A few months after Binky the Clown’s second wife, Molly the Mime died, Binky gave up. He went back to heroin and added a deluge of prescription pills to back his high. He spent his hours dazed and confused and stopped caring about his job. It vexed the manager. Now Binky was bringing in a good clientele, and the circus finally had enough money because of him. The manager had just bought a pair of hyenas and another lion. The show itself hardly brought in profit. It was Binky who was the star of its seedy underbelly who brought in the green. The manager couldn’t afford to lose what he had. And so, he brought Binky into his office and slapped him a couple of times.
“Get your act together, you shit! Our patrons can’t have you sleeping on the job,” he yelled, before backhanding him again.
But Binky didn’t seem to care. He just sat there, catatonic. The manager then tried a different route.
“Do you think Molly would have liked to see you like this?” He said, “C’mon son, you have work to do!”
But Binky just stared at him. The manager then walked outside to blow off some steam. “Fucking clowns,” he muttered when he saw Mr. Green approach. Mr. Green was a particularly belligerent customer who wanted Binky to dress appropriately for every session. He hated having to bed a lifeless clown with makeup running all over his face.
“Now you listen here, Jack! I paid good money for Binky’s services. I wanted a clown damn it! Not some junkie! I want a refund!”
“Sir, Binky is just going through a phase. We’ll give you a special package at a discounted rate once he’s better. I assure you that this is only temporary.”
“That clown is washed up. He weighs sixty kilos now and has puke stains all over him. There’s no redemption there. Either you find me a new one, or I’ll tell the 21st street gang about what you’re running in their block, behind their back.”
“No need to get angry, sir. Give me two weeks, and I’ll make sure he’s fit enough to service you again.”
“Two weeks! You mean I have to sleep with my wife for two fucking weeks!”
“What I’ll offer you after these two weeks will be worth your time and effort. So please, take it easy sir.”
“What do you plan on offering me?”
“Well, we’ll hold a bogus auction, where you’ll bid the highest, and we’ll sell you Binky the Clown for a week. So, make preparations, and get your wife and kids out of town. I’ll give you more details later.”
“You better not be joking,” said Mr. Green, before rushing off in heat to find a toilet somewhere.
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)