A clown can only take so much...
|Roller coaster cars whipped by on the rickety tracks overhead, as screaming children rocketed along the twists and turns of each coaster's run. The clown plodded down the midway, slowly making his way back to the locker room. It had been a long day. He was thankful for the little things though, like working a morning shift so he could avoid the afternoon crush.
As he walked, the clown felt the familiar stickiness of gum on the bottom of his left shoe. As much as he tried to avoid the litter on the ground, working in the park eight hours a day made the accidental step into some kind of food or drink mess all but inevitable.
His legs hurt from hours of being on his feet, roaming the expansive acreage of the park from end to end, over and over. He sniffed at the air, and then recoiled when he realized that he hadn't quite gotten rid of the stench from earlier, when a little girl had thrown up her hot dog and nachos all over him.
But the worst part was the costume. Eight hours in clown makeup, wearing an iridescent suit made of heavy, plasticky material that didn't breathe, practically causing heat exhaustion every time the temperature surpassed eighty degrees, which was often the case.
The clown was almost to the employee door, and his freedom.
Then he got swarmed. Dozens of kids, fresh off their afternoon snack from the nearby food court, spotted the clown walking alone and now decided they wanted pictures and balloon animals and magic tricks. A throng of them ambushed him, each one grabbing for him, their dirty ice cream, chocolate or sugarcoated hands tugging on his suit, smearing it with food particles. The afternoon sugar rush had arrived.
The clown tried to explain that he was off duty and had to go, but an agitated parent came over.
"Hey, buddy! What do you think you're doing? If they want balloon animals, you're going to give them balloon animals!"
The clown tried to explain that he was off the clock.
"I don't care if you're supposed to be off now! Maybe I should just talk to your manager about your attitude problem..."
The clown was starting to get angry.
"You know what? Go get your manager. You made a big mistake pal. I'm gonna have your job."
Something in the clown's brain snapped. He roared, frightening the children who watched, wide-eyed as the clown grabbed the overzealous parent and punched him in the stomach, doubling him over before grasping him by the shirt and hurling him into a nearby churro cart.
The clown cut a swath through the children, shoving and kicking them out of the way, leaving most of them on the ground, crying over bruised knees and skinned elbows.
With psychosis reflected in his eyes, the clown charged through the park. A brave mother stepped in his way, trying to slow him down, but he grabbed one of the cafeteria trays from its rack on top of a nearby garbage can, swinging wildly and connecting with her face. Blood poured from her broken nose as the woman went down, hard.
The clown ripped off his rainbow-colored wig and shed the jacket and vest of his uncomfortable suit, balling them up and chucking them at anybody foolish enough to so much as look at him. One dutiful parent returned with a security guard, but the clown wrestled away his baton and began to savagely beat him with it until the guard was an unconscious bloody mess.
Helping himself to the Taser on the guard's belt, the clown marched back over to the man he had thrown into the churro cart. Still dazed and confused, the man futilely tried to cover himself as the clown shot the electrodes into his midsection. A cruel, twisted smile spread across the clown's face as he alternated between beating the man with the baton and zapping him with the Taser.
"Hello? You listening to me?"
The clown snapped out of his reverie, realizing the agitated parent was still talking to him and the kids were still standing around him.
He sighed and pulled out a thin balloon.
"Okay, who wants a giraffe?"