White Lies in Clown Shoes

Written in response to: Write a story about a white lie which spirals out of control.... view prompt


Fiction Funny

If I only had three words of advice they would be... tell the truth ...

If I had three more to add... all the time.

I landed a temp job at Free Speech TV. Free Speech TV is an independent, 24-hour television network and digital news source with progressive news, stories and perspectives. It's publicly supported by its viewers and by philanthropic foundations.

I was thrilled to be working for them because FSTV delivers media the way it should be, without government or corporate influence. That and the fact that it was only a ten minute commute from my townhouse.

I've been working as a broadcast technician for 6 years now. I'm responsible for setting up, installing, and monitoring equipment during radio and television programs. I ensure sound comes through at a high quality while operating a transmitter to broadcast the radio or television programs. 

I've worked at two radio stations and this would be the first television station. I'm a fast learner and I work hard. I was confident I could go from being a temp to locking down the position permanently.

Orientation completed; I was to start at nine am sharp Thursday morning for my first day of work.

I waited in conference room C-9 with the other temps. After fifteen minutes a petite, tanned, woman with a pixie cut, wearing a pair of Optiscan smart glasses entered the room. She said good morning, then she referred to her list and called my name.

"Hi, I'm Yoshi. You'll be shadowing me the next three days," she said.

"Hi, I'm Jonathan. Ok, cool," I replied.

I followed Yoshi as she gave me a tour of FSTV showing me the main set where the anchors reported the news stories, the breakroom, bathrooms, admin hall and finally my office.

She told me to open all my work systems and then head over to HR to get my I.D. badge and then she'd be back to collect me.

At HR badges are issued on the spot so I took my picture and waited for my badge to be generated.

"Jonathan Reid? " A tall lanky guy with a buzz cut called out.

Hand raised I said, "Oh, that's me."

"Whoaaaa Jonathan from Vanessa's bonfire on the beach last year," he says

"Ah yeah that's me," I reply.

"Gregg man," he says and taps his chest. "Remember? I was playing drums for Corrupt Pumpkins."

"Yeah, yeah"...of course I remember you," I answered a little too loudly. "How you been?" I asked. I had no idea at all who this guy was.

Vanessa and I weren't doing too well the night of her bonfire. So my focus was off. We were falling apart. At the time it felt like hell. But later I realized sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

Vanessa wanted cats. I didn't. After numerous slammed doors, daily arguments, and blatant disregard for each others feelings; the relationship finally crumbled to dust.

Last I heard she was in a new relationship with a guy from Palomino, who had a pet panther.

I found Heather my true soul mate. She doesn't like cats either.

The band the guy mentioned was mediocre at best. Nothing stood out about them to make me remember him.

I shouldn't have lied; but I didn't want to come off as some unfriendly schmuck.

"Pretty good," Gregg says. "Can't complain. So you work here now. How cool is that?"

"Yeah really cool," I respond.

Gregg gave me my badge on a lanyard, then, he asks me to sign that I had received it. He shook my hand and welcomed me to FSTV.

The next week I learned the ropes and met most of my co-workers. The vibe was friendly and positive and felt like this job was a good fit.

One day in the break room for lunch; I ran into Gregg from HR. "Hey Jonathan what's up?" he asked.

"Hey Gregg not too much," I replied.

"How's everything going? You liking it here?" he asked.

" Pretty good. Yeah, I am actually," I told him.

"That's good, that's good. So what do you do for fun after work?" Gregg inquired.

"Hmm, depends; I go workout sometimes, I might take a swim, visit my family, catch a good matinee, if none of that; I just go home and crash," I reply.

"OK, I hear ya. Well, maybe we can hang out sometimes after work," he proposes.

"OK. Sure. We could hang out sometime," I lie.

Over the next couple of months, Gregg approached me about getting together after work. Two times I legitimately had prior plans, but mostly I begged off with one or another white lie.

'My phone was dead. I didn't get your text, sorry have to go do something for my mom, I'm coming down with something.'

He did his best to be cool, but, I could tell he was disappointed.

I decided that the next time he asked to hang out I'd go. No biggie, I could hang out for an hour or two.

I had had a very productive and busy week. I was glad it Friday. Yes sir, TGIF. I was ready to clock out and enjoy a relaxing weekend. I was throwing my work stuff in the car when Gregg caught up to me in the parking lot.

"Heyyyy Jonathan"

"Hey Gregg"

"Made it to the end of another week."

"Yeahhhh right??"

"So what are your plans for later on? I was thinking we could hang out," Gregg suggest.

Jeez Louise I thought. Maaan I just wanted to grab some fish tacos and a Green Goddess smoothie from Balto's; get home and veg out in front of season 2 of 'Fringe' on Hulu.

"Sure, sure we could hang out," I heard my self say.

"Yo cooool," Gregg smiled and offered me a fist bump. "Wanna meet up at Fairlanes

say around eight?"

