The Funny Farm ©
Ian Morgan

Amicus is bald and portly, his head perfectly round, face florid and slick with sebum. He continually wipes at his greasy features with a spotty handkerchief.
He has the look of a glace cherry.
He opens the metal door and ushers you through. He pulls it shut with a loud bang that echoes down the corridor.
“It’s better to be safe than sorry,” he tells you when it locks automatically. “Allow me to introduce you to some of our current residents.”
He slides aside a small hatch set into the nearest door. Inside, a figure looks at you intently.
“This is Tatters. He’s been with us for a while now…”

Wearing a baggy, torn, threadbare costume, carrying a bunch of brightly coloured balloons in one hand, and a carrier bag in the other, the stranger sidled nonchalantly into the alley in time to see the second punch knock Marcus to the floor.
“Why?” Simon demanded.
Marcus defiantly spat blood onto Simon’s shoe.
The stranger watched from the shadows, head cocked to one side, like an inquisitive puppy.
“Usual story. Got talking. Had some drinks. He came on to me. Good looking lad. Cute. Good kisser.” Realisation suddenly burnt in his eyes. “You didn’t know. Did you?”
“Know what?”
“That he was gay.”
“Why did you kill my son?”
“Because I could,” came the callous reply.
Simon wiped tears and snot onto his sleeve. “You’re not worth it,” he said, before he turned and walked away.
Hunkered down, the stranger tipped something out of the carrier bag that clattered to the floor. As Marcus picked himself up, the figure rushed forward, brandishing a claw hammer and rained down a torrent of blows to the young man’s face, until he was no longer breathing.
The stranger bumped his fists together gleefully at the result, dropped the bloodied weapon and skipped off into the night.

“Here we have Lulu,” says Amicus, at the next door. “She’s the only female we have in captivity. How are you today, Lulu?”

A face is framed by the hatch.
“Capricious,” she tells him, and giggles inanely…

It’s stopped raining.
His footsteps are getting closer.
I’m sure he’s following me.
I push back against the wall.
He stops.
He can’t hear me.
He mustn’t hear me.
I take a deep breath.
I step out.
I punch the blade repeatedly into his neck.
He crumples to the ground.
From a pocket in my pretty skirt, I produce a small cloth bag, containing a plastic box that produces an irritating, electronic laugh, and place it beside his head.
When I kiss him, I leave a smear of greasepaint on his cheek.
I hear talking.
Two more people.
I grin.
My night isn’t quite over.

“There are so many more,” says Doctor Amicus.
Rounding a corner, he indicates the other doors that line each side of the green linoleum. “Twenty sixteen was an incredibly bad year for clown sightings. Most were perfectly innocuous. Some, however, weren’t.”

He opens another door.

“Looks like this’ll be a bad year too, doesn’t it?” Amicus sighs heavily. “In you go, Popov.”
Still covered in blood, you move dejectedly into the cell as the heavy door slams shut behind you…

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