by Ray Prew
My flight was delayed for several hours so I decided to take a cab into
town and visit my favorite bar in this city. I hadn’t been in here in a
few years but the old place looked the same as ever. I ordered a drink
and looked around the room. It was then I saw him.
He looked worn down and sad. His once bright blue suite was faded and
worn. His once bright red hair was graying, where it once ringed his
head it now sagged in some places and hung loosely in others. He had
really gone to hell.
“What’s doing B?” I asked him as I sat down. “It’s been a long time,
how you been.”
“Not so good, pal. Ever since I lost the show I can’t find work
anymore,” he said as he took a long drink from his glass.
“It can’t be all that bad B your still a clown. Clowns find work.”
“Wowiee kazowie you don’t understand pal!” He started to sob. “I used
to be the world’s most famous clown! Not anymore, not since that
hamburger selling bastard Ronny came to town. He’s not even a real
clown! I’ve worked at the circus. I bet he never stepped in elephant
poop even once in his life.”
He was becoming a bit agitated, the other patrons were starting to turn
and stare at us. A sailor with huge forearms started to stand up but I
motioned him to sit back down we were fine.
I sat back saddened to see my boyhood idol having it so hard. I used to
love watching his show. “What ever happened to your friends, the circus
boss, Butchie, or Professor Tweetyphoofer?”
“After the show went off the air we tried to restart our circus. The
three of us put our combined life savings into it. We hired star
acrobats, world famous animal acts, we didn’t skimp. It lasted all of
three seasons. The circus boss had a stroke and spent the last 5 years
of his life rotting away in a nursing home. The circus was his only
family. We lost everything! Me and my pal Butchie ended up as homeless
street performers. Butchie turned gay and is now a dancer at gay strip
clubs, the Professor got blown up in a lab experiment.”
“Jeeze B that’s harsh. That’s a lot for any one clown the deal with.”
He took another deep draw off his glass and started to refill it from
his bottle, he offered me some but I declined. “There are other kinds
of work you know,”
“I tried being a street mime, but people threw pies not money! My life
has gone to hell, all because of that son of a bitch, that
hamburger-selling son of a bitch! I used to be the world’s most famous
clown, now not even little kids recognize me anymore. The ones that do
recognize me ask me if I know him.” He took another drink.
“You used to tell us ‘just keep laughing’ B, maybe you should try it.”
“Laugh!? Laugh at what pal? I went to the unemployment office the other
day; they tried to send me to Ronny’s burger joint.” He started to sob
softly. “Do you know what happens to used up clowns? Do you? They end
up in a dirty ally in back of toy stores letting dirty old men squeeze
their clown noses for money!”
“So, what are you going to do? You can’t just continue to fall apart
like this B.”
“I don’t know pal, maybe this is the end of the road for me. Maybe I
should jump off an overpass,” he said sadly, as he stared at the floor
slightly shaking his head.
“Nonsense!” I exclaimed. “Here, go across the bridge and get a room for
the night at the Denton Motel. Tomorrow, go out and get fresh clown
makeup then go see the unemployment office. I believe in you B.” I slid
a couple of hundred bucks to him. I got up and rubbed his shoulder. “I
have to catch my flight but I expect to hear of your come back B,” I
told him as I smiled and walked away.
6 months later I was at a hotel in Providence, as I came out of the
shower toweling my head, I saw newscast about a tragic shooting. A
former child entertainer and veteran circus clown had died in a hail of
gunfire. He tried to rob a fast food burger restaurant, but the
employees hit the silent alarm and the cops were on him before he made
it to the sidewalk. Witness all agree the clown fired first requiring
the police to return fire. The spokesperson for the burger chain, also
a clown, has been unavailable for comment.
He did it, he actually went and did it, he chose suicide by cop, I
thought to myself. All the news will do is play up the tragedy, they
will barely acknowledge all his years of entertaining little children.
His show was a hallmark of kid’s television entertainment. The captain
is gone, the fellow with the cardigan sweater singing about his
neighborhood is gone, and all that’s really left is a purple dinosaur
that even the little kids know is a fake. B was real. He would even
bring out exotic animals and their handlers so the kids could learn
something, the purple dinosaur doesn’t do that. There is no quality
entertainment for kids on television, not anymore.
I contacted my company and told my managers to take charge of his
remains and see to it he has a decent funeral. I told them to have his
headstone read here lays the world’s most famous clown.
© 2017 Ray
Bio: Ray Prew was originally from Rhode Island, but now lives in
Florida. He is a graduate of the New England Institute of Technology.
Ray has been a blue-collar worker all his life, and started writing as
a hobby. He spent 9 enjoyable years as a phone psychic. Ray’s work has
been published in Spinetinglers magazine (6 times) one of the stories
was used in a trivia quiz. Two Spinetinglers stories are on You Tube,
one story called Some Monsters Are Real is narrated by someone, and the
other was made into a short video called let me out by Ray Prew. He has
been published in Blood Moon Rising (7 times including 2 poems),
Aphelion magazine (12 times including 2 poems) as well as several other
magazines. He has an anthology book of published and unpublished
stories available on Amazon called Delightful Nightmares. His work has
also appeared in the anthology vicious circle season one put out by
sinister grin, and one poem in an anthology of vampire poetry called
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