The Not-So-Greatest Show on Earth

It was the beginning of January, although in Los Angeles, no one really felt it. It could have been July and no one would know the difference. The Monkees and the Mallards were at Screen Gems, trying to help Drake come up with an idea of what to do for his daughter, Gosalyn's, birthday, which was on January 19. So far, no one came up with anything.

"I'm at a loss here," Drake said. "I can honestly tell you, the arcade is out. I'm sick of going there year after year. And I told that to Gosalyn."

"Anybody have any ideas?" Mike asked.

"I know!" Micky. "The circus is in town. Maybe we could take Gosalyn and some of her friends there."

"Well, she does want to go," Drake said.

"Jerry and I will check out the grounds for ticket prices," Mike said. The others nodded. Mike and Jerry were off.

When the boys reached the circus grounds, they were in for a shock. It was packing up to leave.

"Hey, what's going on?" Jerry asked.

"Yeah," Mike said. "Accordin' to your posters, you were supposed to stay until next week."

"We haven't been doing so well," the ring master said. "Ticket sales have dropped, so we've got to pack up. Sorry."

Mike and Jerry groaned. They went back to Screen Gems with the bad news.

"They're packin' it in," Mike said. "Gone. Outta here."

"Rats," Drake said. "Gos is not gonna be happy about this."

"I know," Jerry said. "I guess we'll have to think of another idea for her party."

"Wait a minute! I have an idea!" Mike shouted, snapping his fingers. Thunder clapped and lightning sounded when he did.

"Yipe!" Micky screamed and jumped about a mile high.

"Mike, I wish you would learn to think before you snap your fingers," Reggie said.

"Oops," Mike said. "Sorry. I forget sometimes I part witch."

"So what's your idea?" Jerry asked.

"Gosalyn invites her friends to my place and we perform a backyard circus," Mike said. "We do all the circus acts and all that."

"Hey, that's a good idea," Jerry replied. "Let's go tell the others."

"Are you sure we can hold it in your backyard, Mike?" Peter asked.

"I've been renovatin' the house," Mike said. "Don't worry. The backyard will be perfect. All I need to do is set up some stuff."

That was all there was to it. The group rounded up the others and told them about the idea. They all liked it, but were a little worried about it.

"Exactly what do you want us to do?" Sarah asked.

"The basic circus stuff," Mike said. "You know, like that movie we made last spring? The musical? Basically what we did in that. We can use the same props and costumes from the movie."

"Okay, but I refuse to do a lion taming act," Jerry said.

"No problem," Mike said. "I'll handle everything."

"Do all of us have to do it?" Phyllis asked. "There is no way I'm putting on a skimpy outfit for a bunch of little kids!"

"No, you don't have to do it," Mike said. "I'm only gonna need a few of you. Any volunteers?"

Mike had a plethora of volunteers. And that was a good thing. Nobody really cared what they got assigned. They'd do it anyway, or Mike would turn 'em into toads! He assigned the jobs, no one complained, and then he went to set the whole thing up.

"Are you sure your backyard can fit everything?" Sarah asked.

"Relax, Sarah," Mike said. "I've got the biggest backyard in all of California! Of course they'll fit."

"I was just wondering."

A few days later, Mike had everything set up. Jerry was sort of shocked.

"How were you able to set everything up so fast?" he asked.

"Eh, it was a snap," Mike said, waving his eyebrows up and down. "Now all we've got to do is get Gosalyn to invite her friends to this thing."

"I know she'll invite Lilly and Catchum, that's for sure."

"There's a start."

By Saturday, everything was set. Mike asked his father, Warren, and his stepmother, Carole, to come by to make sure things didn't get too out of control with the kids. Drake was going to drive the kids over at noon (since he was the only one Mike knew with a station wagon that would fit ten kids), so they had some time to set up.

"I don't know how you did it, Mike," Warren said. "But you never cease to amaze me."

"Thanks," Mike replied. "However, this whole set up used most of my magic. I need a recharge."

"Sarah, did you bring the cake?" Camille asked.

