Weekly Spooky - Scary Stories to Keep You Up at Night
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5/5/2021

Ep.82 – Fun in Funeral - Clowning Around is DEADLY

Episode Notes

Clowns are funny, right? Well not when you find out the true dark secrets of these creatures that walk amongst us handing out balloons and laughter... Is that a chuckle you're hearing or a blood curdling scream?!

Fun in Funerals by David O'Hanlon

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Produced by Daniel Wilder

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Transcript:

The death of a Clown is no laughing matter. It leaves a bleak, unhappy void in the universe equal to the amount of Joy the departed had caused. Fennis Farcemeister, Whiteface of the Amityville shudder, had brought happiness to millions. His body rested in the lavender casket with his bright red shoes sticking straight up and his orange hair jutting over the side. Before him, a pedestal—too large for its contents—stood erect as a grim reminder of the task to come. The remainder of his shudder mourned in their own ways while they awaited the arrival of Pastor Crumb. “How are we supposed to close the lid?” Popsy Pringle asked gruffly, wiggling the toe of Fennis’ shoe. “Might as well just slap some Crocs on him.” “You don’t have to be in such a hurry, Popsy,” Sweet P. Cheepskate sobbed. Sweet’s brother, Blippy, put an arm around her shoulders and nodded in agreement. The twins were the shudder’s resident tramps. The tears rolled down Blippy’s rotund cheeks and disappeared in the smear of his greasepaint beard. The siblings both focused on the pedestal or, more accurately, the egg resting atop it. Blippy chewed his lip nervously and tipped his torn top hat respectfully. “We all know you’ll be the next Whiteface,” he said softly. “You don’t have to be so eager to take it. Callousness is for humans. Clowns are better than that.” Popsy groaned and gave his nose a squeak. “Spare me.” Blippy gasped at the insulting gesture and sobbed on his sister’s shoulder. Waldo Tatters’ tie-dye shitkickers clopped across the wood floors with his spurs jangling until he stood before the egg. Its scaly, vermillion shell was painted with Fennis’ likeness and locks of his hair snipped and glued to the sides. Every Clown had an egg in their shudder’s reliquary. Waldo traced his finger across the curve of the egg. He took off his cowboy hat and pressed it to his denim shirt. Rodeo clowns were rogues and rarely allowed membership in a shudder. Fennis saw beyond Waldo’s wily, psychotic, demeanor, however. “Don’t you worry none, pardner,” the cowboy said, lowly. “We won’t take too long.” “We’d better not.” Popsy checked his oversized watch. “Where the hell is Crumb? No one likes a sad Clown.” Sweet squirmed uncomfortably in her pew. She’d see a Pierrot once. It was the worst thing that could happen to a Clown. The Code called for funerary games so that the laughter of the shudder could carry the soul to the Palace of Joy. If the games didn’t appease the soul of the departed Clown however, it would become trapped in the void, and they would return as a Pierrot—a hideous, undead monstrosity that devoured flesh and spread coulrophobia. You can’t bring Joy if the audience thinks you might eat their faces. “The Code don’t cop to convenience,” Waldo reminded him. He looked at the flower on Fennis’ lapel. Its pedals danced in the artificial wind of the oscillating fan, but Fennis remained still. “Rather get on with the Chase myself, all the same.” “It’ll be a hell of a blow-off.” Blippy tugged the handkerchief from his breast pocket dragging out an extra three feet of multi-colored linen. He blew his nose on it and folded it back into his pocket. A sad smile stretched across his chubby cheeks. “Fennis will be able to rest easy in the Palace seeing the party we threw for him.” “Gonna be a different kinda party, if’n we don’t get a move on.” Waldo patted the egg and sighed. He turned to Popsy. “Who’s the peckerhead anyway?” “His name is Al,” a new voice said. “Al Musing.” The shudder turned their attention to the tiny, trapezoidal door leading to the church’s rectory. Pastor Crumb’s four-foot height made it through the door easily, but the prisoner he escorted on a leash took to crawling on