For $25 Rolando the Clown would come into a home donned in colorful billowy clothes, a giant red nose and matching lips – all topped off with over-sized eyebrows and wild orange hair. He was a large man who dwarfed the kids he was paid to entertain and on a good day he’d get some laughs, but mostly the kids just stared at him, wondering if anyone so big might be dangerous.
Rolando always noted the valuables in a house: art objects, TVs, cameras, silver candlesticks, etc. After a gig, he’d go home and write down the name and address of the client and list the items he’d observed.
After 10 years of clowning, he had compiled over 150 pages of “inventory”. On Sunday evenings he would retrieve this travelogue and admire it like a fine cigar. He would then announce out loud, “Judge O’Brien, this is for you.”
Years before he became a clown, Rolando was caught shoplifting eight bars of soap and a bottle of shampoo. The judge took a liking to Rolando’s smile and struck the charges in return for a solemn promise that he’d never steal again.
“Get a job where you can use that smile,” the judge had said. And Rolando certainly did what the judge wanted. The list, on the other hand, was an ongoing record of what he hadn’t taken, for Rolando believed that as long as he wrote down what he didn’t steal, he wouldn’t.