NOTE: This is a continuation of the story begun in Never Trust a Woman in a Mask, and then continued in El Payaso and The Best Side. If you read (or have read) all of those, this one will make more sense. Well, more-ish sense. It is, after all, about my part in the Clown Wars, wherein the Clown Mafia fought the Ninjas and Mimes for control of the underworld. And yes, the doctor said if I keep taking my medication the music will stop. Eventually.
Flight and Fancy: Part 1
I woke up handcuffed to a chair with a potato-chip bag over my head. “Is it Christmas already, mom?” I said, as I blinked my way back into consciousness. The handcuffs rattled against the chair’s metal frame as I tried to move my arms, so I settled on scratching my nose with my foot. I could dimly hear a polka version of Don McLean’s Starry Starry Night, but there were no other sounds aside from a meat cleaver being sharpened on a leather strop by a left-handed man in his mid-forties with a cauliflower ear and a receding hairline.
Yeah, I know my meat cleaver sharpening.
“Hey,” someone said. “He’s awake.”
The bag was pulled off my head and a shower of Cool Ranch Doritos cascaded around my shoulders. I sneezed. “Y’know,” I began, as chips slid off, “you could have emptied the bag before you put it on my head.”
The man in front of me was wearing a dark suit, tie, and a Donald Duck mask. “Shut up,” he said, as he flicked a Dorito off my head.
His eyes narrowed behind his mask. Mine narrowed as well, mainly because another sneeze was coming on. Donald’s hand went into his coat and the sound of the meat cleaver being sharpened abruptly ceased behind me.
“Shut up,” Donald said again. “Please.” He pulled out a handkerchief and held it politely to my nose as I sneezed again.
“Okay,” I said. Donald started to refold his handkerchief, then thought better of the idea and tossed it into a nearby trashcan. It made the distinct ‘ping’ of metal hitting metal. Donald didn’t appear to notice.
The room I was in was seemed small, maybe ten by ten, with a blank concrete wall in front of me. Other than the trashcan and a few scattered Doritos on the floor, there was nothing else in view.
Behind me, the meat cleaver began to make quick, precise cuts in a staccato rhythm. I turned as much as I could, but couldn’t see the source, though I did notice a stack of hula hoops. Donald seemed content to lean against the wall a few feet away, leafing through a copy of Tiger Beat.
I tested the handcuffs. They were clasped firmly around my wrists and the chain was looped through the frame of the metal chair I was on. I tried to snap the chain, hoping that getting knocked out had granted me super-human strength. No dice. I then tried telekinesis, telepathy, starting fires mentally, flight, invisibility, and talking to fish.
The last one actually worked, but sadly, there were no fish around, so I never realized I could do it.
Behind me, a door opened and there was a hushed conversation I couldn’t quite make out. A fly buzzed by and then settled on my head.
A man in a black suit and a domino mask strode into view. He placed a chair in front of mine and sat down.
“Hi,” he said, rather amiably. “I’m the Mountebank.”
Next: Part 2