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MHLLim/Funnyman

Margaret Lim Hui Lian Am Eichenwall 26 26789 Leer Germany

2440 Words

MR. FUNNYMAN My name is Janilla. My Daddy is a Pediatrician, says Janilla proudly. It means he is a childrens doctor. He makes sick children well again. Call me Mikey. My Daddy is a car mechanic, says Mike Hong. He grins at Janilla. I guess you can call him a car-doctor. He fixes cars that are broken down so theyll run again. Im Julio. My Daddy is a fireman, and he drives a red fire truck, says Julio, puffing himself up with pride. He rescues people from burning houses. WOW! says Mrs. Xaviers First Grade Class. Twenty children and Mrs. Xavier are sitting in a circle, getting to know each other. Now all eyes are on Julio. Twenty hands shoot up. Twenty voices pipe up:
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How many fires has your Daddy put out? Do you get to ride with your Daddy in his fire truck? Can we come and visit your Daddy and see his fire truck? Will he let us ride in his fire truck? Children! Children! Mrs. Xavier calls for order. Well come back to Julio later. Jeremy is next. Jeremy, would you like to tell us what your Daddy does? asks Mrs. Xavier. Jeremy looks down at the tip of his shoes. He wishes himself anywhere else but here. He wishes he can just go Puff! and disappear into thin air, like Aladdins genie. Jeremy, wont you tell us? asks Mrs. Xavier coaxingly, smiling her broad smile that shows all her white teeth. Jeremy shakes his head. Shall we go on to Preeta first and then come back to you? Jeremy nods his head. Then the bell rings, to Jeremys relief. School is out for the weekend. Children, well continue on Monday, says Mrs. Xavier. * * *

Hey, whats eating you, Jerry? asks Jeremys father at dinner time. He pulls a funny face, but Jeremy does not laugh. He is rolling strands of spaghetti on his fork and trying to tie them into knots. Youre not going to let all that spaghetti wrap themselves around you, now, are you? teases his Daddy. Oh, Daddy, stop trying to be funny, shouts Jeremy. Why cant you be a fireman? Jeremy pushes his plate away and rushes to his room. He slams
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the door hard and throws himself on his bed. Hey, hey . . . , calls out his Daddy, rising out of his chair. He looks at his wife in surprise. Whats the matter with Jerry? Or rather, what have I done wrong? Let me deal with this, says Jeremys Mummy. She makes Jeremys Daddy sit down and eat up his dinner. In his room, Jeremy beats the mattress on his bed furiously with his fists. He doesnt hear his mother come in until he feels her sitting down, bouncing his bed ever so lightly. She strokes his head gently. Tell Mummy, Jerry, whispers his mother. Why are you angry with Daddy? Why cant Daddy have a proper job like Simons Dad? sobs Jeremy. Simons Dad drives a huge garbage truck. He presses a button, and mechanical arms reach out for the garbage cans and dump all the muck into the great truck. He presses another button, and there is a grinding noise as the garbage gets crunched up. Why cant Daddy be like Anands Dad? asks Jeremy, fighting back angry tears. Anands Dad owns a restaurant that makes the best thosai in town. His Mummy listens to him in silence. If I tell my class what Daddy does, theyre all going to laugh at me, says Jeremy pummelling his pillow savagely. Janillas going to laugh at me. She wont want to be friends with me anymore. Everyone will only laugh at me. Why cant Daddy have a proper job?
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Janilla has big round gold-brown eyes, curly lashes and curly dark-brown hair and a very sweet smile. Youre ashamed of what Daddy does? says his Mummy. Listen, Jeremy. But Jeremy is too angry to listen. You dont understand, Mummy! Let me alone! Why cant Daddy have a proper job? Why cant he be an astronaut, or . . . or a detective, or an ambulance-driver, or, or . . . well, there are lots of other jobs he can do, cant he, cries Jeremy passionately. Cant he? He jerks his head away and pulls his pillow over his head. Im not going to school on Monday! Or ever! His bed gives a bounce as his Mummy gets up. She closes his bedroom door softly and joins her husband in the kitchen where he is washing up. Well? asks Jeremys father. Whats wrong with him? Whats wrong with him! If you knew how I was just itching to spank him! Ill show Jerry whats wrong with him! she says grimly. On Saturday, Mummy still looks grim. Daddy looks glum, and Jeremy sulky. On Sunday, Jeremy begins to feel a tiny bit sorry for his temperoutburst. Jeremy, were going to the Hospital. Daddy is there already, getting ready for his act. announces his Mummy brightly at breakfast. Jeremy opens his mouth to protest. He doesnt want to miss his favourite TV programme. I dont want any nonsense from you, young man! Youre coming along with me! His Mummy sounds very firm. Jeremy shuts his
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mouth. He knows she means business when she sounds like that. * * *

