The First Taste Is Always Free

This is a brief excerpt from my forthcoming horror novel, A Well-Oiled Machine.  It’s the tale of a horror writer who finds a typewriter at a pawn shop.  The typewriter offers up stories in exchange for blood.  While Twenty-Sided Die will not be as explicitly gruesome as this, it should give you a good feel for my writing style and talents.  This is still being edited, and I’m violating my own strict rule of never showing my work before it’s fully completed, but you deserve to know what you’re getting into.  As always, the following is copyrighted by me and Bloody Typewriter Entertainment.  Please don’t be a dick.  Enjoy!

 

“So. Clowns, huh? That’s what you got for me? Clowns.”
“Clowns are scary.”
“Not really. I mean, they could be, but…”
“So you like clowns?”
“No. No, I don’t. I hate clowns. But I’m not scared of clowns. I just find them creepy.”

The hulking clown’s shoulders drooped. He was huge, his face greasepainted in a disgusting childdevouring
leer. His muscles strained against his orange and blue jumpsuit, carefully stained in
places with what might have been blood. His hair, coarse and stiff, bozo red, jutted out from either
side of his head like devil horns.

“And them?”

He pointed a gloved thumb over his shoulder. Behind him, two half-sized impish clowns capered.
One, in a tubby tuxedo, rode a unicycle formed from animal bones. Around his rotund waist were
three hula hoops crafted out of barbed wire. The hoops tore blood from his midsection as they
spun. Loops of intestine dangled from his stomach like a droopy pink cummerbund. A sad clown
face twisted in paint: exaggerated tear drops, diamonds around the eyes, a blue down-turned
mouth. Yet the clown belied his makeup and giggled malevolently.

His partner wore white and red ruffled pants, and a green shirt with rainbow suspenders, a coked
out Robin Williams. He juggled a revving chainsaw, a flaming bone, and a still screaming severed
female head. Blonde, 1940’s era, favoring a Marilyn Monroe cut. He sweat with concentration.

“No, no. They’re great. Real impressive.”
“Cause I got more.”

He gestured to the far side of the room and the tiny clown car idling in the corner. Even more
menacing clowns crammed in like sardines. One brandished a bouquet of tiny baby rodent skulls
on flowerstems. A gloved hand pulled a series of colorful scarves from a pocket that soon became
a bloody intestine, a spinal cord, a beating heart. The hand clutched the heart and went rigid,
then still and limp.

“Yeah, they’re all…you know, the intestines are super creepy. Guts are…all gross I guess. Bones
and…wow, right.”

The clown sat on the end of Sid’s bed and sighed. The clown car and two dancing clowns
disappeared in quick flares of fire and brimstone. “I can’t believe we aren’t scaring you. Clowns!”

“Well, there’s no menace. I mean, sure you might kill me and rip me up. But this is obviously a
dream. There’s no chance this is reality. We aren’t even in a big top. It’s my bedroom. And I
don’t care how much I drank. There’s no way anyone’s driving a clown car into this apartment.”
“Oh.”
“But you tried. I mean, under certain circumstances, this’d be fucked up. I’d probably be throwing
up or shitting my pants.”
“That’s kind of you.”
“Tonight. It’s just…I got a lot on my mind.”
“Well, that’s what we’re trying to help you with.”
“I don’t get it.”
“We’re trying to inspire you. Get your juices flowing.”
“With clowns.”
“With nightmares. You know, cracking open that dark part of you to get to the meaty goodness?”
“I have no idea what you are talking about.”
“You write, right? So we’re just shaking up the little thoughts in your mind like a snow globe.
Helping the flow of ideas stay fresh.”
“Yeah, but why not with dreams? Does it have to be nightmares? Why can’t they be nice dreams?
Nice naked sexy dreams with twins and whipped cream and shit?”
“Ah, that’s no help. You ever felt inspired to wake up in the middle of the night after a great
dream? Bullshit. You go right back to sleep.”
“Good point.”

The clown adjusted himself on the bed with a creak of springs. He crossed a big floppy red shoe.

“But a nightmare, you have to share. It’s like taking a bite of something disgusting. Your first
impulse isn’t to spit it out. It’s to make someone else try it. Oh, this is gross, here, eat this. To
share the pain. Also to check and make sure you aren’t crazy.”
“And yet, here I sit, talking to a clown.”
“Ah, it’s just like talking to yourself. “ The clown took out a cigarette and lit it.
“I wish you wouldn’t–“
“Smoke in here? Christ, Sid. It’s just a dream. Relax.”

