When the crowds were thin, though, and the children screamed with fear instead of laughing at their antics, the blue teardrops appeared at the corners of their eyes, their faces were updated in the Registry, and they disappeared. Some said they were going back to college; others found jobs as buskers making balloon animals in zoos and amusement parks, but every single one left Clown Alley, left the life.
Jack hadn’t come up from clown college either, but he was no kid. At sixty, he probably ought to be thinking about retirement, but he’d been born and raised in the circus. He was the last in a line of clowns that dated back to the first American circus.
He was a headliner among clowns; his name – Jacko – was on all the posters.
Part 4 of a series that began with “Steeping” in 2013. A Sarah & David tea story.
Sarah dropped into the chair David had pulled out for her, taking in the bouquet of daisies in a glass vase, and the vaguely tea-pot shaped item sitting on a trivet and covered by a quilted cozy. “You arranged this? For me?”
“No,” David corrected. “I arranged this for us.” He lifted the cozy from the pot and set it aside. “Shall I pour?”
Inspired by a tweet from my friend Jancis last year, and written for 2016 HorrorDailies.
“Greta? Greta who mixes weed into green smoothies Greta?” Yvette had never really gotten along with her, and things had been worse since she and Jason had begun dating. Greta had wanted Jason badly. “I had no idea she could bake. Maybe she’s useful after all. Pass me another?”
Part 3 of a series that began with “Steeping” in 2013. A Sarah & David tea story.
“I didn’t want it to be ‘fine,’” Sarah snapped, though the look on her face made it clear that she hadn’t meant to speak quite so sharply. In a more neutral tone, she continued, “I wanted it to be good. It’s my last day of work until the holidays are over, and I wanted things to feel festive.” She gestured to the floral center piece and the lit candles. “Special.”
My Sunday Brunch column from April, 2017. The Asbury Park boardwalk, and particularly the carousel, are the touchstones of my childhood.
Outside the carousel house, the twilight of evening is melting into full darkness. The scent of hot dogs and cotton candy mixes with the salty brine of sea and sand. The lights on the rollercoaster are reflected upon the glassy ocean.
The night feels made of magic.
I am twelve years old, and I have no idea that it will be the last time I see the boardwalk with its rides active, with children running back and forth, with indulgent parents and grandparents handing over money in exchange for pretzels with mustard, paper cones full of popcorn, or wax-coated bags of salt-water taffy.
My dog, Max (Maximus) will be nine in December. This story may or may not have taken place exactly as described, about eight years ago.
“Everything I write is crap,” I said. “And my column is due tomorrow. I forgot to pay my cell phone bill and it cost seventy-five dollars to get it reinstated. I ruined dinner and I’m too tired to cook anything new, and your dog ate my t-shirt.” I was in tears by the time I finished my litany, but my husband was smirking. “Stop laughing! It’s NOT funny!”
Not so much a ghost story, as a story with ghosts in it. Written for 2016 HorrorDailies.
But Mama never believed me when I told her that my invisible friends told me these things. She’d just tug on one of my braids and tell me I was lucky to have such a vivid imagination, and maybe I’d be a writer someday.
Flash-fiction: “The First Time.” Everyone is anxious the first time, right?
“Are you sure you want to do this?” he asked. “I’m sure,” she said. He wasn’t convinced. “If you’re not ready, we can wait.” “No, I’m ready, I’m just a little nervous.” Her voice shook a little. “I get that. I was nervous too, the first time.”