Three Rivers 29.1

Twenty-ninth Sim of Thirty Sims at Three Rivers

AN: Ashton Poe was one of many Tragic Clowns roaming this world. Now he’s seeking a new life in a beautiful starter home, Green Leaf by MisanaBriony.

29. My untested sword

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Ashton Poe’s woes didn’t end when the clown strike did: that’s when they resumed. As a clown, he was despised. He had one friend in the world: a worrywart bookworm of a boy, who never saw much purpose in laughing. All the others–even his colleagues–thought of him as a sorry potato sack smeared with grease paint.

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“I am so much more!” Ashton told himself. “The nose doesn’t define me.”

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“I have dreams!” he told his reflection. “Goals, even!”

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“I could’ve been somebody. I could be somebody! Heck! This suit doesn’t define me!”

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When he stripped off the face paint and changed into his street clothes, he felt transformed.

“I quit,” he said to the air. “I’m starting anew!”

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But what would he do? What was he qualified for?

I have  logical mind, he thought. Business. That should suit. Or politics. Maybe law.

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He took his new self out to the lounge in Oasis Springs.

What a coincidence! Alec was there.

“How’s the clowning, mon ami?” Alec asked.

“It isn’t!” replied Ashton. “I am done! Done! Finished! C’est fini, mon ami!”

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Oui, non,” said Alec. “This is not for what we concluded the strike. The strike we ended for continuing work, no? And the settlement?”

“Ah! Yes,” replied Ashton. “In fact, it is the settlement that makes this new move possible. In fact, after the negotiations, I got a taste for that sort of thing. I’m thinking maybe a career in politics. You need an aide?”

“Um, no. But no. Certainement. Merci et bonne chance.

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Ah, well. There was a world of opportunity outside politics! Business. Real estate, even.

Walking through the neighborhood the next morning to scope out the housing market, Ashton was accosted by his neighbor Toby Gustafson.

“Clown!” Toby yelled. “We don’t want clowns in this neighborhood! This is a good neighborhood! We don’t need you bringing us down!”

“But I am not a clown,” said Ashton. “I quit! I turned in my card! I threw out the grease paint and the silicone red nose!”

“Once a clown, always a clown,” said Toby.

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Not everyone greeted him with incivility.

“You’ve quit then?” Isabel Rosella asked. “Now what?”

“That’s the question,” replied Ashton. “How’s the life of a writer?”

“Oh,” she answered. “Demanding. It asks so much of the heart and the mind.”

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But writers don’t get snubbed, Ashton thought, as he continued his walk along the levee.

“Coulrophobic,” muttered his young neighbor Orion. “Eyes straight ahead.”

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Ashton felt relieved when he met his one friend Alexander on his walk.

“Darn library fines,” said Alexander. “You would think that if somebody loved a book enough to read it a dozen times that the fees might be waived.”

“There’s rules, though, Alex,” said Ashton.

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“Readers shouldn’t have to follow the same rules. Anyway, where’s your nose?”

“I quit!” Ashton said.

“Humph,” Alex said. “Now what?”

“Maybe I’ll become a librarian. I could petition to waive the fines in certain circumstances.”

“Eh. I doubt they’d listen, even without your nose.”

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“Good day, Ashton,” said Belle Meinel, who was strolling with a friend.

“Ladies,” Ashton replied. If there were a career that involved being charming, especially to the ladies, that might be a possibility. He really thought he had a talent for politics.

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“Don’t look now,” said Nyla, another of his young neigbors, “but you’ve got a butterfly over your head.”

“Just one?” he asked. “Are you sure?”

She nodded.

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“If one butterfly is so special, what would you think of two?” he asked.

“Two would be cool,” Nyla said.

“Abracadabra and melafracalasmith!” Ashton said.

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A few subtle deflections, a small distraction, a quick movement of the hands, and suddenly, two butterflies hovered above Nyla’s head.

“Is this real?” she asked. “You must be a magician!”

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Later that evening, sitting in his back yard to watch the river boat pass by, Ashton recounted the exchange with Nyla.

She was a bright kid, and she didn’t seem to mind him at all. In fact, she seemed rather impressed.

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Magicians are charming, aren’t they? Illusion, credibility, distraction. A magician is not that different from a politician, after all, except, perhaps, a bit more honest.

He may have found his true career, he thought.

After all, though they both deal with sleight of hand, a magician is not a clown.

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