In Case of Emergency: Break Down.

Forgot I had removed this from the website. So, on the subject of clowns…


In Case

Case: an instance of a particular situation; a container designed to hold or protect something.

The coffin was elaborate, despite his lack of funds, and the small church full, despite his repeated requests not to, a). ever be forced onto consecrated ground ever again, or, b). be buried or burnt in front of a shit-load of people.

But his family did like a joke.

So it was that she took to the podium, embarrassed, miffed, but as instructed — albeit not by a river, or in a glade, or on a roundabout, as he had wanted.

Fuckers, she thought, staring into the sea of suits — they hadn’t even bothered to follow his fucking instructions, either. Surely, shaking her head, the dress code had been clear? Surely dressing as clowns hadn’t really been too much to ask, had it?, glancing down at her own ruff and oversized shoes that honked when she walked.

He had loved clowns.

Especially when crying; the sad clown. A classic case of dynamics in action, some visual form of cognitive dissonance. A dichotomy. Plus, she chuckled quietly, he had always had a thing for smeared make-up.


Looking up she recoiled slightly, having momentarily forgotten the hundred or so eyes all intent upon her.

Fuck you, she screamed. Internally. Thankfully.

Not fair.

Then a cough from somewhere in the audience — shit — was that intentional? Was she actually being harangued?

Fucking hell.


She opened her mouth. Then closed it. Then tried again, and the words came; slowly, anxiously. Hesitantly. And people started to cry.

For fuck’s sake.

Had they no dignity?, fighting back the tears that were far more infectious than she had anticipated.

No, no, no.

Fuck them, she steeled herself, imagining the sea of what she now considered assclowns naked instead.

He would have liked that.

“Well,” she continued, smiling against the pain — god, she wished this was just karaoke, like the good old days — “you can tell” — I hate you — “by the way” — I can’t believe you’re making me do this — “I use my walk…,” she paused, looking up expectantly; nothing. No reaction.


“I’M A WOMAN’S MAN!,” she screamed, “NO TIME TO TALK!”

A child replied in kind, its lungs a match for hers; but it wasn’t the response she needed.

“MUSIC LOUD,” tears now flowing freely, “AND WOMEN… WOMEN WARM!”


Then a chuckle from his nephew.

Then another from his brother.

And she knew it was going to be okay.


© JR Bryden, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from JR Bryden is strictly prohibited.

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