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Disclaimer: This story is written for the private entertainment of fans. The author makes no claims to the series' characters by the creation of this story. Fraser, Vecchio, Kowalski et.al. belong to Alliance, Paul Haggis and all the creative genius who made this show so special. No infringement of any copyrights held by CBS, Alliance, CTV, TNT or any other copyright holders of due SOUTH is intended. No money being made here.

Note to the Readers: This was written in answer to a challenge a while back on one of my lists. From: SGMIII@aol.com -- Hi! I have a challenge idea for everyone! Write a snapshot based on 1. a birth 2. a wedding/romance 3. a funeral/loss. Pick one or include them all! The catch? Try to include: a cowboy hat, mangoes, a UFO, and a circus clown. It's no fun to do these unless you include EVERYTHING! I hope you like it. This thing came instantly to mind-- Yes, yes, I'll go with the men in the white coats in a MINUTE! 'Thank you kindly!'

due SOUTH:
The Clown in the Mountie Hat

By: Janice R. Sager
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The funeral had been quite a bit longer than he'd anticipated. He'd not been at all familiar with the strictures of the Roman Catholic faith in regard to such things, 'though Frannie had tried to warn him. He had to rush now if he was going to get changed in time. It was indeed a terrible thing to lose Constable Kiley two weeks after his posting with the Consulate, but the children didn't know and wouldn't understand about such things. He had to put such dark thoughts out of his mind and concentrate on the present.

Today was Keri's fifth birthday and he'd promised to stand in for Frannie's sick brother-in-law who was supposed to be the entertainment. Somehow Turnbull couldn't see the man playing the part of a circus clown but-- He shook his head, dashing through the back door into the kitchen and nearly running down Ma Vecchio.

"There you are Rennie!" the woman exclaimed. "We were beginning to get worried."

"Never to fear, Mrs. Vecchio," he assured her. "A Mountie always keeps his word. Where's Frannie?"

"Out front with the kids, can't you hear?" She smiled at the rambunctious noise coming from the living room. "And my name is 'Ma'. You'll be family next week Rennie! Stop calling me 'Mrs. Vecchio'. They're getting restless. You'd best hurry."

He smiled and awarded her a quick peck on the check as he hurried through the kitchen and up the stairs. Next week, he would call her 'Ma', after he'd actually married Frannie. Until then, well, he didn't want to jinx himself! He stopped dead in mild surprise at the sight that greeted him upon entering Frannie's room. "Oh my!" he sighed, wondering what on earth he was going to do now!

The clown costume he was supposed to wear was neatly laid out for him across her bed,unfortunately the cat had decided to use it for an impromptu nest and given birth to three little gray balls of fur amidst the colorful fabric.

"Hello there," he greeted mama cat tenderly and quickly assessed her condition. She was an older cat and he'd been a bit worried to discover she was pregnant. However she seemed to have come through the ordeal without difficulty. It seemed three would be the total of her litter. "Aren't you the proud little mama!" he crooned, offering her a gentle caress as she purred beneath his attentions.

A crash downstairs drew his attention back to the necessities at hand. It wasn't hard to identify the soft tinkling. Some UFO had hit the chandelier over the dinning room table. Yes indeed. The children were becoming more than rambunctious! Well, he'd just have to make do with what he had.

Several minutes later he skipped into the living room, being careful not to trip over the floppy shoes he'd donned--before he was ready to, and began juggling the three mangos he'd stolen from Mrs. Vecchio. He instantly had his audiences' attention. He saw Frannie heave a giant sigh of relief as she leaned against one of the walls and smiled at him. He knew he looked ridiculous, half in uniform, half out.

Inspector Michael's would have been appalled but the children didn't know the difference. He'd removed his tunic and strapped the ruffled collar in place. With the white henley, jodhpurs and braces-- He'd quickly put on the white make-up and a huge red grin. The multi-colored wig, with its attached tiny cowboy hat, didn't want to stay in place and he'd been forced to use his own hat atop it, drawing the string tight beneath his chin.

Frannie, of course, had thought he'd make the perfect stand in for Tony. He'd tried to take that as a compliment and was determined to surpass her expectations. He knew he was a bit of a clutz at times but Frannie was about to see just how 'clutzy' he could be when he set his mind to it! He adored children and knew she did to. He glanced at her as he continued the juggling and dropped the mangos every which way. He knew that smile and it wasn't the clown she was seeing.

Improvizing quickly, he did a prat fall that had the kids screaming with laughter and his hip screaming in mild protest. He'd landed that one a bit harder than he’d planned. He gazed back up at Frannie and forgot the bruise.

The smile made it all worth while.

The end
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