PROFESSOR FATBUM'S LAST BOW
I remember it well. The weather was good, although the forecast had been bleak. The sun was out in force.
I left the flat and walked through the gardens, noting the rich scent of flowers and pollen in the air, to the bus stop. Almost immediately, my bus arrived. I paid my fare and took a seat on the left facing into the bus. Suddenly, I noticed a large, round man in a harlequin/motley coloured suit with a large tartan tam on his head. I gasped and looked again.
The white t-shirt stretched over his protruding stomach left me in no doubt. It was Professor Fatbum. When I was a child, I remember seeing him at Rosa’s Circus doing slapstick routines and encouraging children to chant outrageously, ´Fatbum, Fatbum, Fatbum!´ I thought he had died long ago.
I remembered that, after the circus, he worked for a while on children’s television but, come the age of political correctness, Fatbum was out; Just vanished, into the wilderness. Now here he was, older, greyer, fatter but definitely the same Professor Fatbum.
Just the thought of those early days made me smile, and as I looked around I noticed that the whole bus was full of smiles. Each person who boarded the bus beamed as they saw him. Such are memories.
I looked at him closely now. Eyes closed and content, round fat face with a big red painted ´smile´ around his real mouth, white eye shadow accentuating his droopy eye lids, with black ´crows feet´ drawn in. Greying, dishevelled hair peeking out from under his tam, a large gold wedding band on his chubby finger and brown, well worn boots which had obviously been expensive in their day. He was calm and content, oblivious to the joyous memories he had rekindled for the passengers around him. I just couldn't take my eyes off him.
Twenty minutes later, it was my time to leave the bus and, as I got off at my stop, I took one last look at the clown. He looked calm and at rest with a smile playing upon his lips. His left hand, hanging loosely by his side; just enjoying the unexpected sunshine.
A few days later, on the same bus, I picked up a discarded local paper and on the third or fourth inside page I was drawn to a headline. It seems that when the bus reached the end of its route the clown did not stir. The driver attempted to wake him and, when the ambulance arrived, he was pronounced dead.
The article spoke of the joy he had brought to thousands. The headline read, ´Professor Fatbum's Last Bow'.