Lionel Fisk approached the Brown Detective Agency walking on his hands. The aspiring acrobat always got fired up when the circus was in town. This year, he had more reason to be excited because his Uncle Barney – who is an ex-con, just sayin’ – had recently joined the circus as a clown. Lionel had two extra tickets to the circus, so he decided to give them to Encyclopedia and Sally.
That’s nice, but I get the feeling that those tickets were meant for Lionel’s parents. You figure if Barney is Lionel’s uncle, then one of Lionel’s parents is Barney’s sibling. Wouldn’t that person want to see his or her brother perform? Apparently not.
They went to the circus and the kids seemed to have a good enough time. Lionel lit up with pride to see his uncle dressed up as a clown in an armor made of pots and pans for his role as Sir Godfrey Biscuit-Shooter.
After the show, the three children got to see behind the scenes of the circus. However, when they got to the performers’ trailers, there was trouble brewing. Someone yelled for a doctor. Kitty, the bareback rider (I imagine it’s not that kind of bareback), also called for the new clown, Barney.
Princess Marta, the lion tamer, said that someone hit her over the head and stole her money. Kitty said that she had seen Barney leaving Marta’s trailer. Just then, the strongman appeared, grasping Barney. He pushed Barney, still wearing his “armor,” to the ground. The clanking of the pots and pans made a horrible racket.
Princess Marta said that she didn’t see or hear the thief before getting hit over the head. Everyone was ready to accuse the new guy who had been in prison. Things for Barney didn’t get any better when a frying pan was found outside Marta’s trailer.
Encyclopedia pointed out that Barney was unable to move quietly, so it wasn’t likely that the guy wearing an armor of pots and pans would be able to sneak up on anyone. Someone wearing soft shoes, like Kitty, who was quick to accuse Barney, would have no problem sneaking up on anyone.
So I guess, what we’ve learned today is: sometimes it’s not always the ex-con, but sometimes it’s worth blaming him anyway. Also that circus folk easily fall prey to mob mentality.