Not Funny Anymore
by Simon Evans
The first scene is of a meadow. The billowing, green fields flanked by ominous, majestic mountains. There is no sound but that of the wind. Gradually a herd of Yak appears on the brow of the slope, looking like unkempt cows. Their bells clunk in a dull melody. The other sound is that of the farmer.
“Capnar upex, upex, upex”.
A close up of the farmer, who looks back at the camera without judgement. His face is a worn leathery parchment. Dark eyes, bright and wise. Teeth like fallen rocks. He chews and spits.
“Capnar upex, upex, upex”.
The wind, the bells, the voice.
The Yak and the farmer continue their progress towards the camera – the sound of hooves and the snorting of yak becoming audible. The herd walk past the camera. The scene is now one of hairy legs and swaying hairy bellies. The trudging of hooves. The dull melody of the bells. The farmer’s call now more distant.
“Capnar upex, upex, upex.”
At the height of noise the scene suddenly cuts to a small girl playing outside a yurt. She is sitting with her legs stretched out in front of her. She watches as a small dog runs in circles, chasing its tail, barking excitedly. The girl giggles. A close up of her face. Her lively eyes squint against the sun as she looks back at us. She exudes a healthy glow. Her hair is tied in two braids, one with a white hairband, the other pink. She skips around the perimeter of the yurt, her voice tinkles in a happy sing-song.
“Doggy upex, upex, upex.”
The dog follows her.
Cut to the homely gloom inside the yurt. Mother stirring a large clay pot of yak milk. Close up of her face. Her skin is happily creased, her teeth nip her lower lip gently and her eyes dance like rock pools at night. Her expression is of contented preoccupation. A baby gurgles contentedly. She is rolled tightly in an ornate sheet on a rug on the yurt floor. Mother sings softly to herself, the boiling pot of milk and to her baby.
Cut to the interior of a cave. An elderly man looks back at the camera. Skin like a tea stained map of a hilly region. Mouth opens to reveal no teeth. Black eyes searching ours. He sits cross legged. Before him is a glockenspiel of broken bones. The bones are arranged in order of size on an iron frame, smallest on the left. The man lifts two bones and strikes the skeletal instrument rhythmically. Over the clink and clacking of this gruesome instrument a sound like a didgeridoo comes from the man’s throat. After several minutes the song finishes. The man places the drum stick bones into his sleeve and looks back at the camera. He grins. No teeth.
Cut to the roar of a river. We look at the charging water from above. The cold, clear water cascades over rocks. The roar of the river, nothing else. For five minutes and nine seconds. The roar of the river, nothing else. Remote and majestic, untouched. Splendid. The roar of the river, nothing else.
A lark swoops into the grassland next to the river. It scampers through the grass, head constantly bobbing nervously. The camera follows the lark as it flits away into woodland. Something incongruous captures the eye of the cameraman. The camera jerks and tries to focus. There! Something on the far hillside of the valley. Something red. No. More than that. Something strangely colourful, discarded on the hillside. Much zooming and refocussing. A sharp intake of breath is heard over the roar of the river.
“What the hell? What the hell?”
The cameraman keeps the camera running as he carefully navigates the shingle which leads down to the river.
He follows the river until he reaches a shallow area. He hesitates then crosses the river, placing his feet carefully on the wet, treacherous rocks.
Progress is quicker across the grassland, a little slower through the woodland. The sound of the lark, the heavy breathing, the footsteps. When we emerge from the woodland the cameraman refocuses on the hillside. We scan across for a moment and then we see it. There! Something colourful. Something that shouldn’t be there.
“Shit. What the hell?”
We pick up a path, trodden into the land over many, many years by various ruminants and the occasional lone hunter. The cameraman stops on the twisting path to gain his bearings. Again the camera scans the hillside. Again, the heavy, excited breathing. The roar of the water can still be heard but distantly now.
Clambering over rocks now. The cameraman slips and curses. He sits and settles his nerves, takes a drink of water from a bottle.
“Come on, come on.”
We pick up another path which winds up the hillside. We turn a corner – there! A flash of red.
The footsteps stop and we hear the whir as the camera zooms. Fuzzy redness.
“What the hell? Oh shit.”
The camera clicks off. Then on again. Now we’re close up.
A scabby, pale, muddy contorted hand. Fuzzy red hair. Smudged red nose. Striped rainbow tunic. Legs buckled inside yellow dungarees. Face smashed and white, lopsided smile. Real tears have coursed through painted tears.
It’s a dead clown.
The camera pans across the valley. And back.
It’s a dead clown.