Note: John Wayne Gacy, Jr was an American serial killer who would abduct, assault, sodomize, then kill young men in the 1970’s. He would also dress as a clown by the name of “Pogo”. He killed over 30 people. (Wikipedia)
Also: this story is in the horror genre, but also contains some sexually scenes which are not appropriate for children. And, NSFW. thanks
Andrew dropped his work bag at the bottom of the steps, and began unbuttoning the large, brightly colored buttons as he carefully made his way up the stairs, feet turned out to make room for his oversized shiny red shoes. Orange button, then green, and the blue which was getting loose. At the top of the stairs he glanced sadly towards the room to the right which had a bathroom and, at the end of the hallway, the storage room, which was supposed to have been a nursery, once upon a time. He sighed, turned left and walked to the bed quietly, without turning on the light. As quiet as he was, he still flinched as the bed sank down under his weight and let out a loud squeak.
“Sorry, love,” he said aloud to the empty side of the bed furthest from the door. He paused and then continued quietly, “The kiddies were so happy the parents asked me to stay for a drink or three, heh-heh,” he said, now consciously aware he was talking to an empty bed, in an otherwise empty room. First one shoe dropped, then the other. He no longer tried to keep quiet.
As he stood to step out of the one piece clown costume he wore, he saw himself in the mirror. He watched himself sway a bit as the mirror showed first one, then two, then one of him again. “I know, I still haven’t bought the blinds to block out the street light… Yes, and, truth be told I might’ve had more than a couple of drinks. I’ll get those shades tomorrow,” he stepped out of the costume, put it on it’s hanger, and walked into the adjoining bathroom to wash his face. He turned on the light and looked at his reflection. He found himself just staring at his reflection a lot since Tracy had left. Why had she left him? He was as thin as when they’d met, his hair was still thick and dark, his eyes a nice blue. He’d been in clown school when they met, and he’d over heard Tracy comment to friends more than once that his love of children was a major reason she had agreed to go on a date with him; back then, Tracy had wanted kids.
Andrew really did enjoy the children’s parties, the look of awe and happiness when he made balloon animals or pulled a quarter from behind a child’s ear. This was why summer was his favorite season. With no school, parties were thrown for birthdays, holidays, and just for fun. Now that school had begun a couple of weeks earlier, and parties were only thrown on weekends, Andrew would normally have called his childhood friend Justin for some construction work to make ends meet. It was the beginning of October, and he hadn’t called Justin yet. Justin had called him, more than once, but Andrew was usually nursing a hangover or passed out. Now Andrew stood and looked at the reflection himself in the mirror. He turned on the sink water, and waited for it to get warm. “Why? Why can’t I move on?” he asked his reflection. “Almost three years. Three years.” And he leaned over the sink, splashed water on his face, and began to wash off the clown makeup.
Five years earlier, Tracy and Andrew had bought the house. It needed work, but Andrew was able to do most of it on his own while Tracy worked from a lawyer up to District Attorney, and paid most of the bills. Tracy’s main complaint was the street light which lit up their bedroom. Andrew had told her he’d get blinds to block out the light but, before he had a chance, Tracy left. She said that she, “couldn’t live with a figurative and literal clown” any longer. They’d been together almost six years, almost three of those years married. Almost.
The nursery to the right of the staircase remained unfinished as Tracy had changed her mind about wanting kids. “I can be a stay at home dad, ” Andrew had pleaded, the same old argument, one night in mid-September. “That’s the new thing, you know,” he’d added, watching her from the doorway of their bathroom. She took off the jacket and unzipped her work skirt, hanging each on it’s own hanger. She unbuttoned her white shirt, and unrolled her stockings and dropped both to the floor. She stood and looked at him, wearing a brand new bra and matching underwear. He felt himself getting hard, “That’s sexy, where did you get them?” He’d asked, stupidly not suspecting a thing from his wife who had never cared if her bra matched her panties. “Oh, these? Nowhere,” her body was almost as fit as when they’d met, as she’d recently taken to running before he even woke up. She’d come home sweaty and glowing, and immediately take a shower before dressing for work. Her lunch breaks had been taken over by exercise, so Andrew could no longer show up to have lunch with her.
Now she was in the shower, and Andrew pulled off his pajama bottoms and undershirt and stepped into the shower behind her. She was completely immersed in the shower water, breasts taught, nipples tight; they hadn’t been intimate in months. He soaped his hands and began soaping her breasts up, pleasantly surprised that they had grown a bit and each seemed to overflow out of his hand. When his thumbs brushed her nipples, she gasped in pleasure and reached behind her to stoke his erection. “Oh, baby, you’re so close,” she murmured as she slid him inside of her and leaned forward. He moved his right hand down to help her climax, and was shocked when she came almost immediately, her spasms pulling him to his finish so they both came at the same time, as when they were first together. Still inside her, he pulled her close to kiss her neck and was surprised to find her climaxing again, something that had never happened in their entire relationship. He held her as she shuddered. The shower was turned off and they were wrapped around each other in bed, “I love you, Tracy,” he’d murmured in her ear, as he wrapped a fluffy towel around er and led her to bed. Sleepily she mumbled, “Love you, too,” before rolling over to her side of the bed. “We should be more careful,” he thought he heard Tracy mumble, before, “Goddamn street light! When are you getting the blinds?” That was the last time the were intimate, and Tracy moved out near the end of October.
