Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: CLOWN (02/13/20)
TITLE: Sad Tidings
By Troy Manning
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Bozo selected one of three vacant massage chairs in the busy shopping mall which provided an adequate vantage point for viewing Santa’s antics. As with all inquisitions, Santa’s opening attack consisted primarily of questions:
“Well hello there, Sweetie, what can I do for you?”
“I want a Pinarello Dogma F10 Road Bicycle.”
“Oh, for Mom or Dad?”
“For you? Well, isn’t that a little selfish of you?”
“Um, I don’t know.”
“You do know that selfish boys and girls are naughty boys and girls, don’t you?”
“I don’t know, I guess.”
“Well, you can be sure that I don’t bring selfish children Pinarello Dogma F10 Road Bicycles or any other kind of bicycle for that matter. Do you understand that?”
In most cases, this approach brought on the desired waterworks. For a few of the very young ones that hadn’t thought well-enough through their requested items and weren’t particularly attached to them, he accompanied his remarks with a firm pinch. Bozo objected to this use of force, but Santa smugly reminded him that no such restrictions had been established beforehand. Nearly a hundred children left the premises in tears before the parents’ complaints compelled the mall’s administration to have the security officers whisk Santa away.
Santa carefully positioned his Hi-Boy beach chair on a grass slope of the city central park. He exchanged his yuletide outfit for farmer’s overalls and a large straw hat so as not to draw the plethora of children’s attention to himself—a gesture, he thought, of great magnanimity toward his opponent. Already a sizable crowd was gathering about Bozo as he prepared to tap the youthful springs. He withdrew a few balloons, “Who here likes dogs?” He filled a pink balloon from a helium canister as hands shot up snd shouts rang out. He quickly fashioned a dachshund and held it toward a small brunette girl. She immediately embraced it.
“How about hot dogs?” he said while lighting a match and holding it beneath the dog. The girl shrieked as it popped, then she stared at Bozo for a moment in disbelief. He mimicked her shock as well as her sobs as she convulsed into them.
“Hey, what the—” her father stepped forward and reached to take hold of the clown’s lapels. Bozo raised a finger then quickly bent down, filled a balloon and presented the girl with a yellow giraffe. He then turned his posterior for the father to kick, which he gladly did.
“Who here likes cats?”
A slightly more tempered but generally enthusiastic response issued from his audience. He made a blue one and held it up. A boy nearing his teen years pushed his way forward and put out his hands. Rather than take it, however, he clapped his hands hard against it, causing it to burst. The boy turned laughing to the crowd and raised his arms triumphantly at the applause; Bobo doing likewise. Bobo then made a bigger orange one and held it toward the boy, “Careful, tigers are dangerous.”
The boy again brought his hands together on the balloon. He howled and stared in horror at an open safety-pin protruding from his palm. Bozo hurried to hug the bawling lad who promptly shrugged free of him and hurried into the stunned onlookers. Murmurs among them followed and it was clear that plans for Bozo’s harm were being devised. Bozo raised and shook his hands, bringing a reluctant hush, “I know how this looks. You’re thinking that, just because that kid insulted me, I deliberately put a safety-pin in that balloon to hurt him.”
The crowd held its ground, awaiting further explanation.
“Well, I just want to tell you now…that you’re right.”
The audience charged. Bobo reached down for another, larger, canister—this one filled with pepper spray—and dowsed the crowd, unstemming the tide from hundreds of eyelids. Bozo had won! He grabbed the helium canister and scampered up the slope to Santa. He rapidly made eight reindeer and they attached them to the beach chair. Bozo climbed onto Santa’s lap and together they soared toward the sun.
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