"Yep," Sarah said. "By the way, Mike, Micky needs a pogo stick."

"What does he need one of those things for?" Mike asked. "And why doesn't he ask me himself?"

"He's busy preparing his act, and he needs the pogo stick for his act."

"Well, I'd zap one up for you, but my battery's low. Sorry."

"Someone call a prop man?" the Mallards' producer, Bob Rafelsen, asked coming through the gate with a box of who knows what.

"What are you doin' here?" Mike asked. He and Bob didn't get along too well, but they had been getting along better lately.

"I'm the source of the props and costumes," Bob replied, putting the box down. He pulled out a pogo stick and handed it to Sarah. "I figured I'd come over with some stuff since this sort of thing takes a lot out of a guy, and I also figured your battery would need charging."

"I don't know how you do it."

"It's a gift."

Noon time rolled around. Everyone was ready. The kids were directed to sit underneath some sort of canopy while the others performed out in the open.

"This ought to be good," Gosalyn said.

"I wonder what your dad's gonna do, Gosalyn?" Catchum asked.

"Hey, it's starting," Lilly replied. Mike stepped out to the center ring wearing the typical ring master's uniform.

"Ladies and gentlemen, kids of all ages," he said. "Welcome to the Backyard Big Top! It's the Monkees' three ring . . ."

Davy, Micky, and Peter came running into the center ring inside of smaller rings, sort of like a hamster wheel. Quackerjack joined them a minute later.

"Make that four ring," Mike said. Quackerjack sort of ran around in circles, and finally ended up crashing out of sight.

"Nope," Mike said. "Three ring circus!"

The kids giggled. Sarah appeared in the ring wearing a costume horse and a cowboy hat.

"I don't know how they talked me into this," she said, and then she proceeded to gallop across the ring. She didn't do it for too long since she had an act to prepare for.

Mike was about to say something, but before he could get a word out, Jerry, Reggie, and Drake came driving by at a fast pace in a car that dated all the way back to 1938! Davy had worked on it so it would go faster than an old car could go.

"Uh oh," Mike said upon seeing it.

"Yipee!" Reggie shouted.

"Yahoo!" Jerry called out.

"Yee-ha!" Drake shouted. The three of them zoomed past Mike, leaving him in a cloud of exhaust fumes. He waved them out of his face and coughed.

"Our first act," he said, coughing. "Is the amazin' high wire act."

There was no reaction. Mike looked up at the tree and tried again.

"The amazin' high wire act!" he shouted.

"We're on you guys!" Sarah shouted.

"Sarah, we have a problem," Camille said. "We forgot the wire!"

"No problem," Micky said. "I have something."

Micky tied one end of a rope to the tree. Then he started climbing down that one and ran to another one.

"The amazin' high wire act," Mike said, as Micky was running across to the other tree. "The amazingly low clothesline act."

Micky climbed up the other tree and tied the rope around it. Then she gave Camille the single. Camille opened her umbrella and began to walk across the clothesline.

"Like I said," Mike said. "The amazin' high clothesline act."

The kids applauded as Camille finished walking across the rope. Sarah was next. She was riding a unicycle across. More applause followed. Reggie was next. He had managed to drag his motorcycle up the tree (with a little help from Mike), and he rode it across the rope. He got a big round of applause for that! Finally, it was Micky's turn. He hopped across the rope on the pogo stick. He was halfway across it when he lost his balance and fell.

"Whoops!" he shouted. "Whoaaa!"

Luckily Mike had set up a net, just for this kind of emergency. Micky landed right into it, and everybody laughed. He shrugged.

"Our next act is sure to astound you," Mike said. "The great Fluey and his ferocious lions!"

Fluey came into the ring with Micky's cat, Shorty Blackwell, Davy's cat, Nelson, and his own kitten Jasmine. They were wearing some sort of mane to make them look like lions. The kids giggled and applauded.

"Thank you, ladies and gentlemen," Fluey replied. "These are my ferocious lions."

"Kind of small for lions, aren't they?" Gosalyn asked.

