Recently I read somewhere that Neil Simon started his plays/stories by putting two people together who were diametrically opposed to one another, Oscar and Felix from The Odd Couple being the one example I remember off the top of my head.
So when I stumbled across this from my old blog, it seemed to fit somewhat into Mr. Simon’s MO. From June 9, 2004:
Written in workshop today:
Prompt: Write about a clown at a funeral.
I have waited for this moment for more years than I should be able to count. People will think I’m deranged, but I am in my right mind, and for once my mind is all that counts.
This person was evil. To me. Maybe he changed after he shredded my life and torched my soul. Maybe he grew to be a caring human being with a wife and family who will sit on the front pew, vacant-eyed and grieving, pierced to the heart. Maybe he didn’t. It doesn’t matter.
Today is my turn.
I rented the costume from Party Warehouse–white and baggy, tight at elastic wrists and ankles and at the waist and with elastic at the neckline also, littered all over with large red circles. The people were very helpful there, thinking I was doing a child’s birthday party or the like.
Then I borrowed a book on the make-up from the library. I have had only two days to practice putting it on, but I took off work for this ocassion and I have twelve sessions under my belt.
I am a perfect clown. The only think I can’t do is tie balloons into figures of animals. I should have learned. I could have made a sword or a rifle for this ocassion. Too bad I waited too long to think of that detail.
I’ve even practiced walking in these shoes. They are at least twice the size of my feet, and as bright a red as you can imagine.
Red is my theme. Red for blood. Red for anger. My nose is red. Most of the face paint is red. And the hair. My, the hair. No hat–that would tame it. It’s a flaming ball of frizzy red. Not orange, no carrot top. Red, red, red.
No one will miss seeing me today. They still won’t know exactly who I am, but I will not blend into the crowd this time, or just go away without “making a fuss.”
I wish they rehearsed for funerals. I think I have the timing down, but I’m not sure. I did arrive in a black suit and I asked a young man to get me a program. Then I sneaked back here to the janitorial closet and did my change routine. Good thing I knew this church like the back of my hand.
Ironic that I learned all the hidden places where we’d be undisturbed from the recently deceased hypocrite and liar.
Before this funeral is over, I will have had my say. He will not enter into his rest before I gain mine.