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Clowning Around

Author Shelley Fraser Mickle
Air Date 8/6/2002

Clowning Around Transcript

The summer before fifth grade, my friend Billy Tutwiler and I decided we wanted to be rich. We felt we were smart enough to start our own business, so we opened Clowns and Associates. We didn’t know what the word Associates meant, but it sounded good, so we stuck it on. We tacked up posters all over town saying that Clowns and Associates would come to your next birthday party and turn it into the best celebration you’d ever had. We were banking on the fact that the whole world loves a clown, and therefore we’d get a lot of business. 

The sad fact is, nobody called. Nobody came to the cardboard table we set up on Main Street with a sign saying, “Sign up now to hire the world’s best clowns.” Well, I mean, people stopped to talk to us, and they brought us ice cream cones and popsicles, while telling us we were swell kids and that they hoped we’d get a ton of business. 

But sadly, no one gave us any business. The clown kit we’d ordered from a magazine sat unused. The face paint was untouched except for the few times we’d practiced. Finally, we dropped our asking price to rock bottom – ten cents a show – and Mrs. Lester, who lived in the next block, thought she’d give us a whirl. She asked us to put on our clown show at her daughter’s second birthday party. 

On the day of the party, Billy and I took our clown kit into the back bedroom at Mrs. Lester’s house and put on our stuff. Meanwhile, the doorbell was ringing every minute as mothers and kids arrived. There must have been forty babies from all over the county that Mrs. Lester had hunted up to come to that party. 

Mrs. Lester peeped in the bedroom door. “All set?” she asked. Billy stood in his costume with his face painted white with a bi red mouth. He wore a rubber ball on his nose the size of a plum. On his feet were shoes as big as tennis rackets. I had on a black tuxedo and had painted my face white, too, only I had false bucked teeth and wild orange hair that looked like it’d been sucked on by a hippopotamus. 

I wish I could say we were a big hit and got hired a lot. But what really happened was that when we went out into the living room, all forty of those babies started howling with fright. We had to put on a farewell performance like you’ve never seen just to convince those babies we were not going to be anywhere around. 

The next day, we changed the wording on our advertisements to “Clowns and Associates – for anybody over two.” 

Posted in Holidays, Stories