(After two days of political rants, I’m pulling out fast fiction from my vault–need a good laugh).
Rotello was a second generation clown. His father, Rotini, had been a star in Europe in the 1960s, but lost his way when he moved his family to New Jersey to open a men’s fashion house with the ill-fated slogan: “Don’t dress like a clown.” Rotello was 16 when his father departed for what his mother called “a long trip.”
Rotello spent countless hours replicating his father’s routines and by age 18 he was convinced that when his father returned, they would be a dynamically funny father-son act.
As high school graduation approached, he was overcome with depression.
With tears he asked his mother: “He’s not coming back, is he?”
She slapped his face. “Be your own person and make people laugh so that you will laugh.”
As much as he missed his father, he cherished his mother’s wisdom and was thankful that if he could only have one parent, it was his mother.
He dropped out of college after landing the lead clown job at the Harris Brother’s Circus. His costume and mannerisms were true to his father’s style and after a year on the road, his billing was second on the marquee behind Anna the tightrope walker.
One evening he was removing his makeup in the trailer he shared with Anna when there was a knock on the door. He opened it and was stunned.
“Fabulous, my son. And do you like my suit?”
“You designed it?”
“Yes, finally I am not a clown, but a rich businessman.”
“But, do you make people laugh?”