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The Clown Who Stole Lady Chatterley’s Lover

  

The Clown Who Stole Lady Chatterley’s Lover ~ A Short Story entirely in dialogue by Allen Kopp

“That dog has got a mouth in its brassiere.”

“A mouse?”

“That dog has got a brassiere in its mouth.”

“I don’t see a brassiere.”

“I don’t see a dog.”

“There isn’t any dog.”

“Well, I have little specks that float over my eyeballs that sometimes look like dogs.”

“Maybe God is trying to tell you something by making you see dogs that aren’t there.”

“What are we all doing sitting here talking about dogs that aren’t there? Isn’t there something constructive we could be doing?”

“No.”

“You’re right. There is nothing. We’re all dead, but nobody has bothered to tell us yet.”

“Did I tell you I went and planned my own funeral the other day? I’m going to be fully embalmed and I’m going to be wearing my white tie and tails. I bought a stainless steel casket and a two-ton concrete vault. My mortal remains are going to be in the ground for a long time. The undertaker said you could open me up seventy-five years after I’ve died and I wouldn’t look one day older.”

“Yes, that’s what we all strive for. Looking good seventy-five years after we’re dead.”

“Who do you think will be seeing you after you’ve been dead that long?”

“You never know. Maybe they’ll put me in a traveling show and people will pay money to look at me because I look so darned good for somebody that’s been dead so long. ”

“Yeah, but you won’t get any of the money. You won’t even know that people are looking at you.”

“That’s right. I’ll be sitting at the throne of the Lord.”

“So, what possible satisfaction could you get from looking good seventy-five years after you’re dead?”

“It will mean that my body is well-preserved.”

“And why is that important?”

“Why don’t you just have them put you in a pickling solution and store you in a glass jar? That makes a lot more sense to me and would be a lot cheaper.”

“That sounds like a good idea. I’ll look into it.”

“Speaking of freaks in glass jars, I remember when I was a college student—”

“Wasn’t that during the time of the Crusades?”

“When I was a college student, they had a pair of Siamese twins in a glass jar in the science department at the university.”

“Were they dead?”

“Well, of course they were dead if they were in a glass jar!”

“Maybe they were really alive and people just thought they were dead.”

“Do you know how idiotic that sounds?”

“What university was that?”

“Anyway, they were famous and everybody who came to the university wanted to see them.”

“And what happened to them? Did they sign a movie contract?”

“No, somebody stole them. I mean somebody stole the glass jar with them in it. At first everybody thought it was a fraternity prank, but when the police investigated and searched all the fraternity houses, they never found any sign of the twins.”

“So, what’s the moral of your story?”

“I think they’re going to turn up someplace one of these days. Somebody has to have them right this minute. Any one of us might see them at any time.”

“If I see them, I’ll be sure and tell them you’re looking for them.”

“This place is not very lively, is it?”

“About as lively as King Tut’s tomb.”

“You know, I heard that King Tut was really a woman.”

“They cut off his dick and put it in a jar. That’s why they thought he was a woman.”

“He was the dickless wonder.”

“’Queen Tut’ just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.”

“Where’s that big nurse? That big Martha? I’m going to order a pitcher of martinis.”

“She won’t give you a pitcher of martinis. She’d be more likely to give you a sleeping pill to get you to shut up and leave her alone.”

“Or a smack up the side of the head.”

“Or an enema.”

“You know, I haven’t had an enema once since I’ve been here. With all the prunes they serve, who needs an enema?”

“I’ll bet I could get big Martha to unbutton a couple buttons on her uniform. Flash some tit.”

“They might not be real. There’s a rumor going around that she’s really a man.”

“The next time she comes in, I’ll ask her.”

“I heard there’s an ocean on one of the moons of Jupiter.”

“Does anybody give a shit?”

“I think I read it in the paper. Or maybe it came to me in a dream.”

“Hey, what’s on the menu tonight? I hope it’s not red beans and rice again.”

“Maybe it’s roasted Siamese twin. They’ll bring the twins in on a platter with an apple in each of their mouths.”

“Veal cutlets with apple sauce and pureed carrots.”

“They call it veal but I think it’s really dog food. They think that’s all we deserve and, besides that, it’s cheap. They could buy dog food by the case and put it in everything they serve up. Nobody here would ever know the difference. The next time you have something and you’re not quite sure what it is, it’s probably dog food.”

