I'm not sure how it all started. Midlife crisis? Boredom? Muddle through every day until all the days seem the same. Finally doing something crazy knowing crazy's not a good fit for a psychiatrist. I'm the one who's supposed to dispense good solid advice, not snark sergeant-like "Your mother wears Army boots and needs them to kick your thick ass. Drop and give me ten ... books of psychiatry so I can beat myself in the head for ever getting in this profession."

I was treating middle-aged boring folks, week after week with the same age-old problem - their Mummy and Daddy. Their progress was slower than a terrapin with a bunion on a jaunt to the local liquor store. I snapped. I contacted a PR firm and sarcastically told them to do a broad based ad campaign stating "I treat circus clowns." I repainted my office in Barnum & Bailey red and gold, dangling gold tassels from the blind pulls.

I was putting the finishing touches on the gold trim when my phone rang and a man identifying himself as "Bat Segundo." He wanted an appointment immediately. I was still splashing around in the paint but I told him to come on over and bring his hurdy gurdy. I wasn't prepared for what I saw when Bat greeted me at my office door. He was a clown. A real clown, greasepaint and all, wearing a comical grey bat costume with flippity wings sewn onto his back. I gestured for him to sit, if he could, in a drop cloth covered chair. I sat down behind my desk. "So, where's Bat Primero?" I asked sarcastically.

"Mi padre? Es El Problemo." Bat spoke with a thick Hispanic accent.

I nodded. Same old shit, just a different clown.

"Mi padre owns our circus de familia. I love circus. I love the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd but lately I do not have the will of wisp for eet. I want to change promenade and mi padre say 'no.'"

"Promenade?" I asked lost.

"Opener weeth todos los animales. I want to put in galleycat."

I sighed and cut to the chase, mainly because I had left the lid off the enamel. "Look, you can't 'put in galleycat'. You can't herd alley cats or make them walk in a line. Pick a trainable domestic animal and I'm sure your Daddy will reconsider." We talked - sort of - and came up with promenading poodles. I snagged the color charts off my credenza that I had been using. I suggested colors in vegetable dyes to make the dogs a little more circusy. Bat chose lavender for the poodles' torsos, blue for their ears and orange for their head and tail poms. Then he was gone. And then there was circus-land word of mouth. Now any given day, you can find a variety of clowns in my honking waiting room. They are waiting their turn to speak to me, The Clown Psychiatrist.

Miss Snark is glad her mental health does not need professional attention.
Killer Yapp is rethinking his plan to run away and join the circus.

Scoring to come.

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