Charles is an actual person I used to unicycle with.  Amazing guy.  Blacksmith, Unicycle Rider (Giraffe, 36″ super wheel, Mountain unicycle, you name it) and Juggler.  His specialty was juggling things that were designed to be juggled while on fire.  The torches you can picture- there was a handle and everything.  But the burning “balls” were pretty cool. Ironic pun intended.  They had a spot on either side of the “ball” that was cool enough to touch.  The spots were about the size of a nickel, and there were steel springs connecting the two touchable spots that made up the open framework that was the “ball”.  Inside those springs was a kind of wick that you’d soak and set on fire.  These things looked amazing around dusk.  Seriously amazing.

What was wild was watching this person juggle things that were clearly on fire and shouldn’t be handled because, y’know, fire is hot.  So your brain sort of got mixed up.

So, one time that I was watching, Charles bobbled a catch.  The flaming ball hit the ground and rolled away.  One of the unicycling kids that had been watching, fascinated, tried to be helpful.  He ran over to retrieve that ball, and didn’t hear anything anyone was saying to him because he was enthusiastically saying, “I got it! I got it!  Is it hot?!”

That’s when he burned himself.  Because of course, he reached for it like it was a baseball- overhand.  And flames rise.

What Charles was telling him that he didn’t hear was- “Only touch the spots! Pick it up underneath!”

Good kid. Marquis.  Did a lot of community work and earned himself a unicycle.  Probably doesn’t juggle.