He Who Laughs Last…

When Felix achieved his lifelong ambition to be a clown with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, he felt it was time to get married. He was 30-years-old, and had spent the last nine years training to be a classic clown.

The year was 1959, and the famous circus was wintering in Venice, Florida. The owners, John Ringling North and Arthur Concello, had moved the circus from tents to indoor shows a few years ago.

Felix was a thrifty bachelor who saved his money. He dated the same woman, Laura, for two years, and he was very much in love with her. She said she was in love with him and wanted to have his babies.

It was a small, but nice wedding, with mainly family members from both sides attending. Afterwards, they said goodbye to New Jersey, and moved into a one-bedroom house they bought in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

It was more of an investment than a place where they stayed, because the circus was always touring the country. The circus arrived in every city in a precise order. The first train consisted of 22 cars loaded with tents and the workers to set them up.

The second train to arrive was even longer, with 28 cars holding canvas-men, ushers, and sideshow workers. The performers always arrived last in 19 sleeping cars. Felix and Laura had their names written on the wall above their sleeping space in the seventh car.

Felix became a beloved clown who appealed to children and parents alike.

He pushed poodles around in a baby carriage, rode a tiny bicycle, wore a squirting flower that he used on everyone, did acrobatic tricks, juggled everything from bowling pins to toasters, and interacted with the other clowns in funny skits.

One of the secrets of his success was that he was always working on his acts and thinking up new ones. Some days went by when Laura only saw him at bedtime. When they stayed in a city they sometimes got a hotel room for more privacy.

Other performers and their spouses (if they had one) did the same thing if they could afford to. Those who couldn’t afford to, lived in the sleeper cars and tents set up outside near the train.

It was late into their second touring season when Laura started having roving eyes. One of the acrobats, Luigi, considered himself a ladies man and quickly picked up on Laura’s friendly vibes.

It wasn’t long before the two were involved in an affair. Both took every opportunity to be together. She was married, and he wasn’t. They managed to hide their affair for several months before Felix found out.

His first reaction was to confront her about her adultery and ask why?

But as he thought about it the need for revenge grew stronger. Ever since he heard those two acrobats talking about their brother Luigi making time with one of the clowns wives, a hardness settled over his heart.

For the first time in his life he didn’t want to be laughed at.

He didn’t want to hear the gossip that was surely circulating throughout the circus. People were laughing at him because he was a cuckhold. Not because of one of his routines.

One day he saw the two of them together talking by the Tiger cage. He knew who Luigi was now. They held hands for a moment and then parted ways in opposite directions. Felix watched Luigi walk over to his brothers who started laughing when he said something.

Felix watched, just out of sight, behind stacked up bales of hay. An elephant trumpeted loudly, spinning him around in surprise. It’s keeper was bringing food. He walked back inside the big top, picked up some bowling pins, and began juggling them.

His anger was transforming to rage and threatening his sanity. His own thoughts disturbed him. All he could think about was getting the last laugh…

Luigi and Laura were talking about what to do about Felix. They wanted to declare their love to the world. But what was the best way to get him out of the picture? Divorce? Laura didn’t think she could stand the stigma and balked at the idea.

Hot-blooded Luigi brought up killing Felix one day after they were finished making love. Laura acted shocked, but something bad inside her considered the idea. The next time Luigi brought it up she asked, “How?

A monster was stirring beneath Felix’s clown makeup. He looked in the mirror on his dresser and didn’t recognize the eyes that stared back at him. He sat the jar of black grease paint down. This look was unlike any other clown around.

They called it “Blackface” in vaudeville. He pulled on a wooly wig and looked at the transformation. Tonight was the night. He would settle with his unfaithful wife and her lover.

That same night, Luigi talked his brothers into murdering Felix. He convinced them it was a family thing that needed doing. When they left to look for him, Luigi hurried off to meet Laura at a pre-arranged spot across the railroad tracks in an old lineman’s shack.

Not far behind him, Felix stealthily followed with a knife he stole from the circus kitchen. All Luigi could think about was meeting up with Laura. He never heard Felix come up from behind him!

In a swift vicious stroke he cut Luigi’s throat! He gasped for air and blood bubbled up from his lips. His body teetered for a second then came crashing down on the rough gravel. Felix watched his body twitch in its death spasms and smiled beneath his blackface.

Laura asked the lion and tiger tamer, Victor, if the plan would work. Again. He was getting impatient with her. Being the third wheel in a love triangle is never easy. He assured her the police would be waiting for Luigi’s two brothers and would interrogate them.

Felix would be dead, and Luigi would be left out in the cold.

Victor was right. Luigi couldn’t get any colder than he was. He was wrong about Felix however, who came up behind him, and drew his knife cleanly across his throat!

Laura screamed in horror!

Felix couldn’t stop laughing…

As It Stands, affairs of the heart can often be bloody.

New Intergalactic Circus Causes Controversy

 

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Staros – Andromeda Galaxy

Stian Field Grounds

“Step right up folks! See your first circus featuring wild and exotic species from the Milky Way.”

The long line moved smoothly. Families brought their children with them to witness the amazing sights. The atmosphere was full of excitement as Staroians swapped stories about some of the creatures that were going to be on display.

Publicity for the major event was heavy with side bar stories about the species that were being featured.

Opening day was the culmination of two years of searching for specimens throughout the Milky Way. With the guidance of trainers, the collected species were taught to do amusing things.

