Ben Stainton

The Late Afternoon's Entertainment

After the party, I couldn't help asking —
"Are you a government approved Clown?"
The Clown evaded all questions
by firing a water pistol in my face.

He clomped over to the discarded buffet
and started juggling 4 cocktail sausages.
Allowing the sausages to flop disappointedly
to the floor, he beckoned me closer, and whispered:

"I walk the tightrope over a huge vat of despair.
Some day, my balance will fail. I'll fall in. Won't I?"


The low, sunlit trees nodded their approval.
"Well. . .", I began —
"Children detest me. Adults treat me like a loser."
He pointed repeatedly to his enormous hair.

I considered offering a sympathetic pat.
"Are all clowns really crying inside?
I thought that was a dusty cliché. Are you evil too?"

The Clown yanked off his oversized nose.
"A normal person would have sympathised."
"I know. Sorry, Clown."


He rubbed his palms together
until the friction was sufficient to start a small fire.
"Always surround your fire with a ring of pebbles."
Health & Safety conscious. A plus, in anyone's book.

"Thanks. Any other advice?"
He impatiently handed over a scrap of paper.
On first reading, it struck me as infantile —

I passed the paper back to The Clown,
who instantly burnt it. Gone, but not forgotten.