Bela – Excerpt from Two Tales of Terror,  By Kenneth Weene 




Bela was the king. Everyone knew that. What was this sturgeon head going on about? Retire? Take on an apprentice, not another assistant but someone to eventually replace him? Never, he was Bela, king of the circus, the great Bela, Bela the clown.

Urdung mumbled on, as owners do, about revenues and attendance. That was of no concern to the great artist. Yes, Bela would admit, the boy was nimble, not as nimble as he had once been, but nimble. Yes, he would admit that this boy had an aptitude

“Add him to the cast,” Bela had said. “Add him to my retinue. He can paint his face with teardrops and wear baggy shoes. Perhaps he can do a fall or a tumble. Yes, the audience loves to see a young clown tripping over his own feet.

“But my replacement? My understudy? No, not him. I am Bela, king of the circus, the great Bela, Bela the clown who overcomes death.”

Urdung, knowing this was hardly true, muttered, “But people no longer laugh at your act.” Fewer came, but they still laughed. Who does not want to laugh at death?

“Clowns are not funny,” Bela had once said; “we are the embodiment of terror, the terrors hidden in the heart. Of loneliness, futility, helplessness, rejection; and I, Bela, am the embodiment of death. People do not laugh at my costume or my paint. It is not my great gold nose or my pointed shoes with their bells they come to see. If I used red instead of black to form the triangles on my white face, it would not matter.

“It is my death and resurrection that matters. If they cannot be guaranteed a seat in Heaven, if they cannot be sure of resurrection, they can for a few kopecks come to the circus and laugh.”

Andropov, that professor from Krakow, had nodded his head and had furiously taken notes. Had he written that fine paper? Had it been published for all the great minds to read? Bela did not know. And if it had, Bela would not have read it; Bela did not know how to read.

As a child, Bela had not been a good student. “Oh, his mind is quick,” the headmaster had said, “but his mouth is quicker. He is the clown always. Playing to the audience with a tumble here and a pratfall there. Joking, joking—never serious. The teachers don’t want him in the classroom; they send him to me—to sit on the bench outside the office. Even there he does not sit quietly. He shows no remorse. He shows no respect. He plays the fool for the secretaries, the visitors, and especially the other children who are told to sit on the bench.”

Scoldings did not help. Beatings did not help. The priest spoke to him. “You will die and go to Hell!”

Bela made a face and began to melt, to act as if he were melting, in the awful flames. He writhed and shrank into himself, all the time screaming, not in terror but with shrieked laughter and exclamations of make-believe pain. Then, when he had collapsed into a heap on the floor, he rose again, in silence, as if a phoenix from his own ashes, until he stood on his tiptoes, reached up so that his hands could touch the top of the priest’s head. “And I condemn you to Heaven,” he proclaimed to the priest’s and his parents’ horror.

Bonfire of Poetry

What happens when four poets meet every week to share and discuss? There are sparks of inspiration that can ignite excitement and a desire to share a love of poetry with the world. We, the editors, hope this poetical anthology helps to warm and inspire you and to ignite your passion to read and write poetry. With great thanks to the other poets who have added their fuel to our bonfire, we are Alicia Kimberly, Kenneth Weene, Christy White, and Mark Young.


The poems included in the collection reveal a remarkable poetic excellence. These poems aptly show profoundly imaginative power. No doubt, the poet is an adept in the intimate and convincing analysis of emotions.

Jumping Over The Ram

What an extraordinary story Deng has to tell! It is not just about South Sudan; it is a universal story about survival and determination - how a child can face the most difficult of situations and find a way through them. It is a privilege to introduce you to Deng Atem and his moving memoir, Jumping Over the Ram.  ~Anderson Cooper, CNN Anchor

The Rightful King

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Times To Try The Soul of Man

What do an overweight stripper, the CIA, corruption in New York City, the Israeli Mossad, ancient Inca civilization, terrorism, political intrigue, mad dashes across America, and a waste-case of a teenager have in common? They are the ingredients of this action-packed crime and coming-of-age novel. Much of this story is based on true events, perhaps too true to be believed. Guaranteed to make you think and probably to shudder as you relive 9/11. "In his book Times To Try The Soul Of Man, Kenneth Weene paints a vivid portrait of the peripatetic freelance journalist peering from the outskirts of mass corruption at an American horror show." (Anthony Flacco – NY Times best selling author)

Broody New Englander

Three stories set in New England explore love and seduction, commitment and infidelity, death and mourning. Literary fiction with some hints of science fiction and the paranormal. Broody New Englander offers deep psychological and sociological insights and combines warmth of character and plot with lyrical language.

Sweet & Sour

Short fiction some filled with sweetness and some filled with pain.

Red & White

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Memoirs From The Asylum

What is it like to work inside a state hospital or to be a patient in such a hospital? What is it like to live inside the mind of such a patient? This tragi-comedic novel takes the reader inside the asylum, inside the worlds of three central characters: a narrator who has taken refuge from his fears of the world, a psychiatrist whose own life has been damaged by his father's depression, and a catatonic schizophrenic whose world is trapped inside a crack in the wall opposite her bed. This is the interwoven story of their lives, a story that includes love, sexuality, violence, deaths, celebrations, circuses, and surprising twists. As the plot unwinds, the reader learns a great deal about the nature of futility, frustration, and freedom.

Widow's Walk

Mary Flanagan, caught between her sense of religion and obligation on one hand and her very human desire for love and life on the other, is in emotional limbo. When she meets Arnie Berger, who becomes both her lover and philosophic guide, Mary's world seems to be transformed. Changes also come for Mary's children, who have been trapped in their own dilemmas. Sean, a quadriplegic, is looking for a fulfilled life. Mary's daughter, Kathleen must cope with infertility and anger in her search for happiness. The lives of all three Flanagans are turned upside down by happiness and tragedy.


Hundreds of years have separated Wyndel Blackman and his mother from his father’s homeland in Africa. Now they have come from America to scatter his father’s Ashes. What will they learn on this journey? What will they teach the people of that distant community?

Tales From The Dew Drop Inne

"Tales from the Dew Drop Inne" reads like a darkly humorous sitcom. The tone is both heartfelt and deliciously irreverent, showing that one does not need to hate humanity to appreciate the humor of life. Here are tales of drifters, alcoholics, religious renegades, veterans, and drag queens set in pub that is at once a confessional, a circus, and a psychiatric hospital. --Marina Julia Neary, author of "Martyrs & Traitors: a Tale of 1916"

El Catrin

Can Father Eduardo protect Jesus? Will the Devil best his brother? What mysterious things can happen among those who believe in holy mysteries? Who is El Catrîn? Magical Realism by Kenneth Weene.

Two Tales of Terror

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