"Your mother wears army boots." Every year a different school. Every year the same type of pathetic little voice, usually the classroom booger-eater, taking a shot at the new kid.

I hated being a military brat. Mom knew it was tough on me. It was tough on her too, but the army was the only place she could pull down a regular paycheck and retire with any kind of a pension.

She tried to provide a consistent friend for me by bringing home a dog. I had to give him away when we got stationed in Germany. A few years later she bought me a terrapin turtle. I let him go when we got stationed in Japan.

During all the moves we made the only thing I always took with me was my love of reading. Mom encouraged it, hoping it would help me get in to college and get a degree. She wanted me to have a better life than she had. At least once a month she'd say, "Drop everything and give me ten...books." I'd talk to her about everything I'd read and she'd listen, usually smiling and often asking questions. Those are my fondest memories of her.

My saddest memories are because of Leon Russell. On his album, "Will O' The Wisp," there's a song that was on the radio a lot, "Lady Blue." Mom would turn it off. It hurt her in a way that she never told me about.

After high school I tried to muddle my way through college, but never felt like I belonged. I didn't graduate.

For six months I worked on an ore freighter. The cook had an orange tabby, Galleycat, that kept mice out of the pantry. What I did to the cat was an accident. He recovered, his limp was barely noticeable, but I got fired anyway.

And then I ended up in this job. Fifteen years now. The people and places change, but the routine is consistent. Every night Ringmaster Ron steps behind the curtain and says to me, "You're up in two, right after the promenading poodles." Then he tells me what a snark-shark his wife is as he passes me the bottle. I take a long deep drink then I put down my book, put on my nose and pull my floppy size-forties over my sneakers. The whiskey dulls the pain in my feet-- bunions like barbed wire--but the show must go on...

I turn to Ron and say, " The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd..." I don't know if he gets the joke or just doesn't care.

When I step in to the spotlight all the kids yell and laugh.

I'll never have any children of my own. Knowing that someone would say to them, " Your daddy wears clown shoes," would be too much for me to bear.

And what's the deal with all these clowns!

Scoring to come


Jade L Blackwater said...

Hmm, no funny points, but still a good story.

jjhalloween said...

I thought the last bit about your father wearing clown shoes was funny.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to both of ya's!
For this wee tale I was going for a bit of warped poignancy without being cloying or grabbing the easy joke. I usually write hard-boiled stories that have a slice of lime, some clumps of blood, a teaspoon of vinegar and a barbed-wire twist that makes sure flying monkeys don't disguise themselves by wearing wide-shouldered trench coats. [And hey, a run-on sentence or two ain't the end of the world.]
Concept to completion: One hour. I wish I'd taken two. But Leon Russell records are cool and I had fun not trying to be funny.
[And if yer mama really wears combat boots may the god of your faith bless and protect her.]


Anonymous said...

Thanks to both of ya's!
I usually write hard-boiled stuff that has a slice of lime, a clump of blood and a barbed- wire twist that doesn't have flying monkeys disguising themselves by wearing broad- shouldered trenchcoats.
[For this here story; I was going for a bit o' poigancy that wasn't cloying or grabbing the easy joke. From concept to completion; one hour. I wish I'd taken two. But it was still fun to write without trying to be funny.]
And Hey! If your mama really does wear army boots may the god of your faith preserve and protect her.

J. Mc.

Anonymous said...

[2nd attempt to post.]
I'm glad ya's liked it.
I usually write hard-boiled stories with a slice of lime,a clump of blood and no flyinmonkeys trying to disguise themselves in broad-shouldered jackets in chapter fourteen.
I tried to tell a wee tale with a little bit of poignancy and without being cloying. [And I had fun without having to be funny.]
Time from concept to completion: One hour. I wish I'd taken two.
My first attempt at posting was so much funnier, but seriously,ifyour mama really does wear army boots I hope that the god of your faith watches over her.

J Mc