The clown exhaled.

“So….why clowns?”
“That. We plumbed your subconscious, found something terrible about clowns and your
childhood.”
“No, there wasn’t anything about clowns. Not clown clowns. It wasn’t clowns. It was…it was…”
“Go on.”
“Shh. I’m trying to remember. It wasn’t clowns. It was the circus maybe.”

Sid began to smell popcorn. He could taste it on the back of his tongue. But it tasted off. Not just
popcorn. Popcorn and something else. Salt? Sugar? Nah. It was metallic. Like copper. Like

“Stay with me, Sid. It was the circus. Step in a big old elephant bomb? The bearded lady try to eat
you? See one of the tightrope walkers take a tumble? Did he come crashing down through the net
and break all apart in front of you? Bones snapping through his leotard? Did his brains go
crunchedy squish like a nice fat melon?”

Sid watched the lanky man dance along the wire. He knew he was going to fall. He was only
eight, but he knew the man was going to die. His mother was there, but her face was foggy, like
maybe she wasn’t there. She tried to put a hand over his eyes, but that didn’t stop the man from
falling before the shrieking crowd. Even with the shrill screams of horror, the man fell, and he
saw him hit, head first. His body snapped sharply at the neck, crumpling over his own head. His
face was a ruined mess of blood, but his eyes (eye just one eye that’s the only half of his face you
can see) was still open. Still staring. And smiling. His teeth were so white in all that meat red

“Stop! Wait!”
“Smile, Sid. Say meat!”
“No, it’s not. That’s not what happened. You’re remembering it wrong for me. It was different.
There was no tightrope.”
“At the circus?”
“It wasn’t a circus. It was…goddammit.”
“Tip of the tongue, I hate that, Sid. When someone says, ‘Oh, you remember that movie, you know,
the one with that guy?’ That kills me. Then you spend the rest of the day trying to figure out who
‘that guy’ was. You can picture him. You can see his goddamn face. You can see him speaking the
lines. You can remember every movie he’s ever been in. Even obscure shit. But you can’t
remember the name. It gnaws at the back of your brain. All day. Forget about anything else. You
obsess. It’s so fucking frustrating. Don’t you just hate that shit?”
“Shut up. Shut up. It wasn’t a circus.”
“So you ran into a clown somewhere else? You get molested at a McDonald’s? Ol’ Ronald get a lil’
frisky?”
“It wasn’t a circus.”
“Maybe Dirty Uncle Chet showed you the special way to make balloon animals?”
“It wasn’t a….circus exactly. It was like a circus. A carnival!”
“Nice memory, Sid. A carnival! Tah rah rah boom de ay!”
“It was a church carnival. One of those traveling ones with the rusty rides and meth heads
running them.”
“Of course, you didn’t know that then. You were just a boy.”
“Yeah. I was six or seven.”
“Oh, that’s it, Sid. Remember me. Remember the carnival.”

The clown started to change. His clothes melted and reformed, blues spilling into plaids, a colorful
fountain. He bled, from polka dot to stripes, ruffles now no ruffles, pin stripe to fat stripe to no
stripe. His hair sprouted and curled, uncurled, colors blossoming one on top of the other, one of
those films of a flower blooming or ants devouring a rotting tomato. His hair became flat and stiff,
then a bowler hat with a small daisy in the brim, his face was no longer makeup-ed, but old, no
there was makeup, but just a little. It was an old drunk’s face, maybe someone’s grandfather, no
this guy never had children, well not anymore , no he never did.

The clown spun through appearances, a slot machine in human form. It finally settled on a simple
tweed jacket with patches. His pants were brown and baggy corduroy, over a white button down
and black suspenders. An old man’s face under a bowler hat, with a little bit of hastily applied
makeup. Red circles painted on both cheeks and a red smile around his mouth, an old lady who’d
been eating children. No, that’s too morbid, he was nice, he was sad, an old lady who’d put on too
much lipstick. An old forgotten lady in a nursing home mirror, putting on too much makeup,
remembering the ritual from a time when there were still people around who were coming to kiss
her.

The old clown smiled sadly. As soon as he settled into that shape, Sid felt the temperature in the
room sink. His body went rigid. The memory washed over his brain, someone dumping a bucket
of icy cold water down the back of his shirt. He shook uncontrollably.

It was a carnival, an old traveling carnival in the middle of nowhere, in a clearing in the middle of
a forested area. He was young, only a child (only a baybee).

