Friday, August 13, 2010

Zombie Clowns from Space -------Flash Fiction

It started with his foot, as these things often do. Tony awoke to a throbbing beneath the covers that was unlike the normal morning throbbing he had been used to all of his life. Well, had been used to since the age of thirteen anyway. He steeled himself for the worst and flung back the covers. It was just as he suspected. He had the beginnings of clown foot. He rummaged in his bedside drawer to find the official government pamphlet on what to do in the early stages.

Step One: To prevent widespread panic, do not roam the streets in your condition

Step Two: Call 1-800-Zombie-Clown

Step Three: Sit calmly in your bathtub/shower and wait for assistance or liquefaction to arrive

Tony was a rule following kind of chap; he found that it made life in general easier. In that particular way, among many others, he was very unlike his twin brother Reggie. His brother Reggie was as touchy as a shaved monkey and felt that anyone who told him no was to be crushed like a bug. Tony didn't know how Reggie's wife, Claire, bore up under Reggie's constant aggression.

Tony thought of Claire and her lovely calm eyes as he punched in the number on the pamphlet, spoke to the operator and then went to sit in his shower stall. It was a bit cramped, what with his rapidly expanding foot, but he managed to wedge himself in and sat calmly waiting, knowing that help would soon arrive. The government liked to contain these outbreaks quickly. They didn't want a recurrence of Poughkeepsie Walmart 2016. Tony shuddered at the memory of the public service announcement film footage. It opened of course with the meteor strike and then there was the horror of all of those zombie clowns lurching through the aisles throwing cream pies at one another, pouring laundry soap and other handy items down one another's trousers and generally being incredibly unentertaining. It had been such a relief when the tank commanders rolled in, bolted the doors and imploded the building.

Tony and Claire had met in high school that very week. Reggie, since he'd skipped a grade, had been away at college, but when he came home for the holidays he took one look at Claire and determined she would be his. Two years of full court press later, they were married. That night he gave Claire her first black eye. Tony's phone rang jarring him back to the present. There was a delay. Was there someone he could call to make sure he didn't leave the apartment? Tony called Claire. She came right away, assessed the situation and made him a cup of tea; adding three sugars since it was dire.

They read the rest of the pamphlet together in order to track Tony's symptoms. He seemed to be one of the slow transformers. Some went right to raging homicidal mania, then liquefied, some lurched about for a bit walking invisible dogs on stiff leashes, throwing buckets of confetti on unsuspecting strangers; eventually committing suicide in unoriginal ways.

For the public good, the Zombie-Clown Agency took no chances these days. They nipped any outbreak in the bud by euthanizing the stricken as soon as transformation was evident.


Some hours later, Claire signed the official form on the official clipboard for the official agent. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she recounted the harrowing events of the afternoon. Tony had dressed himself in full clown regalia and lurched to the roof. His brother Reggie had arrived in time to try to talk him down, but failed. A struggle had ensued, and Tony had leaped off the building, narrowly missing a bus of German tourists. The tourists had the whole thing on film. The agent watched the film which ended in a freeze frame of himself flaming the body.

Claire played a slightly different version of the events in her mind's eye, but she kept that version to herself. The agent didn't need to know that Reggie had burst into Tony's apartment and found Claire snuggled in Tony's lap kissing him in the shower stall. He didn't need to know that Reggie had called Tony a dumb ass, thrown a bottle of benadryl at his head, and reminded Tony that he had once swelled up the same way when he was four after a bee sting. He didn't need to know that Reggie had pulled Claire out of the shower by her hair. He didn't need to know that during the ensuing struggle Tony had shoved him and Reggie had hit his temple on the sink top. He didn't need to know that determined eyes had locked over Reggie's unconscious body in mutual understanding. He especially didn't need to know that they had dressed Reggie as a clown, manhandled him to the roof and Tony had tossed Reggie off. He also didn't need to know that Claire had three busted ribs waiting to be re taped under her sweater.

