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Jack saw a poster that said the circus was coming to town.

"Oh, mother," Jack said, "Can we go? Can we? Can we go see the clowns?"

"I don't know," his mother said cagily. "We'll see."

"PLEASE can we go see the clowns?" Jack asked.

"We'll see," his mother said, smiling to herself.

"But PLEASE can we go see the clowns, mother?" Jack asked.

"We'll see," she said, adding "And if you don't shut up about it, I'll shove a lamp up your ass."

Jack didn't bring it up much, after that. But inside, he continued to pine away for the circus.

Then, on Jack's birthday...

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