Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bozo's Lament

Based upon Bozo's Lament by Jonathan Coulton.

It was night. No one was watching the ring. I was the only one there. I didn't know how I got there. Probably the beer. It always went back to the beer. I sighed, and was about to head back to my trailer when a spotlight illuminated the cannon. A man was standing next to it. Arthur, the human cannonball. No, the ex human cannonball. He died fifteen years ago. "Do you fly or do you fall?" he called to me. Without waiting for an answer, He clambered into the cannon. It fired, and he flew across the tent, turned in midair, and flew off through a hole near the top. Then I realized I had seen this before, many times. Every night for the past five years I had the same dream. Every night he asked the same meaningless question, and every night he flies away. It sucks to be a clown.
The alarm dragged me from the dream. I thought about sleeping in, but it wouldn't be worth it. Fifteen minutes later it would still be too early, I'd still be hungover, and I'd get my pay docked if I was late. Again. I punched the alarm's button to shut it up, and went to put on my makeup. I didn't shower first. No one here did. The animals smelled like crap anyhow, so what were twenty more unwashed beasts? Besides, I could use the time on my face. I took pride in it. It was always a masterpiece. Every day, I came to work looking how a clown should. Ten minutes later, I was streaked with pie and whipped cream. An hour of makeup, at least, ruined in a instant. It sucks to be a clown.
I finished my work, looked at myself in the mirror for a minute, then grabbed my cigarettes from the counter. I lit one as I left the trailer and began to make my way past the animals. The twins were there, working with the lions on their routine. They just looked at me and laughed, one of them with his head still in the lion's mouth. They knew where I stood in the hierarchy of the circus. I threw the butt of my cigarette down, and lit a new one as I walked past. It wasn't fair. They just show up and abuse a lion onstage and they get all the girls. I slave away to put on my face, struggle to walk in foolish shoes, and get pies thrown at me. The crowd laughs with the twins, but they laugh at me. It sucks to be a clown.
I didn't really have much of a choice in careers, though. I always thought being a clown was my destiny. What else does someone named Bozo do? But the circus was supposed to be better than this. All I do is get pie in my face, five days a week. Today is different though. When they went to throw the pie at me, I knocked it from the air. I took the gravel-encrusted pie from the ground and slammed it into the ringleader's face, like I've wanted to for fifteen years. I strode over to the cannon, and as I clamber in I remember Arthur. "I know the answer now. I fly." There hasn't been a net since he died, but I don't need one. I don't want to be caught. It sucks to be a clown.

No comments: