They all agreed that circus clowning was a good gig if you could get it, and they revered rodeo clowns as the noblest and bravest souls in the clowning profession. Pops had been a rodeo clown for ten years before forming the Kaleidoscope. Although he had saved many a cowboy, it was no coincidence that he had developed Alzheimer’s relatively early in life, in large part from the damage his body had suffered in those ten years.
If rodeo clowning was the utmost example of heroics, the group could also equally agree on the lowest example: party clowns.
“Degrading!” one voice spat.
“Disrespectful bullshit!” jeered another voice.
“Disgusting!” Henka shouted, between mouthfuls of her strong liquor.
It wasn’t so much for the job itself, but because of how it had lost its respectability.
The subject was always guaranteed to get a rise out of Cassidy.
“Ar, all the freakin’ cryin’ an’ screamin’ and pissed pants. Why any self-respectin’ clown’d ever be caught dead doin’ that shite is beyond me,” the Scotsman drunkenly exclaimed. “I’d rather stick me willy in a cheese grater than do that shite.”
Patty chuckled to herself at that statement. It had taken all of her strength not to blurt out that a cheese grater was probably the only thing he hadn’t stuck his willy in already.
Chuck, a big burly clown that everyone had nicknamed “Baby Huey” due to his gentle nature in spite of his immense size, piped up.
“It’s the darned media and TV,” the large gruff man said. “They make movies showin’ kids cryin’ whenever they see a clown and tellin’ their parents that clowns suck,” Chuck said. “There’s somethin’ wrong with a kid that don’t like clowns. An’ don’t even get me started on that bastard IT book of Stephen King’s. Really! A monster that looks like a clown!”
“Stephen King can stick his freakin’ book and the shite movie up ‘is clown hatin’ arse,” Cassidy concluded.
The surly Scotsman chugged back the last couple mouthfuls of his beer, nearly teetering off his stool in a drunken stupor.
Soon the group had dissipated and retired to their respective trailers for the night.
Patty wearily climbed into her plush, overstuffed bed. Its thick pink duvet wrapped itself around her with warm comfort, the same way it had every night since she was a child. As Patty watched the clock strike twelve, she drifted off to sleep, already thinking about the show to come the following day.
At 3:00 a.m., there was a pounding on her door and the wailing, unintelligible voice that she recognized as Alison’s.
Only half awake, she stumbled to the door in her fuzzy pink pajamas that were covered in a pattern of little white bunnies.
As soon as she opened the door, a frantic Alison almost stumbled in. It was obvious that she had been crying. She was sobbing hysterically, tears streaming down her face. She was dressed like a girl five years her senior. She wore a grey skirt that was too tight and too short. Patty wondered for a brief second when she would have had a chance to buy something like that without her knowing. They usually did their shopping trips together. Mascara mixed with salty tears ran down Alison’s face. Patty only understood one of the words that came from the girl’s mouth.
“Paatteeeeee,” Alison wailed.
Patty sat her younger cousin on the small, cushioned bench that served as both couch and seating for her dining table.
“Alison, honey, what’s happened? What’s wrong?” Patty asked.
“Cassidyyy,” the girl managed to wail between sobs.
“What? What about Cassidy?” Patty asked. “Is he hurt?”
“He…he…he lied to me!” cried Alison.
Right away, Patty got a bad feeling about where this conversation was heading. She calmed the younger girl down with soothing talk and brewed her green tea from her single serve coffee maker. When she was ready, Alison explained.
“He…he said he loved me,” Alison sobbed. “Said I was the only girl he was with.”
“You need to explain this to me Alison,” Patty said in a firm, but concerned voice.
“It started after the show in San Bernardino a couple months ago,” Alison explained. “I was flirting, trying to get his attention and suddenly we were too far gone to stop ourselves…”
Patty wanted to speak, but she was stunned speechless. Before she could gather her thoughts and conduct her motherly role, Alison filled the silence.
“We’ve been keeping it a secret because we know what others will think, because of my age,” Alison explained. “But, I love him, I love the way he makes me feel. We’re so passionate and—”
“I’m going to kill him…,” Patty interrupted, although she was speaking to nobody in particular.
“I went to his trailer to surprise him, and he was there…with Mily…and they were…” Alison broke down sobbing again before she could finish her sentence.
Patty immediately pictured the only Mily that worked for Kaleidoscope. She was a lithe brunette with pointed, but cute, features. Mily was a member of the circus’s acrobat troop. For a brief second, Patty considered what Leroy, Mily’s mustachioed and muscular husband, would think about her nocturnal activities with Cassidy. Her thoughts of the acrobatic couple’s relationship’s stability quickly gave way to scorn over her cousin’s stupidity.
“Alison! How many times have I told you to stay away from him?” Patty lectured, shaking her finger like an old school teacher. “You could have some disease now…and besides he’s way too old for you!”
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