From 1920 to 1939, the Fabulous Flying Ballantines were the world's premier trapeze act. Rachel Ballantine, her three siblings and husband Luther (who took his wife's surname when he married into the Ballantine clan), were renowned for mastering the triple-twist over/under reverse somersault flap-doodle, the most complex and dangerous maneuver in all of trapezing. This was their showstopper, and they performed it flawlessly every Saturday for nineteen years until one dreadful evening in July of 1939 when Luther inexplicably lost his grip on the bar and he and Rachel's siblings plummeted to their deaths. Rachel was thrown clear of the ring and landed unharmed cradled in the tusks of a parading elephant standing on its hind legs that fortunately just had her tusks sanded and blunted.
When traces of rancid wombat grease were discovered on the bar Luther had used, the trapezing community and the world as a whole were shocked and suspicion immediately settled upon the Ballantines' arch rivals, the Fantastic Falling Felluchi Brothers. It was an open secret the Felluchi brothers nurtured a festering resentment against the Ballantines for besting them in the International Trapeze Tournament of 1930, an event held every ten years. In private, the Felluchis swore vengeance and that they would take the next Tournament Trophy home to Naples.
In the summer of 1939, on the eve of World War II and the International Trapeze Tournament of 1940, unseen but powerful political undercurrents swirled around the upcoming contest. The Felluchis, financed by Benito Mussolini, fascist dictator of Italy, had been hailed by Adolph Hitler as "the finest trapeze artists of our time," while the Fabulous Flying Ballantines were English and had recently been feted by King George VI who went further, extolling them as "the supreme trapeze artists of ALL time."
The entire civilized world awaited the Trapeze Tournament slated for late January 1940 which would still the clash of superlatives and resolve once and for all which family deserved the title of The Greatest Trapeze Artists in the World. However, neither the trapezers nor their supporters knew the Tournament would never take place, for events unfolding behind the scenes were propelling the competing factions and the nations of Europe into yet another World War.
In July 1939, the Felluchis made their move against the Ballantines, and as heretofore described, all but Rachel were killed. Though talented trapeze artists, in all other respects the Felluchis were supreme idiots, and after getting drunk that night could not help but toast loudly and repeatedly to their sinful success. Being supreme idiots, they naturally left the windows of their trailer wide open and their inebriated boasting was overheard by the Bearded Lady, the Two Headed Man, the Fire Eater, the Half Man/Half Woman, and assorted jugglers, gymnasts, and freaks.
Led by a phalanx of fist shaking angry clowns, they marched in costume en masse to the nearest German police station to lodge a complaint and demand justice. Unable to ignore or placate the mob of incensed circus performers, the German police had no recourse but to arrest the Felluchi brothers and investigate the matter. Threatened with four counts of first degree murder if they did not come clean, the plastered Felluchis panicked and confessed the details of the plot. International pressure was levied on German authorities to speedily resolve the affair and the case was swiftly brought to the bar, and under cross examination the chilling facts emerged.
Far from being the masterminds of the scheme, the Felluchi brothers were in actuality nothing more than stooges. Knowing their hatred of the Ballantines, they were approached by an embittered midget who alleged his advances had been snubbed by a Ballantine woman and suggested they join forces to eliminate the entire brood. He had carefully studied the Ballantines in rehearsal and noted the precise spots where Luther positioned his hands on the trapeze bar as they were about to execute the grand finale of the triple-twist over/under reverse somersault flap-doodle, the most complex and dangerous maneuver in all of trapezing.
They agreed to work together, but unknown to the Felluchis, their collaborator was a Nazi operative who had infiltrated the circus masquerading as a midget in order to assassinate Luther. While the five Felluchi brothers stood guard to ensure no one wandered by, the mock midget carried out his deadly assignment and applied wombat grease to the bar.
The Teutonic midget promptly disappeared and left the five Felluchis to stand trial for the murders. Though their account of the events seemed preposterous and nothing more than a desperate fabrication, nevertheless, on August 31, 1939, to the incredulity of the civilized world, which had been riveted by the case, the five Felluchi brothers were acquitted of the dastardly crime by a biased German court. The following day, September 1, Hitler's forces invaded Poland. On September 3, England declared war on Germany, conveying the impression the Polish offensive was the cause of the hostilities whereas in fact the Felluchi acquittal was the underlying motivating force leading to the conflict which would engulf the continent, as heretofore secret files from that era and afterward now prove.
In support of this astounding assertion is a three-page document from the private papers of the eminent historian Sir H. R. Trumpleflush, Royal Historian to the Court of St. James, who lived to be 112 and died in 1966. After his demise, a file was discovered in the Trumpleflush archives composed in Classical Medieval Mandarin, a language only four people in the world could read and write: Sir Trumpleflush and three Chinese scholars.
The Chinese professors had been imprisoned by the communists when they seized mainland China in 1950. A daring raid by agents of MI6 freed one of them, Professor Yew Flung Dung, only days before he was to be executed for cultural crimes against the people of China.
Once securely ensconced in a safe house outside London, Professor Dung was set to work on the Trumpleflush Revelation, as it came to be called by the few who knew of it, and after a month of intensive work, deciphered it. The contents of the document rocked His Majesty's Secret Services as well as the Royal Family, most of who had been kept in the dark regarding the events it described.
(Professor Dung was awarded the Royal Medal of International Cooperation -- the highest honor which can be bestowed upon a foreigner -- by Queen Elizabeth II in a private ceremony after which he was beheaded. His torso was buried beneath the largest stone in Avesbury and his head was sold to a wax museum proprietor who coated it with paraffin and used it in the Chinese torture exhibition.)
The Trumpleflush Revelation reported that in 1960, while he was helping Winston Churchill to organize his papers so as to compose his memoirs, in a rush of candor fueled by brandy and laudanum taken for his chronic dyspepsia, the former wartime Prime Minister divulged to Sir Trumpleflush the following heretofore classified information.
"You know, Sir Trumpleflush, the world still believes it was the invasion of Poland by Hitler which precipitated the Second World War when in actuality it was the acquittal of the Felluchi brothers in the sensational Ballantine murder trial of August 1939 which was the true spark that ignited the engines of war."
Amazed and perturbed by this disclosure, H.R. questioned Churchill about it.