January 23, 2003

The Man in the Clown Suit: Part 1

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2003

The man in the clown suit lost another bet this weekend, his favorite team not covering the agreed upon spread with the bookie down at Jimmy’s Bar and Grill near the old Hell’s Kitchen, now called by it’s yuppi-fied nomenclature: Clinton Hill.

“Why did they name that after Bill Clinton?” she seriously asked me, her long multicolored Korean mafia run salon nails sparkling against the florescent lights in the subway station, annoying me on a chilly Tuesday morning.

“Fuck off,” I scolded her, but the impatient look from my eyes spoke louder than my words, “You are as dumb as your old man. Who bets on the Jets in Oakland?!?”

I teased the now, passed out party clown, who sits slumped up on the bench on the platform. He once was a respectable man in many circles, domestic and in Canada. He was applauded when he entered bar mitzvahs and retirement parties in Miami Beach, he was showered with compliments and happy goofy looks from snot nosed kids at pool parties in Little Neck, yes, he was the clown among retards in our great pre 9.11 society, but these days, who really wants to see a forever sweating, overweight, prescription stealing, narcoleptic necrophiliac of a lush tell stupid knock-knock jokes and make unidentifiable animal balloons, when he’s not hitting the sauce or whoever is nearby, bi-hourly.

I felt bad for his daughter. She seemed normal. But I don’t know too many abandoned children of alcoholic clowns to make a solid guesstimate of why she does what she does. I mean, I know a lot of people frown upon kidney thieves, but hey, if it makes you happy, and if you feel it is your calling in life, then so be it. I won’t interject. Besides, it’s nice to see people with passion in this murky world. And no one was more passionate about meeting horny single guys in bars in seedy hotels and stealing their organs. She enjoyed it, she got off on it, and she also wrote every one of her experiences in three nicely bound volumes entitled: “Did You Wake Up in a Tub of Ice with a Kidney Missing? Confessions and Memoirs of an Organ Thief.”

She called me up to ask me to help her edit all of her random stories of running all over the world stealing organs and then blowing her cash on spending binges in Paris and Milan, and on a bad opium deal gone worse in Myanmar. They seemed oddly familiar but I owed her father a favor. Besides, I figured I’d get on her good side. You never know if I'll need a kidney or liver or third eye on short notice.

But first things first, we need to sober up her father and get the $4000 in cash to his bookie. And that’s why we stood on the icy cold platform waiting for the subway to take us to the clown’s small rat infested place where he usually passed out after several fruity cocktails and a handful of sleeping pills, that he would swipe from the medicine cabinets of his suburban clients. He loved to steal little soaps to, which he would feed to the dogs who lived upstairs from him. The little annoying pugs liked soap.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.

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