And Andrew never did get the blinds to block out the street light.
Andrew stared at his reflection, again, in the sink mirror, bleary eyed. Tracy never let him come to bed with his clown makeup on, saying it got all over the sheets and pillow cases, and why couldn’t he just wash it off? He sighed, soaped up his hands, cupped them to fill them with water, and continued washing off the makeup. White all over his face, red on his mouth, blue on his lids with black eyebrows above. He wet his whole face and began scrubbing off the makeup from his left cheek, then his right cheek, forehead, nose, mouth, chin. Rinse hands, rinse face, and work off the eye makeup. He’d sometimes wondered what would happen if he kept scrubbing, kept adding soap and water onto the scrubbing sponge until his skin was pink, then bloody, then…
He stopped and looked in the mirror to see his reflection. It was just him, with some paint, and very pink cheeks, which felt raw to the touch; the red was only the paint from his lips.
It was mid-October (3 years since Tracy left, don’t think about it, move on, answer the phone, sound happy) when he received the call. It was from two towns over, wanting to know if he’d be willing to work an adult party on Halloween. “By ‘adult’, I just mean a bunch of drunk adults, no nudity. I just wanted a horror house as it’s my second anniversary with my wife and she’s always had a thing for clowns,” the man explained. “I’ll pay you double your usual rate.” Andrew thought about the pile of bills on his desk and knew that he had to take the job. He wrote down the address, date, and time.
A week before the party, the man, Jim, called again. “Um, hey, odd question, but can you come as Pogo?”
“Pogo?” Andrew repeated, confused.
“Yeah, you know, the clown that John Wayne Gacy dressed as. Pogo.”
“Oh,” Andrew paused. He needed the job, the money. “I guess so, why?”
“To make it scarier. My wife was with a clown who did kiddie shows, but I want to really scare her,” Jim laughed.
“Okay,” Andrew said, and hung up.
The party was already going when Andrew showed up dressed, uncomfortably, as Pogo. “I’m looking for Jim?” Andrew tried yelling over the music as he tapped various people on the shoulder.
“I’m Jim,” a man who looked similar to Andrew finally answered. “You must be the clown,” Jim said. “Come on, you can leave your stuff in the kids room.”
“Kids?” Andrew asked.
Jim looked proud, “A two year old boy and a 4 month old girl,” he said. “My wife wants tons of kids but I think we’ll wait a bit before the next,” Jim explained, as both he and Andrew stepped over the baby gates at the bottom and top of the stairs. “They’re at my parents tonight,” Jim added.
“And your wife?” Andrew asked.
“Up here getting dressed as a zombie attack victim and I’m the zombie haha,” Jim pointed at the corner of the room. “Drop your stuff over there.” Jim looked at Andrew. “Huh. We could almost be twins,” Jim added, looking at Andrew up and down. Sure enough, they were both just over six feet tall, slender, same hair and eye color, Andrew felt uncomfortable.
“So, um, how did you meet your wife?” Andrew asked.
“Whirlwind courtship, divorce from her ex, then babies less than a year later. You’ll meet her later,” Jim turned on the lights and Andrew saw the perfect nursery, with a toddler bed in one corner and a crib in the other corner. Just as he’d imagined he and Tracy would have.
“Hon?”, a female voice called from down the hall, as the clicking of her heels got closer. Her voice sounded familiar, and Andrew gripped the edge of the crib, finding it hard to breathe. “I need some help with the skirt, it’s a bit tight with the extra baby…” Tracy stepped into the room, saw Andrew, and almost whispered, “weight.”
“Tracy,” Andrew stated.
Even with the Pogo makeup, she knew. “Andrew?” She turned to glare at Jim. “If this is your idea of a joke, it’s not funny.”
Jim put his hands up in an ‘I’m innocent’ stance and took a step back. “Babe, I called two towns over! How was I supposed to know?”
Tracy paused, then went over to Jim, the invisible knife in Andrew twisting as Jim fixed the last button on her skirt and they gently, lovingly, kissed.
“Now,” said Jim, clapping his hands once. “Welcome to the truly horror house! From now on, it’s everyone for themselves,” he smiled gleefully. “Oh, Andrew, before I forget. Fake knife, stab, blade goes in the handle, fake blood pours out. We’ve also hired professionals who have blood bags and will do the whole, ‘I’ve been stabbed!’ thing.”