his knees to fit through. Pastor Crumb jerked backward as the leather strap went taut. He huffed and waited for the prisoner to catch up, using the moment to attend an urgent itch south of his bulging belly. “Al doesn’t like Clowns,” the Pastor said. He adjusted the white collar beneath his second chin. “I imagine he’s really going to hate us after tonight.” The shudder laughed. Al tried to stand when eighteen-inches of checkered vinyl kicked him square between the shoulders. Popsy knelt on the human’s back and held his hand out to Pastor Crumb. “Enough propriety. Give me the biscuit.” Crumb took the revolver from the inside of his jacket and twirled it clumsily on his finger. He shook his head. “We have one more point of business.” He waved for Popsy to move. The Auguste Clown growled, but rose nonetheless. Popsy rolled his gloved hand theatrically and gave a phony bow. He slapped the toe of his shoe down on Al’s face. “There’s no reason for you to get up,” he said around the nub of the smoldering stogie between his yellowed teeth. “Get on with it, Pastor.” “Fennis Farcemeister was a Clown of the highest order. We gather here not just to honor the Code,” He glared over his shoulder at Popsy, “nor to anoint a new Whiteface. We are here to say a final goodbye to a Clown that was more than a mere leader or friend. Fennis was a mentor when we were ignorant, a father when we were alone, and a force of will when we were rebellious. He brought Joy to the humans like no other Clown before him, and in doing so he restored this shudder to a place of reverence among all Clown-kin.” “Amen, Pastor Crumb,” Sweet agreed. “Fennis did such wondrous works in his two-and-a-half centuries,” Crumb continued. “Why, if it weren’t for him, we might not even have the squirting flower gag. He took juggling to new heights, literally, by doing it on the tightrope. He restored the pooting bag to glory when he showed the humans how to make their whoopee cushions. There has never been a more beloved and potent Clown than Fennis, and never shall there be. We have made a grand day of remembrance; however, the time has now come to say our final goodbye.” “Goodbye,” they all shouted in unison. Pastor Crumb flipped the lid of the casket shut on Fennis’ corpse. It remained propped open by the bulbous toes of his shoes. The shudder chuckled at Fennis’ final gag. Crumb’s belly jiggled with raucous laughter. His laughter cut off as abruptly as hitting pause. His smile fell and the greasepaint did nothing to hide the dour expression etched on his face. “Al Musing, you have been chosen as the guest of honor,” Crumb grumbled. He waved his fingers to signal Popsy away. “A Clown is dead, a human must die. That is the Code to which both our kind are bound.” Al stood up slowly and tore the burlap sack off his head. He glared around the room at each of the Clowns. “You got to be fucking kidding me.” “Do we look like the joking kind?” Blippy asked. Sweet stood and sauntered to the casket. She dragged a wicker basket from underneath its stand and knelt with a smile toward Al before dumping the contents out. Her aquamarine hair tapered to fuchsia ends that acted like arrows directing all gazes to the struggling buttons of her unkempt hobo-chic blouse. It took great effort, but finally Al’s eyes jumped from the cleavage to the cleavers skittering across the floor. They were oversized and ancient, specked with rust and old blood, and accompanied by matching mallets. “So,” Al cleared his throat, “which one of you makes balloon animals?” “We all do, dummy,” Blippy informed him. “Good. Start with a cock and go fuck yourselves.” Waldo chuckled. “Pardner’s got some guts.” “I’ll be wearing them like a big, pink boa,” Sweet hissed sordidly. The blade of her cleaver scraped a divot in the floor. “I’ll keep you alive while I pull them out, so you can tell me how ravishing I look before I split your skull open.” “As appealing as that sounds, how about we just split and fuck each other silly?” Al winked and blew her a kiss. Blippy jumped up fast enough to knock the church pew over. “That’s my sister, dickweed!” “Your sister?” Al gave the Clown a critical onceover. “Your mom had an affair.” “You sonofabitch!” “Enough tomfoolery,” Crumb shouted. He jammed the revolver into Al’s