Adopt a Tiger (3)
Susan had seen Billy the Pie around, obviously. He was the purple-haired clown at the end of her street, the one with the clown car outside his house.
She had never really spoken to him, but now was the time to introduce herself, as according to Grunt he was something of a tiger expert through his time at the circus, and with her newly adopted tiger now sitting in her patio she needed all the help she could get.
Billy's door was open when she arrived, with a hand-written sign above the door: 'Clown School, warning pie-throwing being undertaken in this area'. Susan grimaced and walked in, after all a pie in the face is better than being eaten by a tiger. But she had no need to worry, the wannabe clowns were still at the theory stage, there were three teenagers sitting with their notebooks while Billy lectured, all seemingly oblivious to her arrival.
"So the pie in the face, it is not a funny thing per se," he was saying. "There are many factors involved in making the pie in the face funny."
One of the students put his hand up eagerly.
"Yes Hans?" said Billy.
"It's Hector, not Hans. I was going to say the consistency of the cream. If it's too drippy it's not funny."
"Very good. Yes, the cream it must stick, it must make a mess, stick to the hair, to the face. But today's lesson is about angles. The angle of the approach of the pie, the upsplatter effect versus the downsplatter effect. Ah, Fraud Hudson, you wish to join Pie School? Very good, I always find that brunettes take a funnier pie than blondes, we can discuss this once we've finished angles."
"No I'm not here for the pies," said Susan. "I'm really sorry to interrupt your lesson, but I've unexpectedly adopted a tiger. Geraint from down the road says that you've worked with tigers."
"I see," said Billy thoughtfully. "Has the tiger eaten?"
"No, I don't think so. He's only just arrived."
"Then you had better sort out his food, a hungry tiger is a dangerous tiger. I will come down as soon as I can."
How on earth am I going to feed a full grown Bengali tiger? Susan thought. Then she had an idea. She had a cousin who was a butcher. She only ever saw him at weddings and funerals but family is family, he was bound to help out.
"Gor blimey, what've you gotten yerself into?" he said, when she explained the situation. "I suppose I can find a few scraps I can spare, I can use it for PR, get a pic in the papers. I'll be along shortly, I'll leave Ash in charge of the shop."
"Thank you," she said. Everyone was being really kind.
Billy arrived first and read the emails while they were waiting for Peter the butcher. "He seems tame, just need to feed him. I will show you how to clean the cage in a risk-free manner, as soon as he is having his post-nap meal."
They were interrupted by the arrival of the butcher.
"Hello Billy, meet Pete the meat," said cousin Peter, extending his arm for a hand-shake.
"Ah, you make joke yes, meet and meats, a juxtaposition of different words that sound the same. I must just write this in my notebook, I keep a record of the jokes I hear."
"Billy's a clown," Susan explained.
"Yeah, I sort of gathered from the juxtaposition of curly purple wig and red nose."
"Ah, this is also good," said Billy, "He echoes my use of 'juxtaposition'. Echoing is underused as a comedic tool."
"Bundle of fun your mate," Peter said to Susan.
"He used to help keep tigers at the circus."
"Ah, I always wondered what the clowns were for."
Billy again typed furiously onto his notepad. I guess, as a lifelong vegetarian, Billy simply hadn't encountered butchers' humour before.