By Ray Stern
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"The newspaper is full of jobs," she continues, apparently not referring to the Grapevine, "and sometimes we have to swallow our pride and take whatever job there is." I suggest that perhaps the job of clown would be beneficial to those in and out of jail.
"Only if people have strong hearts," cautions Foot Z, "and a lot of patience. Not everyone can be a clown."
Mo the Traveling Clown is nothing short of a sublime political visionary, from the tips of her enormous, rainbow-colored shoes to the top of her little yellow hat with the purple thing on it.
As the state's political leader, Mo the Traveling Clown ("I'll just go anywhere and be a clown") streamlines Twinkles' platform--getting people to laugh a lot--into a more succinct program: "The only thing is, just keep everybody laughing and happy."
Just as simple is her plan for dealing with the inmates at Tent City.
"First of all, I'd drive up there in my 1928 red Ford convertible," says Mo the Traveling Clown. "Then, oh, why not do a little magic trick? Maybe make a red scarf disappear." Astonishing as a trick like that may be, would it be enough to quell restless jailbirds? Maybe, it is suggested, something more would be needed.
Mo the Traveling Clown is silent for a second, so I mention face painting.
"Oh, I don't think they'd like that out there," she opines. "They'd rather see someone fall down and make a fool of themselves."
Another clown who allows provincial wisdom to shine from apparent stupidity is Bumpkin. In the first and third persons.
"I was born and raised on a farm, and that's part of my background, a country bumpkin; that's why I'm [called Bumpkin].
"She loves to play, she does a real good job with face painting. She's not the smartest person in the world, but she comes up with things you wouldn't believe. As governor, she'd be really honest."
Bumpkin says she would also enact a "magical law" for prisoners and freemen alike.
"Every adult would need a toy at Christmastime. Everybody needs time to play and bring out the child in themselves," reasons the countrified clown. "And that means going to a toy store and buying a child's toy and go play with it. It puts yourself in perspective of who you are."
Who knows what Fife's mother called him when he was a child, but with Cupcake it was--well, let's let her tell it.
"If I would have liked cookies or candy, my mom would have called me 'Cookies' or 'Candy,' but I always loved cupcakes when I was a little girl, so she called me 'Cupcake,' and it stuck."
Unlike Symington, Cupcake tries to be "cute and adorable," and has sparkles on her nose. "I don't wear the glue-on type nose, and my face has little balloons painted on one side and hearts on the other and purple freckles. I don't scare too many kids."
Cupcake's main concern in office would be speed. The kind that cars do.
"I would ask people not to drive so fast," she says. "There are a lot of little children riding in cars, and there are just too many accidents at intersections in Phoenix. That makes me very sad. And things about children drowning in swimming pools, that makes me a sad clown instead of being happy all the time."
Happiness is certainly a running theme in the clown camp, one shared by Bubbles ("I'm a little bit bubbly. I'm real hyper!"), who says that "I make you laugh verbally. I don't do jokes, I can't remember them. I'm a natural-born idiot, so it's a natural-born ability."
You've heard it from Twinkles and Mo the Traveling Clown; now Bubbles expounds on laughter as a solution to the nightmare that is our government:
"My dream would be to make everybody happy and smiley and not cranky. Everybody'd have a good time and enjoy the wonderful life that we have."
Bubbles should know from laughter; in her household, everyone's a clown. "My daughters are Kootz and Tam Tam, and one of their boyfriends is Prince Posh, and my husband is Santa." Even her friend Arleenie Beanie is a clown.
When she was growing up, clarifies Arleenie Beanie, "I used to eat a lot of beans. So everyone started calling me Arleenie Beanie."
Arleenie Beanie does not entirely agree with Bubbles' program for a governor of the people: "Happy, smiley and not cranky." Arleenie Beanie would hone things down to a simpler mandate.
"I would declare that everyone has to laugh and be happy. I would try to make sure that everybody had a place to live and enough to eat and make everybody happy."
What more could any Phoenician, nay, any person anywhere, want?
And finally we have Swanny.
A good Christian clown with a talent for balloon twisting (judging from Twinkles and Swanny, this is a penchant of religious clowns), Swanny's outreach as governor would pinpoint the retired.
"I would encourage all older people to make sure they have fun," he says. "Two generations of young people have not seen older people having fun. My motto would be, 'You're never too old to have a happy childhood.'"