NEANDERVILLE — What was intended as a happy birthday surprise for Tribe toddler, Walden, turned into a disaster today when history’s first clown debuted.
Terrified at the sight, Walden at first cried, then screamed, and then withdrew into a catatonic state from which he did not emerge until nightfall. At that point, he pronounced his hatred for parents who would do such a thing to their own flesh and blood.
“Creeps!” the boy declared.
“We thought he would love it,” said Rada, the boy’s mother. “Honest, we did.”
“All the adults laughed hysterically when we ran it past them,” said Nadim, Walden’s father. “I’m struggling to understand why it didn’t translate to a kid.”
Tribe shrink Sig, who created the concept and then dressed in costume, orange wig and red rubber nose and gave it the name ‘Bozo’ to bring it to life, also professed bafflement.
“Perhaps a child’s brain is not sufficiently developed to appreciate the subtleties and ironies of appearance that combine to elicit laughter in the adult,” he theorized. “I guess next time we’ll try a mouse with big ears.”
“Or a yellow sea sponge with a big grin,” said Tribe president Vlad.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Tribe Curmudgeon Iona.
Tribe guru Astrid, who has made several time-travel voyages into the future, said Walden’s reaction could have been predicted. Stephen King, she said, explored the notion brilliantly in his novel It.
“Pennywise terrified the youngsters,” Astrid said, “probably because they could see evil beneath the costume.”
The occasion was Walden’s third birthday. Birthdays for Cave Dweller children are ordinarily celebrated with time-honored games such as pin the tail on the mastodon, but Rada and Nadim had hoped to start a new tradition.
“We should have gone with the big yellow talking bird idea,” said Rada.
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