The two-hundred mile car chase was enough to end our hitchhiking experience. Noel and I found our way to the downtown Cincinnati Greyhound Bus Terminal where we each bought a sixty-six dollar one way ticket to Los Angeles. For the better part of four days, we bounced our way through small towns and big cities, picking up grandmothers, felons, migrant workers, ex-cons, college students, the criminally insane, and a clown.

My brother, Scooter, was afraid of clowns. It was a fear he never grew out of. He still won’t step foot in a McDonald’s, worried that an encounter with Ronald could prove lethal.

The clown, Gary, did not speak. I learned his name when he beeped his horn at me and handed me a card as he sat down in the seat directly across the aisle from Noel and I. His card read:

Professional Clown Services
Children’s Parties,
Bar Mitzvah’s and Funerals

I looked over at him. “Funerals, huh?”
Gary nodded.
“Much money in that?”
Gary beeped his horn excitedly. He rubbed his thumb and forefinger together, telling me in his clown way that there was, in fact, good money in funeral clowning.