As you well know I’ve always been sympathetic to the lesser arts. Over the years I’ve helped provide employment for musicians, sculptors and even novelists! Indeed if I can find one, I’ve even been known to introduce Mime Artists into the soirees that I run. Given the audiences I work with, my favourite piece is ‘Mime Artist frantically trying to attract the attention of a gossiping audience.’
But even I, famously liberal and happy to work with anybody in the cause of us all getting three square meals a day, have to draw the line somewhere, and in my case it’s clowns.
Now people say that some things are sanctified because of a long history within our culture. I merely note this argument finds scant support from the judiciary when murderers and arsonists appear before them.
As it happens, within the bounds of Port Naain, clowns do not have a long history. Indeed they appeared only within my life time. Yes I know that other, lesser cities had them but I know places where they paint themselves blue, eat raw meat and sell their wives at public auction. Are we to import these traditions into our city as well?
The first clown in Port Naain was Chucky Tiggle. Chucky was best described as a ne’er to well. No matter what you wanted doing, Chucky would make a total mess of it. Initially he had been a porter on Stonecutter’s wharf. After the first month nobody would hire him, unless they actually wanted their luggage to end up in the river. Even then, if that was the desired outcome he couldn’t even reliably achieve that.
After a comparatively short time, Chucky had to accept he was unemployable. Unless he wanted to starve in a garret, (And he hadn’t got the literary qualities necessary to do even this convincingly) he would have to turn to crime. Even here he had problems. No organisation, no matter how criminal, would let him join. Even those who assess property within the city for municipal taxation refused to let him join their felonious ranks.
Forced back on his own resources, Chucky had to start at the bottom. He was reasonably well built, owned a club and had inherited a set of brass knuckles from a distant aunt, so he decided to try common street robbery. Now at this point I don’t want you to think that Chucky was stupid. I have held conversations with him; he’s actually a person of higher than average intelligence. With a little more education he could have become a philosopher or an economist where his inability to ever get the right answer would have gone unnoticed for years.
In his quiet way Chucky decided he needed a disguise. Now rather than wrapping a scarf round his face, or wearing a hood (both of which can be lost in a struggle, thus revealing the wearers identity), he had the not unreasonable idea of wearing ridiculous amounts of make-up. Ask yourself, how likely is it that one of his victims would just happen to be equipped with a hot towel and a mixture of bees’ wax dissolved in weak spirit?
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