No, no, no. Sid didn’t want to remember any more. Sid tried desperately to unthink his thoughts.
He tried to push them away, but they were too strong, he had uncorked the dam and now dammit
he

His father was there. Was his mother? She was. She wouldn’t have been. She was. He had
wanted to go so desperately. Begging with a little kid’s swears. Clean up room, rake the leaves,
take out the garbage, walk the dog he didn’t have (his mother was allergic poor thing poor thing
what a baybee). All kinds of food. He could smell popcorn and (something else) cotton candy and
sizzling meat (metallic twisted metallic taste copper) and funnel cake (and death he’s only a
baybee!). He trod the flattend muddy grass path down between the stalls. He made his way to the

Fight it. Fight it. Sid wriggled against the memory, a fish hooked through the brain. He pulled
himself, feeling his brain squish against the side of his skull, pressing flat, juicing his thoughts.

“Sid. Let it be. Go with it. It’s your memory, it won’t hurt you. Not permanently. Don’t fight.
Just let it happen. Get it out of your system. Put the nightmare out there in the light. It’s afraid of
the light.”

Sid could see rides everywhere. Tilt-a-Whirls and Ferris Wheels. An advertisement for the
haunted house (Dante’s Inferno! Will scare you TO DEATH unless your a baybee) Small trucks on
central axle. A whirling swingset lifting people off the ground. A child’s sneaker lands on the mud
in front of Sid. There’s still a foot inside. Don’t be ridiculous. People would be screaming if that
happened. Sid’s drawing away, looking for something else, something special. Something
dangerous. (He’s only a baybee!)

For a second, the clown becomes a giant dormouse, still in the hobo clown outfit. The mouse
winks.

Sid’s resistance snaps like people doing the Whip on an ice skating rink. Sid lets go of his sanity’s
hand and lunges forward into the nightmare into the

line. Step right up. Ride the Wild Mouse! No pushing, no shoving, you’ll all get a turn, step right
up!

It was a twisting track four stories high, with five tiers. Tiny two person cars raced around the
miniature roller coaster track, dipping and rising, screaming around hairpin turns. Sparks
occasionally shot through the night, lighting up the glistening oily tracks. The cars solid black.
Clots in the moonlight. Wet metal mice.

Sid fell forward through the dream, as if he were too close to a movie screen and could see the
individual pixels of light. He was sitting at his typewriter. His face was in a daze, like he was
sleepwalking. His fingers danced over the keys, churning out words, pages splashing aside in
waves in black inky splashing

Sid kept falling. For a moment we was swimming in a black sea. Under a black sky. He was
drowning in midnight. All over his body were glistening metal mice. No, they were leeches.
Leeches chewing on his arms, his stomach, his thigh. He could feel their icy metal teeth, sucking
his blood. Drinking him in. He screamed, but a fat black leech was on his tongue. They had words
on them. Letters. Tiny white letters. Like telephones. No. What has letters? Metal with letters.
Televisions. T word. Tip of the tongue. Like a leech. Type

The clown appeared in the water, pulling Sid by the shoulder. “Easy there, Sid. Come back to the
story. Went a little too far there.”
“Who are you?”
“Come on Sid. Tell me a story. Come back.”
“Who are you? What is this?”
“It’s better if you don’t know.”
“What?”
The clown smiled. “We’re here to help.”

Sid went under. He was in the dream. He was

He was just a boy, no more than eight. He held his father’s hand as he waited in line for the Wild
Mouse. It was a special thing that you could only find at the St. George’s Fall Fete. They brought it
to town, once a year, for three nights. He pleaded and begged his parents. Now he waited. Sid’s
mother stood anxiously out of line, her arms crossed, her code for “EXTREMELY PIOUGHED”.

A hobo clown capered drunkenly behind her. He folded tissue flowers and handed them out to
children and women. He offered a flower to Sid’s mother, who brushed him away angrily.
Above them, the Wild Mouse, a steep whirling dervish. Eight black carts spun on a thin track, a
bite size roller coaster for two. Girls screamed clutching boyfriends like grim death, as the ride
pinioned left right, up down, a tiny field mouse juking and jiving in a race for its life from this
snake chasing to devour it whole.

Sid’s mother came over just as they were about to board. “Norman, Norman. I don’t know about
this. This is not a good idea.”

Sid’s father just shook his head. He was a man of few words. His wife more than made up for him.
“Norman. I don’t like this ride. It’s too big for him. He could get hurt.”

