Here you can read an excerpt from the book on which the movie Angels Can Fly is based.
Angels Can Fly
A Modern Clown User Guide
Fiction Excerpt:Easy arrived down at the street-theatre pitch early, his four year old son, Jasper, running at his heels. Sugar had already started a show however, so he took off his backpack and sat down on the grass, to consider the options. Jasper sat in his lap, his eyes on the show.Sugar had a large crowd and, from where they were sitting, Easy and Jasper were just getting glimpses of her through gaps in the audience. Then a large group walked away, right in front of them, and they got a window into the show.Sugar wiped the back of her hand across her mouth in a vulgar way, adjusted her trademark bustle which enlarged her backside, then smiled warmly at a man who stood in front of her in the audience."Hi, what's your name?" she asked him.He made no reaction, fearful of where any response might lead, and immobilised by the attention of the crowd."The questions get harder," she teased him.Easy saw the realisation dawn on him that it was easier to play along, than to resist."Mike," he admitted."Right answer!" she encouraged him.He grinned."Now I want you to do exactly as I do," she told him. "Okay Mike?"
He nodded. Even a nod was a daring move, and she turned to face the same direction as him, and imitated his reluctant stance, and the audience laughed.Then she took a step forward, and waited in anticipation that he should do the same. After a moment, lush with humour from his indecision, he followed her lead, which brought him out of the crowd and onto the stage."She's good today," Jasper said.Easy nodded, and cuddled the boy.Sugar led Mike step by step, until they reached the centre of the circle, and with every step his reluctance was confronted and released. And a broad smile broke out on his face as she teased the courage from him.Easy could see that she was going to do a long show, which was slowly gathering a bigger and bigger crowd."We'll have to go to the park and try a show," he told Jasper."Daddy, I want to watch her show," Jasper said."I've got to make some money.”
"Do one here afterwards.”
Easy looked over to the back of the pitch, where he could see Ginger was already waiting to go next. This meant he would be second in line, which would probably still be okay, he thought, and anyway he wanted to catch up with Ginger."Okay, you go and watch the show then," he told Jasper, "and I'll be at the back, with the others, okay?"
Jasper nodded, and scampered happily off, pushing through to the front of Sugar's crowd, to sit down on the pavement.Easy took his gear over to the back of the pitch, and Ginger smiled as he approached."Hi," he greeted her.They kissed one another on the cheek. Her green hair gave her an alien sort of feel, very beautiful in the sunlight, he thought. They had had good contact last season, but she had kept the relationship platonic. He sat beside her on the wall of a raised garden area."How have things been for you?" he asked her. "I haven't seen you for a while."
She nodded."I need to earn some money," she told him. She grinned. "Otherwise I'm good... I did Europe for the first time this year."
"I know," he said, "how was it?"
"Are you kidding, it was fantastic.”
She was vivacious, Easy thought, so full of energy that she drew the love out of the world around her."I got back a while ago and haven't worked since, so I'm a bit desperate."
He nodded and rubbed his hand over her shoulders in support."That feels nice," she told him.He tried moving the touch into a cuddle, but she struggled out of it."Okay, okay," he said. "You just said it felt nice."
"It did," she said, “you can give me a shoulder rub."
