His rainbow nest of hair spiraled in all directions, the loaded wig hanging heavily on his troubled head. He wrung his white gloved hands and sighed. Leaning forward to glance down the long, barren street, he looked to see if the bus was finally climbing over the horizon.
As usual, it was late. Which made him late. He had even tried to leave earlier and arrived at the bus stop an hour early to catch the sooner ride, but it was his typical luck that neither bus had showed up on time.
The kid’s parents would be anxious and probably upset. They seemed like the neurotic type who wanted everything to be perfect for little Junior’s birthday. Any deviation from their scheduled plans would send them in a tailspin. So much for getting a decent tip out of this one. He’d be lucky if they paid him anything at all.
Frustrated, he kicked the duffel bag at his feet, the container of all his tricks and props which made the kids laugh. This was supposed to be easy money, so he could save to buy a car, but so long as the bus failed him, he had no chances of purchasing his own vehicle to get around the vast city.
His skin itched from the oily make-up on his face, but he didn’t dare scratch the tingling feeling on his cheek. Two hours he had worked on drawing the perfect pink circles on either side, tracing the large red outline of a smile around his thin lips and then coloring it all in, and finally darkening the blue triangles over his eyes. Not to mention the fine details of making sure every inch of his face and neck were caked with an even layer of white paint.
All of it seemed pointless now. The bus wasn’t coming. It was almost at the time when a third bus should be puttering down the road, but at the rate things were happening for him, it wasn’t likely that one was going to show.
Grabbing his duffel bag, he stood and stared down the empty road on last time. Disappointed, he turned and walked awkwardly away from the stop, his long, oversized black shoes clacking on the pavement. What a sight he must have been. The dejected clown with slumped shoulders who clopped down the street.
“Excuse me, Mike?” a voice called from a car that had slowed nearby.
“Huh?” the clown asked. “How did you know my name?”
“Um, my wife sent me out looking for you here. She had your address on the card you gave her. We booked you for Taylor’s birthday party today?”
“Yeah, I’m sorry. I’ve been waiting for the bus to come for almost two hours,” Mike answered apologetically. “I would have called, but I don’t have a cell phone right now.”
“We figured as much. The bus drivers all went on strike five hours ago. We thought maybe you hadn’t gotten stuck when you didn’t show up half an hour ago, so I thought I would see if you were at home. If you’re still available, we’d love it if you could come perform for the kids,” the kid’s dad offered. “I can give you a ride home afterwards, too.”
Relieved at his change in luck, Mike cracked his first clown smile and replied, “Sure, I would really appreciate that.”
– Written by Miss A on April 2, 2012