‘You’d better remove your make-up.’
‘All of it?’
‘You’re old hat. No-one wants to see a clown any more.’
The clown dabbed his face. His maquillage took ages to prepare. Kids’ parties, that’s what his agent had reduced him to, and this was the last.
‘What shall I do? I haven’t any other skills. To think, I performed with the great Charlie Cairolli.’ ‘That was before the Boer War. It seems they need lorry drivers,’ he said. ‘Maybe you’ll find work with Asda.’
The agent departed, leaving the clown sitting miserably alone, in the utility room of the detached house where he’d given his last, disastrous performance. Not one of the children had even tittered when he went through his repertoire of tricks. They wanted to play video games on something called an xbox.
The woman refused to pay him, which was why he’d had to call up his agent. The clown sat with tears pricking his eyes and thought of the joy he’d brought children in the past - urchins, many of them, who’d sneaked in under the tent canvas to take a free peek at his antics. How he loved those children – not today’s arrogant little brats – spoiled they were – too much money and mollycoddling.
He finished cleaning his face. As he did, there came a knock at the door. ‘Come in,’ said the clown.
An under-nourished, ill-looking boy stood before him.
‘I was late from school and missed the party,’ he said. ‘I love clowns. Can you show me? Please?’
The clown put on his wig, pulled a funny face and deftly drew an egg from his sleeve. The boy clapped his hands with glee, his wan face alight with joy.
The clown carried on clowning for many years.
The boy died four months later.
Published in Issue #18