Claire came back to the task at hand, swiped her face with her sleeve, handed the official clip board back to the official agent and accepted his official condolences on the official loss
of her brother-in-law.


Tony woke to a throbbing under the covers. He rolled over to Claire and pressed it against her warm thigh. Claire opened her eyes and smiled sleepily at him.

Tony kissed her and cuddled her gently into his embrace. Soon he'd have to get up to go to grief counseling. Reggie's transformation from an abusive prick to a caring husband over time with professional assistance would be believable to those near and dear to Claire. After all, it's a shock losing your twin brother in such a gruesome manner; and would of course make you want to cherish those left to you and live life to the fullest.

For her part, Claire determined to thank the zombie clowns from space for arriving on Earth at least once a day. Simple gratitude, she had always felt, along with morning wood, were two of the best things in life.


Marisa Birns said...

So many women find that after they marry, their sweethearts turn out to be nothing but clowns. Now I know why.

Laughed and laughed as I read this while eating an English Muffin. Choked a bit, too. But the slurp of coffee helped. Burned my throat, though.

Don't know why your reference to morning wood makes me think their child would look like Pinocchio. Hmm.

You are, as always, fabulously inventive.

Laurita said...

I'm glad it all worked out for Tony in the end, but this is still the scariest story I have ever read. The direction that told him to go sit in the shower or bathtub gave me a horrible mental image of a killer clown huddled in the bath, waiting. *shudder*

I did smile at the touchy monkey though. :) Way to work that in.

Laura Eno said...

In a Walmart, of all places! I started giggling at that and wondered why anybody even noticed the Zombie Clowns in there.

Marisa and her Pinocchio line is a crack up too. :)

You have such a strange, strange mind, Karen. *smooches*

ganymeder said...

Loved this! The swap was genius, but I still don't understand what happened to Tony's swollen foot... Did he zombie-clownism reverse or something?

Cool concept.

Karen from Mentor said...

It was swollen from a bee stinging him while he slept Cathy.[see Reggie shouting at him about his error during the struggle] He just overreacted a bit.

I'm sure Claire will help assuage any lingering embarrassment Tony might have over waking with a swollen foot and calmly resigning himself to imminent liquefaction.

Thanks for stopping in. This one was a hoot to write. Glad you enjoyed it.
*Big Smile*

Karen from Mentor said...

Pinochio children. Ha! That reminds me of going to the drive in in high school, Marisa. The late late movie on the [thankfully] OTHER screen was an x rated version of Pinochio.

*slams mind firmly shut against images*

You should know better than to eat or drink when you're in here.

*hands marisa an ice cube for her burns*

Karen from Mentor said...

@Laurita, thanks. And wow, that's a much scarier scenerio. I would think in that case everyone would keep the official government pamphlet taped to the bathroom door in order to maintain constant vigilance against zombie clowns. *shudder*

Thanks Laura *smooches Laura back* I'm sorry I didn't work in the word "gloop" for you. But I did get to use Poughkeepsie.
And that had been a life long dream.

You guys rock. Thanks for stopping in.

Valerie said...

This was too fun. Even if the ending was a bit saucy. ;-)

peggywriter said...

Thanks for the bee explanation. I too, got a little lost. Now it all makes sense.

Wonderfully inventive, to quote another commentor. Always a pleasure (and a giggle) stopping by here.

Karen from Mentor said...

There was an awful lot of info packed into a really small space Peg...laughing...which is why I wasn't able to work in "gloop" for Laura. Hell, I almost panicked trying to figure out how to make the damn zombies come from freakin space for Anne....giggling...

Thank you for taking the time to stop in.
Always appreciated.

Karen from Mentor said...

What can I say Valerie? It started with wood, had to end with wood. I'm a full circle kind of gal.

*hugs Valerie*

Karen from Mentor said...

If anybody's may have missed the comment threads for "Fraught with froth, or meringue you were a pant-o-mime" and "hugging a bucket".... the germs that bred this story will be revealed to you in there.