"Okay," he surrendered to her.He moved to sit behind her, with his legs straddled around her, and started squeezing the tension out of her shoulder muscles. She groaned in appreciation.On the pitch, Sugar had positioned her volunteer, with an apple on his head, and she was fumbling with a bow and arrow in front of him.His reaction of horror and yet inability to do anything except play along and trust her, was getting good reactions from the crowd.She seemed to notice Jasper sitting right in the front of her crowd, because her eyes swung about to find Easy at the back of the pitch, and she smiled. He waved back to her.Ginger groaned a little, as if to encourage his focus back to the rub, and he dutifully obliged, working his way down her back on either side of the vertebrae, several times.Sugar had a canister which was heavy with water, and she struggled to carry it across to Mike, and then asked him to hold it up in front of his chest.There was a little tap on the front, and she pulled a balloon out of her pocket, stretched it a few times, then slipped it over the tap and turned it on. The balloon began filling with water. Mike was struggling to hold up the weight of the canister, and Sugar kept pouring, until the balloon was big and heavy.Easy started massaging Ginger’s arms, one at a time.The sight of Mike's struggle, and the growing balloon, drooping down around his groin, was somehow funny. And she made him hold up the canister a little longer, while she tied the mouth of the balloon.Then she carried the balloon, with a little wobble, over to Jasper and asked him to come up on stage to hold it. He obediently got to his feet and walked in to help.Easy stopped working with Ginger’s arm, and rested his head on her shoulder, watching his boy proudly. Her attention was on Jasper too, so somehow it was okay that his arms were draped about her, and their bodies had an intimacy, while they were sharing the experience.Jasper took the balloon with both hands, and it was so heavy with water that it still drooped all the way to almost touch the ground on either side.The audience enjoyed his struggle, as Sugar led him over to stand in front of Mike, where she got him to hold up the balloon so it was above his head, and in front of Mike's chest, which he did valiantly.Then she went back and picked up the bow and arrow and aimed it roughly in their direction.Normally, Easy knew, there was a reaction from the volunteers at this point, as they realised that they were going to get water all over them, but Jasper was so cool, there was no clown value from his emotional reaction, because he knew it wouldn't happen.Jasper was more concerned about holding the balloon up, because it was wobbling all over the place, but he did it with such a proud, professional attitude, cute in one so young, that he was endearing himself to the audience.Ginger giggled, and Easy felt it physically in his body.On stage, Mike was quietly freaking out however, and the contrast between Jasper's acceptance and Mike's out-of-comfort-zone experience got the audience going.Easy felt fulfilled to see Jasper up on stage, and in a weird way, it was like it was his big moment as well. Ginger, sensing this, pulled his arms around her, and hugged them to her tummy.Suddenly someone with a spiky mohawk hairstyle stepped out of the crowd and entered the stage, breaking the focus. Easy knew him as one of the younger performers, who tried hard most of the time, and was not always sensitive to what was appropriate.He felt a little apprehensive about the effect of this on the show, but Rooster just walked straight over to Sugar and handed her something.Sugar solved any problems with her response."My stage manager, with a spare battery," she introduced him.He bowed and turned to walk off."It's hard to get good help these days," she confided in the audience as he left.There was laughter, and Rooster turned and played into her gag by giving her the finger. There was more laughter from the audience.He came and sat on the wall at the back of the pitch beside them. Suddenly it didn't feel appropriate to be drooped all over Ginger, and Easy kissed her on the back of the neck, and sat back on the wall beside her. She squeezed his hand in thanks."Rooster," he introduced himself to her."Ginger," she told him. They shook hands."You new in town?" he asked her. She shook her head."I worked here a lot last season," she told him. "I don't think you were here then."
It was his turn to shake his head."I was doing statue work last year," he admitted. "This is my first season of circle shows." He was so proud of himself, that Easy felt warm to him despite his insensitivity."So I can wait and do a show in a couple of hours after you guys," Rooster said, "or I can find somewhere to do some statue work in the meantime, but then I'll lose my place in the queue, is that how it works?"
Easy wasn't certain, and he looked at Ginger."What do you think?" he asked her.She grinned."Definitely lose his place," she said."Truth is that I feel embarrassed doing the statue stuff now," Rooster confessed, "now that I've got a real show together.”
There was a roar of delight from the crowd.Sugar was reaching the climax of the water bomb, and Easy turned to catch the balloon soaring high in the air, and Sugar, Mike and Jasper standing beneath it. The look on Mike’s face was getting the audience going. Then just as the balloon started to fall, Sugar whipped out a plastic sheet, which was hidden inside her busle, and draped it over Mike and Jasper, throwing them to the ground and rolling under the sheet herself as the balloon hit the ground close beside them. The audience were roaring, and as the water sprayed over the sheet and out across the pitch, some drops reached edges of the crowd, and this just increased the laughter.Sugar started moving underneath the sheet as if she were copulating with Mike, and then she stood up to reveal Mike and Jasper dry and unharmed by the experience.“Saved from danger,” she announced, “give them a big hand for being such good sports.”