Andrew took the knife and felt the tip. “Seems real to me, ” he said.
“Hence, professionals, who don’t mind a bruise or two. You have to push a bit harder than a regular fake knife,” Jim said and escorted Tracy out. “I’ve gotta get dressed,” he called over his shoulder. Andrew tested the knife a few more times and decided that he wouldn’t actually use it except as a prop; the blade seemed stuck and he wasn’t comfortable with that.
Andrew waited in the kids’ room until he could breathe normally again. Tracy. Whirlwind courtship then divorce. Had Jim known? No, she was never good at faking, Andrew thought. So how had Jim found him, among all of the available clowns — and the ones who would be available for twice the price? Andrew methodically checked his many pockets: long balloons in this one; long checkered scarf his sleeve so he could easily slip it into his mouth, or just pull it out of his sleeve if someone sneezed; fake flower with water; and so on. He walked out of the room and down the stairs, only to realize halfway down that all of the guests were vampires with fake blood dripping from fake fangs; zombies with dried blood and gore; nurses with white uniforms splashed with fake blood; even Tracy was dressed in a torn nightgown her arms holding a dead fetus — presumably ripped out by Jim who was a zombie, with fresh blood on his face.
Andrew paused on the stairs, but Jim, already drunk saw him and yelled, “Here he is! John Wayne Gacy, also known as Pogo the Clown!” Andrew reminded himself that he was being paid double, took a deep breath and held up the knife Jim had given him.
“Here, have some punch,” a female dresses as a bloody nurse ordered, handing him a cup. He gulped it and handed it back. She giggled. “Have a nice trip!” She said in a sing-song voice.
“How are you all tonight?” Andrew growled, having no idea what Gacy sounded like. “You’ve all come to party. Some of you will leave, some won’t!” Andrew did the last part in a sing-song voice, similar to the nurse, “Have fu-unn!”
And then the lights went out, and there were screams from below. Andrew figured that this was something Tracy and Jim had planned, and he slowly made his way down the last few steps to the dim light of the jack o’ lanterns.
Oddly, the house was laid out almost exactly like the house Andrew and Tracy had bought. Andrew headed for the kitchen for a drink and almost jumped out of his skin when someone grabbed his arm and pulled him under the stairs. She laughed and he knew it was a tipsy Tracy.
“What do you want?” he asked in a stage whisper. “More kids?” And then she was crying in his arms, and he was comforting her.
“You didn’t drink the punch, did you?” Tracy asked.
“Just a cup, but I’m starting to feel a bit odd,” Andrew responded.
“Oh, oh,” Tracy said sadly. “Jim dose it with LSD -acid — so everyone would be tripping. I was hoping that you… Andrew, I’m so sorry. I truly fucked up. I was horrible to you. Yes, I wanted kids, but I kept getting promoted and a pregnancy would’ve ruined all of that,” she was crying hard, now, gripping his costume; even in her heels, she only reached his chest. “But Jim, he didn’t care. I love my babies, I do. But I wish you were the dad.”
“Hey, hey, Trace, me, too, but, wrong time and place,” Andrew said softly, lifting her chin. Even in the dim light, with people running and screaming and stabbing at others with the heavy fake knives Jim had given out, he could see Tracy’s eyes red and swollen. He smiled sweetly. “Hey, wanna see the fake knife Jim gave me?”
He pulled his arm back, knife in hand, and as he stabbed her in her fake stomach wound, he heard her say, “No! They’re real!” And then she was on her knees, crying, again, “I was trying to tell you! He’s sick!” Blood, real blood, poured from her stomach. In his altered state he thought at first it was fake and giggled, but she commanded him, “Andrew. Real blood. Injury. Tear the bottom of this nightgown and wrap it around me tightly.”
Clumsy, fingers not working as they should, he ripped off the bottom of the nightgown to slow the bleeding. Suddenly, though he was seeing trails of of any movement, Andrew became sober. Standing, he yelled, “Stop! The knives are real! Find Jim!” If anyone heard him, they ignored him. “Call 911! Tracy needs an ambulance!” He yelled again. “Fine. New game: find Jim!” He yelled as loud as he could. This time people stopped and began agreeing. “Yeah, new game!”
“Find Jim”, followed by crazy laughter. “Find Jim, find Jim!”
Andrew got down by Tracy. “I’ll call for an ambulance,” he said, and they kissed.
When Jim heard Andrew’s hoarse voice scream the new mantra, “Find Jim!”, he knew he had to get out. He had a bag packed, and the kids — which he’d said were at his parents for the night — were sleeping in the back of the car, as he’d drugged them.
At this point, most of the guests were tripping on the huge dose of LSD Jim had put in the drinks, and were bleeding from some serious stab wounds. Jim remembered his drug education teacher saying, “A person on LSD can be hit by a car, yet get up and walk away.”
