Jackrobat

Jack was starting to get nervous. He looked out at the rest of his troupe, decked out in matching black spandex. Everyone looked a little fidgety. They’d only been waiting a few minutes really, but it felt like hours. They were all eagerly waiting for their cue; that would beckon them to deliver what months of practice had given them. They finally heard the announcer introduce them, and the deep thumps of bass from the song they would perform to started. Jack forced the anxiousness out of him, it was now time to be totally in the present. He had one thing to focus on: the act.

 He strolled out onto the stage, his companions following him in a line. The bright house lights beamed into his vision. He saw the hoops, blocks, poles, and other miscellaneous props they would be using already on display. They smiled and waved as the seven of them all arrived at the front of the stage. Once they were all properly in a line, the lights died down. A much softer, white light was cast over the set. They all took one last calm, deep breath.

Now it started. In an instant the consistent drone of the bass dropped into heavy electronic music. Bright lights of every color splashed across the stage, constantly changing their hue and zipping in seemingly random directions. The acrobats took off. They jumped, swung, flipped, and twirled. They seemed to start off in chaos, everyone in different positions making different stunts. But then they converged. Two jumped together in sync through opposite hoops. Multiple hanged by their knees from bars set in a line, high above the platform. Jack jumped into the air towards the first, trusting completely on his companion to catch him. He did, forearm gripped forearm, and to the rhythm of the music Jack was handed off one by one till he was safely on the other side.

Over only two minutes, they performed a multitude of feats and dares, and were rewarded with ample applause. Jack returned center stage for the climax of their performance. He picked up a long pole, and a large tower of a prop emerged from a mechanism in the floor. Made to look like a large candle, the column stood fifteen feet high, and a flame danced at the top. Jack could smell the salt of his sweat, could hear the screams and the music, could feel the hard wood of the platform beneath him. But as he focused in on this one final task, one he had been having difficulty in mastering, the sensations of these other senses faded away.

He again breathed in deep, emptied himself of all other thoughts. He took his stance, gripped the pole tighter, and began his run. He kept the other end of the pole held high in the air. Then, as he had built speed and neared the candlestick; he stuck it into the floor, and forced the pole to absorb his momentum. The pole bent in as he jumped, and as he came higher, the pole returned the energy he had lent it and straightened itself out, throwing him above the flame. He felt the heat as he passed over, and though it came as close as a fraction of an inch, the fire never touched him.

He landed on the cushion on the other side, hidden from the audience. He quickly sprang up and came round, hands high in the air. The audience had gone mad, and Jack welcomed in the loudest cheering and whistling he had yet experienced. Letting the seriousness melt away, Jack smiled and laughed as he joined hands with his colleagues at the front of the stage, and they all bowed together.

The announcer’s voice now boomed over the jeers of the crowd. “Ladies and gentlemen, that was finalists Jack B. Quick and The Nimblers! What a performance! Send in your votes now if you think they should take home the crown for this season of ‘Have You Got Talent?’.

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