There is nothing worse than an unemployed clown. They are trained to laugh or make other people laugh. They are supposed to be entertaining. Being out of work, err, fun, err, work is no laughing matter although it would seem like it should be. They are supposed to make people laugh. They can’t make people laugh while they’re crying. Actually, people being what they are, that probably would get a laugh.
Laughing Lonnie had it worse than most. He had to wear a laughing face at his gigs despite feeling as if jumping off a bridge would solve all his problems. It was worse when he realized that dying when jumping off a bridge would solve all of his problems. He didn’t have the nerve to do it so he laughed it off. He tried to laugh it off. He failed. He just wasn’t in the mood for laughing.
“Hey, Lonnie, how’s it going?”, Chuckles Charlie asked him at the Clown Union Hall. Charlie used to work at the Big Tent until the PETA people managed to get it shut down. Now, he took what he could get. He considered himself a born clown and wasn’t going to take just any job.
“I’m doing kid’s parties when I get anything. It is hard since I hate kids. I hate their parents too. Who lets a grown man dressed as a clown into their homes? Huh. Some parents they are.”
“Yea, the little bastards are a pain in the ass. Still, money is money and it’s better than working in a coal mine,” Charlie said
“Charlie, almost no one is working in a coal mine anymore. Where the Hell have you been?”
“Oh, Lonnie, I was just funning you. Ha ha.”
“You need a fist down your throat is what you need. You’re a dummy. You should have been a mime. Their mouths don’t get them into trouble.”
“Yea, Lonnie, but they aren’t clowns.”
“We aren’t either, most of the time. I had to take a job flipping hamburgers for money. It didn’t work out. I was fired as soon as I got there. I had my makeup on and they said it had to go or I did. I left. I just couldn’t do it. Damn.”
“That don’t make any sense. Who cares what the cook looks like. Who sees the cooks.”
“Well, I guess it was the fact that the manager saw me as a clown. Maybe he don’t like clowns.”
“What? Who doesn’t like clowns?” Don’t like clowns? There are no people like that.”
“Chuckles, some people are afraid of clowns,” Lonnie told him. “If you keep talking so stupid, you should be afraid of this clown. I’m not in a laughing mood. It’s the makeup, stupid.”
“Why would anyone be afraid of a clown. We’re normal people.”
“No, Charlie, we certainly are not normal. No one who lives as a clown is normal. Besides, have you ever seen ’IT’. That creeped me out. I’m a little leery of clowns myself now. Well, not of you. Don’t get any ideas.” Charlie had the ’short man syndrome.’ He was harmless after he was smacked around a few times.’ ”
“Never mind, Charlie.”
The job man at the Clown Union, Sparkles, took the call. He listened to the client. The client said he wanted the best clown no matter the cost. Sparkles tripled the going rate. Since he paid out the money no one actually knew what he was getting from an event. They all knew they were being cheated but they couldn’t do anything about it. They couldn’t fire him because they were a union an it would look bad. They couldn't see the books because Sparkles wouldn’t show them to anyone. Lonnie once told him he’d kick his ass if he ever caught him cheating. Sparkles was afraid of Lonnie but he was greedier than he was fearful.
Lonnie arrived to see he was at a mansion. It was gated and had armed guards. Lonnie pushed the buzzer to be told to get out of his car. The guard started to come out to check Lonnie out and then ran back into the guard house. He told Lonnie to go around to the back. The guard wasn’t about to check out a clown. He was afraid of clowns. He would mark him down and lie about checking him out. No job was worth getting close to a clown.
The party went as expected. The kids laughed and screamed and Lonnie pretty much hated them. He thought all kids should be sent to some institutional until they grew up. He was getting ready to leave when someone told him the “boss” wanted to see him. Lonnie thought it was odd. The fee was sent to the Union Hall. No one ever thought to tip him. Few people ever thanked him.
He walked over to Sean Murphy. Lonnie assumed he was in charge since he obviously owned this estate. “I’m not thanking you. You did what I hired you to do. I was noticing that you were in good shape. No, I don’t want you bending over.
“I own the biggest wrestling show. I think I could use you. It occurred to me that you would be something really different. A wrestling clown would be a real ratings grabber. I don’t pay that much. I didn’t get this place by paying that much. You will wrestle every night and travel everyday. Baloney will be your friend. You will still make out better than you do now. I can’t imagine the market for clowns being very large. You interested?”
Lonnie didn’t make much now. He ate baloney a lot as it was. Wrestling wasn’t real anyway. He could fake it as well as anyone. Being a clown wasn’t really real.
“Yea, what do I have to do?”
“Just practice some different moves. You will look bad all along until you scream at the guy and he runs away. He’ll run up the aisle yelling about clowns and all. You know, some people are afraid of clowns. That’s stupid but I may make it work.
“Once a show I want you to run to the ring and jump in. I want you to walk towards one of the wrestlers I’ve picked out. He will circle around and you’ll follow him. He’ll jump out of the ring and run up the aisle with you right behind him. Interested?”
Lonnie needed trained to be a wrestler. He was a good clown and thought it would be easy. He was very wrong. Heavy Henry told him he had to learn the moves quickly. “Mr. Murphy isn’t paying you to hang around. You need to learn how we make most make this crap look real.”
Lonnie thought Mr. Murphy was barely paying him at all.. He had three meals a day of baloney sandwiches. It was going to be his future. He was going to have to learn to sleep in the car between gigs. There were no expenses paid and no one was wasting money on motels, even cheap ones.
After three days of training Lonnie wondered where the nearest Emergency Room was. If this was fake he didn’t know how he’d react to a real fight. He didn’t want to know. In a way, he was like a child and wanted to go home.
In his first match he was supposed to give Heavy Henry a straight arm. The trick was for Henry to fall as the Crazy Clown pulled back. Lonnie forget to pull back. Heavy Henry went down like a rock in water. He got up, stared at Lonnie and decided to beat the hell out of him. It was going to be both a win and a teaching moment for this ass. Lonnie was supposed to run down the aisle and scare off a later wrestler in his match.
The traveling manager thought it would be a great scene. It would help the Crazy Clown’s reputation. Lonnie thought it was barely possible he could do it. Heavy Henry told him it was do or die time. The die part was enough to motivate Lonnie. Lonnie was surprised at the cheering he received. He then remembered that only a fool thought it was real. Still, he felt better. He felt better mentally but his body felt like he had been run over by a car and then by a truck.
He noticed the other guys also were all bruised and one looked like he might have some broken ribs. When he mentioned this out loud he was told he had to suck it up, buttercup. As time went on he was becoming less and less enchanted by the rough handling and the low wages. He was getting less enchanted by baloney.
The road manager pulled him aside after one match to tell him he was fired.
“Huh? Why? I’ve done a great job, I think.”
“You have done too good a job is the problem. Mr. Murphy loved you at first. The thing is, you are scaring the crowd. Our ticket sales are down. See, that’s how it goes. Sorry, man, but you’re finished. Here’s your pay. Good luck in the future although wrestling ain’t going to be your future.”
“Hell, this is barely enough to get me home by bus.”
“Yea, I know. Good luck.”