As fall creeps toward Halloween I am reminded of a time about eight years ago, when we were still living in the land of the perpetual sun. Though, on this particular occasion the sun was nowhere to be found, or rather it was facing the other side of the planet. Night parades are paramount in Florida. Those and fireworks. People can never get enough of them, although admittedly throwing candy and beads at people in the dark and shooting fireworks off on a residential street could result in someone losing an eye. Or worse.
This night was fraught with parades, fireworks, and costumes, because Floridians also adore costumery. Brian and I were both dressed like clowns, which might have foreshadowed our entire relationship. My costume was purchased via the “world wide web” as it was probably called back then, to match his that was of course plucked from the seasonal Halloween rack at the Valrico Goodwill.
The moment Brian spotted that God-awful clown suit he proclaimed that it must be his, though it was a child’s large at best. Still, he stuffed himself into that polka-dot nightmare that left him gasping for air as it squeezed his ribcage, also leaving him in the vulnerable state of needing someone else to unsnap him so he could use the toilet.
He tried it on right there in the aisle, next to the other used and abused costumes. As soon as the partially snagged, rainbow mess touched his skin he said it was magic. The fabric of the arms and legs only came to mid-elbow and calf length, leaving him to look like an overgrown weed who happened to want to dress like a clown. It was only fate at work when he found a bright red, ruggedly-used wig, and put that on too, because why shouldn’t he wear a wig that someone else’s head had already sweated into?
As we stood on the sidewalk watching the floats drift by, Brian smoking a cigar, me trying to avoid staring at the scantily clad, the unthinkable yet simultaneously hilarious happened. He was there standing next to me, and all of a sudden he was gone. I looked around wondering where he had wandered off to, yet again. Then I heard it. A cry for help.
I looked down to see him splayed out in the street gutter, trying to roll onto his side to get up, and failing epicly. His arms were outstretched, holding up his cigar in one hand and his miraculously un-spilled beer in the other, trying to keep those items out of the gutter while the rest of his body wallowed in it.
“My knee gave out!” he shouted.
I stopped then to watch the hilarity of a grown man unable to lift himself from a supine position on account of a too-tight clown suit that had him literally trapped in the gutter. Even though I was sitting next to him, my arm outstretched in aid, I couldn’t help him because I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t stand up either. There we were, two clown who were trying and failing to not be “fallen and can’t get up.” Only now I know that we are still those same clowns all these years later, and God do I love it.