As they enter the hospital, Jeremy wrinkles his nose. The place smells of disinfectants. His Mummy takes him to a ward full of children. There are animal prints on the wall and colourful pictures, and the bed clothes are just as colourful, not the standard Hospital white. But the room does not feel gay. The walls are painted grey. The light from the fluorescent tubes overhead is bright and harsh. A lot of the children look very sick and very sad. Some have no hair. Jeremy feels uncomfortable and snuggles up against his Mummy. Someone is waving at him from across the room. Its the last person he wants to see here today! It is Janilla with the pretty eyes and curly hair, whose Daddy is a doctor. She comes over to him and smiles dazzlingly at him. Jeremy turns bright pink. He wishes he can disappear in a puff of smoke. Hi, Jeremy, my Dad works here. Im always here on the last Sunday of every month. Ive never seen you here before. Is this your first time here? Have you come to see Mr. Funnyman? Oh, look! Here he comes. Janilla squeals and claps her hands. Jeremy wishes the ground would open and swallow him up, and Mr. Funnyman as well. All the children clap their hands and call out: Mr. Funnyman! Mr. Funnyman!

MHLLim/Funnyman

A fat Clown waddles into the room. His smile stretches from ear to ear. His hands are in his pockets. On top of his bowler hat is a sunflower. There are daisies instead of buttons down his shirt front. Suddenly, the sunflower starts to sprinkle him with water. The Clown whips out a tiny umbrella. The sprinkling stops. He folds up the umbrella and crams it back into his pocket. Now all the daisies squirt him with water. He takes out his umbrella. The daisies stop squirting water at him so he folds up his umbrella. The sunflower starts another shower. He whips out his umbrella, but the sunflower continues to rain on him and the daisies also spout water at him. The Clowns mouth turns down and big drops of tears roll down the corners of his eyes. The children are squealing with glee. The Clown suddenly holds up a finger. He has an idea. The children stop laughing and wait expectantly. The Clown throws away the umbrella and pulls something limp and rubbery out of one pocket. He draws in a great breath and puffs into it, and puffs and puffs it. Its a balloon, bright and yellow. He ties it and holds it high up above his head. Its the sun! The shower stops. The daisies stop their squirting. The Clown beams from ear to ear. All the children are laughing and clapping. Jeremy is also laughing and clapping along with them. He looks around at the sick children. Even the palest are looking quite pink. Their eyes are shining. He looks at his Mummy. She is looking at the Clown and her eyes are starry. Beside him, Janilla is clapping and giggling hysterically.

