Las Vegas Widow

In stunned silence the lion tamer realised his mistake.  The roar from the lion’s gaping mouth was deafening.  It sent out bone-shaking reverberations, which the audience loved, as always.  But tonight the lion tamer loved nothing about it.  No, the lion tamer’s blood froze and time froze with it; time seemed to hang suspended over the vast chasm between his last heartbeat and the next one, if it ever arrived; as all the while his thoughts went racing after answers.

Why?  His act had always been a roaring success until now.  “Roaring success” – even in his current predicament the lion tamer winced at the terrible pun, which he always resented using in his marketing bumpf but could never escape from.  You had to trumpet success in whatever fashion you could, no matter how corny.  And the act that he and his wife originated together, when they were just starting out and still practically kids, had always won rave reviews and put bums on seats.  It was a perfect combination of their talents: he with his uncanny affinity for big cats, no matter how fierce; and she with that radiance she could project into crowds, holding complete strangers transfixed, especially when she was younger, the Lovely Tsaritsa.

They toured throughout Europe, gaining fame and a million Facebook likes, whilst mostly keeping on the good side of the animal rights campaigners.  After that, they headed to the Far East and their lifestyle became more luxurious.  Luxury suited them, he thought, and they took to it with gusto in their different ways.  Then they brought the act to Las Vegas.  The crowds there had been wowed from the start, but tonight it looked as if they might get more of a show than they bargained for.  Why?

The USA had promised so much, as Promised Lands are supposed to.  Husband and wife settled down in a secluded beachfront property, basking in everyday sunshine and ease.  They reaped their rewards and he was proud of that.  She hoped for kids, little boy and little girl.  He hoped for an American lover with nubile limbs and a carefree approach to life and love.  He got what he wanted, while her wishes remained on the to-do list as their career took precedence.

But tonight all those rewards hung in the balance, only inches from destruction.  Why?  His mind was still racing.  Then it came to an abrupt conclusion: what would happen if a once radiant wife (who maybe hadn’t got what she wanted from life, who was maybe now wanting widowhood?) took secretions from a lion’s scent glands and worked them into the hair gel of a past-his-prime lion tamer immediately before he stuck his cheating, scheming head into a rival lion’s gaping mouth?

Time resumed.  The lion’s immense jaws slammed shut and gleaming incisors punctured the lion tamer’s skull with a pop.  The proud head deflated rapidly, like a bloody balloon.


This short story was written in response to the latest TipsyLit writing prompt: For this week’s prompt, the theme is taking a big risk.  All of the stories written for the prompt can be read by clicking on the image below.  

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16 thoughts on “Las Vegas Widow

  1. I think I love this whole piece right up until the phrase ‘secretions from a lion’s scent glands’.

    The tone of the piece starts out heart pounding, then is almost reminiscent — or even that panicked ‘thinking back’ that you do when you realize you forgot something.

    The tension is awesome — right until those words. Then it fumbles. Only momentarily, mind, because the idea of popping someone’s head so it deflates like a balloon is magnificently disgusting.

    It’s a gorgeous piece; I think it could be even better with a slightly different choice of wording right there.

    • Hey, thanks for the detailed reading. Glad you enjoyed (most of) it 🙂 For me, the phrase ‘secretions from a lion’s scent glands’ is in the voice of the lion tamer, i.e. this is someone who has in-depth technical knowledge of lion biology and behaviour because of his profession. He’s desperately trying to understand why the lion is acting so out of character and, when he finally gains that moment of clarity, the answer presents itself as a technical solution to the problem – but too late, obviously.

  2. Deliciously gruesome piece. I love the wife’s approach to the problem. No one else will ever know exactly what happened so she’s now free. Between the title and the concept that she didn’t get what she wanted and he did, I didn’t feel the line “who maybe was wanting widowhood” was really necessary, but that’s minor. It didn’t detract from the story at all.

  3. Thanks, glad you enjoyed the gruesomeness. Well, the fact of the Lovely Tsaritsa’s becoming a widow is undeniable. However, the idea that she “maybe was wanting widowhood” belongs to the lion tamer, for a split second. It’s possible he could have been wrong.

  4. Pingback: Polling Prompted: Risky Business | TIPSY LIT

  5. I have realized that all the comments I’ve left from my phone did not go through :/

    I loved this. Absolutely amazing take on the prompt. The mystery the whole way through was enthralling. Great work!

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