Saturday, May 29, 2010

It Runs In The Family

Today would be different, I told myself. I knew that if I could do it – quit that is – I would be free.

I walked towards the bus stop on 5th and Broadway. I had to get a job, making myself busy would surely do the trick. It would take my mind off of what I couldn’t seem to do by myself.

I didn’t notice him at first; I was too busy counting the steps from the corner of 4th and Broadway to 5th and Broadway. It’s a little obsessive – compulsive I know, but I have to know if it’s the same amount of steps every day.

He stood making animals from balloons, telling jokes, and even sprayed someone with a fake flower attached to his shirt. Clowns have always scared me. I tried to look away from him while I waited for the bus to arrive. He just didn’t get the picture. After trying everything to get my attention, I looked him in the eyes. He must have seen how empty I was within because he finally turned and walked away.

You can’t quit, a voice commanded in my mind. You know you can’t quit. You’ve been looking for this one for a while – and he’s been waiting for you too, you saw it didn’t you, when he looked you in the eyes! He knows!

I slipped away from the crowd and began to trail the clown I had tried so hard to avoid. He led me to a large circus tent. I didn’t even know the circus was in town. Was I starting to miss things – hiding out in my house?

I waited until it was dark, hiding in the shadows of the tent.

“I’m going to the loo, Frank, I’ll be back in a few.”

“You better hurry, we’ll be up soon.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” I could hear him say to Frank.

He walked past me without batting an eye and I grabbed him from behind. Stifling his shocked cry with my hand and breaking his neck with the other. He slumped to the ground. I drug him to an empty barrel just outside the holding tent for the elephants and using all my strength heaved him inside of it.

I found my way home to my apartment and standing in front of my door I fumbled for my key. I drove back to collect my trophy and tried not to bruise him as I moved him into my car, then into my apartment onto a rolling gurney. It was a good thing he wasn’t a fat man, sure made things a lot easier.

I pulled the ancient metal first aid box out from under the spare bed and blew of the dust that had covered it since its last use.

I smiled as I read to myself the name of my father and MEDIC engraved into the lid of the box, and then opened it to reveal the contents kept within.

Pulling out the scalpel I began to cut through the clown’s skin where I knew the seams would be unnoticeable. That’s the key you know, making the seams unrecognizable.

Pulling and cutting his skin away from the muscles made me excited. This was going to be perfect, something that, had he still been alive to see, would make my father very proud.

I finished the taxidermy job of the clown by pushing in the glass eyes. I stood back to admire my handiwork and suddenly I was no longer the doctor, but the kid with the red cap learning what my father was doing to some of his patients, trying to perfect the craft. He died before he ever had the chance, and now, as his daughter, I finally had the chance to do so.

I looked around the room to see where I would put my latest creation when I noticed one of my father’s awards from the war. It’s the perfect place, I thought, he couldn’t be more proud!

This award is presented to Hannibal Lecter for superior medical skills while traveling abroad and in the field…


  1. Perfect infusion of prompt words, clowns, taxidermy and, of course, Hannibal Lecter. You make daddy proud.

    I like the way you built to the ending. The certificate on the wall made everything make sense. Cheers, CJ!

  2. Gosh , what a great piece, your construction & progressive build up, always adds to the power of the ending, which you manage to do just so well, quite excellent.

  3. Great piece Nic. I loved the tension and build up and also the humour.