Thanks to Codex99 for the facts used and not used in the following fictitious story. It is based on real-world events, but what happens in the story is depends upon characters who crawled out of my head.
In other words, don’t sue, because it’s not you I’m writing about. You right there, maybe, but not you over there.
If you haven’t yet, please check out yesterday’s set-up story here before reading today’s.
. – . – .
The New Life
Where do I begin to make things right for Evelyn Francis McHale?
If I target a pivotal time in her life, it won’t be when she’s on the elevator ride to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. Her plans to end her life was just that – a plan that unfolded over time.
The image is called, ”The Most Beautiful Suicide”. Evelyn was planning death long before she wrote the suicide note, bought a ticket to the observation deck one thousand feet above New York City, and ended up on the limousine. At least that’s my theory.
As tempting as it would be to interview Evelyn on her train ride to and from Easton, Pennsylvania to visit her fiancé, I’m convinced that I could not have changed her mind.
Her decision was taken. Evelyn’s goodbye kiss to her fiancé the morning of her death was exactly that. It was goodbye. She had no intention of marrying him a month later.
Since today is Thanksgiving in the US, let’s chose November 27, 1930 to drop in. Evelyn was seven years old then, 16 years before her tragic death.
Before New Year’s Day, 1931, Helen will leave her family, and she and her husband will divorce. Little is known about the divorce agreement, but Helen’s husband Vincent was granted custody of their daughter.
Vincent accepted a job with the US Government in Washington, D.C., and had just moved his family east. The first step to begin their new life would let them experience the wonders of New York City.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1930
Look across the street, to the right of the large creepy inflatable thing. Not the creepy floating round smiling head with teeth, the other creepy inflatable thing with the surprised expression, floating just above the street. The one that’s being led by a group of clowns dressed in white.
Now look in front of the entrance of Trivers Clothes, under the sign that reads, “50 Branch Stores Coast to Coast”. That’s the McHale family.
You may have trouble picking them out, but they are there. The three of them are smiling for the first time in years. I’m going over to turn the smiles into laughter, after all, clowns have the power to do that.
. . .
I dropped the cable. The slow march down the street continued without me, but the inflatable figure over my head leaned slightly to one side. I fell out of line and walked from the middle of the street toward Trivers Brothers, forsaking my assigned place in the parade.
“Hey you can’t let go of the line like that,” the clown next to me yelled. “They told us not to let go, no matter what. You let go. You can’t do that.”
I waved and kept walking. “Got a job to do,” I said.
“You’ve got a job to do alright. Come back here!”
At the entrance to Trivers Brothers, I walked up to a seven-year-old who was standing with her mom. The two were holding hands.
“Little girl,” I dropped to one knee, “you don’t know me, but I know you.”
Evelyn hid behind her mom’s skirt, but peeked around to look at me, trying to decide if I could be trusted. Her smile had left her face, but it had not gone far.
“I’ll make you a deal. If I guess your name and I’m right, you give me a hug. If I guess wrong, I give you a lollipop. Deal?”
“What do you say,” her mom asked. “She’s a little shy,” she said.
“You don’t have to answer the strange clown if you don’t want to,” her dad said. He looked at me without smiling.
“What do you say, Evelyn,” I asked. “Is it a deal?” Evelyn’s mouth opened wide in disbelief but she didn’t say a word.
“How did you know that,” her mom and dad said, as one voice. Evelyn’s mom was grinning as much as her husband was frowning.
“How did you know my daughter’s name,” her dad asked.
“Clowns know things,” I said, grinning at Evelyn the whole time.
“Listen pal,” Evelyn’s dad said. “I don’t know what kind of trick you think you’re pulling here, but –” Helen put her hand on her husband’s shoulder.
“Evelyn,” I interrupted, “if I guess your mom and dad’s name, you three will agree to be my Thanksgiving Dinner guests, my treat.”
I got three blank stares back. Evelyn was coming around. She had made her way in front of her mom’s skirt, closer to me. “Deal,” she yelled, then giggled.
“Then I am honored to say that a table for four has been reserved for Thanksgiving dinner tonight, November 27, 1930, 6 pm at the Governor Clinton Hotel Restaurant.”
“Wait,” Evelyn said. “You didn’t guess –”
“Table for four, my dear,” I said to Evelyn. “To include your dad, Mr. Vincent McHale, your mom, Mrs. Helen McHale, and, of course, the most beautiful Miss Evelyn Francis McHale.”
“But who are you,” Evelyn said.
“I,” I said, producing a strawberry lollipop from out of midair, or from my sleeve, whichever is more unexpected, “Am just your average unemployed clown who knows things.” I handed the lollipop to Evelyn. “That is who I am.”
. . .
“Dinner was delicious.” Helen said. “Thank you for your invitation.”
Mr. McHale said nothing at first. After eating everything on his plate, he spoke for the first time since he sat down. “I think we’re due an explanation,” he said.
“I agree,” I said. I was relieved to be out of the clown makeup, and wearing civilian non-clown clothes. “I”m here to help you, all of you, in the transition to your new life.”
“Do we need help daddy?” Evelyn waited for her dad to answer.
– . – . –
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