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Buddy Berker and the LeGuarde Story

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The Merveilleux Circus had received an unexpected invitation to perform in France. The director, Tony Rivera, a short, stout man full of ambition, had put out advertisements that show-cased the Merveilleux Circus as not just a travelling entertainment show, but as an art-based organization that recruited the top talents in acrobatics and people with outstanding skills.  It would be their first international performance.

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 remarkably 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 members when they could find a way. Marco DeMilo, especially, hated the fact that Buddy had a show made for him by Tony, when he asked Tony to create a segment for him to showcase his skills as a magician. The truth was, Marco was a sore loser. Coming from a lineage of renowned magicians, he used his family’s fame to get favours he did not deserve. He enjoyed seeing the awe on people’s faces when he told them his last name, but at the same time, every night he went to bed he was afraid of his future, afraid of the moment when the name DeMilo would no longer impress anyone. He got to the  Merveilleux Circus thanks to his last name in the first place. Tony was not only visionary, with big dreams for the circus, he was also highly impressionable. That is why, any well-known name, like DeMilo in that case, meant more fame and glory to him than actual performance. Thus, he had hired Marco, only to find out that it was a colossal mistake. Marco had none of the skills of his family in magic and had a nasty attitude instead, picking on young Buddy any chance he got. Tony was fast losing his patience. And the friend of Marco’s, the tall and dark Joseph, made things even harder for him.

Born to a prostitute in the streets of New Jersey, Joseph Jacobs had practically raised himself. An intuitive kid he had learned to be, he could read people’s actions and predict with near accuracy their next moves. He had managed to dupe a lot of their hard-earned money by pretending to read cards. That was a skill he had been taught by Oliseen Mauvo, Albanian street beggar, who eventually became a millionaire. Being hired by Tony as a card reader had therefore been a perfect chance for him to build his portfolio, which would help him start his own business “The Mind, Your Friend”, something he had envisioned since young. Joseph had been Tony’s favourite before Buddy, and felt forgotten now that the blondie had come into the picture. Thus, he shared Marco’s hatred of the young man, taking every available chance to frustrate him, unknowingly irritating Tony in the process.

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 suprise  of learning that their show had  been cancelled. Tony had  told them there had been a fire at the Reve Arena where they had been scheduled to perform for two weeks. The French authorities did not 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 could not afford to stay three weeks in a hotel, waiting for the arena to be fixed. He also knew they could not well fly back to New York as they had been counting on the fees from the show to pay the expenses. Buddy withdrew 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 for a training studio.

The LeGuarde was accepted by the French Television Authority and a week later, the show was on air. An overjoyed Tony could not find words to fully express his gratitude to Buddy. Buddy had truly changed his fortunes. 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 festive 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. Marco and Joseph had particularly looked so shameful as they went to apologize to him in his room, when everyone else had gone to sleep. They were quite like the  biblical Nicodemus .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, and young women all over the world threw themselves at him, seeking attention and wanting to share his fame and success. Nevertheless, he always brushed them off politely, understanding their need for acceptance.  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. Thus, Buddy had, with humility, kindness and intelligence, made himself a star, the world was his oyster.

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