I heart my friends

j said...

You had me at "It started with his foot, as these things often do." ;-)

Gracie said...

Oh, where to even begin? It's hilarious from start to morning wood. And of course the initial breakout would be in Walmart. Of course.

I love your twisted mind, dear Karen. This one made my day. <3

Sulci Collective said...

I thought I had an oblique take on life in general, but it's nothing compared to yours karen! Watch out for that funny car with the outsized horn that runs on shaving cream!

A hoot. A riot.

marc Nash

John Wiswell said...

So weird that Skype turned your zombie hotline into a link. Tempted to click and call it...

Karen from Mentor said...

Don't do it John! They come with a big big needle and then you're never heard from again.

Karen from Mentor said...

*preens* at Marc. That's great praise coming from you. Thank you. That's like Mr. Wiswell saying my humor was "out there"....*happy sigh*

Gracie, I'm always happy to make your day. I'll even make your bed. Or your lunch. Or cookies. Whatever you need done m'dear.

Thanks for stopping in guys.

Rachel Blackbirdsong said...

Walmart, ZombieClowns and morning wood. I can only imagine what happened at Walmart in 2016. That could almost be a full story. "Clean up on aisle 9" indeed. It doesn't get better than this.

Anonymous said...

So so funny. All kinds of awesomeness. And somehow the image of Pinocchio and morning wood are forever etched on my brain.
Can't sleep. Zombie clowns will eat me.
Adam B @revhappiness

Jodi MacArthur said...

Karen, Karen, every time I come here you've outdone yourself!

Now, the next time I or the morning wood next to me starts having a throbbing anything, I'm going to have to implement the appropriate measures to make sure there isn't any touchy monkey business going on. Decode that as you will.

Amazing how you are able to fit horror of many varieties in here. Domestic violence outshines pyscho space clowns because its something we are emotionally tied too.

The humor and erotic touches are just priceless.Excellent story, Karen. You could like, send this to Asimovs or something.

Anonymous said...

Applause!!! I'm glad I finally got over here to read it. That was hilarious and darned good writing. I'm proud to know you.

Maria A. Kelly said...

Oh, this is a wonderfully funny story. Love the "shaved monkey" line.

KjM said...

Oh, that's just wicked - wickedly funny. :)

A lesson in how to to take an idea and run with it. Excellently, excellently done, Karen.

Many thanks for the Saturday morning laugh.

J. M. Strother said...

This was hilarious (except for the wife beating, of course). Revenge was certainly sweet, for both of them. You have the most wonderfully twisted imagination of anyone I know. I'm never disappointed when I read your stuff.

AidanF said...

Awesome story. I thought this was going to be a sad tale, but loved the switch at the end. I caught the bee sting reference so it made sense to me why the world changed this way.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Very inventive, Karen. I'm glad that it took a happy, unpredictable turn in the end.

Lou Freshwater said...

Okay, you win the award for bestest last sentence...ever.

And this: "They didn't want a recurrence of Poughkeepsie Walmart 2016." could not be more perfect. What a great read.

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Lou, that made me grin ear to ear.

Carrie said...

Hahaha. That was so damn funny. And CREEPY. O.O [checks feet]

Mari said...

Ha! You wrote a zombie story after all! heh

And a very inventive one no less. Cute and creepy at the same time. Glad I'm not going to sleep just now. ;P

Eric J. Krause said...

Excellent story! Full of giggles, even though a scary subject was the main focus (the abuse, not the zombie clowns). Good for them for getting rid of Reggie in a believable way that solves the problem for everyone. Couldn't have happened to a bigger jerk.

Al Bruno III said...

Just had a chance to check this out. LOVED IT!

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Al. And thanks for putting it on your recommended reading list for the week. Much appreciated.

Kevin Mackey said...

Very, very worth the 2nd read, Ms. Karen. As funny now as it was then.

Happy April 1st to you.