Horror, Flash. 1000 words.
An elderly performer must come to terms with both his increasing debilitation and a string of murders in his nursing home, exclusive to clowns.
As a clown in your prime, backwards pants and embarrassing falls can rake in the laughs. But then you get old and do the same stuff on accident. And that’s just sad. When Bozo falls, it’s a rollicking good time. When grandpa falls, it’s time for a hip replacement and pneumonia and a tacky urn on an MDF mantel somewhere.
That’s what happened to Dennis in ten. He slipped on a banana peel in the dayroom three weeks ago and died. He was my friend.
Since then, two more residents had followed, one each week. Otto in room nine and Deirdre in eight. You can see the pattern.
I was in room seven.
Today was my day, it seemed. But if I was going out, I was going out in clown white, dignity intact.
I pulled the dusty shoebox from my closet with a foot and kicked it over to the chair in front of the mirror. Inside the box was a black eyeliner pencil. I sat down with it, determined to replicate the tight lines of my heyday. But my tremors wouldn’t cooperate.
Back before I got Parkinson’s, I was a mime. A classic Pierrot with moves of wind and water. But I lost my grace with my fine motor skills and found myself playing the tramp. Then the auguste. The butt of the joke.
We’re all augustes here. Even out of costume. Though I might not have to worry about it much longer.