He Twisted Balloons in the Shapes of Animals
A giraffe. A hippo. A monkey. A fish. He twisted balloons in the shapes of animals. And the kids loved it. I want a gorilla. I want an elephant. I want a penguin. And he twisted on. Shaping. Laughing with the kids and their sundae stained faces, their chocolate sprinkle hair, their red cherry lips. And it was all fun and games. And he was the hit of every party. And his phone rang off the hook with reservations and plastic titted mommies and steroid bicep fathers and little kids screaming in the background I want I want I want.
But at home he was having trouble getting the goddamn batteries in the fucking remote. It was already taped with some blue paint trim tape, the only thing he could find, and he didn't want to spring for a new one altogether because his step-daughter's graduation was just around the corner and he was saving everything to that. And even though she was a bitch to him and had been since nine or ten he didn't want to look like the old man hobo who was really just a children's party clown and couldn't afford to be anything else.
And last night it took ten minutes to get the fucking car to start because that battery was low too and didn't it figure that shit would run out just when you needed it. Because what he'd needed last night after two twelve-year-old gigs in a row was a twelve pack of something dark and heavy and a foot-long salami to get the smell of latex from his fingers. But at least the last one had paid in cash so he had something to hold on to while he waited for the engine to kick in.
So at the seven-year-old's the next morning it seemed right that he was a little pissed off at balloons and a touch angry with the world. It made sense that his eyes were slightly bloodshot and his hands wouldn't stay as still as he would like. It fit that he played a mime to most of them letting the screeching tones ricochet from his ears like silver droplets down a winding drain. But he didn't have to go as far as he did. He just felt like. And that was it.
A penis. A noose. A shotgun. A heroin spoon. He twisted balloons in the shapes of things he was more accustomed to. And the kids loved it. I want a dead man. I want a car crash. I want a ticking time bomb. And he twisted on. Shaping. Laughing with the kids and their drooping baggy eyes, their paling sober cheeks, their sharpened baby teeth. And it was all fun and games. And he was the hit of the party. And his phone didn't ring much after that. And there were no more mommies. And no more fathers. And thank god no more whining kids in the background screaming I want I want I want.