When the clown cries, you have to wonder if you've pushed the joke too far. I mean, there he was, rubbing the white off his face, exposing salmon colored skin, and there I was laughing my ass off. My friends were too, actually. How many clowns does it take to screw his wife? You wouldn't think that would be a sore point for someone in his profession.
Maybe it'd been a long night for him. I didn't witness his gig, but when I came back from punishing the porcelain, Rich reported it was pretty godawful. "Like watching a pony do a chicken, lots of snorting and clucking but not much in the way of edible eggs." Yeah, it didn't make sense to me either.
I tried to change the subject. "So, how many paying gigs do you normally get, you know, in, say, a month?"
He blinked. He took his fists down from his cheeks. "You mean including tonight?" I nodded encouragingly.
"That would be zero," he said. "It's open mic night at Bernie's, not opening night at Ringling Brothers. You sadistic prick."
Really? Name calling? "Look," I said, "I'm only trying to assuage your emotional state, pal." I had taken Psychology 101 the previous semester and that 'assuage' really stuck with me due to its sounding like 'sausage'. The emotional state stuff had come along for the ride, I guess.
The clown smiled--his real smile, not the painted-on one. "You college punks think you know everything. Let me tell you, pal, you don't know shit. And, yeah, I said that, me, Boffo the Clown, the guy who does birthdays and bar mitzvahs. You want to make something of it? Report me to the Better Business Bureau? Tell your Momma? What?"
I hauled off and punched his squishy red nose. He went down like a sack of bricks. I broke a knuckle. Was it worth it? You tell me.
published 1 June 2011