waistband. “We’re not animals. We’ll give you a shot… but just the one.” “Fuck it. Why not?” Al pulled the leash off his neck and threw it down. “What’s the game?” “Time for games has passed,” Popsy said. “The Chase begins now. All you got to do is survive until midnight.” Al grabbed Popsy’s hand. The Clown jerked away, but Al held firm and turned his arm over to look at the face of the oversized watch. Forty-seven minutes remaining. “Probably be easier just to kill you all,” Al suggested. “That’s funny.” Popsy shoved Al away from him. “You’re a real comic… Al.” “Choke on my McNuggets, Ronald.” Al jogged for the doors. The Clowns set off giant party poppers, showering him with confetti and whooped with excitement behind him. Once he was outside, he took in his surroundings quickly. A polka dot Volkswagen Beetle was parked along the front of the Clown church which looked more like a converted funhouse with its colorful façade and odd angles. It was also smackdab in the middle of fucking nowhere. Rows of tombstones extended as far as he could see by the moonlight. “Think, Al. You need a plan.” He had a head start, a gun with one bullet, and five Clowns hellbent on murdering him in less than an hour. The outline of a mausoleum caught his eye. “You can’t spell ‘slaughter’ without a laugh.” A train whistle screamed inside the church. Waldo rubbed his ears. “Krusty H. Christ, Blippy!” Pastor Crumb mirrored Waldo. “You dolt!” “Sorry.” Blippy hung his head and tucked the whistle into his overalls. “I just wanted to let everyone know the Chase is starting.” “We’re all in the same room, dipshit.” Popsy slapped him in the back of the head. “Besides, Crumb starts the Chase.” Crumb patted Fennis’ corpse and proceeded to the pulpit. Popsy tapped the back of his cleaver against the metal head of the mallet until he got the precise rhythm. The toes of Clown shoes tapped in harmony with it. Popsy scowled and licked his lips with excitement. “Strike up the band, we got us a human to kill!” Popsy roared. Crumb pressed the button and “Stars and Stripes Forever” blared to life through the church’s PA system. The four others roared and stormed from the building in pursuit of their quarry. Blippy took aim and smashed the handle free from the mausoleum door. It wasn’t his first Chase, and the prey usually went straight to the nearest shelter. He twirled the mallet in his hand and kicked open the door with a floppy, torn shoe. Sweet rushed into the building with her weapons at the ready. The place was empty. The bronze name plates of the dead spread across the two, long side walls and the back wall was occupied almost entirely by a stained-glass window depicting the first Clown at the center and his six disciples in panes around him. Sweet crossed herself and approached the ornate tomb that sat in the center of the room. She took a deep breath and pressed against the top with her shoulder. Its heavy, stone lid scraped open slowly. She expected Al Musing to reach out for her, but nothing happened. She peeked inside and muttered an apology to the skeletal remains within the tomb. Doughy the Mime rested, as silently in death as he had been in life. Sweet turned to her brother and shrugged. “He’s not here, Blippy.” She looked around the otherwise empty room. “Guess we got it wrong this time.” “Rats!” Blip threw his hammer down with a clatter. “I just knew he’d come straight here. Where else could he be?” “Probably headed to the hedge maze. Let’s meet Waldo there,” Sweet suggested. The two tramps skulk out the front door and froze as the lights blazed before them. Circus music sounded from the VW Bug’s horn as it sped toward them, throwing a shower of dirt and grass from its spinning tires. Sweet cartwheeled out of the way, but Blippy was too slow. “Sorry to Bug you!” Al howled with a laugh. The car struck Blippy low, flipping him onto the hood. His face smacked against the windshield, streaking the glass with his greasepaint. Al smiled at him from the other side. The car smashed through the front wall, ramped off the tomb of Doughy, and launched into the air. They crashed through the massive window, showering the yard beyond in its psychedelic hail. The car landed hard. The tires exploded, the shocks collapsed, but its momentum kept the Beetle careening