Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 44

Oh, I am soooo glad it’s Friday! Someone teased me last week about publicly counting down five hours before launch, and I’m like, Don’t you know I start counting down at 12:01 Saturday mornings?! Y’all are something wondrous, that’s all there is to it, and I crave you something fierce the other six days, a weakness only intensified by my current sleep deprivation and deplorable lack of chocolate. Oh, before I forget:



(Did I say that out loud?)

Today’s awesome pic (thanks, Boston Public Library!) is inspired by Wiki’s avowal that one German chemist, Felix Hoffmann, on this day in 1897 found a way to synthesize aspirin. Despite everyone else’s passionate assurances (including other places on Wiki) that such invention actually took place on August 10, inspiration had already struck me DEAD, flinging me mercilessly to the ground. Perhaps since he synthesized it August 10, by now, two months later, patients recovering from surgery were already appreciating it. Yeah, um, let’s go with that.


Back as judge today for his final turn (!) is Craig Anderson. He’s just nuts about witty banter and universes buried just beneath the surface of what’s seen on the page. He also loves a CLEVER TITLE. Want to know more about how to win his imperious judge’s eye? Check out his judge page here.     


Awards Ceremony: Results will post Monday. Noteworthy #SixtySeconds interviews with the previous week’s winner post Wednesdays.  I (Rebekah) post my own unbalanced writings sometimes on Tuesdays or Thursdays.   

Now, scrub up and get to it!

Word limit150 word story (10-word leeway) based on the photo prompt.

HowPost your story here in the comments. Include your word count (140 – 160 words, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. If you’re new, don’t forget to check the contest guidelines.

Deadline11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time)

Winners: will post Monday

Prize: The Flash! Friday e-dragon e-badge for your blog/wall, your own winner’s page here at FF, a 60-second interview next Wednesday, and your name flame-written on the Dragon Wall of Fame for posterity. 

***Today’s Dragon’s Bidding (required element to incorporate somewhere in your story; does not need to be the exact word(s) unless instructed to do so, e.g. “include the words “acetylsalicylic acid”):


***Today’s Prompt:

Circus clowns visit sick boy. CC photo Boston Public Library.

Circus clowns visit sick boy. CC photo Boston Public Library.

650 thoughts on “Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 44

  1. Cheering Up the Patient
    by JM6, 158 words, @JMnumber6

    “So, you see, Mikey,” said the hobo clown, “once we do the surgery, you’ll be all better.”

    “That’s right,” said the Pierrot clown. “Trust us. You won’t feel a thing.”

    “Absolutely, positively, nothing at all,” said the pinhead clown. “In fact, you’ll be better than ever. Isn’t that right?”

    “Exactly,” said the tiny-hat clown, the leader of the alley. “I know that a heart transplant can be scary and very serious, especially when the heart comes from a different species, but there’s nothing so serious that we clowns can’t turn into something fun.”

    “That’s right, Mikey,” said the hobo clown.

    “He’s not lying, Mikey,” said the Pierrot clown.

    “He never lies, Mikey,” said the pinhead clown.

    “See, Mikey? One little heart transplant from this here donor, and you’ll be up in no time.”

    “My name’s Billy,” said the child on the bed.

    “We weren’t talking to you, Billy,” said the tiny-hat clown. “We were talking to the dog.”


  2. Clowning 1.01

    The clowns bustled excitedly out of the ward, Pennywise’s stern painted face, intently focused on his examiner’s clipboard, halting their momentum.

    ‘What d’ya think boss?’ Mo broke the silence fingers anxiously twisting his horn.

    ‘Think? Well, what’s the first rule we discussed in Visiting Normals 1.01?’

    ‘Electric handshake, then custard pie?’

    ‘Optimise farting?’

    Alfonso mimed taking something.

    ‘No stealing, a fine guess,’ Pennywise felt his blood pressure rising ‘but gentlemen, the golden rule of visiting sick children is…?

    They all looked bashfully at the floor, the silence broken only by a mournful squeak from Mo’s horn.

    ‘Really … four weeks of lessons … nothing?’

    ‘Oh, oh,’ Mo shrieked hand in the air, ‘to not ask if the kid fancies seeing your puppy and going for a drive in the clown car!’

    ‘Precisely! And that’s why you’re all getting Ds. Now off to the clown car and please gents, seven in the back and five in the front this time.’


    159 words



  3. Tamara Shoemaker
    Word Count: 150


    Somewhere in this multi-ring circus of drawn-out death–
    life with a closing sign, my doctor says–
    the actors file into my arena.
    They line up before me, balancing on their tightropes,
    laughing and jesting for the audience of one,
    clowns in full costume,
    red grins pasted on hidden faces,
    masquerading behind their smiles to tame the pain.

    It’s a dance, a perfect symmetry,
    where the ringmaster directs,
    and the elephants trumpet on cue,
    the aerialist releases the bar in sizzling tempo,
    the lions wave their harmless claws at the tamer.

    Funny how I get to sit in the waiting room,
    counting the hours until clock-out time,
    my part in the circus terminated with no severance pay.
    Now I sit the sidelines, spectating.

    Funny how they must toe the tightrope
    with surgical precision
    until someone falls off,
    and they turn on him like birds of prey.

    I never noticed it before.


  4. Josh Bertetta
    159 Words
    “Aphla and Oemga”

    Tehy trun tinghs uspdie-dwon and isidne-out. Smoe hvae siad eevn Jseus was one. Tehy cmae in all teihr crolos bfeore the oens in pailn wihte–the oens who bleeievd tehre was seomtinhg wonrg with me–wree cmonig to fix me. Tehy siad they wnaetd the bset for me—the sruregy wluod make me lkie erevynoe esle. It wulod mkae thngis esaeir for me and my lfie wulod fnlaily hvae mnieang and I wuold be lveod.

    But the cownls tlod me derenffit. Tehy let me hnok tehir nseos and wehn tehy tlod me nitohng was wonrg wtih me—taht I was peferct as I was—I cierd.

    The dcotros tehy siad, wnetad to “fix” me bcesuase I saw tignhs dferfinelty. Taht’s waht was “wonrg” wtih me. But the conwls tlod me diferneft—taht it wsna’t my fulat taht ploepe dnid’t unerdanstd me.
    “Mnaineg, lfie, and lvoe aenr’t at the bgeinnnig and the end,” tehy siad, “teyh’re waht’s in bteewen.”


  5. Laughing On The Inside

    The nurse leant forward and lapped at Johnny’s tears. He tried to push her away, but the Anaesthesiologist smiled sadly at him and clamped thick, tobacco stained fingers over his mouth. The needle slid deep into his neck.

    Waiting for the anaesthetic to work, the nurse sat on his pillow, licking his face. When he lost the strength to stop her, they knew he was ready.

    The Surgeon wheeled in the operating cart, walking on tiptoe to see over it. He ran over the Anaesthesiologist’s toes with it, and they chased each other around the bed a couple of times, snarling and swearing, until the Surgeon took a pratfall and smashed his nose on the iron bedframe.

    Then, smiling through blood and snot, he clambered onto the bed, kicked the nurse to the floor and raised his rusty scalpel.

    Standing at his bedside, Johnny’s parents smiled proudly and nodded, waiting to see their son’s true face revealed at last.

    159 words


  6. Fever Dreams (159 Words)

    I see them in my fever dream, and they are always the same. Why do I dream in black and white? Why do I smile and talk as if I didn’t know what lay behind those false noses and painted faces? Maybe in my dreams, I turn them into clowns because truths are too painful to remember. They are tumors to be sliced out of my brain.

    But I cannot excise them. I can smell their whiskey breath on my face, feel their soft hands on my clothes as they say, “It’s all right, my lad. It’s just a game. You like games, don’t you, boyo?”

    I always laugh and say, “Yes.”

    But I don’t like their games. I wake sweat soaked. Sobbing.

    My lips part in a silent scream of rage.

    Soon they will come and shoot me full of electricity. But for now, I lie in my white room and dream of faces.


  7. Seventh Sense

    Billy was born with a platinum spoon in his mouth, wanting for nothing. Tragically his silver cloud lifestyle was besmirched by a lead lining. Billy himself was unaware that the world he existed in was so different. It was his mother, stiff of words and manner, who noticed that Billy would often talk to the air. As if engrossed in conversation with no one at all. Finally she worked it out:

    Billy saw dead people!

    She freaked, as is natural for a parent challenged by such paranormal fears. So began an endless parade of the specialists, counselors, hypnotists and electro-shockers, none of which found a cure.

    Finally they met Dr. Pennywise who suggested the fault lay in the hippocampus region of the mind.

    ‘We’ll whip it out and hey presto normality restored!’ the Doctor confidently promised.

    When Billy awoke from surgery, his parent’s concerned faces hovered into view.

    They looked different, as if their faces were painted …

    Billy screamed.

    160 words

    (apologies second post to rectify absence of ‘surgery’ in my first)


  8. Fitting In
    Ian Martyn (@IBMartyn)
    158 words

    ‘Now son you trust yer old Dad, don’t you?’

    ‘Great. Now I bet you’ve wondered why we’ve never let you out of the house, or why they’re no mirrors. Well yer sees, son, we was trying to protect you until you was old enough.’

    ‘Why? Well son, look at yer brothers here, aint they a fine looking bunch. All chips off the old block and no mistake. But you son…,’ pauses to blow nose, ‘PAARRPPPP!!!!! I’m sorry son, but you.., you is different. I blame your mother’s family, but we won’t go into that. And if we’d let you out you’d have stood out like an un-sore thumb. People would have laughed and pointed. Cars would have fallen apart at the wrong time. And the shame! But now son, with this pioneering surgery you’ll be just like us. And this son, what I’m holding here, is going to be your new nose. Beautiful.’

    ‘That’s my brave boy. PAARRPPP!!!!!’


  9. The Last Pratfall
    151 words

    Darla watched her husband, Mark, sleep. The doctor said the anaesthetic’s affects would last the rest of the day but that it’s normal after major surgery.
    She held his hand. It was soft, warm, and strong.
    An orderly came over, “Mrs. Kolobathristes, would you like a cup of tea, and biscuits?”
    Suddenly she was aware of thirst and hunger. She nodded, and smiled a thanks.
    The drink and biscuits took the edge off her hunger, and made her nauseous. For a moment she thought a dash to the bathroom would be needed. It passed.
    Their neighbor arrived with a bag.
    “The clothes you asked for. The cat’s fed, and fine. How is he?”
    “He’ll be fine. They did an emergency by-pass. But he’ll be fine, eventually.”
    “What about work?”
    Darla looked down at her striped satin costume and shook her head.
    “He’s done his last pratfall. The Kolobathristes are retired.”


  10. Tears of the Clowns

    ‘Even the gosh-durn dog looks terrified, Walter.’

    ‘Sure. Sure. But just give them a second, okay? These are my best guys.’

    ‘They’ve had ten minutes already! If they coulda made the kid laugh, he’d be laughin’ by now. Kickin’ up his liddle feet. Clutchin’ his liddle sides.’

    ‘Aw, you’re too hard on these guys, Jasper, I mean – hey! Wait!’

    ‘What? What?

