“There is no Eric, there is only Le Clown.”
- Dana Barrett, Ghostbusters (1984)
April 9, 1996. I’m already ahead of myself. Let’s backtrack it by one day. April 8, 1996. Le Clown doesn’t exist, yet. His backbone does: Le Pre-Clown. He’s 26, handsome, smart, funny, charming, a university literature student and a Blockbuster assistant-manager [college is expensive]. Le uber-cocky Pre-Clown comes from a modest background. He’s going to make it big. He compares himself to 19th century
delusional uber-cocky fictional characters: Julien Sorel, Eugène de Rastignac and Georges DuRoy. Le Pre-Clown is above everything. His recent parents’ divorce doesn’t impact him, and it comes as no surprise that on the night of April 8th, 1996, Le uber-cocky Pre-Clown declines his father’s invitation to meet him for coffee. Le Pre-Clown needs a good wake-up call.
Tuesday, April 9, 1996. 10am. Le Pre-Clown is working an 8-hour shift. He abhors the blue Oxford shirt, tie and khaki pants he must wear as an assistant-manager. But he makes it work. He’s an awesome possum. The phone rings: “Blockbuster Video now pre-selling Braveheart with Mel Gibson, Le Pre-Clown speaking how can I help you?“
- “Le Pre-Clown, it’s MJ.” (MJ is my girlfriend. We’re not in love. It’s convenient).
- “MJ, what’s up? I’m working.” What? I am…
- “I left work. I’m sick. Can you come home?“
- “No, I’m working. Take a nap. Eat soup. Watch T.V. I’ll see you later.“
Noon. Clueless is playing. My colleague and I think it’s funny, and when a customer walks towards the counter to rent a video, we let him/her know that we’re bothered; we’re watching Clueless. The phone rings. Same speech.
- “Le Pre-Clown, it’s me again.“
- “What’s up? I’m
watching Clueless really busy.“
- “I’m really not feeling good. Can you please come home?“
- “No way,
Alicia Silverstone is too funny I really can’t leave the store unattended.“
- “Really? I could sure use some company…“
- “No. Bye.” Seriously.
2pm. The store manager comes in. He wasn’t scheduled until 4pm. But we’re in luck – we’re done with Clueless, and we’re actually working, replenishing the candy rack.
- “Le Pre-Clown, why don’t you go home? I’m here… Take the afternoon off.“
- “Really? Thanks, boss!“
Le Pre-Clown lives 10 minutes away from the Blockbuster store. He’s in no hurry to get back home. MJ is sick. Boring.
- “MJ, I’m home…“
- “Le Pre-Clown, come and sit with me…” Uh oh… I feel a separation coming…
- “I’ve called Blockbuster so you could get a replacement.” MJ starts crying.
- “The police left a message. I picked it up from work.” She’s sobbing. Hard.
- “Your father hung himself this morning. He was found dead with our phone number in his pockets.” … “I’m so, so sorry, Le Pre-Clown.“
And at that very moment, Le uber-cocky Pre-Clown died.