Jim pulled out one of the disposable phones he had bought and, called 911. “Oh my G-d, it’s crazy, everyone is stabbing everyone else, but it’s mostly some guy in a clown suit like what John Wayne Gacy wore — Pogo the Clown? it’s at…” Jim gave the address and then let out a real scream as people found him and surrounded the car. He dropped the phone, hanging it up accidentally.
The guests, dressed as vampires, zombies, and so on were rubbing real blood on the car windows as they tried to get to Jim. He couldn’t back up or go forward without hitting someone. He honked the horn. At the same time, some guests climbed on the hood and began kicking the windshield. The guests laughed as his windshield started to crack and then fell into the car on top of him.
Jim put his arms up to block the glass and then the knives as they plunged into his flesh. Other guests followed, some getting trampled along the way.
“There are kids in here! Get out!” Jim yelled over the sirens of an ambulance, two police cars, and a fire engine.
As he screamed, Jim heard guests commenting on the realistic knives and blood flowing onto his shirt. He stepped on the accelerator but his tires couldn’t get traction. The last thing Jim heard was, “Oh, these babes look so realistic!”
Andrew had noticed most of the guests run outside. Luckily, Jim and Tracy were one of the last people he knew to have a landline. He picked up the receiver only to find that someone had cut the wire.
He was sweating, so he wiped his face with his hand up his face and pulled the wig off as he saw no reason to wear it anymore.
“Trace,” he said, “Tracy!” He added forcefully. “Stay awake!” He tried to avoid looking at all of the blood she had lost. “Do you have a cellphone?”
She shook her head, “no.”
“Let me wash off my makeup,” Andrew said. He was still feeling the effects of the LSD in the punch.
Andrew went to wash his clown makeup off. It was a very strange night. He washed his face in the usually and checked in the mirror. Somehow he’d missed a lot, especially his cheeks. He redid the usual routine: soap on scrub brush, wet face then wet brush and scrub. He closed his eyes and scrubbed his whole face, but especially the cheeks.
The paint was still there, mixed with red, but not from his lips. He leaned over the sink again, using only hot water, splashed his face, added soap to the scrub brush and scrubbed. He checked in the mirror to see the white had faded.
He moved on to his left cheek and repeated the process. When he checked, he was dismayed to see his right cheek was still white. Was he doomed to look like a clown forever?
Left cheek, right cheek, forehead, eyes, mouth, scrub with towel… The makeup was still on. Not his usual, but Pogo. He was losing it.
Tracy came up behind him, one hand over the stab wounds, the other ran a bloody print across his face. “I’m so sorry, Andrew, so sorry,” she murmured. “I didn’t plan this, you know. Jim was always so jealous of you. So jealous.” She faded in real life, but remained in the mirror. “Go home. The police are coming. He set you up.” And she disappeared from the mirror. A hallucination, he thought.
Andrew was determined to get the paint off of his face. Rinse, scrub, wash, dry. Still there. He began using his nails to try and scratch the paint off. Blood streaked down his face, on to his costume, but all he saw was the paint. Rinse, scrub, dry; rinse, scrub, dry.
Eventually he went downstairs, still scibbing his face with the towel.
He scooped Tracy up in his arms. Jim had disappeared, so Andrew would take her to the hospital. He heard the sirens, and hurried to get Tracy to the ambulance. But when he stepped out of the door, a police officer on a megaphone say,”Put the woman down and your hands up!”
Confused, Andrew complied and yelled back, “She needs an ambulance!”
“So do a lot of your victims,” the officer yelled back.
“Victims?”, Andrew asked, as Tracy was gently put on a stretcher and he was roughly forced to his knees. The handcuffs we’re purposely clasped too tight on his wrists as he was read his rights.
“Are you sure it’s him?”
Rinse, scrub, dry.
“He’s wearing a clown suit. Only one alive. For now, he’s our guy.”
From the backseat of the police car, Andrew kept at it: rinse, scrub, dry.
“What’s he doing? Should we cuff him behind his back?”
“Nah. He’s just crazy,” the second cop answered the first. “Drive back to the station. Our shift is over.”
Andrew kept at it: rinse, scrub, dry. Rinse, scrub, dry, he was now using his sleeve to dry his face, not realizing that he was slowly ripping away at his skin and the red — so red! Like blood! — was the wetness that he kept wiping on his sleeve. Rinse, scrub, dry.
The police drove past the station to the hospital where, even after they strapped Andrew down to a bed, still in his blood spattered clown suit, he could be heard muttering, “Rinse, scrub, dry. Rinse, scrub, dry,” as the blood from his scratched face continued to slowly drip down onto the clean white pillow and sheets.
Hope you enjoyed my first attempt at horror (almost) sans Zombies.
D. K. Stevens