    ‘The kid! He’s cracking a smile. He is!

    ‘Hm. Looks like gas, to me.’

    ‘No way, man. It’s Teddy’s ‘Vanishing Apple’ trick. Never fails.’

    ‘Vanishing Apple, huh? Ends up in the kid’s ear, right?’

    ‘Ah – well. Usually, someone’s rear end, actually.’

    ‘Sounds… unsanitary.’

    ‘They don’t eat the apple afterwards, Jasp.’

    ‘Small mercies. Kid’s still not smilin’, though, Walter. And now the dog looks distinctly uncomfortable.’

    Dang it.’

    ‘I’m calling it, my friend. Joke Death: 08:17:23. Pull those guys out. Oh, and someone contact a veterinarian? Ask ’em if they’ve ever surgically removed an apple from a dog.’

    159 words


  11. An aspirin a day keeps the doctors away
    @Making_Fiction #FlashDog
    154 words

    They’d tried everything. Sharp syringes containing liquid colours from Barbie-pink to camouflage-green. Foul smelling pastes. Tablets they stuck places that tablets shouldn’t be stuck. Even surgery.

    Through their clumsy yellow spacemen suits and Vader masks, they muffled words at me. They said I had Ebola, whatever that means. They wouldn’t let me see mum or dad.

    I heard the whispers. They said I only had another few weeks. Maybe I’d be getting out of here, I thought. Then I saw them become desperate and they said they were trying experimental drugs, variants of aspirin. Aspirin is the miracle cure for everything.

    They say I died. But…when they resuscitated me, I felt a lot better.

    They sent the clowns in as a celebration. The dog looked concerned. Maybe he saw the broken picture above my bed and the spinal cord on the bed-sheet.

    Boy, hospital food sure looked better than I remember. Lunch had arrived.


  12. Jimbo’s leg

    Jimbo closed his eyes and the clowns came to comfort him. He eyed the other boys’ bare legs uneasily. The others had thick black arrows pointing to the left knee; his arrow pointed straight at his right knee cap. Nobody caught his gaze but when he turned his eyes away he felt hot twitches of attention flicking over him. Over his knee.

    One by one the other boys were wheeled away. The clowns’ high-pitched voices were the only sound apart from the shrill birdsong floating in with the cold-aired sunshine. They all went quietly. Jimbo watched the wheels turn; no squeaks.

    Three had gone. None had come back. The birdsong had stopped and the sun was gone. It was cold. Jimbo rubbed the arrow on his leg. Nothing. No smudging. He licked his finger and rubbed again. Still nothing.

    When the clowns came back for him, he too stayed silent. Until he saw the other boys’ legs again.

    158 words
    Simon Williams



    Brian S Creek
    147 words

    “I don’t want you guys to leave.”

    “Believe me kid,” said Tramps, “we don’t wants to go eithers.”

    If Tramps had a heart it would have broken as he looked into the kids eyes. He glanced around at the others; Wacko, Short-Short, Cracker and Dodo the Wonder Dog. Despite the sadness of this moment they kept smiling, just like always.

    “Then why? Why won’t I see you again?”

    “Your parents, they think it’s bestist if we weren’t arounds no more,” said Tramps. “Doctors gonna switch of the part of your brain that helps you sees us.”

    “Please don’t let them.”

    Tramps reached out and placed his hand on the kid’s chest. “Seeing ain’t always believing. We’ll always be here. Promise.”

    The others nodded as Tramps pulled the kid tight and gave him the best hug ever.

    When the kid opened his tear filled eyes they were gone.


  14. Muzzle (144 words)

    Rumbles of laughter bellowed, cut with high pitched cackles shrieking and pierce, the troup pawed at the covers, grabbing and pulling, eager to touch. Startled awake, eerie faces in his, the boy bolted upright, clung to his covers.

    ‘This isn’t the circus’ the gaggle of clowns all stared at him, glassy eyed and still.

    ‘You said we were going to the circus’.

    The small white clown spoke in a booming voice, unfitting for his size.
    ‘We can’t take you like that, so dull and ordinary; we need to do surgery, a few small corrections then you’ll be one of us.’

    His muzzle beamed wide, white paint glowed under the lights of the sterile room.

    The clowns moved in, the dog panted enthusiastically, slobbering on the boy, as they cut and glued, painted and preened. Laughing to themselves, hyenas at the feed.


  15. Drastic Surgery
    (150 words)

    ‘You may want to sit down for this, Mrs Smiley. We have some good news and some, well, strange news.’

    ‘Is he alright?’

    ‘Oh, yes, surgery went very well. We removed the enormous clown shoes. We extracted the bulbous red nose. Laser treatment sorted out the face. The manic grin has been ironed out, and his overly pronounced chuckle muscles have been slackened. You, however, are ultimately responsible for making sure all his pockets are empty- three times and day and especially after mealtimes.’

    ‘Of course, Doctor. Well, that sounds just wonderful! A nice flannel suit, a briefcase, and he can apply for that job in the insurance company that I’d always dreamed he’d have.’

    ‘I wouldn’t expect too much at the moment, Mrs. Smiley. It’s early days, so to speak. You see, once we removed your husband’s outer layer, it seems there really was just a child inside.’


    (correct version reposted – thank you Rebekah)

    Brian S Creek
    160 words

    “Hey Max, how you doing?”

    Max looked up from his book as four clowns walked in. “Tony. What are you doing here? And why are you dressed like that?”

    “Just come from a party. Thought we’d see how you’re doing after surgery.”

    “I’m fine. Legs still hurt but I’m getting loads of ice cream.”

