For the reading I did last week rather than the typical boring bio listing all the places I’ve been published and yada yada yada, I submitted this as my intro: "Emily Bingham is a writer of smut, a teacher of rope, and an occasional fetish model. She’s been tied to a tree during an Oprah network interview, got her first story published completely on accident, and was briefly kidnapped by a clown at the age of 5. After partaking is such a dull and uninteresting life she decided to write about it. Her memoir Diary of a Rope Slut will be out in May."
I already told one of those stories last week. And you can watch the video of the other. But it’s always the clown story that people can’t believe. So here goes: the catalyst for my lifelong hatred of clowns.
At a young age I was 2 million times more introverted and shy than I am today. So when my family went on a trip to Baraboo, a circus that’s the size of a small tourist town in Northern Wisconsin, you better bet I was cowering behind my parents when they took me to the clown show.
The end of their performance involved the main clown--a horror show of plaid pants, an uneven orange wig and a jokey fake flower that squirted water—choosing a boy and a girl from the audience to go with him to lead the circus parade. The hideous sadist saw me hiding at the back of the room as far behind my mother as possible and thought, “Now that’s a kid that would enjoy holding my hand for an hour.”
He roughly grabbed my wrist without talking to me or my parents, grabbed an equally shy boy and proceeded to literally dragged us through Circus World, marching as the conductor of this whole terrible ordeal across the town long parade route. His grease paint was running in the mid day Wisconsin heat and his gloved hand gripping my wrist tight, so I couldn’t wiggle way, was uncomfortably sweaty. The entire time he made stupid jokes and repeated his clown laugh until it was absorbed by my soul and would appear in my nightmares for years after.
Today he would probably be sued and shamed on social media. In the 80’s this was his everyday routine.
At the end of the parade, he led me and the near crying little boy to the world’s saddest camel who had the shitty job of walking in a small circle while children rode on his humps all day. Our “reward” was to ride this camel together until our families could find us. Clowny McMurder Face giggled his way back to the big top after strapping us to the camel humps.
The boy and I cried freely now. It had been over an hour since he’d kinda sorta kidnapped us without telling our parents where to find us so it felt like we might be lost forever. Finally I heard my mother screaming and making a fuss as someone directed her to the camel area. “Emily where have you been, get down here, we’ve been worried sick about you. Don’t you ever run off like that again.”
Thanks Mom, love you too, wasn’t already scared out of my head without adding “afraid of getting punished by illogical Mom” to the list. The little boy’s parents were close behind and soothingly calmed their kid and helped get me down with a few kind words before my mother dragged me off towards the car.
So yeah, fuck creepy clowns.
The reading at Salon Skid Row was pretty kick ass though. Look at us high on post reading excitement!
Robert read a story that has forever changed the way I will look at gum balls and provided us all with a pleasingly long list of interesting descriptors for buttholes. I get the feeling that Cynthia enjoys blow jobs. And I read a cuckolding story written in Noir style. It was a great night.
Josh Lubin gathers readers every Tuesday at the Corner Bar in downtown Portland for his Salon Skid Row reading series. Check it out sometime if you’re in town! You never know what amazing stories will be there to fill your face holes. You might even meet an Armenian hit man at the bar.