Not my Circus, Not my Monkeys- A Prompt Post

The following post is the result of a writing prompt that was concocted by Dale Rogerson and Karen Craven. These two ladies are nothing but trouble, so it’s a good thing I was raised Catholic and can appreciate this kind of company.

Seriously, these gals represent when it comes to the written word. I’m just honored to be in their club. As for the post, it went longer than expected, so apologies ahead of time. The good news is that a lot of it is dialogue, and thus . . easily traversed.

Monday Afternoon 3:15

Liam McLeary had been exposed to the disease.

In his twenty years state side, the Irish emigre had become accustomed to the thankless savagery of Washington D.C.. He had come to America seeking refuge and had been hired as a special liaison to the CIA by a high level US official who was quite familiar with his work. The deal with McLeary was a simple one- take the job or get extradited back to Ireland, which would have been akin to a death sentence.

Everything in America was a deal, even the legislative morass that elected representatives got rich on. The shit McLeary had witnessed in his time here made his previous existence as a button man for the IRA seem like a fucking James Joyce novel in comparison.

At least the Catholics and the Protestants had no dispute as far as God was concerned. Those who fought in that decades long war knew their catechisms and believed in epiphanies. The same couldn’t be said of American politicians. They had no morals . . they had no souls.

There was no winning a fight against a man with no soul. And now Liam McLeary was learning that lesson all over again. The one Sister Elena had instilled in him after his many scuffles outside St. Vincent’s Day School in Dublin. The one his father had beaten into him on many a drunken night when Liam came to his mum’s defense. The one he learned as an apprentice to the legendary Tom “Lucky” Halloran, back when killing in the name of a united Ireland meant something.

That time in his life felt like a million years ago as Liam took his seat on a park bench, and waited for the suit to get on with it.


“Mr. Dunphy . .”

“Please . . no need for formalities . . call me Richard,”

“Alright Dick . . . I’m out. I made it clear after the last job that I was done with this fucking cesspool.”

“Where will you go?”

“To that cafe across the street . . ”

“After that,”

“Fucking Disney World.”

Dunphy laughed dimly as he pulled out a pack of Camels and lit one up. His smile was a horror show and his black pearl eyes a bottomless pit.

“You’ve been a valuable asset to the agency, I . . ”

“Cut the shit, Dick . . you know I’m serious. Just have the fucking decency to tell me what happens next.”

“Hey . . not my circus . . not my monkeys,” Dunphy said before removing himself from the park bench. He made no eye contact with Liam as he strolled away and disappeared into the back seat of a black Ford Lincoln.

Liam jogged across the street to the cafe and ordered a double espresso and two flans. Then he waited for the end to come to him.

Monday night . . 11:55

 “What . . the fuck?”

Richard Dunphy awoke from a drug induced sleep to find himself dangling over a wall upside down, tethered to a nylon rope and dressed in just his skivvies. When his location became familiar to him, that’s when the screaming commenced. He was hanging precariously over the side of the Primates Exhibit at the Smithsonian National Zoo.

“Yo Dick! . . . up here,”

Dunphy raised his head up to find Liam McLeary smoking one of his Camels and wearing a Cheshire Cat grin.


“Well, your boy was easier to spot than a virgin in a whorehouse. I get it . . times are tough, Uncle Sam can’t afford the bill . . but Jesus,”

“Where is he?”

“Dead. He’s dead. I spotted him while I was talking to you, after which I jogged across the street, ordered up a sugar rush and then waited for him in the loo.”

“You can’t fucking DO THIS!!”

“Pipe down or I’ll cut this fucking rope, I swear to God!”

“Okay, okay . . what do you want?”

“Let’s start with who ordered my hit,”

“I don’t know,”

Liam began splaying the nylon rope with a hunter’s knife as a couple of gorillas looked on with great interest.


“These micks . . they’re western lowland gorillas . . quite tame in comparison to some of their compadres. Shit of it is, a few of the gals in this pen are in . . shall we say, the come hither stage of horizontal negotiations, and as such the fellas are feeling rather . . . possessive.”

Dunphy told him everything, most of which Liam already knew. And then his captor lit up another Camel from Dick’s suit jacket.

“You’re letting me go now, right?” Dunphy said, almost crying. Funny how it took certain death to get this cocksucker to show any emotion.


Liam began cutting at the rope with his hunter’s knife once again and Dunphy let him know this wasn’t the response he was looking for.

“What?!” Liam shrieked.

“You . . you . . you can’t . . you can’t fucking . . do THIS!”

“Listen you stuttering putz, you’re in no position to tell me what I can and cannot do,”

“I’m sorry, alright? I’m . . I’m sorry!”

“Apology accepted,” Liam said as he began cutting at the rope once again.

“WAIT! Okay . .  OKAY GODDAMMIT! I’ll give you whatever the fuck you want if you just stop cutting that rope!”

“Like what?” Liam smiled, as he tugged at his Camel.

“Ten million dollars . . . cash.”

“Is that what you’re worth? Fuck if you don’t have a high opinion of yourself!”

“Twenty . . . twenty five!”

“Dick . . with all respect, how do you think I was able to arrange this visit tonight? See . . . it cost me three million dollars . . in cash, divided between three individuals in the employ of this fine zoo. For that sum, they killed the camera feed. After which they will gather your remains and dispose of them all neat like. It will be like you . . and I . . were never here,”

“You can’t fucking do this!” Dunphy spit.

“It’s done. And I must say, if not for the sterling treatment accorded me by the US government, I would never have been able to afford a night such as this one. But hey . . you give a mick a cushy government job and then staple a tax free bonus to that for every clean up job . . shit adds up.”

“They’re going to fucking find you and barbecue your balls for dinner!”

“I’m already dead. And my dead self is partial to South America . . the place has character,”

“Those gorillas are going to fucking kill me . . you motherfucker!”

“Hey . . not my circus . . . not my monkeys,”

Liam cut deeply into rope until it went slack. The screams were glorious sounding things, while they lasted.







106 thoughts on “Not my Circus, Not my Monkeys- A Prompt Post

  1. OK… Now that I have trolled both you and Frank, lemme get to this fabulous story.

    Wow, B… talk about taking an idea and running with it! You have not only risen to the challenge, you have taken it above and beyond. Holy hell… now, what am I gonna come up with? All I know is, these challenges do push us to do better. And when we have peeps like you and Karen participating, it’s just that much MORE!

    Love it!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Holy Shit Batman! That’s some wicked writing! I’m partial to the Irish. I don’t even know what to do after that?
    Maybe the rest of the day at the polling place, and watching the primary returns will stir something up?
    Nice to meet Frank. Thanks to Dale and Marc for all the nice things said. Dale and I will have to put our writing caps on.

    Liked by 3 people

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