Monday, August 13, 2007

Don't Bother, They're Here

We went to The Domain Saturday night.

The Domain is a new, "upscale" shopping area, full of stores with employees who are dressed in black and have their own business cards.

In addition to having dozens of stores selling thousands of things that I both don't want and can't afford, they also have a California Pizza Kitchen and a Nestle Toll House cookie store. Right next to each other.

So I go to The Domain frequently, edging into the snoot to eat pizza and cookies, then sneaking out the back.

Saturday night, we were headed toward the cookie store when we heard a din. We were walking past the jewelry store called Oh No You Can't Afford That, and the security guard looked up at us and said, grimly: "Clowns."

Oh, no.

I love clowns. But just as dangerous felons need to be locked up inside prisons for the benefit of society, so do clowns need to be contained inside circuses. I don't need a man with size twenty-four shoes and a red rubber nose to come up to me in a shopping center and spend three minutes pantomiming the making of an elaborate sandwich.

When the security guard mentioned clowns, and I heard the ooga-ooga of a horn in the distance, my face fell. "Clown blight," I said. "It's the comedy equivalent of hydrilla. This shopping center is ruined unless they can import grass carp."

"What?" Gloria asked.

"Never mind," I said, walking steadfastly toward the cookie store, even as the gaiety grew louder. "You know, they can't live outside of captivity."

"Who can't?" Gloria asked.

"Clowns," I said. "Three days, maybe a week, tops. They don't know how to gather water, so when their squirting flower runs dry, they're finished."

"I've never heard that," Gloria said. We had reached the cookie store, and the main clown activity was happening just outside.

"At least a dozen clowns out there,"I said, watching the mob from inside the store. "We've only got these glass walls protecting us. What if they break in and try to force us into one of their tiny cars?"

They wandered off a few minutes later, after hearing an air horn in the distance. We finished our cookies and walked back toward the car.

"That was very strange," I said, as we drove through the parking lot.

"It was," Gloria said. "That was a lot of clowns."

We turned the corner and pulled up to the stop sign before we could get on the access road.

"Look at that," I said, pointing to the right of the car. And there, in the near distance, was a long line of clowns, waiting to board--a bus.

The clown bus.

Be sure to check your seat before sitting down.

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