This week, our story is My Love Affair with a Clown, by Chelly Bosworth. The story was submitted for the March 2019 Issue #4, Theme: Carnival.

* * *

Have you ever done something for love that ended up scarring you for life? I have.  

My romance with a clown began several months ago. I am a clown too, but I don’t take my work as seriously as Bart did. Bartholomew McKenzie was what the kids nowadays call “hard core”. He was always on, whether he was working the carnival or not. Even when our troupe had downtime and could visit restaurants or bars in whatever city we were working in, Bart never took off his makeup. He played the part perfectly everywhere he went- entertaining children with little magic tricks, making everyone laugh with his physical slapstick comedy and he never, ever compromised that drawn-on massive smile of his.  

I fell in love with Bart easily, completely, wholly. I knew it was happening and did nothing to stop it. I am only twenty-one, new on the scene of clownery, and Bart was my idol. He knew how to work an audience; he could have them eating out of his giant gloved hand within a few minutes. Rumor had it that Ringling Brothers had been trying to steal him away for years, but Bart was loyal and didn’t want to leave our troupe owner, Crandall, whom he’d known since he was a child. 

Bart never gave me reason to hope we’d be anything more than friends. He was thirty-five and had years of experience under his belt- I was sure he saw nothing more in me other than a young protégé. Bart had told me multiple times that I had raw talent and he would help mold me and hone my skills. We shared a lot of time together- time I cherished and held close to my heart– and when I wasn’t with Bart I thought about him constantly. I wondered what he looked like without his makeup and orange wig. Sometimes, late at night, when I was alone in my bunk bed listening to my fellow troupe members snoring, I would imagine Bart’s big, muscular body bereft of its clown suit.  

Then one day the troupe spent an extra twelve hours in Tempe, Arizona- a dusty, desert town- and Crandall said we were all free to spend the time as we wanted. I summoned up all of my courage and went up to Bart, my little hands shaking, my long brown hair blowing in the balmy breeze, and I asked him if he would take me to a western bar I’d heard about from the trapeze guys.  

Bart was thrown off. “You mean… just the two of us?” 

I nodded, my long eyelashes sweeping my blushing cheeks as I looked at the ground and squirmed. 

There was a long pause and then Bart cleared his throat. “I would like to, but… I will have to go like this.”  

“In full clown gear?” I was surprised but didn’t really care. I just wanted to be with him- away from the carnival, away from the other troupe members. I wanted Bart’s full attention on me. Just me. I shrugged, smiling, and Bart put his big gloved hand on the small of my back and led me away from the tents.  

We spent the next several hours at The Chuckbox drinking moonshine and dancing. At one point a slow song came on and Bart and I swayed together like we’d been a couple all of our lives. I stood on tip toe and gently kissed his neck. He moaned slightly and I nibbled at his earlobe. I was afraid his white makeup would come off on my lips but it didn’t, it stayed put. I would have to ask him what brand he used, but not at that moment. I only wanted to think about one thing- how much I longed for Bartholomew McKenzie to kiss me. 

But Bart was honorable in every way and the night never progressed into anything that could be considered inappropriate. His eyes, his hands, his words never hinted at impropriety. A part of me was disappointed, but a bigger part of me fell for him even harder. I was in love with a man who took his career seriously, who was loyal to his employer, who was a gentleman to a doe-eyed naïve ingénue. I became obsessed with Bart over the next several weeks and couldn’t bear to be apart from him. If we weren’t working together I’d find little ways to be close to him. And if that wasn’t possible I would hide behind something that shielded me while I stared at him, my mind a roiling wasteland of love and desire and lust.  

I’d never seen Bart date anyone in the troupe and he didn’t cavort with ladies in any of the towns we stopped in. Neither did he seem interested in men. I couldn’t believe he was asexual- he had way too much passion for that- passion for his job, passion for living, passion for making people smile and laugh. 

And then it happened one day. The moment I’d been waiting for, for what had seemed like forever. We found ourselves alone in the back supply tent one evening. It was very late and all of the troupe were tucked in their bunk beds asleep. Bart was showing me a complicated magic trick and we lost track of the time. It was just him and me and the quietness of the night. Even though we were both fully dressed as clowns, the sexual tension crackled between us and I could feel the pulsing of my soul. I wanted him to notice me so badly that in a moment of desperation I ducked behind a pile of boxes and peeled off all of my clothes. I still had my wig and make up on, but I didn’t even care. 

I stepped out from my hiding place…  


(to be continued at )  


Chelly Bosworth is a fictional romance novelist who adores daydreaming on paper. She uses her writing to give her readers a sense of community, a feeling of belonging and an escape from the stresses and pressures of everyday life. A fiendish blogger, coffee lover and bookaholic, Chelly resides in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and their two rescue dogs, The Murf and Larry Marie. Chelly welcomes visitors and messages at her website