A red-nosed clown forced air into a thin balloon as long as a Yugo. His white-faced pores strained. He pinched the opening between his thumb and index finger. “Alright kids, what animal should Nono the Clown make?”
A cluster of five year-olds jiggled in a textbook demonstration of Brownian motion. “Kitty cat!” “Giraffe!” “Yellow-bellied sapsucker!”
The clown released his pinch. The blue balloon spiraled away like an Apollo rocket after a three-day bender. Small mouths hung open. Children ran screaming to their parents. “This is a lesson for you, kids. Nothing as frivolous as balloon animals has a place in our meaningless existence.” He threw his rainbow wig on the ground and torched it with a death’s head Zippo. Pulling a cigarette from the pack inside his rolled-up sleeve, he lit it with the still-burning Zippo.
A mother cradled a bawling blonde girl wearing a tiara. She turned to the tight-lipped man standing next to her. “I told you we shouldn’t have hired Nono the Nihilist Clown for Madison’s birthday.”
Caleb Echterling lives in Richmond, Virginia, where he loses a running battle with the varmint or varmints that eat his garden. He tweets funny fiction using the too-clever-by-half handle @CalebEchterling
Ed Note: Caleb Echterling has received as payment for this piece, as per request, the princely sum of one imaginary sack, filled with an incalculable number of imaginary nickels, and our eternal gratitude. We are not sure which will get him further, the nickels or the gratitude.