Grindal slowly took his three peaked hat off of his head and set it tinkling on the dresser. The salt and pepper hair he revealed was matted and dirty. Absently he scratched at an irritation, picking out a fat louse. Inspecting the parasite, he popped it into his mouth and chewed.
As he heaved his heavy frame onto the creaky old stool he let out an involuntary groan. His body had been betraying him of late. His funny tumbles were less and less on purpose, his hands not quite as sleight. He even dropped a baton tonight! True, he had been balancing a stool on his chin at the time, but he never dropped a baton.
Sighing, he rubbed at his eyes. Dragging his hands down his cheek he smeared the white make up, exposing the pallid and blotched skin beneath. He stared into the mirror, seeing as if for the first time his red rimmed, bloodshot eyes. As he gazed at the old man in front of him he tried to find when it had left him. Why, tonight, had no-one laughed?
Removing the small red button from his nose he stuck a finger up it. Wincing, he took it out, removed the long chequered nail and stuck it back up. Whilst digging around for a nugget he tried to think back to the last laugher he had caused. Meant to cause, at any rate. The seat of his trousers ripping hadn't been intentional.
Wiping his hand on his barrel like gut, he pushed his pointed boots off with another tingle, the bells ringing mournfully. He arched his toes up, stretching the soles of his feet. They had been aching for weeks, ever since the Prince requested 'Ten feet of Tintar' three times in a row. Of course, the bunions didn't help. Grindal had the definite feeling the Prince was doing it to amuse himself, rather than for amusement. Being laughed with was wondrous, being laughed at? Horrific.
Rising slowly he shuffled across the rough wooden floorboards. He opened his window and looked out over the courtyard. He could see the Lords and Ladies milling around, snatches of laughter and conversation reaching him in his tower room.
Sitting back down he looked at himself in the mirror, looked for a long time. Then, nodding, he removed the rest of his make up. He removed the ripped trousers. Pulling on his remaining pair he buckled the suspenders. He lovingly put his make up back on, perfecting his black tear on his left cheek. Placing the Jester’s hat back on his head he tipped it to a jaunty angle. Leaning to the left he danced 'Ten feet of Tintar' and smiled. He danced the rhythm superbly, smiling to himself.
Feet a blur beneath him, he edged closer to the window. One last dance for a once funny Jester? The assembled gentry gathered below had no idea and little concern for the whirling, breathless display being put on above their heads.
Hands reaching up in a crescendo of movement he arrived at the window and threw it open.
He would give them one last show.
What else was there, when the laughter was gone?