A number of ropes stretch helter-skelter across an otherwise undefined void. They gradually fade in the distance into a foggy and diffuse gray nothingness. A small flock of birds fly through frame in the mid distance. They will fly through occasionally at random intervals throughout the piece.
The colorful JESTER appears, a masked harlequin, walking carelessly and with large theatrical gestures along one of the ropes. He's carrying an accessory cane. We watch him walk through a few cuts. He's alone in this world, the picture of childlike innocence. In the far distance, we become aware of another figure. He's walking determinedly toward the JESTER on the same rope. We read excitement in the JESTER's face and movements. He hasn't seen anybody else in a long time, and he clearly relishes the prospect of contact. His excitement visibly increasing, he picks up his pace, hurrying toward the other.
The SUIT grows in frame as he nears until we come to see his features. He's dressed in a foppish Edwardian suit, very urbane, determinedly walking. His colors are all whites, greys and blacks. He too is masked, and carrying a balance pole. We feel from his manner as the JESTER draws near that he's uncomfortable at being unable to avoid this obstacle to his progress. He slows.
The JESTER's first reflex is to run towards his new acquaintance and offer his hand. He is rebuffed, the SUIT stepping back, refusing to respond to this invitation.
The JESTER is taken aback, he doesn't comprehend the rejection. He offers both his hands. The SUIT makes a gesture with his pole to push away the offer of comradeship. We see clearly that he takes no pleasure in human interaction. Now the JESTER clearly reads the rebuff. He takes a step back, but he has something on his mind.
To the ka-chunk sound of a large switch being thrown, a wide spotlight beam illuminates the two tightrope-walkers, further emphasizing the air of theatricality. We are, however, still in the same void as before. The SUIT, surprised, looks up and around. The JESTER gives no indication that anything is out of the ordinary.
The JESTER begins a cabaret dance, gesturing with his cane. A very conventional performance, given the surroundings. We come to see that he commands some special magic, however, signalled by little lightning effects triggered by his gestures. As he dances, we notice that the SUIT's balance pole is starting to move, subtly at first, but then larger and with an apparent life of its own. The SUIT, surprised, releases it, and it comes alive, moving in unison with the JESTER's cane, but bigger. The SUIT catches his miscreant pole. It's still jumping in his hands, but he manages to kick the JESTER's cane, which is sent flying and drops out of frame.
We read the disappointment in the JESTER's face. We feel the goodness of his character, all wounded innocence, he wanted nothing more than to bring a smile to his new acquaintance's face. He's a performer, he loves the spotlight, and he was dying for the chance to show his captive audience his tricks.
Now he has no cane, but he's not finished. He's not giving up yet. With a magic flourish, three small balls appear in his hands. He begins to juggle. He's having a lot of fun. With another appearance of the same mystic lightning, the SUIT's hat lifts slightly off his head and begins to dance in unison with the JESTER's balls. The SUIT is obviously unamused and is becoming annoyed. His hand darts out in pursuit of the hat. The JESTER is enjoying himself, in spite of (because of?) the fact that he's driving the SUIT nuts. The SUIT grabs his hat and yanks it down on his head, the hat struggling to follow the balls. With his free hand, he swings his pole, sending the balls flying, and missing the JESTER's face by inches. The SUIT is pissed.
Tight on the JESTER's disappointed face. But he's not giving up and he makes a gesture indicating "you haven't seen anything yet" to the SUIT.
The JESTER begins the finale of his act. He's really working it now, all desperate desire to break through to the SUIT. The JESTER lifts one foot, balancing on the other. We read, all the more clearly, the impatience on the SUIT's face. The JESTER produces a yo-yo and starts to play. The magic begins again. The SUIT's necktie frees itself from his vest, and with a life of its own begins to mimic the yo-yo's up and down. It brushes the SUIT's chin. The JESTER runs through his repertoire of yo-yo tricks, followed by the necktie, which at one point flaps hard in the SUIT's face. The SUIT is annoyed to no end. We read the rage in his face as he grimaces and grinds his teeth, on the verge of losing it. He's determined to put an end to this nonsense.
The SUIT reaches into his jacket and pulls out an impossibly huge gun, a la THE MASK. He aims at the terrified JESTER, who's amazed at the SUIT's aggression. The SUIT re-aims, locking on the yo-yo, and fires, exploding the toy into 1000 fragments. The JESTER, unharmed, is shocked. He loses his balance, and falls out of frame. We think this is the end of the JESTER. The SUIT, happy to be unencumbered, blows the smoke from his gun, without so much as a glance after the JESTER.
The SUIT walks on, in his original direction, out of the spotlight. The camera tilts slowly down to the JESTER, who we see has caught a rope below and is climbing up on top of it. He stands, facing the camera. We can see the other rope above, with the SUIT, back to us, walking away into the distance. The JESTER is obviously glad to be alive, but disappointment and hurt also clearly register on his face. He looks at the unravelled and pathetic end of the magic yo-yo string, still dangling from his finger.
His other hand comes into our close-up frame, wielding a tiny scissors. He cuts the string, just below his finger, in silent farewell to his beloved yo-yo. A final appearance of the mystic lightning sparks alerts the audience that something is about to happen. The lightning arcs up to the rope overhead, severing it. The SUIT tumbles down, falling out of frame. The JESTER appears unconscious of this. Resigned, he continues down the rope, out of the spotlight's beam, which shuts off as he exits, with the same ka-chunk heard earlier.