Sid’s father gently nudged him forward in line, a silent defiant act. Sid’s mother’s dander fully
raised. “Norman! You can’t do this! He’s only a baybee!”

Sid turned bright red. He tried to hide his face in his jacket. The teenagers in line behind them
laughed loudly.

Sid’s father grabbed his wife by the arm. Her face twisted in annoyance and pain. Like a gnat had
flown into her mouth. Sid’s father leaned close to her ear and mumbled something. Sid never
knew what his father had said, but the color drained from his mother’s face. Sid’s father kissed
her brusquely on the cheek and released her arm. She instinctively backed away, rubbing the
place where he’d grabbed her. She silently stood where she was before, this time a distant worried
look in her eyes. The hobo clown handed her a flower, with a mock hat lift and bow. She
distractedly took it, a big floppy pink orange one.

Sid felt his father bump his arm, moving him towards the waiting car. Sid smiled with that
daredevil tongue poked out glee of all children about to do something incredibly risky. Leaping
from tree to tree, swinging out over a river filled with jagged rocks, taking a tire and plank of
rotted plywood and jumping a bike over a ditch that had broken more childhood bones than even
the most well-nourished beanstalk giant.

A huge hand came out in front of his face. Sid looked up. A greasy ogre in a Metallica Master of
Puppets T-shirt and apron put a finger on his jacket.

“Hell toothsmile.” Sid knew he was about to be eaten, but he would not cry. Not in front of his
father. He would go to his death a man.

“He’s too small.” the carny repeated. His country accent made all the words squoosh together like
gum stuck under a bus bench. He jerked a thumb at the grinning turtle holding a yardstick. Sid
was about an inch and a half short.

“Scuse us, wittle baybee.” Two teens riddled with a Burger King battlefield of acne pushed past Sid
and his father and climbed in the waiting car. As they tore off down the track, they flung the bird
at the both of them.

“Sawymang” the carny shrugged.

Sid’s father ran his tongue along the bottom of his lip and nodded. Sid assumed defeat. His father
grabbed his shoulder. Here came the Go Team speech. It’s not whether you win or lose its how
you play the game. So what if you played hard and lost, you tried your best. There’ll always be
next time, next season.

“Check him again.” Sid’s father said. Sid craned his neck up. The hand on his shoulder was
holding a $10 bill. Sid’s father stared with a frozen smile on his face. The carny did quick math in
his head. Ten plus nothing equals fuck it. He quickly snatched the ten and disappeared it into the
pocket of his black denim jeans.

“My stake. Joyerride.” He waved them through. Sid’s father piloted him towards the waiting
mouse. Sid climbed up front and buckled the safety strap around his waist. It was a little loose.

“Hold on!” Sid’s father said with childish glee. The mouse lurched forward with a gassy jerk. The
reak of diesel was heavier in the actual cart. It whirled around a sharp corner and started its chain
sputtering ascent to the top. The first climb brought you to the fifth tier of track. From there it
was all downhill. There were no loops or giant drops. It was a ball of yarn in a box of kittens. You
got batted back and forth in a free-wheeling, dipping, whiplash motion. Sid gazed up at the
rickety assemblage of twisting metal. Sparks exploded like fireworks against the darkening sky.
The carts shuddered as they blasted around corners, the rails hissing a banshee screech to match
the shouts and yells of its victims. Riding a metallic spider web down into Hell.

Sid felt himself rising from the seat as gravity spat him towards the ground below. The cart veered
sharply to the side, and Sid started to careen out of the seat. Sid’s father held him with both
hands, but it felt more buddy than safety. Dude, we are about to dive into a world of death and
destruction, but we got this. Two soldiers about to enter a minefield where one of them is surely
going to die.

A devil’s pitchfork lunged at his eye. Sid screamed as the cart banked again. It was the side of
Dante’s Inferno, the haunted house “at the center of HELL!!!” So proclaimed the sign. A
tombstone scratched with hash marks counted the number of people who had “actually died of
fright” while inside.

Sid began to feel a deep sinking feeling in the base of his balls. It would be years before they
dropped and made him a man, like the wind up toy key or pull string on a talking doll, and even
before he realized this is what danger felt like. A primal instinct tried to keep him alive. But our
ancestors rarely had to riding screaming metal deathtraps.