"Okay, they're lion cubs," Fluey said.

"What's with the one on the end?" Valerie asked. "Kind of small for a lion cub, isn't she?" Fluey looked at Jasmine.

"She's been sick," Fluey said. The kids laughed.

"Now, these lion . . . . cubs are really ferocious!" he shouted. "Just listen!"

Shorty was first. She stood up on her hind legs, ready to meow, but she ended up falling off the podium. Then she ran off.

"Okay," Fluey said. "Fine. Let's try the next one."

Nelson was next. He didn't do anything except wash his paws. Fluey was dying out here. Finally, it was time for Jasmine to go on.

"Mew," she squeaked. Everyone laughed. Fluey's cheeks turned a pleasant shade of pink.

"Are you trying to make me look bad?" he hissed at Jasmine.

"I'll hate myself in the morning for this," Jasmine said (but nobody except Nelson and Shorty Blackwell understood her).

Jasmine let out a roar that sounded exactly like a real lion's roar. Fluey screamed and ran for the audience. Everybody laughed. Mike cleared his throat and went to the next act.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he said. "Allow me to introduce the great Geator with the Heater!"

Everybody clapped. Jerry had come out into the ring wearing a tuxedo, top hat, and black cape.

"I don't see why you don't do this, Mike," Jerry said. "You're the one with the magic, not me."

"My battery's dead," Mike said. "Besides, I'm the ring master! Besides, you've got the potion I mixed up anyway, so this oughta be a smash!"

Jerry rolled his eyes and began his act.

"For my first trick," he said. "I'll produce a rabbit out of my hat."

The kids applauded. Jerry took off his hat and actually rolled it down his arm. When it reached his hand, he flicked his wrist and the hat was airborne. Jerry caught it in his other hand. The kids applauded.

"Show off," Davy said.

Jerry glared at Davy and then put his hat back on.

"Hand me the potion, Davy," he said. Davy handed him a glass filled with some kind of purple liquid. Jerry sniffed it, and immediately backed away.

"You've got to be kidding me!" he shouted. "That smells terrible!"

"You've got to do it, Jer," Mike said. Jerry made a face and pinched his nose shut.

"I just hope it tastes better than it smells," he said, taking the glass.

Jerry raised the glass to his lips, and swallowed the liquid. He immediately felt like spitting it out.

"Yeeeeccchhhh!" he shouted. "Ooh! That was terrible! It tastes worse than it smells!"

"Trust me," Mike said. "This is gonna be a great trick."

Jerry shook his head, and suddenly, turned red. Literally. Mike's potion was a color changing potion. He mixed it up that morning. After that, Jerry changed from blue to green to purple. As a finale in the colors, he became striped. Davy cracked up. Jerry did not appreciate being laughed at, especially by Davy, so he snapped his fingers. The short, British Monkee was now covered in polka-dots.

"Auuugghhh!" he cried as he fled from the scene. Everyone laughed at that, and Jerry changed back to normal.

"Whew!" he shouted. "Okay for my finale, I need a volunteer from the audience!"

Everyone backed off. Reggie sort of snuck off at the moment. The only one left sitting was Camille.

"Ah, Camille," Jerry said. "Thank you."

"No, wait," Camille said. "I don't want to . . . uhh."

"You are getting sleepy!"

"Jerry, come on. You're not a hypnotist. You can't just--"

Suddenly, in mid-sentence, Camille dropped off to sleep. Jerry raised his hands into the air, and Camille was lifted off the ground. It was the old levitation bit.

"Ooohhhh!" the kids said. Everyone began to applaud. Jerry took a couple of bows. Camille woke up in the middle of it and looked into the tree. Reggie was turning some sort of wheel. The levitation trick definitely was a trick! Somehow or another, Camille had invisible string tied around her and Reggie was pulling her up.

"I should have known," she said. "Reggie! Get me down from here!"

"Shhh!" Reggie hissed. Everyone was still applauding. Camille actually started storming toward Reggie once she was up the tree.

"Get me out of here now!" Camille shouted.