forward until it hit the oak tree. Al batted the air bag down and beat his shoulder against the bent door. It finally squeaked open and fell off beside the car. Al got out and popped his neck with a groan. Blippy B. Cheepskate’s eyes dangled from his skull, forced out by the impact. The rest of him just burst open like a confetti-filled balloon animal and sprayed the area in viscera. Al chuckled. “Guess that answers how many cars you can fit in a clown.” Sweet jumped over the car and slashed at Al with the cleaver. He ducked and rolled, grabbing the car door, and swinging it by the window frame to bat the diminutive nymph away. “Let me get the door for you,” Al quipped. “Hardy-fucking-har-har.” Sweet spat blood. “With jokes like that you could be a birthday clown.” “Do you think I have the chops?” “I’ll give you some chops!” Sweet lunged forward. Al held the car door up like a shield. Sweet’s cleaver cut through the thin metal with ease. Al fell backwards, flipping the tramp over him in the process. He snapped to his feet, but Sweet was up before him and climbed his body. Her stockinged legs wrapped around his neck. She locked her ankles behind his back, twisted her fingers into his mop of blond hair, and squeezed her thighs tighter. “Lucky fella, dying with your face in my cotton candy.” Sweet laughed maniacally as Al weakened and fell to his knees. Sweet dropped backwards, grabbing her own ankle to tighten the hold. Al threw ever-weakening punches at her. She drove her elbow into the top of his head like a jackhammer. Al slumped over. His fingers tapped and dragged through the grass for anything that might help. “Enough clowning around.” Sweet stretched out, reaching for her cleaver. “I’m going to cut off all your appendages in alphabetical orde—arrrrrgh!” Sweet rolled away from Al. She prodded the ragged hole in her thigh tentatively. The human choked and gagged behind her. “Fucking clowns always leave a funny taste in my mouth,” Al coughed, scouring his bloody face with the sleeve of his sweatshirt. Blood spurted between Sweet’s fingers while she worked a fuchsia tie from a pigtail to tourniquet the gaping bite mark. She seized the cleaver while she could and turned around… to find him missing. “Fuck!” Sweet panned around searching for him. She limped back to the church to regroup with Pastor Crumb in case the others failed to kill Al in the allotted time. Someone needed to be there to smash the egg. Whoever it was would become the next Whiteface… and Popsy would not be pleased. It beat the alternative. Sweet stopped in her tracks. Of course, if the human, killed them all, there’d be no one left to laugh for any of their spirits. Sweet gulped at the thought. She needed to stay in the hunt. Al groaned and rubbed a rising knot on the back of his head. The she-clown had kicked his ass. He needed to fight smarter. If he made it to midnight, they’d all leave him alone. That’s what they said anyhow. If you can’t trust a clown to keep his word, then who can you trust? He crept along the hedge row following the shouted goading of one of his hunters. He slipped through a gap in the wall and realized he was standing in a maze. “Of course, I fucking am,” he whispered. Well-spaced LED lights shone on the gravel track between the verdant walls on either side of him. They didn’t give him much light, but enough to pick out the deep grooves of cowboy boot tracks. He stayed low as much to keep his eye on the trail as to avoid detection. His sneakers gave him some advantage on the shifting rocks. As he moved through the corridors, the cowboy’s voice grew louder. Then he heard the jingle-jangle of the spurs. Al sank to his knees and crawled to the edge of another opening, peeking around cautiously. The boot heel struck him square in the forehead. Al toppled over, blinking spots from his vision. He got to his hands and knees when a kick met his ribs. “Giddy-up, fuckaroo!” Waldo howled. He watched the rodeo clown—thumbs hooked on his belt loops—dancing closer to him. The tie-dye boots shuffled through the gravel and then buried into his side again… and again. Al tried to escape. Waldo kept pace with the human, kicking him like a soccer ball as he rolled away from the deranged clown. Al felt the poke of branches in his back when he