Various Clowns I (A-C)
The corridor opens on one side. A sad Pierrot dressed in red steps through a door, holding a flower. The eye closes. The corridor opens on the other side. A woman can be seen making her way to the farthest door on the right. The eye closes. And now, the scene slowly comes into focus. You are seated across from me, your hands in your lap. I force a smile and so do you. The sound of our exhalations resonate; the corridor swells with our breathing. A door closes behind you, but it is no longer possible to see anyone there. I don't say a word. We have been through this before…
The alarm has gone off. It is 6:33 a.m. I roll out of bed, put on some clothes, yawn. It is another day, another same day. Would that I were smarter I might be doing something different with my life, but instead I find myself working the same sort of menial job I'd worked ten years ago, before I had had the education I now possess. What was the point of that degree, anyway? Am I any better off because of it? The eye opens. The corridor opens on the one side. There on the left, the bathroom door. I stumble inside, splash cold water on my face. I am only semi-awake. Interminable boredom. The eye opens. I see you there, behind me. We are a sorry pair, a couple of clowns. I can hardly bear to look.
(When I was younger, it was so much easier. Not much easier, perhaps, but easier nonetheless. The possibilities seemed limitless. And now…)
The corridor opens on one side. The sad Pierrot is watching me. His ashen face speaks of years of hardship; his bright uniform reflects the blood-red color of his eyes. There is no need of painted-on tears, for his wretchedness is palpable. I offer him an unfiltered cigarette, but he ignores the gesture. The eye closes. Above us, the lights are somehow too bright. It is freezing out here. A fly is stuck to my wet skin, anachronistically. The insect has its proboscis in my flesh. I shift in my seat. The eye closes. The Pierrot is gone. In its place you sit, forcing a smile.
This is the story of a clown named Eye. His name, they say, was derived from the fact that his left eye was twice as big as his right. This made him, in some respects, the most ghoulish-looking of clowns at the circus. When I was a child, I'd gaped in awe at this particular clown, for he alone could draw my undivided attention. It wasn't that this clown called Eye did anything particularly funny or clever while performing. He wasn't even a very good juggler. But those two eyes of his were something to behold. I'll never forget the time my father, a reporter for the local paper who had connections, brought me backstage to meet some of the circus members. I rushed past the bearded ladies, the dwarves, the Siamese twins, and all of the other "freaks" just to see this clown others referred to as "Eye." When I found him, I could do nothing but stare. He looked on, impassively, until suddenly he stuck his fingers into his eye socket and pulled out the larger of his two eyeballs, which he then proceeded to display in all its wet and horrible glory for me to observe. I screamed and ran back to my father, who was deep in an "adult" conversation with a lady who had three breasts. I thought he would hit me when he saw that I was crying, but instead he took me upon his lap and pulled down my pants in order to show the lady my birthmark. I hated being humiliated as such, but I was still too shocked by Eye's naked eye to protest. Afterward we went home, neither of us uttering a word about what had happened. Sometimes I wonder what he had kept from me, or whether he knew about Eye's detachable eye. Sometimes I wonder what Eye is up to today. Does he still see the world in three dimensions, or only one?
This here's a very strange profession; very strange indeed. It's amazing how many kids cry when they realize you's trying to make them laugh, as if you was a regular 'ol Gacy out to get them, or was like that feller in Fritz Lang's "M." I ain't no figment of Stephen King's imagination neither. Not that I'm not guilty of the occasional kidnapping, mind you, but never kids. I prefer the grown-ups. No one under 17 will be admitted to the theater without parent or guardian. And that's usually where I take 'em; to the big screen, where they can get their rocks off before I start clownin' around. Adults just love clowns, didn't you know? We remind them of their innocence, their halcyon [hell-see-on] days as children. I've met women who had fetishes for squirtin' flowers and helium balloons, not to mention face paint and large buttons. I've also met men who've thought they'd like to spend their final hours at the big top, rather than with their families. Strange profession, as I said. But, hey, I'm not in it for the money. I do this because it gives me a sense of purpose, a sense of charity. I'm a real clown, not some poseur [pose-her] who thinks it's all about laughs. Now, open your eyes. Let me see you really smile. Don't you feel better already?