THE FEARS OF A CLOWN
by D.C. Lozar
Once upon a spell, there was an orange-haired clown who wondered what life might be like outside his tent. Not that he needed to look – his audience laughed when he did tricks and said ridiculous things. What more could a clown want? Still, he wondered? What sort of world existed beyond his tent flaps? Collecting the bits of bravery he had saved up from his shows, he paid the circus manager to let him peek outside.
Beyond his little circus was another one; a huge one with spotlights, microphones, and an audience had been left waiting too long. Ever the entertainer, the little clown ran forward and did his skit. The audience didn’t laugh. They nudged their neighbors awake, leaned forward, and waited for the clown to do something else. Confused, the little clown put on more makeup and bigger clown shoes. He poked fun at people, made wild accusations, tripped over his own feet, and did his best to give them a good show.
Still, no one laughed.
Worse, they applauded.
Brushing back his mop of unruly orange hair, our little fellow shuddered with fear. This was a clown’s worst nightmare. They thought he was serious.
Edging back to his circus tent, horrified, he found his escape blocked by the stage directors. The little fool had done well, they said. He had woken up the audience, given them a reason to pay attention, but he couldn’t leave until they saw him for what he was – a tent clown.
But how? He had pulled every trick he knew, said things that no one could defend, had lied, cheated, and reversed dozens of statements. What more could he do? Nearly in tears, the little clown begged for help.
The directors nodded knowingly. They had a plan.
Wearing bigger shoes, floppier hair, and even livelier motley; the little clown stripped off his clothes and went back on stage. He screamed, ranted, and yelled. He danced and tripped and fell. He earned a smile, a snicker, and even a belly laugh. Finally, they were starting to see the truth.
The directors twisted a rope around the mindless clown’s feet and apologized. They had been trying to recreate something like H.G. Well’s radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds, and they hoped this bit of comic relief deceived no one. The audience nodded while pretending they had never dressed the naked clown with their minds. Laughing with them, the directors yanked the little clown off his feet and pulled him back inside his tent. A puppet, one who knew how to read his lines, was lowered onto the empty spot of focused attention the little clown’s antics created on stage.
The orange-haired clown had a new act, one that painted him as a martyr, and allowed him to demand a higher ticket price. His audience laughed when he did tricks and said ridiculous things. The directors defended the legitimacy of their stage by removing the clown and giving their audience a puppet that said all the right things and never made people feel awkward for believing he was real. The audience listened, pretended they were adults, and tried very hard to forget they had ever applauded for the orange-haired tent clown.
Written by D.C. Lozar
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