Really. Don't Go In There Pt. III
by Dan Greene
So as you’ve come to understand, I’m a bit of an idiot and I was in my element. Getting high and fucking around. This party supply company had made a lot of money over the years; they weren’t just getting by or anything. They could have had a really cool children’s party thing going, but they ripped people off every time.
I mean, fuck, a clown with facial hair. Jesus. Speaking of which…
There was one time when my girlfriend couldn’t make it as my sidekick. Now, the real Barney on TV has an actual sidekick, this annoying fucker by the name of Baby Bop, but you had to pay extra if you wanted that shit at your party. The Barney-and-a-sidekick package came with Barney and either a clown or a chipmunk. Not a famous chipmunk or anything, just a fucking chipmunk. So whoever came along with me had to be versatile, don’t you know. They might have to switch personas two or three times an afternoon, depending on how busy we were.
Anyway, one day my girlfriend couldn’t make it and I had to find someone else. Time was running short so I figured I’d ask my brother, who is a couple of years older than me. The party was at 1:30 in the afternoon, and I asked him at about 12:45. He was still in bed, hung over from the night before. But he was a tough old fucker, even back then, so he hauled ass and we got to the gig on time. He was hung over in the worst way, leaking the stink of old dark rum out of his pores. You know that smell, don’t you? Last night’s booze coming out your skin?
Yeah, he didn’t have time for a shower. Or a shave. And we were running late so he just kind of got out of bed, pissed, grabbed the clown costume and makeup and climbed in the van. I was driving out the highway with the orange lights going, blasting The Descendents and singing along, just to be a prick. NO! ALL!... “Let’s listen to that again…” NO! ALL!.... “That’s a great song…” NO! ALL!.... until he put down his makeup and started punching me. “Fine fine fine, Jesus, calm down dude….. I GOT ALL THE FISH I NEED ON THE DECK OF MY BOAT!”
So he’d never put on clown makeup before, and his first chance was in a moving van while hung over. And he was about to go live into a party, and he was the walking dead. And he looked like shit and neither of us really gave a shit. I played the stupid 20 minute cassette of Barney songs and did my bit, while my brother stood in the corner, stinking, with a two day beard poking through his white clown makeup. Eyes like death, breath that could be improved by chewing on a nice log of shit, and that unavoidable stench of Captain Morgan dark mixed with sweat. The shittiest clown I’ve ever seen in my life. And I’m stoned out of my head, hiding under a Barney head and laughing, laughing the whole time. Listening to the parents’ comments… such as…
“What’s wrong with him?”
I think we were actually pretty lucky to get out of that one. That was close. But we got out with the check and I bought some hash and he bought some Morgan dark and all was right in the world.
There were a few close calls, for that matter. Lots of stairs that I almost broke my neck on. Fucking huge ass Barney feet, almost two feet long, tripping me up everywhere I went. And they just kind of slipped on, you know. I can't move around like I’m really Barney; they just kind of go on over your shoes and that’s it. They’re not made for running.
So, right towards the end of my career in this bullshit, we hit the Christmas season. Barney’s Christmas season starts in late October and early November, as soon as offices and corporate organizations start having Christmas parties. Christmas season was a pretty good time, overall. Lots and lots of parties meant lots and lots of gigs for me, a gas allowance in the party van, and paid in cash as often as not. Yeah, it could definitely be a pain in the ass from time to time. That costume was hot as hell and stunk worse. Having to deal with angry parents who’d rather try and settle the bill with Barney than the actual person they’d made the deal with. I mean, complaining to the cashier in the department store is one thing – well, not really, but holy shit, grown men trying to talk seriously to fucking Barney about previous financial agreements that may or may not have been honoured. Jesus.