reached the wall. Another solid kick went into his gut. His microwaved dinner splattered the Clown’s boots. “You dirty sumbitch!” Waldo licked his glossy red lips. “I’m gonna line dance your fuckin’ face into pudding for that.” Waldo’s smile faded when he saw the gun barrel jabbed into his crotch. He patted the air and took two steps back. “Ever seen a clown juggle without any balls?” Al groaned and pressed himself up, keeping the gun trained on Waldo. He steadied his aim between the Clown’s eyes. “You only got the one shot, pardner.” “There’s only one of you.” Al straightened his arm and squeezed the trigger. The flag snapped out of the barrel, unfurling in an orange banner that read ‘BANG’ in purple letters. Al sputtered his lips and shook his head. Waldo slapped his thighs and whooped happily. The Clown danced in a circle, booming with laughter at the timeless gag. He turned back around and snapped his fingers, holding them at his hips like firing pistols. The miniature flagstaff rammed straight through his eye. Al swung the dummy revolver like a hammer, driving the spike through the back of Waldo’s skull. The Clown tipped over, the flag sticking out of his face fluttered lightly in the breeze. “Bang, you’re dead.” The gloved hands burst through the brush and seized Al around the throat. He battered the geometrically-patterned, yellow silk sleeves. His knuckles clanked off the oversized wristwatch. The Clown’s muscles tensed and Al’s face was pulled closer to the protruding branches. Al closed his eyes tightly, feeling the twigs clawing at his lips to get to the soft tissue beneath. “He who laughs… last!” Popsy shouted with a great guffaw. Al reached through the bush and grabbed the first thing he could. Popsy’s laughter turned to high-pitched wailing. “Let. Me. Go,” Al growled. Popsy’s white-gloved fingers sprang open and Al released him. The human strolled around the corner, popping his knuckles. Popsy rubbed his sore crotch and growled angrily. “Alright, Bozo Big-Dick. It’s just you and me,” he said. “We’re about out of time.” Popsy checked his watch. “Shit. I really wanted to enjoy killing you, but I can’t be late getting back to the church. I spent too many years in the shadow of Fennis. It’s my time to be the Whiteface.” “You killed your boss, didn’t you?” Popsy glared at him quizzically. “How’d you know?” Al shrugged. “Everyone wants to kill their boss.” “You killed Fennis?” a soft, melodic voice said from the shadow between two of the lights. “He was never going to rest until his egg was smashed. That’s why you were in such a rush to kill this human.” “You two clearly have things to discuss,” Al said, holding his hands up defensively. “I’ll show myself out.” “You’re not going anywhere.” Popsy adjusted his absurdly large tie. “Sweet, I understand you’re pissed.” Sweet hobbled forward, brandishing her cleaver. “Oh, that’s an understatement.” “If the human lives, Fennis becomes a Pierrot.” Popsy drew his weapons from his pockets. “We have to kill him first. It’s the Code.” Sweet looked at Al, then back to Popsy. She kicked the gravel with a frustrated shriek. “Two of us have a better chance, Sweet.” Popsy smiled at her. Al took his shot while the Auguste was distracted. He lunged to tackle him, only for the hammer to come down on the small of his back. Popsy drove a knee into Al’s chin. The human wrapped up Popsy’s legs. The Clown shimmied, trying to get his ridiculous shoes through Al’s grip. “Finish him, Sweet!” Popsy shouted. Sweet gripped the cleaver in both hands and raised it high as she stalked closer. “Break the egg!” Al yelled. Popsy stopped struggling. Sweet lowered her weapon slightly. “Become the Whiteface,” Al said, shuffling his feet under himself. “Stop him!” “No,” Popsy hissed. He glared at Al, then shot a glance to Sweet. Her tongue pressed against her cheek as she thought it over. If she smashed the egg, she would be the Whiteface and her and Crumb would send him to the Alley for trial. That couldn’t happen. There was only one punishment for jestericide. The thought of such horrors sent shivers up Popsy’s spine and steeled his nerve. He swung his own cleaver. Sweet’s head popped off her shoulders in a fountain of blood. She stumbled about, tripping over Al, and collapsing beside him. The stump