll up, to the greatest show on earth!

We sit next to each other in the theatre. Two single strangers, with a shared love for Bat out of Hell. Chat during the interval as we eat our ice creams, and when the lights go up at the end of the performance, you say we ought to grab a drink together, talk the show over…

Riding bareback

One drink leads to another. And then back to your flat. And to making love to the sound of Meatloaf. Only one thing’s missing, but you say you know when to pull out…


What a frickin’ idiot I am. Two parallel blue lines. In a quest to fool the world, I paint a smile on my face while I wonder what to do next.


It’s what I want. Honest. I’m still swinging between excitement for the future and gut-wrenching terror for the same thing twenty times a day, but I’m holding on.


Work. Doctor. Work. Hospital. Scan. Work. Clinic. Blood test. Work. Ikea. Shopping. Work. Decorating. Clinic… How the hell am I supposed to get everything done to this deadline?


A lumbering body I don’t recognise any more. Thick ankles, swollen legs, and an expanding belly that stops me seeing my toes.

Human cannonball

“This one was keen to make an entrance. Shot out so fast, I needed my catcher’s mitt!”


And here you are. The controlling influence in this new world of ours. Small, perfectly formed, and with a pair of lungs to rival Meatloaf already. I’ll introduce you to him someday.

This story won the Runner-Up Prize in the March 2021 CIRCUS Themed Flash Competition.