My Flea Circus Gone By

“Exactly. One must command from each what each can perform,” the king went on. “Authority is based first of all upon reason. If you command your subjects to jump in the ocean, there will be a revolution. I am entitled to command obedience because my orders are reasonable.”

– The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.  

This photo of my flea circus, taken by the fabulous Ellen Jaskol, appeared in the Rocky Mountain News in 2008.  I designed and constructed the flea circus myself, not to mention trained the fleas.  (To be honest, however, the process of training fleas is really less about training and more about observing the natural inclinations and proclivities of the fleas, and then assigning them appropriate tasks.)

My fleas have been happily retired to a high-end dog kennel, but in its day the show featured high board cannonball diving, a death-defying leap on the flying trapeze, a locomotive dragged across the stage by the world’s strongest flea (that’s how she was billed, at least), and a daring walk across a tightrope.  The finale was a sensational act in which a flea was fired from a cannon and amidst a puff of flame, smoke, and glory, burst through the paper covered hoop!

And I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m being boastful, but the show was performed to the fleas’ own original musical composition.

My Punch & Judy Puppets: Part One

My First Punch (& Only Baby)

This photo was taken in 2007 by Ellen Jaskol of the Rocky Mountain News.  I’m wearing the first puppet I ever made, Mr. Punch.  Originally, my other hand was in the photo, too, wearing the crocodile, but Ellen thought it would look a little too scary with the crocodile hovering right over Lulu.  In retrospect, she was probably right.