    “That’s swell,” said Tony as he sat down beside the bed. “Listen, Max. Your mum said you told people you fell down the stairs at school. But that’s not what happened, is it?”

    “Of course it is?”

    “You old man had us go to a kids party this afternoon, hence the getup. Ears to the ground sort of thing. Rumor goes some disrespectful little prick named Charlie Costos has taken a dislike to you. Ring more of the truth?”

    Max just nodded.

    Tony didn’t say anything. He patted Max on the head and left, the troupe of clowns followed.

    Max wasn’t bullied at school ever again.


  17. The Conversation
    (143 words)

    Are you ill? was said by the clown mouth.
    That’s what they’ve told me was said to the clown mouth.
    Will you die? was said by the clown mouth.
    I’m not sure was said to the clown mouth.
    Are you scared? was said by the clown mouth.
    Little bit was said to the clown mouth.
    Will they cut you? was said by the clown mouth.
    Don’t wanna talk ’bout it was said to the clown mouth.
    Will you sleep right through it? was said by the clown mouth.
    Don’t wanna wake up! was said to the clown mouth.
    Would you scream? was said by the clown mouth.
    No! was said to the clown mouth.
    Will there be blood? was said by the clown mouth.
    There’ll be blood was said to the clown mouth.
    Can I watch? was said by the clown mouth.


  18. Peter’s friends



    The little clown’s doleful eyes were locked on his own, warm and unwavering, as he held up the shiny red apple. Peter thought it looked the same as the clown’s nose, and smiled.

    “After you choose” said the clown who stood next to the other, a squirming puppy in his hands “we’ll all magically leave this surgical ward and go on a wonderful adventure together!”

    “Yeah Peter, which is it? The dog or the apple?” chimed the other clowns who stood behind the first two.

    Peter frowned, then grinned.

    “The puppy!”

    “Good choice Peter!” exclaimed the clown who held the puppy as he placed it on Peter’s lap, holding it gently on the duvet until Peter leaned forward and grasped it.

    The clowns cheered and clapped their hands. Peter picked up the puppy and brought it up to his chest, beaming at all his friends.

    The puppy screamed as Peter hunched over it and bit deeply into its flank.


    160 words


  19. ReignBow

    @Making_Fiction #FlashDog

    141 words

    Red bulbous noses, menacing clowns, harlequin hats and jesters dance in his hallucinations now.

    Orange doctors speak of complications of surgery and difficult times ahead. Five minutes here, five minutes there, then jocular chats about rounds of golf and luminous-orange spray tan top-ups.

    Yellow jaundice creeps across his skin and eyes as internal organs work, pump, pump then fail. Fail.

    Green ticks on wall-charts indicate hospital metrics and excellent value for money healthcare services. Bonuses for the executives.

    Blue veins sink and collapse like long forgotten transport canals. Needles no longer gain purchase.

    Indigo patches bloom like wild flowers across his body, but bedsores and bruises are the least of his worries.

    Violet lights scan under the beds. Terrifying monsters lurk under the beds of children. Microscopic infection has killed more people than war and technology bows down before its reign.


  20. @avalina_kreska
    (160 words)

    The Day the Clowns took Something Seriously

    ‘Are you sure he’s Jesus?’
    ‘That’s what it says on his medical sheet.’
    ‘I wanna hold the myrrh, it gets me high.’
    ‘It stinks.’
    ‘So does frankincense.’
    ‘What’s new? The dog always stinks.’
    ‘We haven’t got any gold. What can we use for gold?’
    ‘Why this apple is a golden delicious.’
    ‘We all set then?’
    ‘Hang-on, it’s supposed to be three wise men.’
    ‘S’alright – Bink’s thick as shit.’
    ‘So what do I do?’
    ‘You can be our agent, I mean angel.’
    ‘He ain’t holy enough that’s for sure!’

    They approached the bed.

    ‘Funny dog!’ Jesus said.
    ‘I bring Frankincense. He’s yours.’
    Bink struggled with the dog, slipping it under the covers.
    ‘What’s that funny smell?’ Jesus said.
    ‘Myrrh. I’ll leave it on the side.’
    ‘And I bring you gold.’
    ‘That’s not gold, it’s an apple.’
    ‘A golden apple, it’s delicious.’
    Jesus laughed.
    ‘Where’s your Dad kid?’Bink said.
    ‘I don’t have a Dad.’

    The clowns bowed low in reverence.


  21. Mendin’ the Clowns

    The clowns followed the nurse as she squeaked and clopped along the corridor. She stopped abruptly outside room 5318008.

    Zig bumped into Zag, then from out of his bag
    Soupy took flowers and hit Bozo.

    The nurse tutted and shook her head.
    “In this room is little Tim. He needs a heart transplant and he is feeling very low today.”
    She led the clowns into the room.

    Zag tied his lace, Bozo fell on his face
    and Soupy poked Zig in the eye.

    Little Tim watched the performance from his bed. His lip curled upwards then his face melted downwards. Tears followed. The nurse ushered the clowns from the room.
    “How are we feeling?” she asked, when they were back in the corridor. “A little sadder?”

    Zig blew his nose, Soupy pulled Zag in close
    and Bozo just stared at the ceiling.

    “Good. Next we’ve got Beth. Now Beth is a particularly unfortunate case…’

    154 words


  22. @avalina_kreska
    159 words

    When Mirth is not Enough

    ‘What you having done kid?’
    ‘A new head. Mum said my head’s so big, when it rains, my clothes don’t get wet.’ David laughed, slapping the bed covers.
    The clowns sat long-faced. The dog howled.
    ‘When you having it done boy?’
    ‘Tomorrow, if the surgeon’s not drunk and…Hey! Did you hear the one about the surgeon? Yes, that was very loud Sir, but I said I wanted to hear your heart not a…’
    The boy farted on cue.
    One clown lifted a horn.
    ‘Honk.’ He said non-enthusiastically.
    The boy realising he was getting nowhere tried again.
    ‘How about this one? The hospital botched my brain surgery, I had half a mind to sue…’
    ‘Great kid, real cute.’ One clown said.
    ‘Yeah, funniest thing I heard all day kid.’ The other clown said, picking his nose.

