bring out your dead
by Marc Lowe
Various Clowns II (D-F)

D.  Jake

D is for deranged clowns.  Disingenuous clowns.  Duplicitous clowns.  Delinquent clowns.  Deleterious clowns.  Despicable clowns.  Draconian clowns.  D is for the day my wife ran off with a clown by the name of Jake, who was all of these things (and less).  D is for the day he put a knife in my belly with a grin that said, "Hey, pal, you're in on the joke; in fact you are the joke!"  D is for the day I fell dead at the feet of Jake the clown, at least as far as Jake and the wifey were concerned, but here I am, against nature's better judgment, scratching away at my Moleskine® notepad in this hospital bed, where I'm surrounded day in and day out by diplomatic clowns in white suits who shoot me full of funny drugs (ha, ha), drugs that make me forget, from time to time, about that fucking clown named Jake, about the woman I loved, the woman I still love, whose name eludes me (ha, ha), but whose body haunts and taunts me with its peaks and valleys, its dark openings, its secret passageways to which I once claimed sole (as well as soul) access.  D is for dying, then, for drugs and despair, for decay and decline, for dreaming and derailing.  D is for the day I will reclaim my wife: in death.

E.  Bozo

After arriving at his run-down, rustic home in the countryside, the man took off his red nose, placed it on the table, and shot himself in the head. 

The police arrived three days later, having been informed that the man did not show up to work the following Monday.  The neighbors, when questioned, said that they had assumed the gunshot was intended for a deer, or some other animal.  The sound of gunshots was common in this bucolic landscape, after all.


The man worked for a butcher nicknamed "Clown."  This was pure coincidence, of course.

He was self-employed as a part-time entertainer on nights and weekends.  Some nights he would dress up like famous pop icons and do mostly mediocre impressions of them.  Other nights he would don masks of politicians and impersonate them through his body language and tone of voice.  On the evening in question, however, he was dressed as Bozo the Clown.

…Because the man felt like a bozo most of the time, this particular persona wasn't at all difficult for him to assume.  While it was not so easy for him to relate to Elvis, to Johnny Depp, or to George W. Bush, at least not on more than a skin-deep level, being Bozo, for him, was like slipping back into his own long lost skin.


After the performance, which he thought had gone pretty well, he had slept with a woman named Sindee; this name she had had tattooed onto her left breast.  The spelling, she had said, better suited her personality than "Cindy."  He had thought so, too, though he didn't say so.

Sindee's 12-year old son had seen them screwing in the back room and had shouted.  The manager of the club had subsequently told him he was finished, and kicked him and his wench out onto the street.  He knew it was over.  He may even have been glad for it.

But this is not why our Bozo had shot himself that night.

No one in fact knows why, exactly, he had done what he did.


The police filed their report in the usual way, and the corpulent, hirsute corpse was carted away in an ambulance for autopsy.  The gun, it was discovered, had been borrowed from an acquaintance in order to "…shoot a few pigeons off of my roof.  I can't get any sleep with them up there, and I need my sleep if I'm going to hack away at slabs of meat all day and not lop off one of my own hands."


(Sindee, by the by, had been found dead after a car crash that same evening.  Her child survived with little more than a bruise on his forehead. 

        The two incidents appear not to have been related.)

F.  Frannie & Frank

Dear Mssr. X,

Frannie and Frank, who, like myself, hail from Russia, were once a great team.  I used to write reviews of their shows for them during their heyday in Le Cirque _____.  Now they are old and decrepit.  No one wants to hire them as legitimate performers any longer, because a.) they scare the pants off of kids, b.) they are an eyesore that belongs more to the world of Witkin than to a children's innocent Wonderland, and c.) they are, alas, hoary and senile.  This is no joke, sadly.  I am writing you this letter today, Mssr. X, because I wish to plead with you for the lives of Frannie and Frank.  You see, they are despondent, broken specimens.  They don't have enough money for food or shelter.  The bones peek through their flesh, which peeks through the holes in their clothing.  They depend upon the pocket change of philanthropic strangers who pass them in the street and feel pity for these depraved face-painted foreigners.  But, I tell you, they are still great performers!  They are very good at what they do! 

I am conversant with your, shall we say - different - tastes, Mssr. X.  And I know that when you see Frank's still-fierce 83-year old rod penetrate Frannie's 72-year old backside as he juggles flaming daggers, which he then proceeds to swallow, you will agree that you must showcase them in your "Freaks of the Paris Underground" sideshow.  I believe that this will provide a source of steady income for you, and help keep them alive a while longer.  Please allow me to introduce to you these wonderful people, whom life has shat on repeatedly, but who are, in the end, true survivors.  Please give them a chance, a fair chance, to demonstrate what they do for you.  I fear that, without your patronage, they will end up dead in the streets very soon. 

As for Frannie and Frank's advanced age, and the likelihood that they will not survive for more than another, say, 3-5 years off the streets - though only God knows these things - I can direct you to their offspring, now in their fifties, who are currently performers in the ______ troupe in Le Mans.  I am sure that they shall be easily persuaded to provide financial security - a safety net for you, as it were, in the form of a healthy cut of their own income in case of accident or tragedy - on behalf of their loving parents, who raised them as performers ("the apple doesn't fall far…").  All it would take would be a simple suggestion by a few of my men; you are aware of how persuasive they can be.  Consider this opportunity, if you would.  The lives of Frannie and Frank should not be wasted in the cesspool of Paris' back alleys!  They are much too talented for this.  I implore you to give them another chance.  For this you will be repaid in spades.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Ivan "Booligan" Dobrolubsky Jr.

P.S.  I loved the Lorca act (very classy), but am sorry to hear that you lost most of the cast in the subsequent inferno that engulfed the makeshift theater.  Has the arsonist been brought to justice yet?  Keep me in the loop.