The Pagliacci (4)

I am miserable. The audience laughs. Misery is always humorous when it is not your own.
I am misunderstood. My words are my lines, my lines are the act. They don’t realize there’s one more step.
I am not acting. “What can a man do when all the world conspires against me?” I cry. They laugh. “No heart can bear what mine has borne.”
Propizio the clown – the man they call Simon – enters into the ring. “Pagliacci, what are you saying?”
I turn. I wish for fire in my gaze, but all I can muster are tears. I see Carlotta taking his hand. How will you, Simon Propizio, hatred in flesh, hold the hand of love I once knew?
I grab his throat. I throw him to the ground. I punish him. My hand buries itself into his face. I feel his warm blood on my knuckles as his nose flattens. Grand finale. End act. Exit Pagliacci.

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