    ‘I sure hope this strike ends soon,’ the boy said.
    ‘So do we kid, it’s killing us. Here, have a frigging apple.’


  23. Post-Clown Syndrome

    Derek woke to his friends and colleagues standing around him. What a lovely sight, these smiling people. A smile spread across his face, feeling warm, loved.

    He looked over to Peter, his closest friend. They had clowned together for years, inseparable some said. But Peter’s smile faded, seriousness, comically sinister, appeared instead.

    “Now, Derek, there’ve been some complications.”

    “What do you mean, ‘complications’? Did the surgery work?”

    “Kind of, but…”


    “You’ve gone ‘Pre-Clown’.”

    “Wha… ‘Pre-Clown’?” Dismay written across his face, “How could this have happened?”

    “Remember how they said that youthfulness was tightly coupled to clownishness?” Derek nodded, gesturing his comprehension, “Well it appears that your clownishness age was later than anticipated. Later than Dave’s here.”

    “But what does it mean? What’s happened to me?”

    “Well, with it being a new science and all, it’s difficult to truly tell, but essentially, you look like an average six year old boy.”


    152 words


  24. One Hour Affair

    She was droning on about the health benefits of quinoa. I listened to show that I cared. That I was intrigued by this bland grain.

    “Can we focus on the anxiety I’m feeling about my surgery tomorrow?” I asked.

    “Oh, It’s just a routine procedure, you worry too much.”

    “Yes, which is one reason I see you every two weeks.”

    She grinned at me dismissively. I swooned.

    “Would you like me to order a team of clowns to comfort you at the hospital?”

    “I’m not a child, Amber, I’m just nervous.”

    “Yes. A familiar condition for you.”

    “I’ve searched the Internet, people have died from hernia surgery. It’s rare but it happens.”

    “People choke on food, do we stop eating? You’ll be fine. You’re a big boy.”

    I found her condescending tone to be intoxicating. I was drunk on her disinterest.

    “See you in two weeks.” I said.

    “If you survive.”

    She tolerated me. I worshipped her.

    Send the clowns.

    Chris Milam @Blukris
    160 words


  25. Funny face
    by @Gavin Parish
    (160 words)

    Thanks to botched surgery, I became a clown. It was the only career choice available. That or catwalk modelling, but I could never walk in a straight line. I do jokes as well, see?

    It didn’t happen overnight. I had the rest of school to get through first. Some of the kids were scared by my appearance, while the rest just laughed; even the teachers couldn’t treat me seriously. They elected me class clown without any formal auditions.

    But the deformity looks less real when I put the makeup on. It’s something to hide behind, helps me get into character. I have a big tour coming up, performing exclusively for one person at a time. First there’s the surgeon who made me look like this – I think I’ll visit him tonight, show him where he went wrong, with a carving knife. Then there’s everyone who ever laughed at me.

    I’ll help them understand why clowns are supposed to be scary.


  26. Tamara Shoemaker
    Word Count: 160


    “All around the cobbler’s bench,
    The monkey chased the weasel.
    The monkey thought ’twas all in sport…”


    goes the appendix.
    The doctor’s grave eyes flickered across at the nurse, the lower halves of their faces screened behind blue mesh mouth guards. Too-bright florescent lights dance across my vision.

    “Stop clowning around and tie ’em off faster; it’s like a third world war in here.”
    “I’m not a magician.”
    “I didn’t say you were. Just give me the damn thread.”

    A blue glove trails thread across my gaping hospital gown.

    “Eagles play this weekend.”
    “I’m supposed to care?”
    “You say you care about important things. So yes.”
    “American football sucks.”

    All this scintillating conversation. Brilliant, really.

    “I know we’ve done this surgery a million times, but . . .”
    “I know. Feels like we forgot something.”

    I just wish I didn’t have to be awake for it.


  27. Proxy

    Mother strokes the top of my head and cries while the doctor talk to her about me needing surgery. She presses her face to the top of my head and softly says, “Oh, my poor sweet boy. We’re going to make you better.”
    The doctor leaves. She smiles at me before standing up and following the doctor out.
    I sit in the dim room, quiet for now.
    Two of my friends peel themselves off the wall, stretching and ballooning from flat shadows to human shapes.
    “We’re here to help,” they say in unison.
    Another of my friends squeezes out from between the radiator. “Be brave.”
    The last of my friends appears from a crumb in the corner, growing to his full height, barely taller than me.
    They take turns speaking, finishing where the other left off.
    “You have to…”
    A rub of a teary eye above a red nose.
    “Tell the doctor…”
    “What she puts in your soup.”

    159 words


  28. Influenced!

    ‘Aw so boring this room.. why am I here, I wonder.
    The Clowns enter raucously into the room
    With my best friend Snoopy in their arms
    I am so happy, so happy
    I hug Snoopy.
    Snoopy licks, wags and shivers.
    The clowns are singing the happy song
    They hug me, fuss on me

    I have had surgery, you see
    Removed splinters from all over my body
    But I am fine now
    I look towards the door, beyond the clowns and Snoopy
    Where’s Mom ? baking my favorite pastry?
    She smells of freshly baked bread.
    Mom, I just want you to hug me.

