November 01, 2005
This is Part Four. The story began here.
At the end of the evening, the tired little carnival wound to a halt and the lights flickered out one by one. A few lingering yokels left wandering tracks in the dew down the midway, while the carnies let their public faces go and closed up their attractions for the night. A drunk straggler loudly wanted one last look at the Topless Lady.
"She's no lady, son, she's my wife. Now get on home. We're closed for the night."
"Buhh... wlalalwala... mhpgr... sheza boo... a baa... jeez shesh perty..."
"Come back tomorra night, we'll be right here. Now you go get some sleep, you hear?"
The drunk turned and stumbled off.
In another tent, a young man set his top-hat on a trunk, stripped off a cheap false mustache, and sat down heavily in a folding chair. He rested his face in his hands and sighed. In a steel cage, two silent crouching clowns watched him with glittering, unblinking eyes. The younger clown swallowed anxiously and licked its chops with a long, pink tongue, showing gleaming white eyeteeth an inch long. The elder, grizzled and with the ugly scar of a long-ago clown bite on his neck, simply watched.
The young man sighed again.
"Time to feed you guys."
He dug two haunches of dripping meat from a cooler and gently handed them through the bars. The clowns seized the meat and devoured it frantically, snarling and snorting to themseves as they ate.
They finished the meat and politely handed back the bones. The young man whispered to the older clown.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry you had to become like this. And about Mom, and... everything."
The old clown's face worked strangely. Sweat broke out on its forehead as it tried to reply. It uttered a strangled barking and a low moan, then finally a sound recognizable as speech. Its voice was distorted, inhumanly deep, the vowels painfully prolonged, but it was speech. The younger clown looked on uncomprehendingly.
"Iiittsss... ooookaaayyy... Juunniioorrr..."
Tears wet the young man's cheeks.
"I love you, Dad."
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Oh, the Pathos, oh, the Ethos, oh, the D'Artagnan!
Yeast must be involved, or a clowan bite, or radioactive mime semen, or something.
Anyhoo, don't let my pedantic bum-flutery detract from this fine Faulknerian tragedy.
jef - wel hes in a tent isn he? why cant teh tent be tron eh? eh?
dr m - havign sworon eternel emnity to crapulence i tahnk u for ur knid wrods.
jtp - right! its litl knowan but their cloasely ralatead to strafish.
ardnaste - im stil tryna get there poeopal to do lunch wiht my popel. which i dont have any pepal actuly so its a hard sel.
i was woried it wulnt be clear but i didn wana make it to obiovious. mabe ill calarify teh spelign of 'junior' whan teh ol clowan says it.
autrey - mom left. but i culdn see any place to sitkc taht in. duno about sistar. probly maried a shoesalsmen.
First Iowa, now Shropshire. One thing's for sure: this is just the start.