Portrait of a Mime 
Colin Sutherland

Lucy walked down the street, carrying the burden of their fallen comrade’s coffin on her right shoulder. Oh, how she wished that things had been different, that the past could be changed; but it was done with now. They had lost a fellow mime and they would pay their respects.

Jack was the greatest, a mime possessed. It was never enough for him just to show up on any given day to play a role. He was a mime, 24/7. At least he had been until that fateful day.

It was during the classic “box” routine that it had all gone wrong. There he was constructing an invisible box around himself - the taunts of children filling the air - when, out of nowhere, sprang a cat; a dog in hot pursuit. One passed through his legs unnoticed, but the other bowled straight into him:  catastrophe.

As he fell to the ground, in a moment of madness, a word escaped from his mouth. “Shit.”

A quiet word. Yes. A small word. However, to a mime it was like an earthquake, a threat to his very existence. The gathered crowd, already laughing at him, had redoubled their efforts, jeering him in every way possible.

With shame, he had fled, in no direction in particular, silent tears filling his soul.

It was a week before he had the guts to show his face again, but by now the other local mimes had heard of his indiscretion and were watching him with expectation. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t find his old magic anymore. Kids no longer threw stuff at him, men no longer commented about the ’girly man with all the makeup’ and even the other mimes no longer gave him their silent applause.

Then one day they came for him.

How long they had waited outside his door he could not say - maybe there had been a silent knock - but as he made to go out one day, the entire community confronted him. Silently, they entered his apartment and formed a ring around him. This was the end, his last performance.

It was the best performance of his life. Without a hitch, he produced all his trademark bits. The unmovable object, walking against the wind, even driving a car (with road rage,) he did them all until he could bear it no longer. It must all come to an end sooner or later. And later had just come.

One last time he made a box, looking at his peers as he did. They took no joy in their duty, had no real malice towards him, but their eyes bade him to perform the final act.

He reached into his pocket, produced a gun and planted the barrel in his mouth. Silently he pulled the trigger.

“Fucking mimes,” the street vender yelled as the procession passed by “what the hell do they think they’re doing?”

“It is a funeral procession. Those ones up front carry an invisible coffin.” Jack wiped a tear from his eye. This was the greatest honor they could have afforded him. He may be lost to them, but they mourned him still.

“Fucking mental if you ask me!”

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