Just Another Day at the Market*
Carrying two roosters and a baby, a circus clown tripped as he ran into the grocery store. It was always like that for him. Even when he tried to blend in he attracted attention, his big shoes causing the problem this time. Both animals went flying, squawking and running down aisles, one crashing into stacked cans while the other terrified a little girl holding a cookie. It was dessert he was after. He knew a good thing when he saw it.
At least the clown held onto the baby, as customers helped him up from the linoleum floor and dusted off his scraped knee, visible through the new hole in his pants. But now, what about the roosters?
An employee with a label on his shirt saying “Bill Evans, Manager,” rushed over, looking exasperated and as if he was going to cry.
“What the hell…” he said, as he pointed directly at the clown.
Bosco ignored him, which was easy to do in the chaos he’d created. The small child, no longer with a cookie in her hand, was crying and reaching for mama to hold her. The larger rooster appeared stunned for a minute, cans toppled on top of him, but he picked himself up quickly as two boys began chasing both birds around the store.
Bosco just came in for bread. He took the rooster everywhere with him since they were part of his act, but he was supposed to be watching his sister’s baby, who was sobbing now, too. And wet. The baby was wet. And he hadn’t brought a diaper.
What now? Still standing, he started to mutter, as customers gawked. Some laughed, some looked angry, and Bosco also wanted to cry. Maybe he could quickly slip back out the front door, but he needed to catch those roosters. And the manager was saying something about damages. How did he find himself in these situations?
He caught sight of himself in the full-length mirror where the store sold jackets. His red nose was crooked and black make-up ran down his cheeks. His show started in less than an hour…
His thoughts were interrupted by a teenager poking him in the back.
“Here, Mister,” he said, as he handed him a squawking rooster. “I got him for you.” The rooster was still flapping its wings, feathers broken and disheveled, while the young man had clear scratches on his face. He looked happy though, like he’d done something helpful and important.
“Maybe you need a bag to put him in next time?” the boy said. Then he started to laugh, trying to pass the squirming animal back to Bosco.
*This story was a fifteen-minute writing exercise on using a “hook” to interest the reader, while being encouraged to be as crazy as possible…