The clown walked into the library and Debbie screamed and ran.
Several people looked up from their books and a child clapped, excited to see the costumed man.
Jessie sighed. Ellen had come and gotten him, wanting to show him the clown standing outside the library smoking a cigarette. She thought it was funny, like something you don’t normally see. Jessie knew the sight well and never wanted to see it again.
“What are you doing here, dad?”
“Had a party at that hippie town. Wanted to talk to you before I left town.”
“Don’t want to hear it so you can go ahead and go.”
“Dammit, boy, I just wanna say I’m sorry.”
“Hey, there’s kids.”
“Sorry, I just-”
Jessie turned his back and walked into the computer area. He dropped down into the library tunnels and closed the hatch. He heard his dad stand over the entrance, heard him talking to a few people in the lab. The hatch jerked a few times, but Jessie put on his headphones and started working on a computer.
The hatch remained closed all day. Jessie got hungry, but ignored it. At the end of the day, Ellen told him the clown waited for almost an hour and gave her a note. Jessie took it and tore it up and threw it away.
The man was waiting for him outside as the library closed. Jessie could have stayed over, just slept in the hole, but he was done sleeping in holes.
“Took off the white,” he said to his father as he walked outside.
“Didn’t feel like seeing your coworker run again. Although it is fun to watch her move away,” They both watched Debbie walk to her car, “You ever…”
“With Debbie?” Jessie said, “No, she’s… The hell? Why are you here, Dad?”
“Like I told you yesterday,” Jessie’s father said, “It’s time to come home.”
“To where? Mom’s dead.”
“To the tents. The show. Come back and be with me, we can be in charge again.”
“Dave’s in charge. Doing good last I saw and a damn bit better than you ever did.”
Mr. Cartright thumped his cigarette away and pointed a finger at Jessie, “That sumbitch has a few things coming, and me and you boy, we need to straighten him out a touch.”
“So that’s what this is? You need a partner cause, what? Dave kicked you out?” Jessie said, “Jesus, no wonder mom told me you were dead and never let me go back.”
“You're as stubborn as her, you dumb dick,” the old man said, “Never were good for nothing.”
“I don’t have to hear this shit,” Jessie said and walked around his car.
“Started drinking again?”
The old man laughed, “Takes one to know one, kid. Kept tabs on you. Watched you fuck up. Offering you a way out. A way up. Back to the Circus Lands.”
Jessie got in his car and drove away.