Life-threatening job on the verge of becoming too real
Have you ever had one of the those days where nothing seems to be going right and you just want to put your head inside a lion’s maw? That’s precisely how Liam Edwards has felt lately, but with his head literally placed inside a lion’s maw.
Edwards has been Tomco Circus’ premier lion tamer since 2009. Friends of Edwards eagerly encouraged him to join the circus after several years of sticking his head inside dangerous dark places such as manoles, tree knots and toilets.
Edwards’ circus career began in middle school when the school ferret got loose. Edwards subdued the beast using his belt as a makeshift whip, effectively and controversially taming the animal. Tomco recruits saw Edwards’ potential that day and he hasn’t looked back since.
But recent reports from Tomco state that Edwards looks downright depressed lately and fellow circus performers state that Edwards has not been his usual bubbly self over the past couple months.
Gonzo the Clown, Edwards’ best friend at Tomco, claimed that he tried his signature pie to the face routine to no avail.
“I usually cheer Liam up when he gets a little frightened or stressed about putting his life in danger, but lately he hasn’t been that concerned about the moral peril that comes with his job,” said Gonzo. “I squirted water in his face and even made him a balloon lion, but this time he just shrugged and walked away.”
Edwards’ troubles first started when he was performing last month at the Godney Center in Stubbensville, Idaho. He was getting his lion, Tamrya, to stand on both hind feet and yodel. After the successful trick, Edwards was feeling very high in spirits when suddenly a fan heckled him from the bleachers.
“I was just watching from the side, waiting for my turn in the ring when a fan yelled “You suck Lionman!” said Stimpy the Trapeze Artist.
For those who do not know, the word “L*****n” is perhaps the worst possible phrase to call a lion tamer. It has been known as a derogatory slur to all lion tamers and can bring down even the most confident feline wrangler. Edwards was instantly in tears.
“It was absolutely horrible,” said Blobby the Bearded Lady who was up to perform her signature fishtail braid routine.
Since then, Tomco Circus has been horrified with the consequences of the incident. Statistically, the odds are not in the lion tamer’s favor. Just last year, 45 of the 58 lion tamers to be called L*****n were no longer able to continue with their occupation, half of those took to self-decapitation, most popularly by tickling the roof of the lion’s mouth while their head is inside.
Even Edwards’ family has not heard a word from him.
“We are concerned about him. We’ve tried to send him a care package via hot air balloon, but he must be too ashamed to even talk to his parents.”
Reports from various circus performers have been less than optimistic that Edwards will return to normal and they suspect that Edwards’ depression may be cause for concern. One performer claimed Edwards tried to launch himself from the human cannonball’s cannon. Edwards, though, stated he was just trying to clean it as a way to distract himself. In his second apparent ‘attempt’, Edwards supposedly contracted Igneius, Tomco’s mime, to bury him alive. Reports say Igneius tried repeatedly, but Edwards kept breaking free of the invisible box. Frustrated, Igneius demonstrated the routine himself by physically putting himself in the box. When Igneius tried to escape however, he was unable to succeed.
In other news, Igneius is now trapped inside his own box, and Tomco is desperately searching for the invisible key to open it.
“This entire Edwards incident is starting to destroy my beloved circus!” remarked Tomco’s ringmaster, “Blingmaster” Jones With Edwards preoccupied, no one has taken to feeding the lions, who have resorted to eating the other circus performers. “One of the lions ate my trapeze artist’s legs. Stimpy literally became Stimpy,” said Jones. “My first stint was at the Bronx Zoo man. I’ve seen errything. Gang violence, whack-ass taxis, Islanders games, but I’ve never seen something this bad.”
Blingmaster Jones continued, “The lions are out of control, we had to hide the clowns, hide the bearded lady, and hide the otha’ lion tamers cuz they be eatin err body out here.”
Jones concluded that Edwards is taking time off to forget about the harsh words targeted at him, as well as wallow over the fact that Tamrya has not eaten him yet.
We wish Liam the best in recovery, and if you would like to help Edwards get back on his feet, contact your nearest Tomco Circus associate for details on how to help. If you have seen an invisible key, please consult Tomco immediately, for their mime is suffocating quickly.
Chris Thomas is a freshman TVR major who is transferring to Clown College in the fall. Email him at cthomas5[at]ithaca[dot]edu