An Explanation

Doctor Goldstein,
Times Staff

The mirror reflected a frown cascading down the wrinkles of an aged face. After 33 years, life had painted itself on that once clean slate with deep scars and purple bags. A hand, weathered from sifting through strangers shit, grasped for the Ben Nye White on his wife’s desk. “Fucking bitch” he growled to the empty audience of his bedroom as his jaded face was powdered into a clean white template. He winked at his reflection as a oversized red smile began to bloom.

“Now” he exhaled to the room with relief, digging through his wife bureau, “where’s my fun knife?” He pushed a pile of socks to the side, revealing a steel meat cleaver. Picking up the wooden handle, he giggled at himself in the reflection before licking the flat of the blade. “Yyyummyyy” he whispered, dragging out the first and last ‘Y.’

“Daddy will you read me a bedtime story” his daughter chirped from her bedroom.

He froze with an ironic gesture of shock, then tiptoed into the kitchen with exaggerated strides, trying to stifle his giggles.

“Where are you going? Does a clown need their septic pumped?” his wife said coldly, glancing at him through the bloodshot corner of her eyes. Her hands scrubbed angrily at the dishes in the sink.

“Now Karen...” he said with a bi-layered smile, “why the fuck would I tell you?”

He honked her nose twice and left through the front door, mud dancing off his boots with each skip towards the company truck. He paused at the door, staring at the words painted on the side - Hampshire County Plumbing . Cocking his head to the side, a growl purred from the bottom of his throat, rolling into an aggravated roar. The jaundice in his eyes was conquered by a white anger, and levering the momentum in his shoulders he slashed the cleaver into the heart of the logo.

He smiled and drove off into the night, watching his wife stare blankly down a foaming drain in the rear view mirror behind him.

The truck door swung open and on oversized red shoe stepped out. Prying the cleaver from the metal slab of meat he tuned into the sounds leaking from the cracks of a lichened barn. “And we’re sick of it..!” The rest was drowned out with supporting cheers.

Throwing the barn door open, a chaparral landscape of multicolored wigs was revealed in front of him. Their shadows, cast by a burning pile of mannequins, danced on the elongated body of a man in a tattered blue suit. In his stilts, he towered over the crowd facing him.

“Masked! They’re all masked! Hiding their frowned faces behind painted on smiles. They’re the real fucking clowns! And they dare to be scared of us?! God only knows what hideous reality lies behind that makeup!” The man danced with his hands and stilts for emphasis as he spoke. “The last thing they want to hear is the truth!” A cunning smile sprouted beneath his artificial red lips. “So, gentleclowns, if they don’t want to hear us, we’ll have to show them. Make them feel the truth!” His smile outgrew the paint on his face. “And we will, we will. But for now… let’s fucking party!”

The stilted man's eyes rolled back behind his blue eyeshadow as ‘Entrance of the Gladiators’ vented from a piano in the corner of the room. “A true circus classic!” he sang as his fingers danced on the broken keys.

The crowd erupted into a frenzy; dancing, juggling their knives, and drinking heavily. A midget in a green wig shattered his bottle of Smirnoff off the head of a burning mannequin, spreading the fire across the floor and igniting the leg of the piano. The stilted man continued to play and the crowd continued to revel as the fire danced up the wooden frame of the barn. He roared with a euphoric rage at the structure, collapsing above him.

The clouds of ash settled and the piano, still burning, hummed the final cadence of the outro. “Let’s ride” he said, breaking the shocked silence. A herd of cars drove off in different directions, leaving their fallen allies behind, smiling, in the burnt rubble.

A pair of jaundiced eyes glowed from a thicket of trees, watching a flock of freshmen return home from a night of raging face. “Here we go” he said with a furtive smile.

“Rachel you’re like gone” one of the guys in the flock boomed in a voice contrived deep in his chest.

“No i’m fine, i’m like actually fine,” she replied back, words dribbling through her cherry lips.

“Ain’ I’m...finna… be oooon!” Another girl sang over the baseline of conversation.

“I’m beyooooooond!” the other girls chimed back.

The guys exchanged irritated eye contact over the heads of the singing girls.

“That shit’s so real” one of them interceded, coming to a halt in the middle of the South West tunnel. She wrestled a phone out of her back pocket, angling it up and to the side.

“Hey lil' mama would you like to be my sunshine?” they bellowed at their reflection in that little glass screen, reflecting their immaculately painted faces and contorted bodies.

The camera panned slightly up, revealing an oversized pair of red shoes skipping towards them. They froze and the clown froze with them, pretending to be startled by their observation of him.

One of the guys let out a shrill, gargled cry from the top of his throat and hiking up his skinny jeans he sprinted towards Kennedy tower. The rest of the flock followed suit, leaving the clown giggling to himself, alone, under the sterile lights of the South West tunnel.

@CrispyBasil: Holy fuck theres a dude dressed up as a clown under the South West bridge #shitsfucked

Angry mobs poured from the South West towers, armed to the teeth with baseball bats, hockey helmets, boxing gloves, and plenty of booze. Confused at first, the sea of students soon boiled into a exulted riot, gushing towards the tunnel.

The Minutemen, equipped and ready for battle, halted at the mouth of the underpass, mesmerized. The clown stood there, giggling, at the opposite end, which seemed worlds away. “Uh oh” he snickered at the mob, waiting for them to make the first move. They charged towards the clown, still giggling to himself, as he hastily tip toed away.

Bottles catapulted from the heart of the frenzied horde, a 40 oz of Old English shattering off the clown’s red wig. He fell and turned in submission to the swarm gathering around him. As he looked up, his blue eye shadow and white face paint ran down his cheeks, staining the frill of his polka-dotted onesie and revealing the wrinkles on his jaded face.

“Did I… scare you?” he asked, looking back down sheepishly.

The only response was a ubiquitous blank stare. He smiled contently to himself. “Kind of felt good, didn’t it?” he said, directing his attention to a boy holding a Louisville Slugger.

The look in the boy’s eye didn’t change as he raised the Slugger above his head. The clown held his hands up in defense, still wielding the meat cleaver. The boy caught a glimpse of his reflection in the steel blade, pausing for a moment, before bringing the bat down with an unearthed force.

He looked up, blood splattered across his pale face, and for the first time in his life, smiled.

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