“What the fuck does a clown have to do with a pretty girl?” She was incredulous, I suppose, mostly for the same reason that I was. But it couldn’t be helped, it wasn’t just coincidence. Though it was straight out of an eighties romance novel gone bad, and not in a good way.
The clown, well, she had always been afraid of clowns. I hadn’t, though. In fact, I have always been a fan of Bozo’s Big Top, and I really like the Krusty character on The Simpsons.
But not her. Said clowns creep her out. Said that clowns weren’t quite right, an you had to watch after ’em. Had to. Or they would get you.
To make matters worse, the girl and the clown were in the diner with us. IN the diner. And she couldn’t stop fucking staring. Mary, I mean. Couldn’t stop.
“Why is she with HIM?” It was more of a pleading than a question.
I flagged down the waitress and we ordered some 2am breakfast, same as always. Flo took the order, chewing gum, straight outta Mel’s Diner.
“Gawd, look at his collar! And those shoes!” I might has well have been on Pluto, alone in my lost planet status.
But it seemed to backfire all-at-once: the clown caught her gaze. I don’t know if he read her lips, but he didn’t look happy. Wide-eyed and uncertain, Mary turned away and rebuked ME that I shouldn’t look. Why you buggin, Mary Mary?
The clown came over and stared her down. Then me. We did our best to not look at him as he towered over us. The girl in his booth was laughing. A drunk laugh, half cackle, half snort, half guffaw.
“Hello, Mary,” he smiled.
“H-how…” and the clown pushed into the booth next to Mary, and put his arm around her shoulders. His teeth were bared, black in between, yellow on the surface. The smell of tobacco put me off.
“Hey, mister, you can’t -”
“I AIN’T talkin’ to you, buddy. I’mma talkin’ to this here lady.” He slowly turned back to her, locking gazes. “AIN’T I, Mary?” He snorted out a smoker’s laugh of his own and put his hand on Mary’s leg. This was getting to be too much.
“Hey, Bozo, get the fuck outta here, or I’m gonna call the cops.”
“Call ’em,” he whispered in husky gruff, and licked Mary’s face.
I stood and went for the clown, but hadn’t noticed that his whore had come over and wasn’t laughing now. She was staring, wide-eyed, mouth agape, head cocked. This bitch was seriously fucked up on something. And she reached out and grabbed my arm, twisted it behind me and cuffed it in one smooth motion, grunted, and laughed, her hot breath raising the gooseflesh on my neck.
“Oh, don’t worry about him, we have plans for HIM. We have DESIGNS for HIM. We done spun some MACHINATIONS ’bout HIM,” the thick, hot, still air was sweating the white makeup off the clown, and he was silver beneath. “We gots PLENTY of DESIGNS for the likes of HIM,” he was shouting now.
I found myself face-down, face-to-face with several old french fries and cobwebs, with a size 10 boot on my neck. It hurt. It really fucking hurt, and my face wasn’t too happy to be squished in filth.
“What do you want fr-”
“Hush, now. We gonna make it right. Ain’t we, Sweetums? … AIN’T WE?”
“Yeah. Right. Real right. Real good. Yeah.” And she pulled her boot off my head and pulled out a gun. The sirens distracted her. I could see Flo cowered under a table on the other side of a restaurant, phone between her legs.
“Gotsa go, Buttercup.”
“Yeah. Go. Gotsa. Yeah.” Her laugh was maniacal now, hysterical in the moment. But I don’t think she really knew what she was doing. Or what she was going to do.
She shot the clown in the head. She was shaking and laughing and giggling as he slumped into Mary’s lap; Mary was too shocked to scream. Bits of brain were on her face, which was covered in blood that stood out against her colorless face.
Flo was transfixed, jaw on the floor, and Mel looked like he was headed for heart attack #3.
“Baby don’t need no clowns. Baby don’t NEED no CLOWNS,” she repeated, and giggled again, put the gun back into her pants, shook her hair back, and walked slowly out of the restaurant. The sirens were louder, but she might just make it past them.