Boo Tales Chapter 6 The Desolation of Rufus

The local police conducted a hasty investigation into the deaths of Big Daddy and Little Ruthie, and ruled them accidental. The investigation was a sham. Obvious evidence of vehicle tampering was concealed, as was the fact that the rival carnival operator (who had a lot to gain with Big Daddy out of the way) was a good friend and business partner of the chief of police. There was no one around to contest the findings of the authorities, though, and the whole matter was soon forgotten.
Big Daddy and Little Ruthie had planned to leave their carnival to Rufus when they passed on. Ruthie had been a shrewd business woman and the carnival had never failed to make a profit. As a result, they had accumulated a substantial amount of wealth over the years, in real estate and investments, all of which would eventually be inherited by Rufus.
Unfortunately, neither of them ever got around to making a will, or legally adopting Rufus, so Rufus was not entitled to anything upon their deaths. And, because neither Big Daddy nor Little Ruthie had any living relatives, everything they owned became the property of the State; similarly, so did Rufus.
No one ever told little Rufus about the deaths of the two people he had always known as his parents. The court determined that there was no legal parental relationship, and thus, social services did not have any obligation to tell Rufus about the demise of Big Daddy and Little Ruthie. In their infinite wisdom, the authorities decided that it would be best if Rufus believed he had been abandoned by them. This way, they said he could better adjust to foster care.
Of course, the carnies and sideshow performers made numerous attempts to contact Rufus. The corrupt town officials, however, blocked all of their efforts, and kept Rufus well hidden. Eventually Big Daddy’s carnival was sold to the rival carnival owner, who then moved it across the country, along with the carnies and performers. The letters that many of them wrote over the next few years never made it to Rufus. Not one person in Big Daddy’s former carnival family, though, ever forgot the jolly little boy known as Rufus.
After being placed in numerous foster homes without success, Rufus was deemed incorrigible and sent to a State juvenile institution. By then, Rufus was big, strong, and smart. Although younger than many of the other “delinquent” boys at the institution, it wasn’t long before Rufus was recognized as the top dog. Everyone knew not to cross him; even the institution’s employees kept their distance.
Rufus was not really unhappy living at the juvenile institution and after a few years he gave up his “bad boy” act, and actually became quite well-liked by all who knew him. He found that he loved being the center of attention and reveled in making people laugh. He also found his stay at the institution quite lucrative. He had a knack for running dishonest card games and other scams. He thought it was hilarious that no one ever had a clue as to how they were being cheated.
By the time Rufus was sixteen years old, though, he had become bored, and longed for his freedom. It was at just this time that a traveling circus came to town and gave a free performance at the institution. From the first notes of the calliope, as the performers entered the tent, until the last minute of the final act, Rufus was completely mesmerized…especially by the clowns…those marvelous clowns! So like himself!
It was then that Rufus made a life-altering decision that would forever define who he was…Rufus had decided to become a clown.
Rufus usually got whatever he wanted, so it wasn’t long before he managed to escape from the institution and join a traveling circus.
Of course, like anyone wanting to be in the circus back in those days, he had to start at the bottom; that meant being stuck with the hard labor—putting up and taking down tents, and cleaning up after the horses and elephants.
Rufus was a quick learner, though, and within a few years he was given a chance to create an original clown character, and perform his own, unique acts in the circus.
And so “Rufus the Clown” was born; and from the first show, he was brilliant.
What an incredible clown Rufus was back in those early days! He was always an audience favorite, virtually stealing the show with his amazing clown gags, and often taking over as the ring master. He also had an uncanny ability to train dogs, and incorporated them into his acts. For awhile, Rufus was living his dream.
As fate would have it, though, the circus also gave Rufus the opportunity to develop his tendency to gamble and run con games. As the years went on, Rufus mastered them all, and came up with a number of “creative” scams himself. As a consequence, he spent a good deal of time in the county jails.
Sadly, as the decades rolled by, Rufus became more and more immersed in the seedier side of circus life. Ultimately, he lost the joy he once found in being a clown, and the circus became no more than a means to swindle foolish people.
And then, along came Boo…

Boo Tales Chapter 6 The Desolation of Rufus

Pam Humbargar

Enterprise, United States

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Artist's Description

Chapter 6 of a work in progress; any feedback is greatly appreciated!

Artwork Comments

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  • Pam Humbargar
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