“Have you seen that new woman that just came in a couple days ago?  Her name is Florence Lawrence. She looks like Mrs. Bela Lugosi. She’s about six-and-a-half feet tall and she wears long black dresses that go all the way to the floor.”

“I heard she’s got elephantiasis. That’s why the long dresses.”

“What’s elephantiasis?”

“She’s got the legs of an elephant.”

“Does she have a trunk?”

“I’d like to see those elephant legs.”

“Well, you’ll either have to hide in her room and catch or naked or lift up her dress. She keeps those elephant legs hidden.”

“She could probably charge people admission to see her legs. She could make a fortune. Does she eat peanuts? Does she have hooves?”

“I’m sure you’ll have a chance to get well-acquainted with her before you’re dead. Maybe you can sit next to her at dinner and find out what it’s like to be part elephant.”

“At the zoo back where I come from, they had a whole bunch of elephants. I used to love to go see the elephants when I was young. They just stood there calmly chewing, pretending you weren’t there. They wore sandals on their feet.”

“Why did they wear sandals?”

“Because spectator pumps would have been impractical.”

“I guess they wore them because their feet hurt.”

“I don’t think I ever saw an elephant wearing shoes. Was that on one of the moons of Jupiter?”

“Well, it might have been. Or maybe I just dreamed it.”

“Hey, I saw on the bulletin board they’re going to have a clown magician come and entertain us on Saturday.”

“What do they think we are? A bunch of five-year-olds?”

“That clown was here once before. He’s got pink hair and a mean look about him. I saw him pick up a book and put it down inside his baggy pants when he thought nobody was looking.”

“Maybe that was part of his act.”

“What was the book?”

“I think it was Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It definitely was not The Book of Common Prayer.”  

“If you saw him take the book, why didn’t you report him?”

“It wasn’t any of my affair. He can take all the books if he wants to. I don’t care what people do, as long as they leave me alone.”

“Are you sure he was a man clown and not really a woman clown?”

“In this place I’m not sure of anything.”

“You never can tell about clowns. I think some of them that pretend to be male clowns are really women.”

“Why is that?”

“I guess because female clowns are not funny.”

“I think they’re funny.”

“Hey, what was Lot’s wife’s name? I need it for a crossword.”

“Who’s Lot?”

“You know. In the Bible. His wife turned back and looked after she was told not to and turned into a pillar of salt.”

“Her name was Lotta.”

“Try ‘Mildred’ and see if that fits.”

“Can you imagine being turned into a pillar of salt? Why would anybody want to do such a thing?”

“I’ll bet she had it coming.”

“Remember that woman with the monkeys?”

“What woman was that?”

“A woman had a bunch of monkeys that she brought in for us to hold and play with. There were about eight of them. The girl monkeys were wearing little dresses with ruffles and little shoes and they had ribbons in their hair. The boy monkeys had on little pants and shirts with suspenders. One of them was wearing a sailor suit and another had on a little cowboy outfit with boots and a little pistol and everything. It was just about the cutest thing you ever saw.”

“That must have been before I came here.”

“Did the monkey’s pistol have bullets in it?”

“I’ve been here a long time and I don’t remember anything like that.”

“Well, I’ve been here longer than anybody!”

“I wish I could have seen them monkeys.”

“It was better than any stupid clown doing lame card tricks and stealing books, however entertaining that might be. These little monkeys would sit on your lap and smile at you and let you pet them and smooch them. They would even go to sleep on your lap if you held them and rocked them.”

“You smooched a monkey?”

“Well, hell, yes, I smooched a monkey!  You would have smooched a monkey, too. They’re so sweet and well-behaved you can’t resist. They’re like little human children, only better because they don’t scream or talk and they don’t ask for things. They’ve got these little hands like little human hands with little fingers covered with fur. It’s just the damnedest thing you ever saw.”

“I wish I could have seen that.”

“I’ve never held a monkey before in my life. I’d be afraid it would bite me.”

“They don’t bite! They’re just like well-behaved little children, only better.”

“Maybe they’ll have the monkey woman come back sometime.”

“Believe me, it’s better than any stupid clown.”

“I hate clowns. I think I’m just going to stay in my room on Saturday and not come out.”

“They won’t let you stay in your room. You’re supposed to be social.”

“I’ll tell them I’ve got a stomach ache.”

“I don’t hate clowns, but I don’t like them very much.”

