Sightings

Sightings by B.J. Hollars Page A

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Authors: B.J. Hollars
hand pressed to his forehead and began counting backward from ten.
    Aunt Clown witnessed the scene and urged her husband to stop the routine.
    â€œPlease,” she begged. “This isn’t a laughing matter.”
    â€œYeah, you’re right, hon,” Uncle Clown said, laughing harder. “Because we’ve just had so many laughing matters lately, haven’t we?”
    Neither of them had to say anything.
    They wore their pain on their polka-dotted sleeves.
    Mom joined us next, and Uncle Clown started in on the second verse of the song while Dad fought his way toward the shower drain, reaching a hand into the grate. Water sprayed in all directions – a seltzer bottle gone berserk – but eventually Dad got the bright idea of turning off the water pump before tackling the drain head-on. He returned to the bathroom to find my uncle toweling himself off, his jumpsuit deflated under the weight of the water.
    He was still bellowing: “You’re not fully clean until you’re Zestfully . . .”
    â€œPlease, stop,” Aunt Clown begged, and while Uncle Clown tried to bite back his grin, his face paint refused to back down.
    â€œSo some pipes rusted through, big deal,” Uncle Clown shrugged to my father. “Tell you what, I’ll pitch in the fifty we get from the Robards gig, how’s that? Fix’er right up. No sense crying over old pipes, am I right?”
    â€œNot old pipes,” my father grunted, tugging fistfuls of red hair from the shower drain. The pyramid continued to grow beside him, a floor mat’s worth of Uncle Clown’s shedding fur.
    â€œOh, so what? You’re going to try to pin this on me?” Uncle Clown asked. “You think a few strands of somebody’s hair are going to make pipes burst like that?”
    â€œSomebody’s
hair?” Dad gasped, leaping to his feet and slamming the last chunk of red coils onto the edge of the tub. “Who the hell else around here has red hair?”
    He had a good point – Aunt Clown’s hair was blue.
    â€œOh, so now the man’s a plumber,” Uncle Clown laughed. “And a barber, too, apparently.”
    â€œLook, I know you’re going through a rough patch,” my father began, “but please understand that we want to help you through any way we . . .”
    â€œOh, shove it up your . . .”
    Anticipating his colorful language, Aunt Clown reached for her slide whistle, overpowering him with a single breath.
    Nobody laughed at the sound.
    â€œNow look here . . .” Dad gritted, stepping toward him.
    â€œNo, you look here,” Uncle Clown countered, pointing to his flower lapel.
    A stream of water squirted Dad in the eye, and this time, he was far less of a good sport.
    Dad and Uncle Clown fought their way out of the bathroom, we three spectators shouting and pleading with them to stop.
    Dad had my uncle in a chokehold, and soon they were somersaulting down the stairs, crashing into walls and shattering picture frames before returning to solid ground. They shook off the glass and leapt to their feet once more, Dad stomping on Uncle Clown’s gigantic shoes, pinning him in place like a punching bag. My father absorbed the scattershot blows, but when he returned fire, he always aimed directly for Uncle Clown’s nose, a high-pitched “honkahonka” erupting with each well placed punched. They rolled to the floor once more, their hulking bodies flattening the nearby whoopee cushions, farting sounds erupting, adding to the soundtrack that already included grunts and gasps and moans. I’d never seen my father fight anyone – he’d told me violence was barbaric – but suddenly there he was kneeing my uncle in the stomach, pressing the clown’s chalk-white face into the wall.
    â€œSay uncle,” Uncle Clown gasped, though, twisted against the couch, he was in no position to call any shots. “Say uncle, damn you.”
    My

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