The Clown: Year One, Part Five
“I swear I saw him.”
April Gardener rolled her eyes. She had several good reasons to keep Mike Bishop around, but brains and nerve were not among them. “You didn't see anything, idiot.”
“He was standing in the corner. I saw him.” Mike was carrying the lion's share of the take. He was a big boy and that helped him earn his keep.
“And I didn't.” April wished she had parked closer. She was afraid a car parked behind the pawn shop would attract attention, but they were in and out so quick that it would not have mattered.
“They say he walks through shadows. He's there one minute and gone the next. That's how he works.”
“Damn it, Mike. He's convinced knuckledraggers like you he can walk through shadows. It's all a show, a gimmick. That's how he really works.”
She clicked her key chain fob and the trunk of her car opened ahead of them. Mike threw his bags of loot into the trunk, and something in one of the bags broke.
“God damn it! That better not be something expensive.”
Mike looked down at his feet. “Sorry.”
“Just get in the car.”
Mike screamed in terror. April drew her 9mm automatic from the holster at the small of her back.
“I saw him.”
“In that window.” Mike pointed to a nearby door that had a small diamond shaped window.
“The hell you did.”
“He winked at me.”
“Great, he thinks your cute.” April holstered her gun. “Just get in the car.”
“No. No way. He's going to be waiting in there for us.”
“You said he was over there.”
“That's. How. He. Works.”
April drew her gun again and aimed it at Mike. “Get you're corn fed ass in the fucking car or I swear to fucking god I'll wear your tiny little balls on my goddamn motherfucking charm bracelet.”
Mike got in the car. So did April. Soon they were driving away fast enough to put distance between them and the crime scene, but not so fast as to look like they were doing that. Mike kept turning on the dome light and checking the back seat.
“Anyone back there?” April asked.
“No. I guess not.”
“We're fine. Nobody saw us.”
“Yeah, maybe you're right.”
Keeping an eye on the road and one hand on the wheel, April squeezed Mike's hand.
“Sorry I threatened to shoot you. That wasn't cool.”
“It's okay. You were just pumped up with adrenaline and I was being a pain in the ass.”
April laughed. “Damned right.”
They drove in silence for a few blocks.
“Listen, we can just go back to Indiana if you want.”
Mike shook his head. “No. This is important to you. This is your dream. We're staying here.”
April gave Mike a smile. “We did good tonight. We should celebrate. What do you feel like for dinner?”
“Mexican okay with you?”
“Yeah, I could do Mexican.”
“Actually, I'm in the mood for cheese fries,” a voice in the back seat said.
Mike turned around while April checked the rear view mirror. The Clown was seated in the middle of the back seat smiling a smile that would have seemed inviting on any other face. His face pulsed with bands of light and shadow as they continued down the street. It gave him a macabre fun house appearance. April and Mike both decided to scream.
“I mean, Mexican is cool, but I had that for lunch,” the Clown said, sticking his head into the front seat area, “and I'm seriously craving liquidy cheese-like substance.”
April and Mike kept screaming and April, blind with panic, was having trouble keeping control of the car. They ran a red light and got the attention of a police car which then gave chase.
“Damn it,” the Clown said. “If we take those guys along it's just going to be donuts and coffee.”
April slammed on the brakes. The car had barely come to a stop before April and Mike spilled out and ran toward the police car with their hands in the air. Before long they were laying on the ground with their cuffed hands behind them. The police checked out the car. They found the stolen goods, but they found no trace of the Clown.
The Clown stood in the cover of a nearby doorway and watched. He thought he should have a calling card to leave behind in cases like this. It would have been cool to have left a balloon animal in the back seat, but they were noisy and a bitch to make. He would have to give it some thought.
An old homeless man walked up to the Clown. A powerful odor of liquor wafted off of him as did many other odors of competing strength. “I'd like a regular cheeseburger, please.”
“I'm not that kind of clown, pop.”
“With cheese. A regular cheeseburger... with cheese.”
The Clown had to smile at that. “That does sound kind of good.”
A short time later, the Clown and his new friend were sitting in a Steak & Shake enjoying their cheeseburgers with cheese, cheese fries, and chocolate shakes as a crowd gathered outside the window to gawk.