Kathleene S. Baker

 David glanced into the rearview mirror of his car, double-checked his makeup, and straightened his gawdy, polka-dot tie.  “I really do look good!” he muttered and smiled at his reflection.  With head held high, David strode across the parking lot to his workplace. 

He had rummaged through tables at Goodwill and visited garage sales to gather items for his perfectly coordinated outfit.  Polyester slacks, in a large red, white, and blue check, were his favorite find.  After a good spit-shine, his second-hand , navy and beige, wing-tip shoes looked like new; though he wished they fit a bit better.  He feared by the end of the day he’d be crippled from blistershis red, orange and yellow striped socks weren’t quite thick enough for comfort.

 “David!  You look fantastic this morning.”  Obviously one co-worker approved of his attire as he'd barely walked through the door before she piped up.  David politely tipped his red derby hat, exposing a shock of orange hair. 

 “Thanks, Fran, and so do you.  You should wear that shade of purple more often.”  They both chuckled.  David stuck his thumbs under his suspenders and gave them a tug.

Compliments from co-workers continued; David was all but giddy.

Devon, Jerry, and David didn’t have clients for another half hour, so they stepped into the mall smoking area.  Soon the shop would buzz with folks and it might be afternoon before they’d have another smoke break.

The three were puffing and chatting, when out of nowhere; she charged like a mad bull.

“What are you doing?” screeched the young, shorthaired woman as she closed in on them.

The three looked at one another and then at herthey had not a clue what she wanted.

With the stealth of a panther she pounced!  David hit the tile floor face first; his red derby hat adorned with a yellow and orange band bounced to a stop several feet away, as did his cigarette.

The attacker grabbed hold and stayed atop David.  “What do you think you are doing?”

What the hell brought this on, David wondered.  His pals stood paralyzed, their eyes enormous.  He looked up at them; why aren’t they doing anything to get this crazed woman off of me?

With an angry voice the wild woman began lobbing questions.  “How long have you been a clown?

 “Uh, well since about 7:30 this morning,” David snapped.

Within moments a crowd had gathered.  David struggled to get on his feet; several people offered him a hand.  Still, the strange attacker kept a tight grasp on one arm.

“Are you a professional clown?”  Her dark eyes were flashing 


“Then where did you get that costume?”

David explained he’d assembled his costume from a mishmash of items found at Goodwill.  She looked skeptical, very skeptical!  The livid female kept at it. 

“Who did your makeup?  It looks too professional.”

“I did my own makeup, thank you!  But, I’m not a professional clown if that’s what you’re driving at.  The Regis Hair Salon dresses for Halloween each year and this year I’m a clown.  Got it? We do it for fun.

 She continued her death grip on David’s arm!  “How many hours will you wear that clown suit today?”

“I’ll wear it until I’m finished with my customers and then we’re going out to party!  Now would you let go of me and leave me alone?”

Glaring at the cigarette still on the floor, she loosened her grip and began to explain. 

“Look, I am a professional clown!  Clowns do not smoke.”  She poked David in the chest with her forefinger and ordered, “Do not smoke while dressed like that!  I mean it; don’t let me see you do it again.”

“Lady, don’t poke me!  I’m a clown for Halloween and that’s all.  If you are finished manhandling me, I’m going to work.”

As David walked toward the salon she gave him one more warning, “I don’t want to see you smoking in that clown outfit again today!”

The early morning assault left a damper on the usual Halloween merriment at the salon.  As for David, the day had been downright ruined.  The few smoke breaks he took were wrought with angst for he knew his assailant was lurking somewhere in the mall and might strike like a cobra at any moment.  Constantly looking over his shoulder, he felt like a criminal on the run.  He vowed to never again dress as a clown.

In days to come David made it a point to learn about professional clowns; he found there is more to “clowning” than entertaining others with nonsensical fun.  They adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and smoking is not tolerated when dressed “in clown.”  Still, he found little solace in their principles after being subjected to an attack on his person by a crazed woman.

Strict Code of Ethics, indeed!

An old song played incessantly in David's mind the rest of that horrid Halloween day, "Tears of a Clown"...


A Clown's Code of Ethics

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©2007 Kathleene S. Baker