By Lindsay Hunter
Illustration by Carabella Sands
(from Black Candies: See Through)
Most clowns paint their smiles with rounded corners to appear friendlier to children. But boys don’t think they’re afraid of anything. Better they learn. Paint your face with blood and bone…
Here is a clown’s home. The door is a drawbridge. Pom-poms for television dials. Rumpled clownsuit quiltfloor. Pointed hat topping the milk jug. Rustcolored handprints, clown had a party, where are the white gloves? In every mirror, the clown. Behind the face of the clown, a clown. Smeared face on the washcloth. Closets of funnyclothes. Sinks of sillyhair. Little boys everywhere.
Clowns and men need an audience. But it’s easy to find an audience. For clowns and men, it’s important to kill. Clowns and men are desperate to say they killed when someone asks How did it go? I killed. Clowns get away with murder…
Fear the clown, it’s okay. He’s painted a face over his face. He’s got a horrible gash where his mouth is supposed to be. But what a friendly gash. Here, he’s giving you a balloon filled with his breath. Clown giveth and clown taketh.
At the Good Luck Lounge there is a trough in the men’s room. Sometimes a fat clown brushes up against a man when he is going for his turn. Being fat and friendly, he can’t help it. If the man turns, he sees a clown. He laughs or he doesn’t. The clown makes a joke about the balloon animal behind his zipper, or he doesn’t. The clown stuffs the man into his clown car, or he doesn’t.
Fear the clown. Clown has a wife as fat as he. Clown’s wife has meat breath and a gold crown. Clown’s wife looks and finds, so stops looking and finding. Clown’s wife has kissed that red mouth and tasted friendly lipstick. Pretends not to notice the smell. Can’t wipe the smear away. Clown’s wife focuses on the blue eyes painted around the blue eyes. At the block party, Clown’s wife watches Clown torment a balloon for the children. A neighbor whispers Your husband’s a fag, Dearie.
Paint your face with blood and bone…
Clowns don’t love children. Clowns thrive on children. Put on a costume. Paint another face on your face. Decide you’re someone. Then try not to crave. You will fail.
Hide and seek… hide and seek…
You know, bland Midwestern blimpos know how to tie tourniquet knots just like every other boy scout. You know, weakchinned salivating sissies can be as empty as a trench. You know, tremblefleshed wifebound line cooks jailed for sodomy learn quick how not to be jailed the next time. The word is pederast. If I paint lips on, is it a real kiss? The word is clown.
Clown of 33 flavors: salt, blood, dirt, lime, river, breath, shoelace, no breath. So many flavors I wasn’t. Think about that. Like shotgun. Or blade. Or moonlight. Or failure. My last words were Kiss my ass. That’s funny. I stand by it.
Lindsay Hunter‘s story, “I’m Pogo” appeared in Black Candies: See Through, which was published by the San Diego-based literary and performing arts non-profit So Say We All in 2013. You can purchase the book here. Black Candies: See Through features original literary horror fiction from Sarah Jean Alexander, Ken Baumann, Aaron Burch, Juliet Escoria, Sarah Rose Etter, Julia Evans, Lindsay Hunter, Jac Jemc, Rory Kelly, Cameron Pierce, Anna Prushinskaya, Natanya Ann Pulley, Jim Ruland, C.A. Schaefer, Zack Wentz, Jay Wertzler, and Adrian Van Young. Edited by Ryan Bradford and Jay Wertzler. Illustrations by Adam Vieyra, Carabella Sands, Laura Gwynne, and Andrew McGranahan. Read more about Black Candies here.
And stay tuned, because we will announce the theme for our next issue of Black Candies this Halloween. Here’s the teasingiest of teasers: