I’m delighted to be publishing another brand new Irish short story. It’s always fantastic getting in new Irish fiction. Hope you enjoy it
I had what the experts call coulrophobia that meant that I had a fear of clowns. I couldn’t stand being around them, they gave me the heebie-jeebies. With their floppy, immense shoes and pink curly hair, those guys are freaks. I avoided those freaks as much as possible, if my parents even mentioned the circus I’d freak out. I’d shout and scream, sometimes I’d cry and then become nauseated at the thought of being around those hideous, white faced, snarling, guffawing weirdos. I mean, what‘s the point in having clowns around.
My parents even sent me to a specialist her name is Dr. Madigan Ambrosia. Dr. Ambrosia is 35 years old, petite, she has a yellowish light tan, sandy hair and she smells like peaches. She was born and raised in upstate New York (Buffalo I believe). She’s an only child, her parents both worked, so Madigan was more or less raised by her nanny, Mildred St. Semolina. Ms. St. Semolina was a wretched, walrus of a woman, oh and a sycophant to boot. She despised children, especially children who could practically do as they wished. She saw them as spoilt and rotten. Madigan was one of those foul creatures who should’ve been either aborted or taken from her mother on the day of her birth and thrown to a pack of rabid hyenas. (Where one would find a pack of ravenous, rabid Hyena’s, is anyone’s guess?).
Maddy as her mother sometimes called her, was a bright child, caring and kind, the sort that would turn out pretty much O.K, despite the fact that her parents weren’t actually her real parents. Nope she wasn’t adopted, I just meant that though she resembled her parents, mostly her mother, and they shared the same blood, Maddy was not the true daughter of these humans. These two humans, Bergson and Petunia were meant to copulate. They were meant to bring Maddy into this world. Maddy you see is destined for great things. She just doesn’t know it yet. Maddy as a child had such a colourfully, vivid imagination, she could simply escape this prison planet by just closing her eyes. Gorgeous, gem mountains would sprout up from barren landscapes. Ancient tribes would breathe again. Divine beasts would utter strange, but alluring musical words. In this fantastic realm, Maddy was creator. But back on this hindering, hollowed out excuse for a world, Maddy was just a wretched little mite. Ms. St Semolina made her life a misery. Ms St. Semolina told Bergson and Petunia about their daughters odd behaviour, she claimed to be worried (though she was not, she actually believed that Maddy would be put away in a mental institution for disturbed kids. But such places only existed in the malnourished minds of wretched walruses such as Ms. St Semolina). Maddy’s parents did react, they sent their only daughter away to boarding school. Ms. Semolina was delighted at first but then it dawned on her she would be unemployed now. Bergson and Petunia, before letting her go, thanked her for alerting them to their child’s rather absurd behaviour. Maddy grew up and forgot about her amazing ability to conjure up wonderful witches and desert paradises. What happened to Ms. Mildred St. Semolina? Last time I heard she was sent to an institution for the chronically disturbed, for life.
Maddy tried to cure me by introducing me to Piama. Piama was a harlequin plush doll, she was Italian apparently. At least she wasn’t your average clown. Her clothes were made of a white silk, she wore a jesters hat with bells and also wore slippers that were curled up at the toes. She was a sad harlequin doll though she could mime. Apparently she was about 600 hundred years old. Like I said, she was Italian and was once a beautiful lady. She was actually the daughter of a King. One day a travelling circus came to the great city that the king ruled over. The circus had travelled the globe. Rare and exotic animals entertained the crowds mystic men and women from the far east mesmerised people with spell bounding illusions. Strong men and acrobats also graced the five-ringed circus. Oh and of course, clowns made the audience burst with laughter (not literally, that would be disturbing).
Then there was the ring-master, his name was Alexander Harmonious Bridalvice. Mr. Bridalvice was the most mesmerising character in the entire circus. He always dressed in lavender suits that were made in India, top hat included. He carried a cane made of bamboo shoot and the handle was of glass ruby stone. His suit was actually different shades of lavender and purple hues. His socks were a light pinkish colour. I’m not sure about his undergarments though, I’m quite sure that he wore them, but I’m not too sure about the colour. He was a tall, slender gentlemen and clean shaven, except for his white goatee beard. He had the look of a 60 year old man but in actual fact he was much, much older.
The thing about this Bridalvice character was, he always inspected his fingernails. They were eternally kept perfectly trimmed and germ free, yet he was always concerned. But I suppose who knows when a person would be asked for afternoon tea. On one occasion he was asked to afternoon tea by none other than Piama’s father Pyrus. Pyrus had heard of this spectacularly dressed man and had sent for him. Alexander agreed instantly. Upon arriving at the palace, Alexander was asked to wait for the King, but Piama was to entertain him. Alexander was rather impressed with Piama, though just 22 years old she was full of wit and knowledge, she was well versed in many languages and had guessed the origin of Alexander’s Birth place. ( I won’t say, but his accent may or may not be Prussian with some Asian undertones). Alexander fell in love with Piama instantaneously and she with him, he wanted to marry her, she wanted to elope with him. Alexander being a respectable gent , asked the King for his daughters hand, but King Pyrus would not allow it. She was already spoken for since her 6th birthday. She and Prince Valmour of the kreng Kingdom were engaged and this engagement was very, very important. You see, the kreng Kingdom and The Ussipia Kingdom, (Pyrus’s kingdom) were once enemies. They had been for at least 200 years. Times were changing so Pyrus and Valour’s Mother, Queen Aphrodite made the agreement to end all wars between each nation. The kreng Kingdom was actually slightly superior and if Pyrus broke his promise then war between each kingdom would rage for another 200 years.
So Alexander left his new love, he and his Circus were due in the African continent within three working days. “No please Alex!”, Piama cried as he strolled out of the palace. Alex’s did not know what to do, should he kidnap Piama, then the two kingdoms would be at each others throats. Alexander’s hatred for Pyrus grew instantly, he decided to turn Piama into a clown. If Alex could not have her, then no man could. Alex decided to sneak in to the palace the following night. He brought with him the great wizard Miyamoto Shigeru from a land known as Nippon (these days we know this land as Japan) and his loyal and trusted body guards, Orcus and Nyx. These two “men” were humongous. They must’ve stood at least six foot eleven inches each. They did not have the same skin colour as average men. Their skin was a light grey colour and their brimstone eyes were large and oval shaped. They did not speak like normal men either, Mr. Bridalvice could read their thoughts you see and that is how he communicated with them. They were dressed from head to toe in raven black, they wore roman style togas, sandals and were shrouded in hooded cloaks. They also each carried with them a gladius( a short sword used by roman soldiers)the hilt was made of whale bone (why he brought the bodyguards is anybody’s guess maybe to make himself look better?, or perhaps to make this story less boring, or to keep the reader from saying that this story is boring. Trust me readers, you would not want a visit from Orcus and Nyx).
The wizard Shigeru cast the spell on Piama, it was against his faith to do this, but Alex reassured him that one day he could turn Piama back into a lady – but Alex lied to the wizard – but until that day arrived Piama must remain as a marionette. So Pyrus blamed the Kreng Kingdom for what Alex had done, they obviously denied any involvement. The two nations battled and Alexander Harmonious Bridalvice grew stronger, feeding off of the turmoil. He planned this, you see he relished in the destruction of the kingdoms. He did not love Piama, he knew that this would happen. It was part of his destiny you see, Bridalvice was destined to rule the earth and the feeble race known as humanity, who scuttled across its surface. Bridalvice though sneaky, had to control the “brightest” species. “It was for their own good” he would often tell himself. Throughout history he’d usually convince his sub-ordinates to obey and to do his bidding. Take Orcus and Nyx for example, though obviously not quite human they serve their master, without question and doubt. Sometime in the 60’s he had tried to hire two men, but the sight of a dark navy tie that one potential employee wore, almost drove him to commit homicide. All his employees must wear black, that is his one condition. Orcus and Nyx are his original peons, his most loved yes, but they’ll eventually turn on Alexander, leaving him for dead, that is another story.
Dr. Ambrosia said that I repressing some deep memories, she believed that I had a bad experience with some clowns, my parents were adamant that I had none. After two weeks the doctor suggested hypnosis, my parents were reluctant but she reassured them. I was in my bedroom again, the mysterious lights are pulsating, the humming sound, the humming sound plays again. The burgeoning circus muzak, I sit up as though I’m a puppet, a marionette. Two shadows are in the room, two silent shadows, two pairs of brimstone eyes blazing.
“Hello child“ I recognise that voice, it’s him, he’s back. I’m in Madigan’s clinic again, I’m safe now“, “Who’s the man?” my father asks. I turn to Madigan, the words whispering from my mouth, “Alexander Harmonious Bridalvice”. The blood drained from her face, “No, no it can’t be” she cried. Then she asked us to leave, my parents demanded answers. “Please leave” Madigan begged, “I’ll contact you, in three days”.
Maddy did as she said, she arrived exactly 3 days later, her sandy hair was tangled and oily, her complexion still faded. She had hardly eaten a thing, some tea and toast and a few pieces of fruit. Mother offered her some food, she accepted, but only nibbled at it. Maddy had hardly slept either, but the lack of sleep actually helped. Helped her to understand more about Alexander. As I said earlier on in the story, Maddy had a vivid imagination, you see Maddy had made up the story about Alexander and Piama, that’s why she was so shocked when I had mentioned his name. She merely told me the story to help with my coulrophobia. But somehow Alexander had escaped her fantasy realm. Why were Alexander and his underlings bothering me for?
That night as I slept, I was visited by Orcus, Nyx and Alexander. “Why do you insist on annoying me dear child” his elegant voice boomed ,“What” I said, “Oh you heard me” he exclaimed. “Why do you and that Madigan Ambrosia insist on making these tales up about me?”. “I’m actually fed up with all these tales and half truths”. I looked at him puzzled and asked him who besides Maddy and I were making up tales about him. “Well for starters”, he said, “There’s this fellow who lives in another world”, “He’s said so many things about me, its none of his business actually”. “He just makes up these lies and spreads them around, all he had to do was to contact me and get my side of the story”. Alexander was becoming upset by now and I could tell that he wanted to cry. He was sniffling by now, but his henchmen did not offer any support, they just stood tall and stared at a nothingness. Then he broke down and wept, I rushed to him and hugged him, “Poor, poor Mr. Bridalvice , I’m sorry and I know Maddy didn’t mean to cause you upset” . “And for this person who lives in another world, I bet he didn’t mean to either, what he’s doing could be seen as a good thing Alexander”, “How so child?”, Alex’s whimpering voice asked. “Well, are you destined to become ruler of this planet” I enquired. “Well to be honest I don’t actually know” Alexander said. His tears had stopped welling by now. “Okay what about those guys you tried to hire in the 60’s”, “Well”, he said “I did try to enlist two assistants but I never attempted homicide”. “I am a kind, honest being you see, I wouldn’t harm a fly”. “But” I said, “Alexander this guy in the other world seems to know quite a bit about you”. “He’s got quite a vivid imagination also, maybe not as vivid as Maddy’s, but still he loves to write about you and your quest to rule humanity”. “He’s actually made you known to people in his world, you could become famous one day”. Then Alex’s face beamed with delightful Joy, “You’re right child” he said. “Come Orcus , Come Nyx” he barked. That was the last I saw of Alexander Harmonious Bridalvice, but, I bet I’ll hear about him really soon.
Alexander and his peons were the ones who induced my fear of clowns. Alex felt that I was bothering him so he sent his child like cohorts to merely frighten me. Maddy and I have become much, much closer and she’s getting to know Bergson and Petunia too. I am cured of my fear of clowns, but sometimes, just sometimes, when I hear circus music, I get goose bumps.
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