Breadcrumb #36


All of the judges in the park have fallen asleep even though the only three competitors left are a blind woman, a child, and a clown.

     The blind woman's name is Martha and she's been craning her neck for the whole six hours, not because she can see her Archimedes screw or its high canine prancing but because the straw in her gigantic soda is periscopic in height and if her goals are 1) to stow it in the lawn chair's near-the-mouth cup holder so as to avoid handing around for it every couple of minutes, 2) to sip soda from the cup so as to hinder fatigue from seizing from her the Most Stubborn division win and its concomitant gift card-style 50-dollar prize, and 3) to buy that $49.99 Braille copy of The Kite and Its Human Lord, then she has no choice but to crane her neck. She feels minute wind-impulses in the plastic kite reel that she switches every so often from hand to hand for perspiration-wiping purposes.

     The child is named Danny Junior. He is 4 and doesn't exactly know the difference between winning and losing as much as he prefers his kite in the air over anywhere else. His father is lying next to him on his back, arms and legs spread in starfish formation, body inside a compass rose of empty beer bottles. With his final conscious breath that afternoon Danny Senior had made his son promise not to sink Vanessa, their box kite, which is named after Danny Senior's ex-girlfriend. Danny Junior's mom is named Penelope and she didn't come.

     The clown is named Sprinkles and aloft before him is a crepuscule-colored Bermuda with balloon animals tied all over the tail. He is a talking clown and is hard up for gigs because the children in this town no longer believe clowns that can talk are real clowns. Real clowns can't talk because they're born without vocal cords. They don't wear makeup or come from Earth. In wrath Sprinkles has wedged into the squeaking joints of each balloon animal a number of well-positioned razorblades that nobody but him can see for all these different reasons. Once he cuts down the other two and wakes the judges up he will win and get his name in the paper and then the world will see that fake clowns are real and real clowns are nothing but some nightmare that lamentably escaped its brain of origin and seeped into the children's lore.

Real clowns can’t talk because they’re born without vocal cords. They don’t wear makeup or come from Earth.

     The judges are asleep, Martha is blind, Danny Junior is small, and his father is insensible. Of them all, only Sprinkles the clown's eyes perceive away.

     Martha will feel a strange light tug as Sprinkles' Bermuda's tail's balloon animals' razorblades sink into her Archimedes screw and send it spiraling into the grass. Any second C.P.S. will probably part Danny Junior from his kite forever. Sprinkles' Bermuda will sail lonely and free through the sky of that acre in which the parks department had decided to convene the kite competition by a tense, malicious, and nail-bitingly narrow vote.

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