The Laughing Clown (a work in progress)

It had all started with that cloud of pink fairy floss. The little girl was wearing red denim overalls with the hint of a grass stain on each knee. She had a blue and white striped t-shirt on underneath. The day was too hot for long overalls so her cheeks were rosier than sheer excitement could make them.

She was a very ordinary looking child, but it was her fairy floss he was interested in so she could’ve been anyone. His obsession with food began as soon as he saw delighted look on her face as she pulled the wispy pink cloud away from her face. Some of it had made it into her mouth but most of it had stuck to those overly-rosy cheeks. She used her stubby little fingers to peel the floss from around her mouth and push it into the black hole between her lips. Not once did she take her eyes off the rest of the pink haze she had left on the end of the stick in her hand. As far as she was concerned, nought but she and the fairy floss existed. He was fascinated.

He had never tasted fairy floss. He was a Laughing Clown, employed by the theme park as extra security. All he had ever eaten were those white balls people put in his mouth to win prizes; a guise designed to hide the immense security presence in the park. While the balls provided him, and the other Laughing Clowns, with all their nutritional requirements, they didn’t taste like anything at all. They were, after all, reusable, so any taste they might have had once had faded a long time ago. He had never experience the sensation of taste before.

The girl with the red overalls was the first of many humans he noticed who seemed to forget about the world around them while they ate. The food they ate was nearly as varied as their age, colour, gender or social class. There were a disproportionate number of children-fairy-floss combinations. He also noticed a similar pattern with children and ice cream; women and chocolate.

After hours he began to compile a list. One small sheet of paper turned into several larger pieces, and then into a fat, well-thumbed notebook. Each night, after the lights went down in the park, he would extract himself from the games stall along with the other Laughing Clowns. He would write up his daily report on the potential security risks he had noticed while scanning the park that day. He would chat politely with the others, usually about something work-related. Walking back to his small room in the dorm under the rollercoaster he would try to avoid running into any of the other park employees, particularly the Mummies from the ghost house: they weren’t allowed to speak intelligibly all day so they would talk your ear off if you gave them a chance.

When he managed to get back to his room he would pull a small wooden box out from under his bed, unlock it quietly and calmly open the tattered notebook to the next blank page. This page, and usually two or three after, he would fill with detailed reports of that day’s food. His handwriting was neat and simple. There was no fancy prose involved. Just the kind of detail a highly-trained security employee was expected to notice.

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