Thanks for the Clown
By Rodney Blackwell
When I was little, seven years old to be exact, my mom gave me a birthday party. Not because she loved me or not because I was a great kid or anything–she actually gave me the party to punish me.
You see, my mom is a “clowney” (one of those people who like clowns). She had this corner of our living room that she used to collect her insane clown figurines and contraband. Of course, she had to pick the best spot in the house for playing pretend pro-wrestling with my brother. I tried to explain this obvious point to her everytime she yelled at my brother and I for playing in the “Clown Corner”. She didn’t understand.
One day, while I was being the Junkyard Dog and my brother was pretending to be Hulk Hogan (he always got to be Hulk Hogan), one of the clown figurines jumped to its death. Mom didn’t buy that story either. Somehow she got the idea that my brother and I had in some way coaxed or pushed or “knocked over” the precious statue. I tried to explain my truth. She didn’t understand.
As a punishment, she thought it would be a “grand” idea if I learned to value clowns for the “beauty they bring to this ugly world”. What better way to push her clown propaganda on me, than to try to cover it up by making me have fun. My own birthday party no less.
Well, I was not going to let her get away with that. I was determined not to enjoy myself. I told all my friends not to come, so maybe she would just cancel the whole thing. No luck. She invited her “clowney” friends to come see the show. I looked to my brother for back-up; he was already betraying me, talking with the clown’s “beautiful” assistant. I was alone in my fight. Clownies all around. I checked my resources: fake sick, run away from home, bite someone, not have a birthday, beg my step-father, or appeal to my mom’s sense of morality. I went for the fake sick routine. Works for any occasion.
I hobbled my way over to my mother. I even called her “mother,” just to add drama.
“Mother,” I said, “I’m not feeling well. Maybe we should just cancel the party…I promise I won’t play in Clown C–I mean the living room.” (I figured I could go for two reasons in one.)
She didn’t understand. She just said that after some cake and ice-cream and 7-UP that I would feel “grand”. “The clown will cheer you up,” she said. After she put it that way, I actually did feel sick.
The clown show started. I closed my eyes. My mom poked me in the side. I opened my eyes. He asked for a volunteer for his dumb clown-magic trick. My mom volunteered…me. As he started to saw the assistant-lady in half, I swear I heard her skin being torn by the “magic” saw. I looked at him to see if he noticed. He kept sawing. Then, I swear I could hear her let out a little scream. I tried to tell the sadistic clown-man to stop the “magic” saw. Nothing was coming out. I SWEAR I saw a trickle of blood seep out from the bottom of the magic box. That’s when something did come out; some cake, some ice-cream, and some 7-UP came out of me. The clown stopped sawing. Something came out of him too. To tell you the actual factuals, this was the first time everyone could swear that something came out of the assistant-lady.
You know what bothered me though? The clown’s spew smelled like alcohol. I knew the smell of alcohol, my dad wore alcohol cologne everyday before he left us. I didn’t like the smell of it then, and I liked it even less coming out of a clown.
I tried to tell my mom about why the cake and ice-cream came out of me. I tried to tell her that the clown’s magic saw wasn’t working, and that the assistant-lady was about to scream out in pain, and how I saw blood dripping from the “magic” box. She didn’t understand.