"It wasn't my idea," Reggie said, backing away. "Hey, don't push! Wait a minute! Look out below!"

"Whooaaaaaa!" both he and Camille shouted as they fell out of the tree. They sort of stopped in midfall, as they were tangled in the string. They hung in the air like marionettes. Everyone cracked up. Jerry's cheeks turned pink and he pulled his hat down over his eyes.

"How humiliating!" he shouted, running off. Mike laughed a little himself and stepped into the ring.

"And now, presenting the flying Mozerelli sisters!" he shouted, indicating the trapeze.

Phyllis and Valerie were on. The two of them swung back and forth on the trapezes, but they didn't try to catch each other. They were just swinging, flipping over the bar. Valerie did a summer sault and was now hanging by her knees. Phyllis jumped off her trapeze and grabbed Valerie's hands. The two of them swung back and forth. Then she grabbed her own trapeze with her feet. The two of them began swinging back and forth again, and then, they let go of their trapezes, and smacked right into each other.

"Ow!" Valerie shouted.

"Watch it!" Phyllis cried. The two of them fell into the net, and actually bounced back up to the trapezes. They were hanging onto them by the hands and crashed into each other again, and into the tree.

"Ahhh!" they cried. Everybody laughed hysterically.

"Uhhh, okay," Mike said. "Why don't we, uhh, send in the clowns!"

Good idea. Davy and Quackerjack ran into the ring, imitating a fire engine siren. Sarah was standing in the window of a cardboard building that looked like it was on fire. She was throwing things everywhere.

"Help me! Help me! Somebody please help me!" she shouted. Davy and Quackerjack were catching everything she was throwing, until she was ready to jump. Then they moved the net they were carrying.

"Whoa!" Sarah shouted, and landed directly into a mud puddle. Everyone laughed.

"Ooh, forget it!" Sarah shouted, standing up. She stormed off.

The clowns got a good laugh out of everyone. There was your basic pie fight, seltzer water, blah, blah, blah. Then came the finale. It was a good thing Johnny wasn't around! He'd probably be offended at what they were doing! Mike and Phyllis were dressed as cowboys and were tied back to back on a stake. Camille, Jerry, and Reggie were dressed as Indians, performing some sort of war dance. Suddenly, the calvary arrived. Those were Micky, Sarah, Valerie, and Davy. Micky was blowing away on his trumpet, but he noticed the war dance and stopped the calvary.

"Wait a minute!" he shouted. "That's not a war dance! That's a rain dance!"

camille, Jerry, and Reggie stopped immediately and looked at the sky. KA-BOOM! Thunder clapped and it started to rain. The performers began racing around, trying to get out of the rain! Since they were all running in different directions, Jerry and Micky collided, as did Reggie and Sarah. The kids were laughing like crazy. The party was over then and there. Warren and Carole managed to take everything inside, and the parents picked up the kids, except Lilly, Catchum, and Gosalyn.

"So, Gosalyn, what did you think of the circus?" Drake asked.

"It was great!" Gosalyn shouted.

"I'm glad you think so," Carole said, opening one of the doors. "Because I don't think the performers did!"

Apparently, the performers didn't get out of the rain fast enough! They all had caught colds!

"I can't believe we all caught colds," Fluey said.

"Believe it," Mike said. "Great. Just as my battery starts to recharge, my magic's gone."

"Don't worry you guys," Gosalyn said. "Lilly, Catchum, and I are gonna cheer you up."

The others shrugged. Gosalyn ran out of the room for a moment.

"What are they up to?" Mike asked.

"You'll see," Warren replied.

Ten minutes later, Gosalyn, Lilly, and Catchum came down the stairs wearing clown outfits and carrying small, rubber balls.

"Ladies and gentlemen," Lilly said.

"And grown-ups of all ages!" Catchum shouted.

"Presenting the world's worst juggling act!" Gosalyn shouted. She, Lilly and Catchum began to throw the small rubber balls at each other in an attempt to juggle them, but they fell to the floor and rolled across the room. What else could the others do but laugh?

The End