Flash Friday – ‘Tears of the Clowns’

Circus clowns visit sick boy. CC photo Boston Public Library. Image sourced: flashfriday.wordpress.com

Circus clowns visit sick boy. CC photo Boston Public Library.
Image sourced: flashfriday.wordpress.com

Tears of the Clowns

‘Even the gosh-durn dog looks terrified, Walter.’

‘Sure. Sure. But just give them a second, okay? These are my best guys.’

‘They’ve had ten minutes already! If they coulda made the kid laugh, he’d be laughin’ by now. Kickin’ up his liddle feet. Clutchin’ his liddle sides.’

‘Aw, you’re too hard on these guys, Jasper, I mean – hey! Wait!’

‘What? What?

‘The kid! He’s cracking a smile. He is!

‘Hm. Looks like gas, to me.’

‘No way, man. It’s Teddy’s ‘Vanishing Apple’ trick. Never fails.’

‘Vanishing Apple, huh? Ends up in the kid’s ear, right?’

‘Ah – well. Usually, someone’s rear end, actually.’

‘Sounds… unsanitary.’

‘They don’t eat the apple afterwards, Jasp.’

‘Small mercies. Kid’s still not smilin’, though, Walter. And now the dog looks distinctly uncomfortable.’

Dang it.’

‘I’m calling it, my friend. Joke Death: 08:17:23. Pull those guys out. Oh, and someone contact a veterinarian? Ask ’em if they’ve ever surgically removed an apple from a dog.’

**

This week’s Flash! Friday challenge involved a picture of clowns – which, of course, you’ll see from the image I’ve reproduced above – and we had to include ‘surgery’ as the other prompt. Like a lot of people who watched ‘IT’ at an impressionable age, I don’t have a high opinion of clowns, which is sad in a way because they’ve been an inextricable part of circus life for thousands of years. There are some fantastic dark, scary short stories written about clowns, none better than John Connolly’s ‘Some Children Wander by Mistake’ (included in his anthology Nocturnes which I would highly, highly recommend), and so I decided (unusually for me) that I was going to try to write something funny. The first thing to strike me about the image was the tiny dog, and the expression on its face, and the narrators’ voices – I imagine them observing proceedings from behind a one-way glass screen, like in an old cop movie – told me what was going on, and so I wrote it down.

My schedule, and my brain, have been all over the place for the past few days. I haven’t been myself. I hope I have a handle on things again, now, and I’m glad to have completed a story for Flash! Friday with relatively little struggle; it’s a good sign, I think, that I’m getting back up to speed. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my small tale about the clowns and their little dog, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow for a book review, and let’s hope it’ll be all systems go next week. Alley-oop!

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