The audience showed their appreciation. Sugar waved the volunteers offstage.“And remember be alert but not alarmed,” she told the audience, and she went into her hat routine."I'm going to do a statue," Rooster decided.Easy looked at Ginger and they grinned, all three knowing that, as he was still getting his show together, it was good that he didn't tie up the pitch with it today. Rooster scampered off happily, and Easy opened his bag to sort his stuff.
When Sugar dragged her gear off the pitch a short time later, her face was dripping with sweat."That looked good," Ginger told her.Sugar nodded."I had fun," she said.She held up her hat, which was heavy with notes and coins, and they grinned. It looked like the audience had had fun too.Jasper plonked himself down beside them."You didn't do the; do de do, de do, de do, de do..." Jasper said to her, making a noise a little like a trumpet.Sugar smiled and ruffled his hair."I forgot the fanfare before the hat," she agreed, "but I didn't need it today."
She smiled at Ginger and nodded her head towards Jasper."He knows all the shows," she said.Ginger nodded."It's scary," she said.Easy grinned. He felt proud.Then he noticed TC walking towards the pitch, his torn shirt fashionably revealing his well-formed chest. Easy drew the girl’s attention to TC, and the sight brought Ginger to her feet."Oh oh!" she warned. "Here comes trouble."
"Just as well I'm already back in line," Sugar observed. "You better get up there."
Ginger nodded, and she jumped on her skateboard and skated straight onto the pitch. If the pitch was empty, custom had it, TC could demand the right to go on, since no one was actually working."Is the pitch free?" TC duly asked, stopping beside them."You're after me, big boy," Sugar replied.She buried her head in her hat, counting the coins. In one hand she held a wad of notes.Easy shook TC's hand in welcome, and TC joined them on the wall. In the background, Ginger's music started on the pitch, as she set up for her show.
The Big Day finally arrived. Madona looked at her watch. It was still only late morning, and yet she was already coming to the finale of her first show. She had a huge crowd, and her two male volunteers were facing one another, their shirts off and arms interlocked, in the middle of the pitch. Everything was ready.
She got the crowd to do a slow handclap, and then clambered up the back of one of them, abusing his comfort zone mercilessly for the crowd's amusement, by rubbing herself all over him. He seemed to quite like it.
Eventually she stood on their shoulders and surveyed the crowd. They were about twelve deep, pretty good, she thought. Beyond that it was just a moving mass of people, and in that mass she could see several other circles of clear space, created by the other pitches.
She could see TC just starting on the next one, and some smoke from another, which could be Firefly, and then there was another more ragged fourth one. That was funny, she thought, there were supposed to be just three pitches.
She made a joke about one of the men looking up her shorts, and swung into her five fire-club finale. She knew from past years that the number of people would increase steadily as the day wore on, and she was conserving her energy.
When she had passed the hat and was collecting her stuff, Sugar came over and dumped her suitcase on the pitch. They kissed.
"You on next?" Madona asked.
Sugar nodded. Her eyes were on Madona's hat, which was brimming over with notes and coins.
"It's there for the taking," she said. "Get out there."
Sugar needed no second bidding, and she turned back to her case to prepare her stuff.
"Have a good one, mate," Madona told her.
She felt great as she wheeled her road case back through the crowds to the backstage tent. Dancer was the only one there, and Madona beat her chest, and yodelled till she had to stop because Dancer was laughing too much.
"Does that mean it was a good one?" Dancer asked, when she had recovered.
"Better than good."
She opened her case and picked up the hat, brimming with notes and heavy with coins, and stuffed it into a little backpack, which she slung over her shoulder.
Easy and Ginger walked in together. They were getting dangerously close to the couple thing, Madona thought.
"Congratulations," Easy told Dancer, kissing her on the cheek.
"Thanks... Where's your boy?" she asked.
"He's run off somewhere," Easy complained, "and now I can't find my amp."
They shook their heads.
"I'm going to check out the other pitches," Madona announced.
She left the tent and immersed herself in the mill of people. She was in her element, and so she had no trouble finding clear paths through the people and made good progress. There was a sound of electric guitars, which got louder as she approached the third pitch.
When she got there, she found Rooster standing forlornly by his gear, with a couple of electric guitarists performing twenty metres away on a piece of grass which had been designated out of bounds.
