The Merveilleux Circus had received an unexpected invitation to perform in France. The director, Tony Rivera, had put out advertisements that showcased the Merveilleux Circus as not just a traveling entertainment show, but as art-based organization that recruited the top talents in acrobatics and people with special skills. It would be their first international performance.
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Buddy Beker was the youngest member of the Merveilleux Circus. He had a compelling appearance with golden hair, firm features and was barely 18. He was one of the best performers in the crew and Tony had nothing but praise for him. Buddy was very agile and versatile both as an acrobat and a musician. But the most impressive act he did in the shows was his display of swordsmanship. Tony had crafted the part especially for him, after seeing him waltz around at an incredible speed with a wooden pole, in an imitation of fencing. It was such a graceful, skillful and riveting display that Tony decided to carve a new show “The LeGuarde” for the company.
Unfortunately, some of the older crew members felt eclipsed by Buddy’s skill and quite a few of them became envious. They were constantly maligning his character and generally made sure they kept him isolated from other crew membes when they could find a way.
On that rainy day in spring, all the crew of the Merveilleux Circus were sitting around the Cheviot Hotel’s lounge in Paris looking at each other uncertainly. They were exhausted from the long flight from New York to France and reeling from the shock of learning that their show had been cancelled. Tony had just told them there had been a fire at the Reve Arena where they had been scheduled to perform for two weeks. The French authorities didn’t think the circus could perform until three weeks. The fire had happened while they were airborne and just twenty minutes from Paris.
While the other members of the crew were looking lost as Tonio made series of calls, Buddy had walked quietly to a window to look out at the garden, to think. He knew the Crew couldn’t afford to stay three weeks in a hotel, waiting for the arena to be fixed. He also knew they couldn’t well fly back to New York as they had been counting on the fees from the show to pay the expenses. Buddy took out a pen and notebook from his backpack and drew up a plan. He designed an integrated sword-skill ballet version of The LeGuarde that they could present to the French Television Authority. Twenty minutes later, he took his proposal to Tony who took one look at it and placed another call, this time looking forr a training studio.
The LeGuarde was accepted by the French Television Authority and a week later, the show was on air. Two days after that, Tony received a call from an entertainment company in Spain, wanting to do a movie variation of the show with Buddy. At dinner time, the same day, there was a call from Italy. Buddy’s swordsmanship show became the greatest attraction of the Merveilleux Circus, with clients from all over the world asking for a LeGuarde performance for special occasions.
His crewmates who had been mean to him formerly, sought him out to apologize for their behavior. They were touched that in spite of their behavior to him, Buddy had included them in The LeGuarde show and took time out to coach them in swordsmanship. The Merveilleux Circus became a worldwide inspiration and varied circus companies began to spring up in different countries; Changa Circus in Africa, Vontrapp Circus in Germany, Linyin Circus in China, and so on. Buddy Berker remained his quiet, mature self despite his fame as one of the greatest performers in the generation. He received several offers in film and television. He eventually had to combine going to college with his art career, but he went about this in his usual level-headed way and made out time to help local charities.
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