“Well, the clown act will be some fun. We can heckle him and we can keep an eye on him and see if he steals anything.”

“At least a clown is something different. Maybe he’ll liven things up around here. But we’ll definitely try to get that monkey woman back.”

“Anybody know what’s on the menu for dinner?”

“I told you. Red beans and rice.”

“No, red beans and rice was last night. Tonight it’s veal cutlets with apple sauce and pureed carrots.”

“Makes me want to vomit just thinking about it.”

“The veal is suspiciously like dog food.”

“Yeah, made out of dead dogs.”

“Maybe we can go out later for a hamburger and a beer.”

“I’d like some chop suey.”

“Do you expect to just rise up out of that wheelchair and waltz out the door and do whatever you want as if you wouldn’t have twenty doctors and nurses on your tail?”

“You think I can’t get up if I want to?”

“I don’t know. Can you?”

“One day I’m going to surprise everybody. I’m going to get out of this chair and walk out of this place for good and never come back. I’m going to find me a woman and get married, a young one this time so she can have my children.”

“Who would marry you?”

“Maybe that monkey woman is available. You could marry her, since you like her monkeys so much.”

“She’s already got a husband. She’s married to a monkey man.”

“How do you know that?”

“If you married Florence Lawrence, you’d be famous.”

“Why would I be famous?”

“You’d be married to a woman who is part elephant. People all over the world would want to know what that’s like. And besides that, you’d get to see those elephant legs and you’d get to see her eat peanuts and perform elephant tricks.”

“Do you know how idiotic that sounds?”

“There’s several women here you could marry.”

“Like who?”

“That woman in the end room with the purple hair and green fingernails.” 

“She’s in a permanent coma.”

“Does that matter?”

“You can’t marry somebody who’s not conscious.”

“I don’t know why not. Stick a pin in her and see if she screams.”

“What?”

“Marry big Martha. I don’t think she’s got a husband and she’s fairly young. I don’t know if she would want to have your babies, though.”

“If she’s really a man, the question of babies will definitely be moot.”

“You could marry that woman who hears voices in her head and who thinks Boris Karloff is after her.”

“Why would I want to marry that decrepit old bat?”

“Getting married might be just the thing she needs.”

“No, I want a woman from the outside world. Once I leave this place, I’m going places. I don’t want some crazy old woman to have to take care of.”

“Where are you going?”

“I don’t know yet. I’ve always liked California. I might go to Mexico or South America. Maybe even farther away than that.”

“Well, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but if you go anywhere it’s going to be feet first. The next place you’ll be is Davis and Sons Funeral Parlor on Pierpont Street.”

“That’s where I’m going to be when my time comes. Did I tell you I went and planned my own funeral? I bought a stainless steel casket and a two-ton concrete vault. I even know what clothes I’m going to be wearing.”

“Yeah, that’s nice. You already told us all about that.”

“Isn’t it exciting?”

“Isn’t what exciting?”

“The thought of dying. One minute you’re alive and you have all kinds of problems and anxieties and hurts, and the next minute you’re dead. It’s all over just like that: Poof! It all turns out to be so simple after all.”

“Well, of all the things you can think about dying, I don’t think ‘exciting’ is one of them.”

“Don’t pay any attention to him. He’s likely to say anything. If he thinks death is exciting, then let him think it. Anyway, who knows what death is? Maybe it is exciting.”

“I’ve been on this earth for eighty-six years and I don’t know the first thing about death. I don’t know anymore about it now than I did when I was a baby.”  

“We’re not supposed to know about it. It’s one of God’s secrets. We’re just supposed to do it when the time comes.”

“It’s really nothing to worry about. Think how many have gone before us.”

“I don’t worry about it. Do you?”

“I read about a cat that knew when somebody was going to die. He went and stayed beside a sick person until they died. He could sense it. He was trying to help them along, calm them down.”

“Animals know a lot of things we don’t know.”

“Yeah, animals are great.”

“Does anybody know what’s on TV tonight?”

“It’s all junk now. Television isn’t what it used to be.”

“There’s always movies.”

“Yeah, there’s always something to watch. If nothing else, we can turn on the news and talk about how the world is going to hell and how we would fix things if we only had the chance.”

“Yeah, we can always do that.”

“Does anybody know what’s for dinner?”

Copyright © 2011 by Allen Kopp     

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