"I can't start with them there," he told her, "someone's gone to get the cops. They won't stop and give anyone else a chance, and they're not supposed to be doing it there."
Madona stormed over and pushed her way through the crowd. She wasn't certain what she was going to do, but she knew she was going to close them down, so she walked straight onto their stage and switched off the amp. The sound died.
"I am afraid this show can't continue here," she announced, "but there are other shows to watch, and you can see these guys later on a legal pitch, if they line up with everyone else."
She was talking to the audience, and not watching the guys, but one of them walked over and simply punched her in the nose. She felt a blinding pain in her head, and fell over.
The crowd scattered, but the guys turned the amp back on and kept playing, and then the cops arrived. Madona was sitting up by now, clutching a tissue that someone had given her, to her nose, for it was bleeding.
The cops sorted it out, and a short time later, Rooster started up, and Madona walked back to the backstage tent, holding the bloody tissue to her nose.
Ginger and Dancer were still there and Chaos had also arrived.
"What happened?" Dancer asked her.
"One of the feral performers didn't agree with the pitch policy."
Dancer hugged her, but Chaos shrugged.
"I bet you bought right into it?" he suggested.
"Thanks for your sympathy," she spat at him. "I was doing it for everyone."
She knew that Chaos dealt with the politics of this sort of day by getting solidly out of it the night before, so he was only half alive when he dragged himself down to the pitch the next day, and she tried to make allowances for this.
"It's just that you set yourself up for it," he tried to explain.
"That's all the thanks I get." She was too indignant to hear reason. "I would have expected better from you."
TC walked in with his gear, and sat beside Dancer, putting his arm around her.
"Good one?" Dancer asked.
"Better than good," TC subconsciously echoed Madona's earlier remark.
"Who's up on your pitch now?" Madona asked.
"Hannibal," TC responded.
Easy came running in.
"Guys, I need some help to find Jasper," he pleaded. "I can't find him anywhere."
The urgency in his voice was enough to jerk them all into action, and they went outside and stood looking disconsolately at the mill of people, uncertain where to start the search.
Firefly walked up.
"Congratulations," she said, touching Dancer's tummy.
Dancer kissed her on the cheek.
"Did you have trouble with some guitarists by the third pitch when you were up?" Madona asked.
"They were bastards," she said, "but I still did my best hat ever."
Madona noticed a crowd gathering a short distance away. It wasn't one of the usual pitches, but it was working because there were so many people about.
"Who's that working over there?" she asked.
They could not see who it was for the crowd, so they all went over to check it out, and found Jasper in the middle of the circle, doing a dance.
He had Easy's amp, and there was a tape playing of songs from a kids' pop group. The boy looked so sweet that he had enraptured the audience, and Madona, even in her current mood, also fell into the spell.
"He's doing bits of all the shows," Firefly exclaimed. "Look there was Sugar's strut that she does."
"He's doing well, huh?"
Easy appeared beside Madona. He looked relieved and proud.
"He's been practising in his bedroom," he explained. "I didn't think he'd do it."
Jasper finished, and there was huge applause.
Madona felt heartened by the boy's faith in himself to come out and do it.
The audience members each made their way forward and put something in Jasper's hat, until there was just the performers who were left standing in what remained of the circle.
Jasper looked about at them, and smiled.
"It's easy," he chirped brightly.
There was laughter and snorts from the group.
"Okay, back to work," TC instructed the others, "you heard the boy, it's easy."
He made a play of shepherding everyone away.
"It's easy when you do everyone else's material," Madona remarked. "Get your own stuff kid," she told Jasper playfully.
He looked momentarily taken aback.
"I will," he decided.
Madona loved the ease with which he came to that decision.
"So will I," she told herself, as they drifted back to work.
Angels Can Fly is a feature film in development from Artmedia.
Find background information on the book on which this movie is based at: www.alanclay.com
On this site you can find information on the auditions for the roles in another Artmedia film in development, True Believers.
On this site you can also check out the production credits and production photos for our first feature film Butterfly Crush, find more information on the cast, the development process and the production, find an outline of the story plus stills, and view podcasts.
This site published by Artmedia Publishing The content of this site is copyright, and no part may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes, without the prior permission in writing from the publishers.
last updated 04 May 2011