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The clown lay in a pile of color on top of the sheets; when Rae came in to get her things he was already drawing flies.
She went to the wardrobe for her underwear, blinking her eyes to try and shut out the image of the dead entertainer. Her mind couldn’t assimilate what she had just seen.
When she was dressed and powdered and perfumed she went to the nightstand, picked up the bottle of sleeping pills, looked down, saw the half-empty bottle of cheap hooch spilling out onto the rug, decided that she should probably let that lay, and then dialed the police.
She was greeted by a tired-sounding voice at the other end.
“Hello, Police? Yes, this is rae Dawn Mertz of 708 North River Drive. I--well, you’re not going to believe this, but there’s a dead clown in my bed!”
“Lady, this your idea of some kind of sick joke?”
“Yes--I mean, NO, this is no joke. I just came home from getting my nails done, and what’s the first thing I should see as I walk in the bedroom but a dead clown laying here. Oh, yes, he’s a clown alright: he has the little rubber nose and everything. No, I don’t know how he could have got here. No, I have no idea who he is or why he decided to commit suicide--”
“Lady,” said the voice at the other end, “you’ve heard of the tears of a clown, right?”
“No--I mean, yes, I’m sure he must have had a very good reason for wanting to end it all. I just don’t know why he chose to do it here. Yes, I really am telling you the honest truth. No I don’t have any mental problems…well, what sort of a question is that? Yes, I’ll wait for a detective to come by. Oh, and do you think you could hurry? My Randy should be home in a couple of hours, and I’m going to have a hard time trying to explain this to him.”
And with that she hung up the phone, saying to herself, “I wish someone would explain it to me.”
It was a few minutes before a car pulled up in front and there was a knock at the door.
She went to let the detective in, noting that the smell was getting worse and worse in the bedroom with every passing minute, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the detective was a jovial fat man in a tan raincoat with an old fedora cap and a moustache.
She thought he looked, for the world, like the detective in the movie 'The Exorcist'.
“Good evening Mrs. Mertz. I understand you called about a dead clown in your bed?”
“Yes, Detective, if you’ll follow me he’s right this way.”
The detective (whose name was Fogerty), stood there a minute as if completely bewildered and said, “Really? A dead clown? You mean you weren’t just making it all up?”
To which Rae Dawn replied, “Oh no sir, I would never do something like that. Why, see for yourself, he’s right this way.”
Detective Fogerty only had to follow his nose to the back bedroom, and, sure enough, he was not disappointed by what he found there. It was indeed a dead clown. Flies were dotting to and fro across the grease painted eyes, and the hands were twisted in rigor mortis. Fogerty took out his magnifying glass and began making minute inspections.
“Well?” Rae Dawn said, her arms crossed across her chest impatiently.
“Well what?” replied Fogerty, still bent over the clown, examining his costume with twitchy, appalled fingers.
“Well, what is it all about Detective? I mean, what is it he’s doing here?”
Fogerty sighed and got up. His knees popped like twin pistons, and he said, “Quite frankly, Mrs. Mertz I couldn’t tell you what he’s doing here, how he got in, or why he decided to pick your bedroom, out of all the possible places in this stinking hive of a city, to do himself in. I can tell you one thing, though.”
“A leopard never changes his spots.”
“What do you mean?
Fogerty pointed a fat finger at the gloved hand where it rested on the bed. The thumb and middle finger were extended, and the rest of the fingers curled back, until the hand was frozen in a rude gesture.
“I do believe he’s flipping you The Bird, Mrs. Mertz.”
“Well”, she said, “ I guess I shouldn’t take it personal.”
Just then, the ambulance pulled up. Mrs. Mertz let them in, and they carried the body out on a stretcher. Later, she discussed it all with Randy, which was necessary because the smell of death lingered strongly in their bedroom. He didn’t have much in the way of possible explanations, but was just happy that no damn midgets had decided to drop over and commit suicide instead.
“You can’t trust the little bastards Rae. They’ll kick you in the balls when they think you aren’t looking.”
“Yes, but would they die flipping the world The Bird?”
Randy chewed his gum and considered this a moment.
“Most likely they’d die with their backsides bare, so the world could kiss their--”
Just then the teakettle started whistling, and it was time to watch their favorite shows. Rae couldn’t get her mind off of the events of the day though, and huffed and puffed over her tea.
“Of all the nerve…” she kept repeating to herself, sipping loudly and trying to lose herself in 'Wheel of Fortune'. “Of all the nerve…imagine, dying in someone else’s bed and then having the baldfaced audacity to flip them The Bird right before you croak. I tell you, I don’t know what this world is coming to.”
“It’s going to the dogs,” Randy agreed, dipping his potato chip into an immense glob of sour cream and scarfing it down.
“Dogs shoot!” said Rae, huffing a bit. “It’s obviously going to the clowns.”
The next dead body they found in their bed did, indeed, belong to a suicidal midget. Randy turned out to be right after all; those midgets died with their pants down.
It seemed the proper way.