Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Grease Paint Hand Print

No kid should ever grow up thinking that a drunken clown hanging around the house is normal. I mean an actual clown with a big red nose and buckets of outlandish face paint, bright, billowing clothing, and dangerous floppy clown shoes. He called himself Slammo, which was truth in advertising, especially when he was all liquored up. Out of the silly clown costume he was my Uncle Danny, and a totally different person.

His two personalities are separate and distinct. Inside the clown costume, Slammo (which was the only name to which he'd respond) was a violent drunk who terrorized and hurt me because "that's what Slammo does to kids who are adopted". He never let up on me over being adopted. When he'd get drunk on cheap vodka he would frequently beat me in the head with his big floppy clown shoes, which really, really hurt. His verbal abuse about me being an unwanted bastard whose real mother was a back alley whore eventually came as welcome relief.

I went to the hospital plenty for injuries ranging from busted lips, knocked out teeth, a detached left eyeball and torn eyelid, a severed (but not separated) left ear, and a broken nose. Once, he even bent me over backwards so far that something popped. Thankfully, it wasn't my back breaking. It was only my hip dislocating, which in hindsight was a true blessing because I spent a year in traction in the hospital, and he couldn't get to me there.

When he wasn't Slammo the Violent Clown, that's when my Uncle Danny actually became a real monster. Physical violence heals, and scars repair themselves. The emotional trauma of being repeatedly groped and fondled, however, cuts deep on an entirely different level, and all these many years later I'm still dealing with the fallout. The drugs pretty much numb the pain.

Uncle Danny wasn't violent with me, and Slammo wasn't sexual with me. This is what I mean about two separate and distinct personalities. One day, however, the Slammo/Danny machine got some wires crossed and everything came unraveled in an instant.

It was lunchtime, and Uncle Danny was babysitting me. My dad had passed away, and mom worked as a secretary for a trucking company. Anyway, Uncle Danny had fixed something for lunch that had chunks of chicken in it. He had been drinking, which meant Slammo wasn't too far away, but I didn't care because I was hungry. He never fed me until I begged my throat raw.

I was wolfing down my food and began choking on a chunk of chicken. I fell out because of lack of oxygen. When I regained consciousness, it was a very surreal scene. All around my mouth and nose was covered with greasy red and white clown paint. Slammo had performed mouth-to-mouth on me, although I'm not convinced he wasn't just making out with me.

He had also groped me, which explained two things when I came to.

The cops were there and had my Uncle Danny/Slammo in handcuffs, and I had a white, greasy, clown-paint hand print on the crotch of my jeans. That son of a bitch had groped my while performing mouth-to-mouth on me!

My Uncle Danny went to jail for a long time after that, where he later took his life. I'm glad I never saw him again. My fear of clowns is too pronounced.

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