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By. Stephen D. Rogers

Don’t you just hate clowns? The obscene face paint. The colored wigs. The baggy costumes. What are they hiding from? Who do they think we are?

My mother was a clown. She did birthday parties for kids. I had to come along, even though I didn’t know anybody there. People would ask me who I was.

“Nobody.”

 

“Well, where’s your grown-up?”

“I don’t have one.”

“How did you get here then?”

“I hid in one of the cars. They didn’t even see me.”

Even if my mother overheard the questions, she couldn’t interfere, limited to squeaking her bicycle horn.

Honk, honk.

Clowns live by rigid codes of behavior.

Seriously. If my mother had ever talked while in character, the matter would not have been taken lightly. She’d have been exiled by the clown community. Left to die.

She couldn’t explain me. Couldn’t apologize to her customer. Couldn’t yell at me for threatening her livelihood. Not at the birthday party, anyway.

Home was a different story. That’s where I’d experience the rage behind the impassive face.

But then today, on our way up the stairwell, she must have tripped on her oversized shoes and because I heard her tumbling until she hit the bottom.

I pressed my ear against her lips to hear her ragged breath, getting some of her makeup on me. I could feel it, the oily sealant that turned me into a clown.

I touched my face. As a clown, I had the power to become silent at will.

“Sorry, Mom, but I can’t call 911 if I can’t speak. What do you think would happen if I just honked, honked?

“Why, they’d just laugh!”

Stephen D. Rogers is the author of Shot to Death and more than 800 shorter works. His website, www.StephenDRogers.com, includes a list of new and upcoming titles as well as other timely information.

The Drunken Draculas are from San Diego, California.