gushed, her body twitched… and Popsy laughed malevolently. “Sweetie, you always did give the best head.” Al kicked off, pulling Popsy’s legs out from under him. He grabbed Sweet’s cleaver and swung at the Auguste, slicing the toe of his shoe off, but missing the meat inside. Popsy rolled and kicked the knife from Al’s hand before scrambling back to his feet. Al spotted Popsy’s mallet and rolled across the ground, scooping it, and coming up to his knees in a single motion. Popsy brought his cleaver down for a killing blow. Al deflected it and smashed the Clown’s ankle with the hammer. Al tried tackling him again and was successful. The mallet swung wildly. It struck Popsy’s bright red nose with a squeak that drowned out the crunch of the bone. Al laughed. It was all he could do. Laugh and swing. Hit and squeak. Over and over. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Until Popsy’s face collapsed and the mallet just made a sticky, thick smack with each repeated blow. Al finally stopped and came to his senses. He checked Popsy’s watch and headed back to the church. There was still one Clown left to kill and only four minutes to do it in. Al stepped into the Clown church and saw Pastor Crumb writhing on the floor. The top of a white head with flocks of orange hair was buried in his abdomen, munching noisily on the Pastor’s guts. The Pierrot lifted its gore-streaked face and hissed. “You must be the famous Penis the Clown everyone’s been telling me about.” Fennis stood in a hunkered, crooked mockery of normalcy. He tore at his clothing, revealing the ‘Farcemeister’ family name across his powerful chest. The Clown’s bared teeth wiggled in their sockets and fell away as fangs pushed through the gums to take their place. Smoke rose from his pores, steaming his greasepaint from his face and taking the flesh with it. Bone showed through in the original pattern of his makeup. The Clown shuddered and his chest tore open with a great blooming flower that spurted its nectar into steaming puddles on the floor. The Pierrot lunged forward. Al cocked back the mallet and took aim at the egg resting on its pedestal. He flung the weapon at it… and missed. The hammer sailed harmlessly over it and struck the massive cross behind the podium. The ornament rocked on its hangers. Fennis drew closer to Al, running with his now clawed hands tearing at the floorboards like a circus monkey. Fennis sprang into the air. The Clown seemed to fall in slow motion as Al awaited his demise. The cross crashed down on Fennis’ coffin, knocking it into the pedestal and tipping it over. The vermillion egg hit the floor a moment before Fennis landed on Al. The egg shattered, splattering the floor with its gooey, unnatural contents. Fennis exploded. The force knocked Al to the floor ahead of the tidal wave of viscera and blood that washed over him. He worked to untangle himself from a length of intestine and stood up, dripping with Clown goo. “I’ll probably laugh about this later.” He spat out a piece of flesh and shook his head. “I hate clowns.” Al limped toward the exit. He just wanted to go home—back to his shitty basement apartment with his Hot Pockets and his porn collection and he never wanted to see another fucking clown. He threw open the door of the church and groaned. Sweet was ambling toward him with her head in her hands. Blippy dragged his remains across the graveyard’s lawn. The snapping of the bang-flag blowing in the wind drew his attention to Waldo helping Popsy navigate the headstones. Al slammed the door and backed away from it. The knob started to turn. “It’s midnight,” he sobbed. “I made it. This isn’t fair.” “No.” A pair of bloody hands clutched his shoulders and Pastor Crumb leaned close to his ear with a giggle. “It’s a circus.” The door creaked open and the others shambled in. Crumb bit into Al’s cheek and the others closed in around him. Al saw their fangs and the bone showing where makeup had been. There was no one left in the shudder. No one to bring their souls to Joy anymore. Sweet threw her head at him and the damn thing latched onto his chest while Crumb dragged him to the floor. Popsy stood over him, his words came in a gurgled mess… “Laughter… never… dies.” The End

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