But again, I’d rather be getting high and acting like an idiot than flipping burgers, and the money was better. And I wouldn’t have cared anyway. You understand though, right? I’m just repeating myself now, sorry…
One Sunday, my girlfriend and I had a sweet gig coming up. A big company was having a massive party at the biggest hotel in town. Hundreds of employees with hundreds of kids. This was a good deal because we could just mingle around and not do our shitty routine; novody wanted to see that, it was about as good as you’d expect a couple of potheads to bother with. That’s all they ever paid for, stupid potheads in costumes. Just the thought makes me laugh as I’m typing it, even now. Fucking rubes. It’s not like we’d have been any better had we not smoked up anyway.
So like I said, it was Christmas season, so there was good dope everywhere. We’d scored this really good hash and were pretty useless by the time we got there. My girlfriend had Chipmunk duties…man, she was a good clown, but she rocked that fucking Chipmunk costume. Oh yeah, capital C Chipmink, my girlfriend was The Chipmunk (I married that girl, obviously). We hit the party and it was crazy, it was huge. It was honestly the most high class, glorious affair I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t believe it… the hotel conference room was decorated to look like some kind of Christmas palace, all for the kids. And the kids were having the time of their lives.
And you know, I don’t mind saying that there were some pretty cool moments with that job. Kids who are hardly old enough to walk, doing that funny little kid walk as fast as they can just so they can hug you around the knees. You see kids at their best and you’re not responsible for them so it’s pretty cool. They might cry when you leave but fuck that noise, you’re out of there.
We finished our shift and left the conference room. Just outside, there was a group of kids, about twelve or fifteen of them, and all between nine and twelve. I was going to walk over to them but said fuck it, they’re too old to be interested in Barney, and I kept going. Then I heard a voice behind me:
“Hey, wow, look it’s Barney!”
So like a sucker I leaned I to give the kid a pat on the head or some such bullshit. And the kid hauled off and belted Barney right in the stomach.
Barney’s stomach is not where my fucking stomach is. He’s a seven foot chubby dinosaur and I was a six foot two skinny pothead. If you’re the height of a nine year old and you punch Barney in the stomach, you’re punching me right in the nutsack. Yeah, like you didn’t see that coming. I fucking didn’t. And he got me good and it hurt like only a punch in the nutsack can. And I doubled over, and by then another kid had come over, and he started punching Barney in the head. Barney’s head is not my head. That actually wasn’t so bad because my head was protected pretty well, but the Barney head reverberated with this nasty tone. It was like having a washtub banged over your head. It didn’t hurt but it was fucking annoying.
And now the kids are starting to see the fun and we’re both fucking swarmed. And they are young and they don’t realize what they’re doing and my Chipmunk lady takes one in the crotch too. My Chipmunk girl got punched in the vagina. But I don’t see that because I’m the prime target, man, I’m Barney and there are about eight kids crawling on me and I’m going down and don’t try to save me honey, just run!
But she didn’t run. She’s my Chipmunk lady. She pulled me out of certain doom – seriously, I couldn’t see or do shit, and there were all these little fists raining down on me. I was on my back and the Barney head had twisted sideways and I was in the dark and it stank like sweat and all I could do is curl up in a ball and protect my garbage, and she pulled me out.
And we ran. And they ran after us. She had to guide me until I got my head on straight, and even then one of my feet was half off. Running like a crippled animal from the hunter. And we ran down the hall, through the lobby and made it to the elevator, and most of the kids stopped there because, you know, their parents teach them not to do things like get on elevators unsupervised. Kick Barney’s ass, sure thing, but don’t get on the fucking elevator. One kid did try to get on the elevator though. I told him to fuck off and shoved him back out into the lobby. And he looked surprised… That’s what I really didn’t get. What the fuck did you expect?
I realized before I started writing this three weeks ago that the idea of some cuddly mascot or other falling down or getting beaten up is funny and a bit of a cliche. We've all seen the kangaroo kick the shit out of that mascot dude. And it's all funny as hell to me, but I've been on the other side. I've lived the cliche. How many of us can say that?
Most of us, I guess.