It was not a trip Neha was looking forward to. Sheena, her once best friend, was pregnant after years of unsuccessful attempts and wanted Neha to attend her baby shower. Neha wasn’t so sure, but Sheena had been very persuasive. She had even sent her plane tickets from Mumbai to Delhi. She would have preferred if she had sent a chauffeured car for her at the airport instead.
What’s this sound? Neha came out of her reverie. What’s this thumping sound? Shucks! Last thing she needs now is a flat tyre.
She realised she had left Delhi and Noida behind. She was on the Yamuna expressway now. She switched on the emergency blinkers and finding a safe spot on the expressway, stopped her rental car.
Neha got off the car to inspect the tyres. She checked all four, but she couldn’t find a flat one. Not only this, the thumping had started again. A stopped vehicle never made any sound.
So where was this sound coming from?
Neha realised the sound was coming from the trunk. Without thinking ahead, she immediately opened the trunk. And got the shock of her life when a circus clown sprang out from the boot of her rental car.
The clown was a dwarf, some 3 feet tall. He was wearing a frilly oversized jumpsuit which had more colours than one could find on this planet. His boots were huge and mismatched and he was wearing a conical hat over a curly blonde wig. His face was painted white, his ping-pong nose was a bright red, his cheeks wore an exaggerated pink blush while his thick lips were coloured in red. Some people found clowns funny. But, not Neha. Neha had never actually enjoyed the antics of clowns. She found them sinister looking.
Of all people, a clown had chosen to stow away in her car trunk. It could have been a runaway bride, a deadly fugitive or an alien from Mars, but a clown. Neha couldn’t believe her luck.
“Who are you?” She asked. And the next moment, she moved her hand in air as if urging the person to forget the question.
“I know you are a clown. I mean what are you doing in my car.”
The clown didn’t speak. “This is your cue to talk, clown.”
“My name is not clown. It is Bheem.” Neha was in no mood to appreciate the irony of the name.
“Thank God. But it still doesn’t explain why you were hiding in my car.”
“I have run away from the circus and my master. He had sent his goons to chase after me. I saw your car at the traffic signal, the trunk was open, so I got inside.” She must have forgotten to lock the trunk after she put her bags inside.
“OK. OK. Got it. I don’t know who you are, except your name and if what you are saying is actually true. But, now please leave me alone.” Neha started walking away from him.
“Madam, can I request you to drop me to the nearest railway station or an ST bus stand? I will catch a train or bus to my village in Bihar.”
“NO!” Neha shouted.
“And, if possible can you also lend me some money.
Was the guy deaf?
“Didn’t you hear me? I am not lending you …” Neha stopped. He needed money and she might actually need him.
“Do you think you can amuse a bunch of ladies?”
“Who better than I?” He smirked.
“Great. Then you come with me to my friend’s baby shower and give a performance of your life. I will pay you of course.” He nodded.
“Sit in the back.” She told the clown.
As Neha sat behind the wheel, suddenly someone put a small but strong hand on her mouth from behind. The next moment, her mouth was gagged with a piece of cloth. Next, her hands and legs were tied and she was then dumped in the trunk of her own rental car.
She should have never trusted a clown.
I am participating in the Write Tribe Festival of Words – June 2018