    Dad, I am angry. I hate you for making Mom cry and work all the time
    So, I planted the grenade I found in the field on the walkway for Dad,
    Just like they showed in the movie
    He missed, Mom walked onto it and didn’t see me jumping at her with a scream.

    Lata S @lsunil 156 words


  29. Good spirits
    157 words – @dieterrogiers – http://www.300stories.net

    “You won’t go gently”, the doctor tells the boy. “It will be hell.”

    He’d go into details, but the kid would never fathom it. He’s just too young. Not that the disease cares. It has taken his parents. Soon it will take the boy.

    Though the virus is decimating the population, the kids are still best off. They will last three weeks, sometimes a full month. But how comforting is that when bursting ulcers will eventually destroy you from within as your glands swell and cut off all oxygen to your lungs?

    Yet not a frown is seen on the boy’s face. His gaze doesn’t look at the doctor at all but towards the window. And he smiles.

    When there is nothing left to salvage, what is there to do but laugh it off?

    The doctor gestures in the motley gang behind the glass.

    “Send in the clowns!” he yells.

    In the boy’s eyes, they’re already there.


  30. Belief

    “Targets?” The leader, Bozo asked.

    “Location and condition confirmed, check.” Soupy replied waving a marked map.


    “Operational, check.” Midget flourished the wildly colored, gigantic syringe.


    “On-line, check.” Slappy steadied the floating empty fifty-gallon drum.


    “Full deception mode engaged, check.” Rex raised his dog paw.

    “Prep list for surgical procedure?”

    “Completed, check.” They chorused in unison.

    Five clowns fumbled and stumbled into the boy’s room. Poking and shoving, performing slapstick antics, laughing and joking all the while.

    Little Billy’s solemn face lifted and then broke out in a great beaming smile.

    Bozo honked his big red nose.

    Suck” Machinery whispered into action.

    Their job finished, one by one the aliens clambered into the tiny vehicle and left Earth far behind them. Bozo slapped the burbling container strapped next to him in the spaceship disguised as a clown car affectionately. “We’re going to make a fortune boys, there’s nothing more precious than the belief of a child!”

    156 Words


  31. The Best Medicine
    158 words

    One clown
    Two clowns
    Sad clowns
    Mad clowns
    Clowns in cars
    Clowns in-

    “There are four clowns.”


    Clowns in-

    “Why did they stop counting?”

    “They’ll finish counting later.”

    Clowns in-

    “What’s that?”

    “A mustache.”

    “Who drew it?”

    “I did. Grandpa gave me this book when I was your age. I had my tonsils out then, too.”

    Clowns in-

    “You’re not supposed to draw in books. Mommy said.”

    “Mommy’s right. I shouldn’t have drawn the mustache.”

    Clowns in-

    “Can I have some ice cream?”

    “No, it’s bedtime.”

    Clowns in-

    “Grandma said I could have all the ice cream I wanted because of my tonsils.”

    “Well, Grandma isn’t here, is she? And she didn’t mean bedtime.”

    Clowns in-

    “Can we ask her?”

    “No. No ice cream at bedtime.”

    Clowns in-

    “When do they count the four clowns?”

    “In just a few minutes.”

    Clowns in-


    “Yes, Joey?”

    “My throat hurts.”

    “I guess a little ice cream would be okay.”


  32. It Will All Be Over Soon
    159 words

    Timmy knew what it meant when they came by his bed, crowding around like spectators at a feast. Timmy looked at the dog. Mr. Bojangles in his party suit.

    Mr. Bojangles knew.

    The men with the tiny hats, the painted faces and the ruffled collars like choking paper fans had been to visit Sarah last Wednesday. They had circled around her and bobbed their heads like vultures. The hobo with the smeared lips had pulled out his magic feather and tried to make it dance on his finger for her. They had held Mr. Bojangles on his back like an offering and mimed cutting into his downy pink belly and sewing him back up. Mr. Bojangles had trembled, but the clowns smiled wide, needing a paycheck.

    The nurses had wheeled Sarah away, but she never came back.

    Timmy tried to smile. What else could he do? He knew where he was going. He knew he was never coming back.


  33. Great Balls of Fire
    Margaret Locke (margaretlocke.com or @Margaret_Locke)
    Judge’s Entry – Just for Fun
    160 words

    Run, boy, while you still can.
    I know they told you you’re here to get your tonsils removed.
    I know they told you it will be a quick procedure, in and out;
    No brain surgery required. All the ice cream you can eat.
    I heard you laugh, your hiccup at the end betraying your nervousness.
    You know they’re lying, too.
    I’m telling you, run.

    They did it to me just last week, boy.
    They lured me in with false promises. They told me I’d get treats, told me they’d play fetch as much as I wanted, told me I wouldn’t have to dance on the elephant’s back for at least a month.
    They didn’t tell me two small snips would take my doghood away.

    Don’t believe their false smiles.
    They can paint their faces anyway they want. It doesn’t hide the truth.
    See the sad expression on that bozo’s face? He knows.

    Those aren’t his clown noses he’s showing you.


  34. Sorry
    John Mark Miller – 160 words

    “The operation was unsuccessful,” the doctor said wearily, but this was no surprise to Veronica. Her grandfather’s ashen face had made it obvious that he was dying.

    Last night she and Grandpa Hal had shared one final cup of coffee together – one final laugh. Now her eyes brimmed with tears, and the combination of exhaustion and grief had made her dizzy.

    “This will keep him comfortable,” a hospice nurse said gently as she administered a clear drug. “He may hallucinate.”

    And boy, did he. Within minutes Hal was clapping his hands and squealing like a child. “Clowns, clowns!” he shouted.