As they took the next wild turn and dip, Sid felt the rails twitching like a dog shitting razor blades.
He wanted to look back at his father, to see his face and make sure everything was alright, and
he’d be fine. But he was afraid that at this velocity, his little head would twist off and land neatly
in his father’s lap. So he stared forward, watching life come to an end before his very eyes.

Sid felt the cart go up on two wheels as they made the next turn. His tiny balls pulled up into his
stomach. The rules had been broken. The ride wanted a sacrifice.

A shower of sparks came down in front of them. Sid looked up and saw the cart above them on the
shimmying track. He wasn’t sure if the motion was from their own stuttering mouse or the one on
the tracks above them.

The average amusement park ride is permanently assembled and tested and retested by a veritable
armada of engineers and architects. Tested to withstand wind shear, all seasons, to ensure
maximum safety regulations are met. However, the Wild Mouse had been rickedly assembled by
two mildly retarded ex-cons with about two cases of Milwaukee’s Old Best and copious amounts of
bathtub speed to help them work through the night. In those arduous working conditions, it was
easy to miss a screw here or forget to clamp a rail there. With those odds, it was actually
surprising more accidents didn’t occur. But Fortune favors fools and despite the five years of rust
pitting most of the ride, things usually ran smoothly.

Statistics decided to make up for lost time.

A cart carrying the point guard and forward for the Kirby High School Galloping Ghosts started it
all. The lanky forward reached out at an inopportune moment and actually managed to grab on to
the support strut. His wrist snapped out of joint, and the boy pulled hard enough to force the cart
to jump the tracks and land in a skittering, metal screeching slide along the rail. The two boys
teetered towards a curve they’d never reach. If they had, the events to come may have gone very
differently.

The cart plummeted through the ride, knocking loose struts and railing couplings like a
cannonball from the Flying Dutchman’s own ship. The wrist-injured forward was spared a
prolonged death, as his head smashed into a lower level support strut and instantly broke his
neck. His teammate was less than fortunate. The cart came to rest, tipped on its side and nestled
in a crook of track, so that it jutted out over the second track. A cart carrying two girls came
raging forward, essentially shearing the horrified boy in half at the top. Most of him landed in the
Tilt-a-Whirl.

The girls’ cart, their bitter duty of dissecting the boy ended, flipped off the tracks and smashed
into the popcorn truck. The front end of the cart accordioned inward, pretty much mashing what
was later identified as Mary Beth, but Cindy was pressed neatly into the turf with the crumpled
mess atop her. The metal framework of the cart had pinned her to the ground, successfully
holding the perfect top half of intact and alive body to the severely mangled bottom half. She kept
trying to drag herself free, grabbing handfuls of muddy grass in claw-like hands, to pull herself to
safety. When one of the carnies finally managed to pull the wreckage off her, she died instantly,
all the organs sliding out the ruined seam opened in her back. The carny immediately quit the job,
found Jesus, and committed his life to landscaping at the church.

Sid did not know what was going on. He heard screams and shouts, but wasn’t aware that the ride
was literally falling apart around them.

The two teens who taunted them earlier had just reached the portion of track that had been
cannonballed through. Their cart tottered towards the twisted wreckage of track and they were
thrown from the cart. They had undone their seatbelts to stand during the ride, hoping to make it
more Wild. Teen One, the black haired one, hit one of the cross supports, shattering his spine in
three places. He would live, in a wheelchair, unable to move more than three fingers on his left
hand until the day six years later when he “accidentally” dropped the radio in the bathtub while
being bathed by this nurse. Ironically, Sid and his friends were getting stoned and watching the
news when the death was reported. Someone made a “Stairway to Heaven” joke. Sid had no idea.

The second teen helicoptered through the air, landing back first on a jutting shattered crossbeam.
The metal strut punched through his rib cage, leaving a splintery hole with his heart, still beating,
on the tip of the spire. Had Sid told this story to people they would have called bullshit on him.
Three people were witness to this tragic occurrence: Sid, the teen who stared at his pumping
heart in shock as the life ebbed out of him, and Sid’s father. Sid remembered it was that sight that
freed his voice. “Dad. Dad. Dad, why’s his heart on the outside? Why’s his heart on the outside?
Why’s his heart on the outside, Dad?”

“Sid, hold on! When I shout, I want you to lean left. As hard as you can. We have to tip the cart or
that’s going to happen. Get ready!” How Sid’s father could foster a plan as this rusty metal
dinosaur collapsed around him was beyond the young boy, but he promised him all the same.