The circus was owned by Cosmic Entertainment, the largest entertainment corporation on Staros. The ringmaster, Sen-Set Hak, was the son of one of the owners. It was his job to put the show together.

As the audience swelled under the massive Big Top tent, a group of clowns from Pluto scampered around the center ring on all five legs, to the delight of the growing audience.

Two huge, and hairy three-legged Donarts from Venus were being led around the ring by a tall thin Venusian. He snapped his whip now and then for dramatic effect. His glittering green costume reflected light like a mirror.

Sen-Set Hak stood proudly in the center of the chaos. His bulky 15-foot frame was covered in colored gems that made his jacket and trousers glitter brightly. His top hat, made from the coat of a local mammal, was black with a golden band.

After the seats were full, dramatic music blared from hundreds of speakers. Sen-Set raised all three arms, calling for silence. The music abruptly stopped. The audience followed and waited silently.

“Welcome! Today you’re going to see sights you never imagined. Rare and exotic specimens from throughout the Milky Way are here today…just for your entertainment!”

The crowd roared approvingly.

“Allow me to introduce the Saturn Marching Band, featuring the planet’s best musicians!”

A tent flap opened and tiny musicians scurried out in unison. The tallest was two-feet high, and was the band leader. The little troupe paraded around the main ring in bright yellow costumes playing catchy tunes.

Suddenly two saber-toothed tigers from Neptune’s largest forest, ran into the tent and chased the band members around for a few minutes before their trainer called them off. The terrified band members scuttled out to roars of laughter from the audience.

Another tent flap was peeled back and four circus helpers pulled out a large cage made of a see-through material found in the mines of Mercury. Inside were two Martian warriors armed with crude wooden clubs.

Sen-set gave a signal and the two combatants went at it like honey-badgers from Earth. They were evenly matched. Both were six-feet tall with long brawny arms and short thick legs.

Their heads, which looked too small in comparison with the rest of their body, were covered in black hoods so they couldn’t see. Their fierce shouts and screams of pain entranced the audience.

The fight ended suddenly when one of them could no longer stand. The victor silently stood and waited for the audience expectedly.

A voice from the seats cried out, “Kill him!” Then someone else chimed in, “Kill him!” Soon, almost half of the audience was calling for the defeated Martian’s death. The victor took his hood off and obliged by smashing his opponent’s head in.

The blood stained cage was quickly wheeled out during the pandemonium in the seats. People were crying out that it was wrong to watch two species kill each other! Others said it was entertaining.

In the midst of the chaos a tent flap was pulled aside and a group of a dozen Earthlings charged out into the center arena where they did cartwheels and other physical tricks.

“For your pleasure,” Sen-Set shouted over the loud speakers, effectively ending the momentary controversy in the stands, “…we have a group of Chinese Earthlings renown for their gymnastics and acrobatic shows!”

The group hopped around like fleas on speed. Complex routines kept the audience riveted on their act. Their graceful strength and agility was appreciated by the athletic Staroians…many of whom had already forgotten about the brutality of the prior act.

Among the audience however, was a press pool covering the historic event. A popular reporter from a major newspaper in Staro’s capitol city of Werjet, was composing his article while the Earthlings went through their routines.

“Just what defines entertainment?” he asked, in the first sentence.

As It Stands, entertainment can mean different things, in different cultures, and worlds.

 

Go Ahead! Call In The Clowns!

evil-clownAt first, the clowns started showing up at street corners advertising a circus that was coming to town.

After two days, and no circus, people began to wonder what was going on?

On the third day, the clowns were gone from the street corners, but began showing up in alleys and people’s driveways. They never said anything. They just stood there with their exaggerated evil clown smiles.

The town’s mayor and city council held meetings trying to determine how to deal with the silent clowns that were scaring their children. No apparent laws were being broken. They always left at curfew.

How could the townspeople in Knotty Grove, New Hampshire, know that it was the annual Gathering of Crazy Clowns? They came from nearby states. All with criminal records. All with garishly painted clown faces. All, a little crazy.

The tradition began years ago when John Wayne Gacy, serial killer and rapist, invited a few criminal clowns he knew to hunt for victims as a group in a small town in Maine. It didn’t end with his death.

There were ten crazy clowns this year. They advertised on the Dark Web, inviting like-minded murderers to join them every September 15th at a different location. This year it was Knotty Grove’s turn.

The fact that it was such a small, isolated little town without its own police force, made it an ideal target.

Ho! Ho! The Clown, was this year’s host. He picked the hunting grounds with care. It was an honor to select victims. The sense of approval from his fellow serial killers made him feel justified in his bloody dealings.

Just before they broke up and went in search of victims, the Evil Santa Clown said what they were all thinking. “I can’t wait to see the surprise on their faces.”

The mayor, a computer geek, discovered what the clowns were up to and called for a townhall meeting.

“Well, there you have it,” the mayor said, while pointing at the clowns on his computer monitor.

“These clowns are serial killers that like to stalk in groups. They especially like finding small communities like ours.”  

“I don’t think they’re going to like what they find in Knotty Grove,” chuckled the town’s only gas station owner.

Here’s the thing. These clowns won’t be missed by anyone,” the mayor said.

The gathering broke out into cheers, showing their fangs in glee when he gave them the green light to go hunting.

As It Stands, the hunter and the prey story has many variations. This one is mine.