    Then his voice grew tiny. “Mom? Dad? What are you doing here? What’s so funny?”

    Then the old man sobbed.

    “You’re all dead, and it’s my fault,” he wailed. “Sorry… about the poison!”

    Veronica felt cold… dizzy. Then Hal’s eyes locked on hers, cold and venomous.

    “Sorry,” he said casually.

    And as Grandpa Hal laughed merrily, Veronica fell into blackness.


  35. WOOF? WOOF!
    160 words

    I wear their silly outfits and the itchy sweaters. I eat the apples on command. Apples are gross. They never let me eat squirrels.

    I forgave them for the stupid name. Why the Dog would they call tiny me “Gargantus?” Idiots.

    I hate hospitals. All those sick kids going in for surgery make me nervous. I prefer sanitary places, like pee-covered poles. I love poles. Do I complain? Never.

    The tallest clown is the worst, because when it’s his turn he forgets to feed me.

    So, you know what? This is the last straw. I’m not going to help him bring this woman home. I’m adorable and irresistible, but I’ve got a plan.

    I lift my leg and pee all over her shoes. She tries to laugh it off so I am higher and pee on her leg. That does the trick.

    “Gargantus! Bad dog!”

    Whatever, buddy. Think about that next time you make me jump through a flaming hoop.


  36. Knock Me Out

    When I went into hospital I had a terribly painful limp, so bad I could barely walk.
    I knew they could do amazing things with surgery. I mean the nose jobs and lip plumping, ear repairs and even head reshaping had all become more or less run of the mill. But (Knock me down with a feather!) it was the dog that freaked me. Just how had Dr. Sawyer figured that reconstruction out? The poor thing even barked!
    I was only in for a one inch extension… you know, a leg pull?
    Turned out Doc shortened my good leg.
    But them guys were good. They knew how to make the pain go away. The Doc called them his “aspirin’ stud’es”. They’d gather around my bed every four hours and distract me to laughter with their antics.
    Funny, I never saw them leave, and I never noticed the short one come up behind me with The Mallet.

    @CliveNewnham – 156 words


  37. The little boy shivered in bed. His head hadn’t stopped aching since the day of the…
    He forcibly stopped himself. He wasn’t ready to go down that lane yet.
    He would go to sleep now, thinking of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the wonderful chocolate waterfall…
    He was almost asleep when the noise of the door being open startled him. He waited for the amicable nurse to come to his bedside. She had been the one to comfort him after the scary surgery of the week before.
    It was not her. A group of clowns traipsed into the room as if it were completely. They were chatting and laughing. But something was off.
    Another shiver ran down the boy’s spine, when one of them looked directly at him.
    “Do you want to laugh to death? You have seen and no one who has seen can remain alive.”
    The boy screamed. And finally fell asleep.


  38. “Joe’s New Bed”
    Word Count: 160
    By @AverageAdvocate

    His clean-cut world had been transformed, now shocking lit and stale with color. Even the newfound friendlings were over-the-top raucous, especially the stubby, multi-legged creature.

    “Why Joe, your eyes are so watery you’re gonna drown the lot of us.”

    Joe blinked his eyes.

    “And look at that huge honker! You must be able to smell flowers across town with that thing,” laughed the friendling with the big red nose.

    Joe slowly moved his unbandaged fingers, touching a nostril for the first time.

    “What’s this?” asked a third, pointing somewhere low Joe wasn’t looking. But when Joe glanced down, the friendling ran his pointer up past Joe’s incision, smacking him in his face.

    The friendlings laughed with glee . . . but was it maliciously? Joe began harboring the possibility that maybe these friendlings weren’t so friendly at all. Cautiously, he began searching for telltale signs of threat, like the needles the white-clads bore.

    He’d have to be sly, outside the bubble, he would.


  39. Sum of the parts
    @geofflepard 158 words
    ‘Happy?’ Amelia Smart rubbed the glass for a better look.
    Dr Cruise shrugged. ‘We won’t know for a while. But the signs are good.’ She scanned a chart.
    ‘What do they know?’
    ‘They think they’re here to cheer him up.’
    ‘Is that why you invited them?’
    ‘No. It’s part of the tests. See the way he’s leaning back. It’s a good indication he’s repelled.’
    ‘He’s smiling, though.’
    ‘That’s the dog. Loyalty and obedience. A willingness to please.’
    Amelia leant forward. ‘The one at the back…’
    ‘Right. The nose?’
    ‘Yes and the height. Above average but not by too much.’
    ‘The one kneeling?’
    Dr Cruise winced. ‘He might be the mistake. Musculature and drive. I’m worried he might tend to the pushy. That apple…’
    ‘Yes, difficult.’
    Dr Cruise moved to the door. ‘We’d better fetch them out. All in all a good start.’
    Amelia nodded. ‘Four clowns and a dog. All you need to make the perfect man.’


  40. Legs
    160 words

    Impact sends Thom flying into the bus seat in front of him. Then he feels nothing, sees nothing. Sounds assault his ears: sirens, screams, the squeal of bending metal.

    “We’ve got you, sir.”

    More sirens. Prodding hands. Probing lights beating his eyelids. Pain everywhere.

    “Send him straight to surgery. That leg requires immediate amputation.”

    A mask covers his face.

    “Breathe and count backwards. Ten, nine, eight…”

    Seven years old, fresh out of the iron lung. Chest impossibly heavy. Right leg withering beneath the bedsheet.
    Clowns came every Friday to “cheer the children.” They brought a trick dog who performed like an acrobat.
    Thom’s eyes filled with tears. “I’ll never cartwheel like that doggie can.”
    The dwarf clown patted his hand. “Never say never, kid. Don’t let nobody make you feel crippled. Stay strong.”
    Thom always had, but…

    He wakes from the anesthesia and cannot sit up, batting helplessly at his thighs. He can’t tell.