The carts seemed to be doling out one violent prolonged death and one mercifully quick one.
Marty Gordon was going to die a virgin, but his sweetheart Rebecca Manchester was not. (She lost
it on a band trip to the second chair trumpet on a drunken dare.) So it was a kind hand of fate that
had placed Rebecca in the front of the cart where the same metal rebar that would shear through
the side of her throat would lop off Marty’s head clean. His last thoughts were of whether or not
he could see down Rebecca’s shirt to her white lacy bra. Rebecca tried to hold closed the gaping
carotid wound as her life blood sprayed out in a glistening arc along the whirling cart’s descent.
Most of the folks below thought it had begun to rain.

“Alright, Sid! LEAN!”

The cart had reached the bend before the broken track. Sid and his father heaved on their cart.
The weakened track buckled and they flew. For a long glorious moment, they were airborne,
sailing over the midway and towards the screaming throng below. Sid wondered for a fleeting
moment if that’s what the bullet that had killed Kennedy felt life. I am grand death, gaze upon me,
for I am here to shatter your worlds.

Four riders only suffered mild contusions and whiplash. The last car came sliding into the station,
as the chain broke on the hill, sending the last car to leave crashing back into the start. The two
carts smashed into each other, but nobody was killed.

Rory Comstock has been picking his nose when the ride started to go to hell. He looked up in time
to see a metal pole coming straight at him. It passed through his eye, down his body, and into the
ground. They found him impaled there after the chaos had died down. He was still holding a hot
dog. For years after, as a senior prank, high schoolers would visit the Comstock Hardware Store
and leave a mannequin holding a hot dog in front of his store. Until the night Harlan Comstock
caught a batch of them. He shotgunned two and wounded a third before they could get away. He
was still serving sentence upstate. Now, kids just left hot dogs.

Sid and his father landed with a thud on the muddy turf, sliding forward on the ride’s churning
wheels. Sid felt his dad’s hand tear free from his jacket. His dad had unbuckled his seatbelt
hoping to pull Sid and he to safety before the cart could crash. Sid’s father had been jettisonsed on
impact. Sid hurled forward towards the trees.

The town librarian opted to ride alone. Her cart had also taken the plunge into the ride. It
dangled, upside down in an elbow of metal just in the fourth tier. She swung precariously for
seven hours until fire fighters could bring a ladder truck close enough to cut her free. She had
made a promise to God if she would be spared and she kept it. She got implants, and moved to
Nevada, where she strips under the stage name Jayne Austyn, and sends most of her money to
charities and orphanages in Third World countries.

Sid watched as people leaped out of the way of his mousy missile. The hobo clown either sprung
gallantly or fell drunkenly on to the hood of the cart as it barreled towards him. He clutched the
front, and smiled as he said, “We’ll stop soon, boy. Hold on! Bit of a bumpy ride, eh?”

Sid remembered that sad smile as the cart crunched against an old oak tree. The hobo was
pulverized on impact, a geyser of blood fountained out of his open mouth and into Sid’s face. Sid
wiped his eyes and looked from the still smiling hobo with the bloody mouth to the red sneaker
pointing at his face. How the hell did a shoe get there? Only when Sid tried to push it away, and
yowled in horrible pain, did he realize it was his own leg. It had broken when the cart crashed.
Had the hobo clown not taken most of the impact of the crash, he probably would have been
busted into a million pieces.

Sid’s father suffered only minor bumps and bruises, and a nasty gash on his forehead from when
he had flown free. He saw his boy sitting peacefully and perfectly still, his face and hair matted
with blood. He naturally assumed he was dead, crushed or pierced on impact. He fell to his knees
next to the cart, crying. Sid still didn’t move. He stared into the hobo clown’s eyes. This stranger
did what his father couldn’t. He had saved him.

Sid’s father saw his shallow breathing and clutched him in a tight hug. “Oh, thank God. Oh, thank
God! I thought I lost you.”

Sid could hear his mother’s frantic screeching cries as she came running towards them, like an
ambulance siren. He knew there would be hell to pay and he was glad his father was here to take
the brunt of it. But he was alive. He was alive thanks to this stupid sad clown. Sid’s mouth
wouldn’t work, the evening’s events still processing. All he could think was Thank You. Thank
You, Mr. Clown for saving my life. Thank You.

The clown winked.

Sid screamed. He wouldn’t stop screaming. Even after his mother arrived. Even after the police
came. Not until he was given a strong sedative and taken to the hospital to mend his leg.
Even then, he kept screaming inside his head.

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