The other night at Barnes and Noble, I had the good fortune of being gifted a book called “The Amazing Story Generator”. Now, I love a good writing prompt as much as the next crazy writer, but this one takes the cake. It is a flip book which has three sections that you can mix and match to prompt a story idea. Click the link for more info, images, and to snag one of your own from Barnes and Noble if you feel inclined.
Okay, I flipped the pages and got:
1. The night before the wedding
2. A clown in training
3. Receives a very important phone call
Oh baby…and we’re off!
The night before his wedding to his fiancee, who works at Wal-Mart as a greeter on the midnight shift, the clown trainee, Jerry Bob aka Bungo, got a very important phone call. Jerry Bob had been seeing Thelma Jean for five years and last month she had given him an ultimatum to either marry her or she was going to start seeing the night shift forklift operator. Jerry Bob would be damned if he was going to let that happen, so he finally broke down and asked her to marry him. He used to work with Thelma Jean before he decided to get serious about his future and went away to clown college. There’s no way that other guy could make her as happy as he could.
Granted he was just a trainee with the local circus and was only getting paid minimum wage and a nice supply of cheap beer, but he was making a few extra bucks here and there when he cleaned the crap out of the monkey cages too. It was only a matter of time until he was picked up by one of the big circuses anyway and Thelma Jean knew it. She accepted his proposal right away. He had shown up at her 17 foot camper trailer at the RV park out by the highway with a ring he had gotten off a guy down by the gas station and surprised her. She opened the door to her little trailer, wearing nothing but a nylon nightgown and a head full of curlers.
Jerry Bob went down on one knee and Thelma Jean knew right away that he was going to ask her to marry him. She started jumping around in excitement so hard that one of her big pink plastic curlers bonked him on the head as he slid the gold plated, cubic zirconium creation onto her finger. They had been cruising along on a cloud of happiness for the past 27 days, hurriedly making wedding arrangements. Jerry Bob had talked his uncle into getting him a deal on the use of the Elks Lodge after they got done tying the knot at the courthouse. His buddies had chipped in to buy a few kegs of beer and the use of Billy Otis’ hot dog cart. Everyone knew that no one could beat Billy Otis when it came to premium toppings. He was the only wiener vendor in fifteen miles that even carried sauerkraut.
Thelma Jean had asked her aunt to make her a wedding dress using some material that her mother had bought on clearance at Jo-Ann Fabrics when her little sister was supposed to get married a few years ago. The lace had yellowed a bit, but thank God for Oxy-clean. Her maid of honor still had her dress from her prom that she had never been able to wear, because she had quit school to work at the grocery store full time and everything else was just falling right into place. Their friends were buying flowers as well as bringing in their stereo speakers and CD’s for the music. It was going to be perfect.
So, the night before the big day Thelma Jean was working and Jerry Bob was sitting in his efficiency apartment watching TV when his phone rang. It was the bearded lady from the circus, Lou Ellen. She was practically breathless when he picked up the phone. “Jerry Bob”, she said throatily, “I know that I should have said something sooner. My timing is the worst. I just can’t let you marry that woman. I’ve been in love with you since the first day we met”.
Jerry Bob was quiet for a full minute. He had always thought that Lou Ellen was really pretty underneath all that facial hair. Plus, she ‘got’ him. After all, she had been a part of the circus life for way longer than he had. There were things that he could talk to her about that he could never talk to Thelma Jean about. It wasn’t that he hadn’t tried to explain the lifestyle to her, but she didn’t understand. She still wanted to talk about the old job and friends from Wal-Mart. He sure was in a pickle and had to make a fast decision.
He raced over to see Thelma Jean at work. She chided him about seeing one another so close to the wedding. He apologized and asked if he could use her employee discount card. She handed it over, saying that she was glad to be marrying someone so conscientious about saving money. He went to the health and beauty section and grabbed a beard trimmer, then went to find a bouquet of flowers, and a greeting card. After he checked out, he found Thelma Jean and handed her the discount card, flowers, and greeting card before breezing back out of the automatic doors. Bungo then headed over to the circus camp and tapped on Lou Ellen’s tiny trailer door.
Thelma Jean took her break about an hour after Jerry Bob left, ducked her big blonde haired head, and burst into tears as she read the card that he had bought. It was an “I’m Sorry” card. He had apologized for causing her any pain and explained how he had fallen in love with someone else. She couldn’t believe that she had been dumped the night before her wedding. The forklift guy walked into the break room as she was sobbing and sat down, asking her what was wrong. He listened very sweetly as she told him what had just happened and let her know that he had never thought that her ex fiancee was good enough for her anyway.
Meanwhile over at the circus camp, the sound of the beard trimmer could be heard buzzing away into the night as Jerry Bob shaved the hair from Lou Ellen’s face. After he finished up, he discovered that she wasn’t really as pretty as he thought she would be. Still though, she understood him. As they crawled into the bunk that was Lou Ellen’s bed, Jerry Bob’s hand brushed over her shoulders. To his horror, they also were covered with thick hair. He fired the beard trimmer back up and wondered what he had done. When he tried calling Thelma Jean from his cell phone at 4:30 in the morning after Lou Ellen fell asleep, he was coldly greeted by the forklift guy. What else could he do now but show up at the courthouse with Lou Ellen? He wasn’t sure what they would do to survive though. After their act of shaving the night before, her gig as the bearded lady was up. It would be okay. Maybe he’d just have to learn to live with the hair.