Sharon’s Note: So, the game continues. This was such a hoot to write, and I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it. Warning: Author has nothing against clowns. The author has met some very nice clowns. Author admits than when they are meant to be scary, they are terrifying.
“What do you mean, evil carnival?” Jim almost had to jog to keep up with Wendy’s long strides.
“I’ll admit, I’m not exactly sure. Evil clowns, a vampire ringmaster, maybe an evil, soul eating presence from beyond the stars. You know, the usual.” She squeezed his arm against her side and shot him another grin. “Don’t worry, though, most of the scary stuff won’t be out during the day. Probably. It’s fine. I’ll protect you.”
“My hero.” He said, unsure. “I hadn’t heard that there was a horror element to this carnival. I mean, there wasn’t anything on the pamphlet.”
“Well, there wouldn’t be, would there? Although, it would make for a funny advertisement, wouldn’t it?” She laughed and waved the pamphlet around in the air. “Come for the cotton candy and funnel cake, stay for the mind bending horrors. Might be effective, though, because now I want a funnel cake. Do you want to split one with me?”
“Uh, sure.” This girl was weird, and going off with her probably wasn’t a good idea but Jim liked her. There was nothing wrong with quirky, right? Simon was still blowing up his phone with texts to tell him that he was stupid, but Simon didn’t have his arm held against a girl’s . . . against a girl. “I’ve got some cash.”
She blew out through her lips like a horse, and did a little skip. “Oh, don’t be ridiculous. I asked you out, so I’ll pay.”
Did she just say she’s asked him out? A smile crept over his face. “Sure. Sounds good. So, um, do you live around here?”
“Nope. I’m just in town for the carnival.”
“Oh.” He drooped a little. “So where are you from?”
She ruffled her hair, making her bell jingle. “I wouldn’t say I’m from anywhere. I travel a lot, chasing stuff like this.”
“So, you like horror and stuff?”
She released his arm to wobble her hands around. “It’s not so much that I like it, it’s just what I do.”
“What, like a job?” Jim’s arm was still warm from where it had been against her. He was trying to get up the nerve to offer his arm to her, but she grabbed his hand and started to swing it like a little kid. He’d take it.
“Yeah, like that.” They turned the corner and she pointed over the houses. “Ooo, look, a ferris wheel. I love ferris wheels. If things don’t get too crazy right away, do you want to ride it?”
“Sure.” Jim didn’t like heights, but screw it, the hottest girl he’d ever met wanted him to go on the ferris wheel with her. He could close his eyes.
The music from the carnival became audible as they approached. It was some kind of butchered, instrumental version of a pop song. Wendy started singing along and Jim couldn’t help but grin. Of course she sang like an angel. She kept nudging him with her elbow, trying to make him sing with her. By the time they made it to the admission gate, he’d given in, and was faintly echoing the lyrics with her.
The scariest clown Jim had ever seen was manning the ticket booth. His eyes looked sunken into black diamonds, and fake buck-teeth protruded from a scarlet mouth painted to look like it would split his skull in two if it was opened all the way.
Jim leaned in to whisper. “That is one evil looking clown.”
She turned her head to whisper back, so close that her lips brushed his ear, making him blush. “Not actually evil. It’s just really badly designed makeup.”
When they approached the booth, she pulled a tightly folded bill from her pocket and slapped it on the table. The clown opened it up, then stared at it for a long moment.
“I’m not supposed to take bills over twenty if I’m making change.” His voice was kind of hoarse, and he stared at them like they were trying to scam them.
She rolled her eyes. “Okay, you sell the ride and food tickets too, right? Just give us what’s left in those.”
“Are you shitting me?” The clown laughed so hard he coughed.
“Why would I do that?” She stared at the clown in complete sincerity, and Jim stared at her.
The clown frowned at her, and pulled one of those color changing markers used to check bills from under the counter. He dragged it across Benjamin Franklin’s face, then frowned. The mark didn’t change color, but he looked like he still really wanted to deny her.
She leaned forward and whispered something to the clown, and his face softened. When she straightened, she gave him that thousand watt smile that turned her beautiful. The clown looked at Jim, chuckled, then handed Wendy a long strand of tickets.
As she grabbed Jim’s arm to lead him into the carnival she whispered, “If he had taken much longer I would have said screw it and just snuck in.”
“I believe you. What did you say to him, anyway?” Not that he couldn’t believe a guy would do anything she asked when she gave them that smile.
“I told him I was trying to impress a guy who was way out of my league and asked if he could help me out.” She started to pull harder, leading him towards the closest food stall. “Do you want apple or cherry pie filling on your funnel cake?”
Jim laughed. That clown had to stupid to see that smile and think that anyone was out of her league. “Can we just get plain?”
She made a little ‘o’ with her mouth. “Good choice. I like a guy who appreciates the classics.”