"Ok, ok, You talking about the Fairlanes on Russet St ?" I ask.

"Yeah man that one," he says. "See you later then."

"Alright Gregg see you later."

On the ride home; I pep talked myself. Just a couple of hours. No biggie, just go and get it over with once and for all. I would just have to get my food earlier and watch my shows later that's all.

After I ate my dinner. I took a shower and got dressed. I wasn't too sure what to wear since I had no idea what we would be doing. I ended up putting on some jeans, a black and red Hollister t-shirt and my red and black Addidas.

When I pulled up to Fairlanes I did a double take. Standing by the pavilion was Gregg dressed like a clown. Rainbow colored puffy afro, a striped and polka dot clown suit with pom-poms down the middle, oversized hard shell, bubble toe, green shoes, a painted white face with exaggerated eyes and smile, and a big red nose.

There were six or seven other clowns, three dwarfs and a lady with a full beard.

"Hey guys he's here," Gregg yells, and the whole group comes over to my car.

"Hey Jonathan, glad to see you. Hey guys say hello to Jonathan."

Confused, I looked from Gregg, to the weird group crowded around my car, then back at Gregg stunned and curious. I said my hi's and hello's to everyone.

"Patty hand me my bag will ya," Gregg asked.

Patty, one of the dwarfs, hands Gregg a yellow nylon bag.

"Here you go buddy," Gregg gives me the bag.

I raised my eyebrows and said, "What?"

"Well, look inside," he says.

Opening the bag I look inside and see it's a clown outfit similar to the one Gregg was wearing; only the puffy afro was green and the shoes were orange.

I gave a half laugh, half snort and said, "Who is this for?"

"For you of course Jonathan," Gregg responds with his crazy clown smile.

"For me? For what?" I asked bemused.

"To suit up and come with. We're booked for a summer party that starts in 45 minutes," Gregg tells me.

"You're kidding, right?" I say disbelievingly.

"No. Me and my friends get together every third Friday and do a free party for people who have registered on Clowns R Us.

I had the times mixed up. I thought we had a four o'clock gig today when I asked you to hang out, but, that was last month. Today it's at nine p.m. Somebody is having a circus themed BBQ over at Lancaster Lawns." My blank look prompts him to continue explaining. "I didn't want to cancel on you buddy so I just grabbed a suit for you so that we can still hang out," he chimed.

"Uhh, uhmmm, but I don't know how to be a clown," I declare.

"Oh, that's okay, there's nothing to it. Just do what we do and you'll be fine," Gregg assures.

"Come on we gotta get a move on. Patty here will put your face on once you get dressed." Gregg says cheerfully.

I don't believe this. I'm was at some strangers house dressed as a clown with a big red nose. A big circus tent with bright stage lights was set up in the back yard. A man with a handlebar mustache is dressed as a circus ringmaster. Peanut shells litter the ground. Popcorn and cotton candy scents mingle in the air. Kids passing by are alternately laughing or crying at the sight of me. Adults are slapping me on the back saying do a couple of magic tricks why don't ya.

I look to my right and see Gregg scrunched up in a kids Little Tykes toy car chasing a group of screaming kids.

I am just standing like a mute fool watching all the activity and noise swirl around me. How did I get talked into this?

I start looking for a place to hide when a tall blonde in a blue sundress and sandals, waves me over.

"Hey, can you take a picture with Tyson. He loves clowns," she says.

"No, I don't. Clowns are stupid; and anyways this clown is fat," a snaggle tooth boy, wearing a stained Sponge Bob shirt, with a serious cowlick, snarks.

"Tyson don't say that. That's not nice. What have we talked about when you say mean things about someone's body?" the lady chides.

"Bashing someone for their body type is not OK." Tyson says in a slow whine.

I couldn't believe the missing teeth, big gummed, brat called me fat. Sure, I had stopped going to the gym about a month ago; and gained back 10 of the 20 lbs I lost. But I was far from plus size. Crap I had to cut out New York cheesecake and cherry danishes again.

I excused myself and went looking for Gregg. On my way I slipped on a patch of wet grass. I tried to break my fall by reaching for a nearby table, but, I missed and down I went. I heard something snap then I felt pain. I landed hard on my left arm. I knew it was broken. Everyone was laughing and clapping saying do it again, do it again.

Gregg ran over to me. He asked me if I was ok. When he realised I was hurt he said sorry, but, quickly asked if I wouldn't mind signing a liability waiver form to ensure that I wouldn't sue Clowns R Us.

I couldn't believe the nerve of this guy.

Three hours, and a trip to the ER later. I made it home. My arm was in a cast and I had to wear it in a sling for the next 6 weeks. Heather brought me home from the hospital and made me comfortable on my couch; propping my arm on a pillow. I replayed the night's events that had happened to me. I blew and shook my head. Unbelievable, just unfreaking-believable.

If I only had three words of advice they would be... tell the truth ...

If I had three more to add... all the time.

August 16, 2021 12:57

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