MHLLim/Funnyman

Now the Clown is patting his tummy which is making a growling noise. He gropes in his pocket while the children wait breathlessly. He pulls something out of his pocket. Its a banana. He closes his eyes, smiles his wide clown smile and starts to peel the banana. He opens his mouth wide to take a bite. The children yell: NO! NO! THE SKIN! THE SKIN! The Clown opens his eyes wide, looks at the children in surprise, frowns and shakes his head at them. The children continue to yell: THE SKIN! THE SKIN! The clown looks at the banana. His eyes pop, his mouth hangs open. There is a second skin! He throws the first away, and starts peeling all over again. Another skin! And another. Soon the floor is littered with banana skins and the children are rocking and screaming with laughter. At last a tiny banana appears. The Clown gives a great sigh and pops it into his mouth. This is followed by a squirt of water from a daisy. The Clown looks at his watch. It is time to make a move! He lifts a foot to take a step. ``WATCH OUT! scream the children. His foot hovers over a banana skin. He looks around. The space around him is full of banana skins! He puts his foot back. He scratches his head. The children are hardly breathing. Janillas hands are pressed against her mouth. Even Jeremy is holding his breath. Everyone is waiting to see what is going to happen next.
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The Clown puts a foot cautiously down on a banana skin. He wriggles his foot about. The banana skin stays put. He puts his other foot down on another banana skin. He does a jiggle and a twist. He beams at the children who are now giggling. He lifts up a foot. The banana skin stays stuck to his shoe. He lifts up the other foot, the other banana skin also stays stuck to his shoe. He shakes one foot after the other, but the banana skins stay put. He jiggles his eyebrows at the children. He lifts a foot and plucks the banana skin off his shoe with his hand. He does the same with the other. Then he steps on another banana skin, and another and another, plucking them off with his hands. Soon his hands are full. Now only the skin of a banana is left. The Clown beams broadly at the children, turning around and around, bowing and pointing to himself. The children are grinning. Their eyes are gleaming expectantly. The Clown gives a hop and a skip. As his foot lands on the skin, he skids. His arms are like windmills as he tries to keep his balance. The banana skins in his hands fly through the air. And the Clown FALLS! This is what the children have been waiting for! They shriek and scream, rocking with laughter. They laugh until tears run down their cheeks. Their laughter floats down the corridor, curls around corners and seeps under doors to the other wards where visitors and patients smile at the happy sound of children laughing. They hear shouts of:

MHLLim/Funnyman

AGAIN! AGAIN! MORE! MORE! Jeremy is also shouting: Again! DADDY! Again! Jeremys Mummy turns and looks at Jeremy. She smiles. Janilla also turns and looks at Jeremy. Her eyes are as big and round as saucers, and still streaming with tears of laughter. Her cheeks are wet. She is quite breathless but manages to say: The Clown is YOUR Daddy? My DADDY is the Clown, says Jeremy. WOW! says Janilla. WOW! I wish my Daddy were a clown! Jeremy runs to his Daddy and helps him up. He hugs his Daddy who holds him tightly. A lady comes up to them. She puts a hand on the Clowns arm and says: Mr. Funnyman, excuse me for calling you so, but Danny always called you that. I want to thank you for making my Danny happy. Danny cant be here to thank you himself. He is an angel now. Dannys mother carefully takes a folder out of her bag. Here, let me show you what Danny did, she says. She opens the folder, and this is what Jeremy and his Daddy see: It is a picture of a clown with angel wings. All around him Angels are laughing. He never stopped talking about you. He wanted to be a clown too, said Dannys mother, her eyes bright with tears. The Clown is making a funny sound. Jeremy looks at his Daddy.
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There are tears in his Daddys eyes - real tears. He hugs his Daddy closer to him and his Daddy hugs him just as tightly. Jeremy does not even notice the sharp objects under his Daddys Clown costume that are poking him hard in the ribs. * * *

At Mrs. Xaviers Getting-to-Know-You hour the next day, Janilla sits next to Jeremy. She keeps on looking at him. She looks like she is going to burst. Finally she gives Jeremy a jab with her elbow and hisses in his ears: If you dont tell, Im going to! Jeremy does not wait to be called. He puts up his hand. Yes, Jeremy? asks Miss Brown. Jeremy stands up and says: MY DADDY IS A CLOWN. Mrs. Xavier can hardly make herself heard above the din as she calls for order: Children, children, . . . Jeremy, can I meet your Daddy? Jeremy, can he be a clown at my Birthday Party? Jeremy . . . Jeremy . . . ORDER! shouts Mrs. Xavier. ORDER! Thats better. Let Jeremy go on. Now, Jeremy. Jeremy needs no telling. My Daddy is a clown. Hes got the best job in the world. He
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makes people laugh. He makes people happy. Im going to be a clown too. * * *

That evening at dinner, Jeremy does not push his food around his plate trying to hide the vegetables under the potatoes. He tucks into the spinach that will make him grow big and strong and smiles at his Daddy and Mummy. Mummy, Ill be helping Daddy when he goes to the childrens hospital again. Im learning to be a clown.

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