    Which leg, which leg, which leg?


  41. The Heir Carries a Scalpel

    They think of me as a child. I think of them as clowns.

    They patronize. They attempt to educate me in business. I despise them.

    They cut costs to increase profits, and then brag about increasing margins by a dime. They disgust me. I dream of what a dime per unit would do for the workers.

    They demand that I consider the stock holders. They will discover I am the primary stockholder; my father made sure of it.

    They tell me I have contractual obligations. I forcibly renegotiate their contracts.

    They tell me I will destroy the company. They don’t see the winds of change, the merits of green industry or potential of worker empowerment.

    They tell me to think of my father’s legacy. Fools. My father raised me to be a man of values. He cared more for our dreams than their company.

    It’s time to do surgery; time to remove some vice-presidents.

    154 words


  42. Abracadabra (160 words)

    I went downstairs for sunny side up eggs and instead found divorce papers treacherous side down.

    Danny, the red-nosed clown, who made runny-nosed, filth-fingered kids squeal on their birthdays, was divorcing me.


    On the papers, he cited “cruelty” as the grounds for divorce.

    Sure, there had been that time I bashed in the tailgate on his new truck paid for with clown money, but I saw the way he looked at the waitress at dinner…

    Sure, there had been that time I put three or maybe four? bark scorpions in his big dumb, red clown shoes, but he hadn’t complimented my new brown hair…

    And sure, I now have a steak knife to his penis, which never did anything for me, but he’s the one that was trying to divorce me.


    It was harder than I expected. After some back-and-forth sawing, it came off. With my smoothie blender, I made sure there’d be no chance for a reconciliation.


  43. Big Shoes

    He sat in a chair in front of a lighted mirror and stared at his reflection before his transformation into a nobody. He had his father’s mud-colored eyes and his receding hairline. They had the same blotchy skin and crooked nose. A shared face and a surname tethered them, but they weren’t equals.

    Benny deftly smeared the white makeup on his cheeks. He was groomed to become his dad: An unethical tyrant, a cultured reptile, a predator in a hand-tailored suit.

    He craved none of that.

    A father that chased the dime instead of playing catch in the yard. A father clinking glasses at the clubhouse while he struggled with his homework. A father that loathed clowns.

    Benny wedged the purple wig on his head and popped on his red nose.

    “Alex is out of surgery, we’re heading over soon. You about ready?” his boss asked.

    “Almost done.”

    He blasted his horn at the revealing mirror. “I’m not you.”

    Chris Milam @Blukris
    159 words


  44. H.Clark Hyde

    Almost In (159 words)

    “We’re to keep the kid happy while the docs set everything up. When he starts squirming – and he will, they all do – we just gotta hold him down. Docs’ll take care of him.”

    I’m sweating as I walk. But I’m almost in. “Where do you guys even get these kids? Orphanage?”

    The dwarf growls from behind, “Wherever we can, bub. Now focus. One last gig, and you’re one’a us.”

    The gang’s docs are waiting outside the door.

    Dirty instruments.

    Small containers.

    Purely extraction and clean-up.

    My stomach clenches. But I’m almost in. Protection for my wife. My son.

    Docs open the door.

    Start setting up.

    Smile’s up.

    The dog was scaring him. But when we see each other, we swap faces: my smile for his look of horror.

    I take out the ball, like I’m told to. I don’t speak.

    Almost in.

    He’s grinning. Thinks it’s a game.

    The docs start working.

    Now we’re both terrified.



  45. One of Us
    Laura Romero
    158 words

    It was too early to tell if the operation was a success. By all accounts, the boy was healthy, but it takes someone special to be a clown. The clowns had done all they could, now it was time to wait. The four friends gathered around their subject as he began to come to.

    “How do you feel?” asked Hobo Joe, handing the boy his juggling balls.

    “Give the boy some space,” said Tiny the Dwarf Clown.

    “Nonsense,” argued Lanky, from behind. “We have to find out if he’s one of us.”

    That seemed to settle it. Ruffles, their designated leader, spoke up and quietly asked the boy the most important question of all.

    “What is your name?”

    The boy was silent for a long while, studying each individual clown’s face intently. At long last he spoke up and in his high, pre-adolescent voice said, “Stitches!” and broke into a fit of laughter.

    “He’s one of us,” Ruffles laughed.


  46. @GeoffHolme
    154 words

    Zendynn The Clown

    Discomfort wakes him. The clock shows quarter past midnight. He beams.

    A noise under the bed. He freezes… then summons the courage to peek, sees enormous red shoes.They’re here!

    He turns gingerly, wincing, and sees the colourful clown, holding an old-fashioned car horn.

    ‘Hiya, kid!’ HONK! HONK! ‘You had surgery?’

    ‘Yeah. Wanna see my scar?’

    ‘Sure! … Jeepers! It’s like a zipper. You look like a pyjama case!’ HONK! HONK! ‘They got you on that new drug, acetylsalicylic acid?’

    ‘D’ya mean aspirin?’

    ‘Yeah, I can never remember that name!’ HONK! HONK!

    Three other clowns appear – one holding a puppy. Wow! Mommy had relented!

    ‘Hey, guys. Meet Timmy.’

    ‘I’m… I’m not Timmy.’

    The clown frowns, reads the boy’s chart. ‘ “Stephen Sondheim” ? Sorry, kid. Wrong bed.’

    His visitors begin to leave.

    ‘But… it’s my birthday! There oughta be clowns!’

    ‘Maybe next year.’