A Clown Walked Into My Bedroom…

A clown walked into my bedroom. It was 4pm on a Saturday.

That’s a lie.

A clown didn’t walk into my bedroom. It walked into the room I was in and I was in a bed. I’m pretty sure it was a Saturday. I think it was a Saturday because the day before, on the Friday, before sunset, a lady Rabbi walked in with two battery operated Shabbat candles and a loaf of cholla. As to the time, I’m guessing there.

I didn’t see the clown walk into the room.I opened my eyes and there it was. When I saw the clown standing in the doorway I closed my eyes. Waited a moment or three, and opened them again. The clown didn’t go away. In fact, in those three moments, it moved closer. It stood right at the foot of my bed.

clown

This Clown Walks Into …

I’m not afraid of clowns, but looking at this one with it its purple and orange satin oversized jumpsuit, ruffled collar, yellow Elton John glasses, white pancake makeup face, blood red lips and wild orange wig and a small red dot at the tip of its nose, well, in that moment, I understood the phobia.

“You know,” I said. “People hate clowns.”

“I know,” the clown says, “I have permission.”

Permission? From the nurses? The doctors? The old patient down the hall that screams at everyone and throws things at the nurses? I feel bad for the nurses and I tell them so. They’re nice, all except for the cranky one.

“Why are you here?” I push myself up. I have to use both hands and it hurts like nobody’s business. This isn’t a complaint. It’s a fact. Just that morning they wheeled me down to radiology, put me on my stomach, and drilled a hole in the left cheek of my derriere. Something about draining an abscess in my gut, like I’m some kind of engine block and they’re the car mechanics.

“You can watch if you like,” the nurse had said and pointed to the monitor above my head and to the right. I don’t think so. I’m on my stomach, in a cold white room. They had to use an x-ray machine or something so they could see what they were doing—guide the tube to the correct place above my stomach and to the right, or the left. I don’t know. “That’s okay,” I said to the nurse. “But you can give me more drugs.” She obliged and shot something into my IV. I was getting used to the icy liquid of morphine shooting through my veins, my heart skipping a beat and forgetting to breathe.  She held my hand during the procedure. I squeezed tight.  She was a good nurse.

The clown doesn’t tell me why it’s in my room. Instead it reaches into its clown pocket and pulls out something wrapped in cellophane. The clown walks closer to me and I push myself harder, away from the clown and into my raised the bed.

“Here,” the clown says and pushes a pale veined hand at me. She reveals a red nose wrapped in cellophane.“This is for you.”

Crinkle, crinkle, crinkle. I flinch and it hurts. I take the nose from the clown. “Thank you.” I lay it on the table to the right of my bed, next to my cell phone.

“If you put your nose on,” the clown points to the nose. “We can take a picture together for Facebook.”

Are you kidding me right now? I don’t post pictures of myself when I’m sick. I’m just not one of those people. I don’t post pictures of chicken soup with captions that say, “I’m sick”.  I don’t post status updates that say, “Got a stomach bug” or “Hey, I’ve got food poisoning, guess where I am?” I had been in this hospital bed too long, my hair was greasy and I looked pretty green. No amount of make up would make me Facebook-photo-ready.

“No thanks,” I say.

The clown won’t leave.

“Can I take a picture of you?” I ask the morphine-clown.

“Of course,” the clown seems happy with this.

I snap the picture. I thank the clown and I close my eyes.

When I wake up it is dark. The room is quiet. I reach for my cell phone.

Ekphrastic — Midsummer’s Eve

 

Firebombs and Fairies

I’ll just hide here in this lantern, thank you very much.

I don’t like crowds, especially crowds of drunken naked fairies looking to cause trouble. They make fun of me because I don’t like to join

Midsummer's Eve Robert Edward Hughes

Midsummer’s Eve
Robert Edward Hughes

in their mischief. I don’t care. I’m used to the taunts. “Baby! Baby! Hughie is a Baby!!!”

I don’t care.

Cain is trying to get me out of this lantern. It’s the only safe place. The lantern. I made a beeline for it when we got here. I bet a small flock of fairies were swinging from it and it came crashing down, the fairies tumbling and laughing all the while. I’m just glad that I found this lantern. I’m not coming out. It’s enough I’m here at all. God, Jewish guilt is the worst.

Earlier this evening, I was reading in bed, catching up on my New Yorker’s sipping a cup of Chai tea when Cain came into my room.

“Hey.” He said. “Aren’t you going to come to the solstice celebration?”

“No” I said. Last year’s solstice party turned ugly. A riot broke out when the keg ran dry and some crazy fairy almost ripped my wings off my back. Booze and firebombs just don’t mix.  “Remember last year?” I asked. “No way I’m subjecting myself to that again.” I turned my attention back to the magazine.

“Come on.” He walked over and sat next to me. He pulled the New Yorker out of my hand and tossed it on the floor.  “Hey, I was reading Ellen Bass’ new poem.” I said.

“What is it with you?” he asked. “Why are you such downer?”

“I’m not a downer.” I said. I know that I was disappointing as an older brother. I wanted to be better. I wanted to fit in, I wanted to be able to relax, be myself and have fun with the other fairies. I just couldn’t. I didn’t know how.

It was going to be a nice evening.  The solstice sun was setting. It was warm and the sky was a kaleidoscope of pink, orange, and violet.  A white mother of pearl guitar pick lay on the floor by my window. The changing colors of the sky seemed to bounce off the pick and bathe the walls of my room in a rainbow glow.  I had found the trinket on yesterday’s beach walk. I love picking up little treasures. I have glass bowls of rocks and shells and lucky pennies all over my bedroom. The pick was a great find. I guess Mr. Taco must have swatted the it onto the floor. Cats will play with anything except their cat toys. Ahhhh a cat’s life–the world is their scratching post. Oh to be a house cat.

Cain didn’t need me tonight. He’s stronger than he knows and quite able to go to the celebration without me.  He shouldn’t care if I come or not. “You don’t need me.” I said.

“I do,” he said. “I want to get into the Fairy Fraternity.” He said. “They want you to be there too. If you don’t it will reflect badly on our family.  You have to go or else I might not get accepted in the frat.” He stood up. “Come on.” He said. “Get up and come with me. Please.” He said.

I shook my head. I pulled the covers up and over my head.

“Please.” He said and yanked the covers down. “Please. Please! PLEEEEAAAASSSSEEEE!” He said.

“God.” I said. “You are such a whiner!”

“It’s really important to me.” He said. “You have to come. I just have to get into the Fraternity. I have to!!!”

I’m such a sucker. Once again here I am doing something for someone else and sacrificing myself in the process. I have to learn how to say no. This isn’t good for me. My cortisol levels are rising. I can feel it. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Maybe if I focus on this red light. Breathe. Focus on the light. Breathe. I need to calm down. Maybe if I concentrate hard enough I can just will myself gone.

Uh oh, is that Fairy Constantine over there with a fireball? It looks like he’s going to throw it my way.

I gotta get out of here.

Breathe, breathe, focus, and breathe. Relax. I’m a fairy aren’t I? There must be some powers I have, right? Can’t fairies just blink their eyes and disappear?

Shit, what’s the point of wings if you can’t even fly?

**Thank you to two AMAZING writers, Josh Grapes and Lisa Segal. Their unique workshop BEYOND THE FRAME brought this fun piece to me…and I see many more on the horizon…