Saturday, June 7, 2014

Birthday Party!

Jarod Baker and his older brothers Aaron and Seth were technically orphans.  They had been living with their Grandma Baker and their Uncle Bill for as long as any of them could remember.  The boy's parents had died in the only fatal train accident to occur in Indiana for over 65 years.  The mystery dinner theater train the young couple had booked to celebrate their third anniversary had the misfortune of gliding over a broken sensor.  If the engineer had done his job, he would have recognized that the track wasn't making contact with the network.  If the sensor had worked, the engineer would not have had to do his job.  When the thirty car coal and auto parts line hit the antique mystery rail car and engine from behind, the entire passenger car was lifted first onto the engineer car of the oncoming train, and then both the antique engine and passenger car of the mystery dinner train tumbled down a steep embankment and into a shallow river.  The thirty car train was unable to stop for another quarter mile.

When Grandma Baker, Uncle Bill, and Bill's wife Mary had identified her son's body at the morgue there was some confusion, he had been the "murder victim" on the mystery train.  The sweet and loving young father looked as though he was sleeping peacefully but for a large kitchen knife sticking out of his chest and watery redness fanning out over his white dress shirt.  Naturally, Grandma Baker thought he'd been stabbed.

"You couldn't even take the fucking knife out of his chest?  What kind of hospital is this?"  Uncle Bill had been pulled from a party for the macabre task of helping to identify his young brother.

"Well, sir, it's not a hospital.  This is a morgue.  I do apologize though, we didn't expect you so soon"  Replied the white coated attendant, Grandma Baker gasped as he snapped the knife from the pins holding it to the shirt.  "We haven't done the autopsy, but we believe he passed on due to internal hemorrhaging.  I'm very sorry for your loss" 

The family lived comfortably with the help of a large settlement from Grant Mystery Train Tours and the Elkline Express.

Maybe it was because they had plenty of money, and maybe it was because the boys were orphans, Grandma Baker had a tendency to plan extravagant birthday parties for her young charges.  She had booked Slappy the Clown for Jarod's 9th birthday party three months in advance.  Slappy was a full service party clown.  His well reviewed performances featured balloon sculpture, a stand up routine, and a real live miniature pony called Starbright.  Slappy would begin each show riding in on the pony and flinging glitter onto the children while calliope music and sirens blared.  After a little haywire capering through the yard, the pony would stop abruptly, flinging the clown into a forward roll across the lawn just in time for a cacophony of loud farting noises and slide whistles.  Kids couldn't get enough of it.

Most adults loved the show too, it was a high energy performance with a little something for everyone.  Slappy was talented in the art of weaving threads of mature comedy through his program in ways that adults could appreciate and that children wouldn't notice.

"You look like a God damned hobo."  Slappy hadn't heard Uncle Bill's first outburst, or had ignored it so professionally that nobody could have suspected otherwise.  The fierce whisper didn't go entirely unnoticed, however, it had brought a few nervous titters from nearby kids.  Slappy was engaged in pulling multi colored ribbon from his closed hand, offering a little girl in the front row a handkerchief bouquet that turned into a rainbow of flapping bird wings the moment her little hand closed around the stems.

It was harder to miss Uncle Bill's next offering, he shouted it over the cheering crowd.  "A God damn hobo!  You gave that kid some birds?  Some fucking birds?  I'm gonna call the health inspector!  Someone call the fucking health inspector!"  Uncle Bill laughed hoarsely.

Slappy made a nearly imperceptible clicking sound and the well trained Starbright stuck a long pink and blue tongue out in Uncle Bill's direction.  Everyone but Uncle Bill laughed.

"Oh that's how it's gonna be, you have your horse fight your battles", Uncle Bill stood up now and staggered a few steps forward, raising his fists menacingly.  "C'mere my little pony, I got something for you"

Uncle Bill was a slight man but he had been the state wrestling champ in his weight class his sophomore, junior, and senior year.  His own two sons lived in Ontario with his ex wife but that didn't stop Uncle Bill from drunkenly trying to pass his athletic knowledge to his nephews in lieu of his absentee progeny.  Jarod and his older brothers had endured plenty of Uncle Bill's spontaneous center of gravity lessons.  While his nephews were no worse for the wear, these thin bookish boys had long outgrown the pleasure of being knocked to the ground.

Some of the more aware parents ushered their complaining children inside as Grandma Baker struggled to her feet.  "Bill honey, let the kids watch their program"

"Fuck you too mom, I know you talk to Mary and my boys, so don't start your shit with me, this fucking clown is going to the big show tonight!"

The more Uncle Bill spoke, the less slurred his words became.  Jarod, Aaron, and Seth recognized the sobering sense of purpose in their uncle.  They had all learned that his drunken rants should not be taken lightly.

"And this fucking clown", Uncle Bill spat the word clown out with a sneer, "This fucking clown and his little horse, I bet you bang that horse, tell the truth, you bang that fucking horse!"  All of the children but for his nephews and a few stragglers by the cake table had been ushered inside the house.  Slappy stood in stunned and expressionless silence, the rainbow clown watched the impending arrival of Uncle Bill with a balloon in one hand and a top hat in the other.

The boys looked at their uncle imploringly but not one of them dared attempt to impede his progress through the empty folding lawn chairs.  The wiry man made his way through the rows of chairs as though he was wading through three feet of water, knocking them aside with his wrists and muscled forearms and raising his knees high.

Nobody could have predicted what the clown said next.  "What was your wife's name?  Mary?"  Slappy whispered loudly enough only for the few nearby to hear, "I fucked a Mary once while her kids waited in the car, she said high school steroids ruined her husband's dick, she said mine was like a long hard velvet rope after his limp noodle"

Uncle Bill grunted and lunged the last few feet, Slappy deftly stepped aside and the small muscled drunk sprawled across the trick table, sending balloons and ribbons flying.  Grandma Baker and her orphaned grandsons gasped. 

"Fucking clown trick, clown tricks" muttered Uncle Bill as he got to his feet, he bounced from one heel to the other with his elbows turned towards his ribs and his hands spread out.  The boys recognized this as the knock em' down stance, it was often the only warning they got before being bumped to the ground or into a wall or cupboard by their playful drunk uncle.

Slappy kicked Uncle Bill in the nuts with an over sized shoe, the end of which crumpled on impact.  Uncle Bill howled in agony as he hit the ground, sending a white rabbit skittering from a box beneath the table.  The sad drunk followed up his howl with a keening wail as he lay there gripping his testicles and sobbing, the boys turned away embarrassed.  Grandma Baker headed inside to send the few remaining guests home.

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