Short Stories

Clown Café

“Table for One.”

You walk into the fine dining establishment known as Clown Café. A bored teenager who undoubtedly gets paid too little to care guides you to your table. It’s right across the open kitchen, where you can see the oddly-dressed chefs running around, preparing various dubious ingredients for their unspeakable dishes.

You sit down on a whoopee cushion, and realize that it is going to be a long evening.

A man in bright orange pants and a polka dot bow-tie walks up to you, and introduces himself as Jeremy, your waiter for today. He’s wearing a fake smile and his eyes reveal a hint of sadness.

He hands you a menu booklet. You flick through it, noting various horrid dish names like “Liar Liar Pants In The Fryer” and “Honk Bites”. You sigh loudly, and want to ask for some advice on the menu when you note that Jeremy has wandered off already,

You look around you for the time being. At the table next to you, a nervous, rotund young man is enjoying a plate of fries, while fiddling with his keychain. You’ve seen him before.

Where?

You don’t have time to ponder. Jeremy returns to your table, and asks you what you’d like to drink. You order a jar of clown juice. You do not know what clown juice is. It was the only thing on the drinks menu.

Jeremy gives you a wink. You nervously wink back. You stare off into the open kitchen as Jeremy runs off to fix you your beverage. Fitting with this part of town, you see various clowns in various clownosity tiers running around, chopping vegetables. You also see beings shuffling around, clad in yellow robes and wearing metal masks. They silently scan the crowd, and check on the various pots and pans. You can hear their laboured breathing.

This is not a surprise. Wherever clowns are, the horrid Mimepriests are sure to follow.

 Jeremy returns to your table. He’s carrying a large, ornately decorated urn. When he puts it on the table, you peer over its edge and see a bright green swill softly bubbling inside it.

You nervously pour some into your glass. The liquid seems to react with the thin layer of water at the bottom of your glass that wasn’t quite as clean as you’d have hoped. A soft hissing sound is heard as smoke rises up from your glass, until it suddenly stops after around six seconds.

Jeremy looks at you expectantly.

You raise the glass to your lips, and take a sip. Immediately, every mimepriest in the kitchen turns their head to stare at you through those dark holes in their metal masks.

It tastes like bitter strawberries, and you have considerable trouble choking the gunk down. Once you’ve finished your glass, you notice a faint honking sound in the back of your mind. Was it always there?

You shudder. You grab the menu again, and feel a little more relaxed now that you know that the clown juice wasn’t pure poison. At least, you think that’s what’s making you feel more relaxed.

You order today’s “Surprise” menu. You tell Jeremy you are allergic to peanuts. He says he knows. He winks at you. You don’t wink back this time.

Jeremy shouts something to the kitchen staff. Immediately, they start howling and screaming, running around clanging pans together and generally making a fucking mess. A blue-level clown puts his cutting board on a wall and starts chopping up his own fingers. A red-level slips on some steak drip and smashes his head in against a stove, and is quickly whisked away by a mimepriest.

Eventually, a permaclown manager comes into the kitchen, shoes squeaking on the almost sterile floor. He lets out a loud, pained wail that seems to reverberate in your skull, and the clowns change their behaviour. They start to actually cook stuff instead of vomiting black sludge into the sink.

A loud honk is heard, and Jeremy quickly walks up to your table, carrying a bowl of… nothing.

“Bon appetit.”

You look at the bowl, and then look back at Jeremy. You notice that Jeremy is crying.

“Excuse me, Jeremy… what is this?”

“Mime soup.”

“There’s nothing in the bowl.”

“Yes. Eat.”

You nervously bring your spoon down into the bowl, and scoop up a nice spoonful of nothing. You bring it to your lips, and carefully sip up the mimesoup. You open your eyes after some time, and note that Jeremy has left.

You waste no time in grabbing the bowl and emptying it in a nearby potted plant.

After a couple of minutes of watching the clowns at work, Jeremy returns, this time carrying a plate with a large ribeye steak on it.

After some scepticism, you slice off a chunk and pop it in your mouth. It’s… It’s…

It’s alright, you guess. I mean, it’s hard to fuck up a good cut of meat like this. Maybe a little underseasoned. Perfectly acceptable, though. You are already confused as to what kind of review you should give this restaurant on yelp.

The young man at the table next to you has stood up, and walks over to your table. He leans down, and hisses the phrase “Remember the Rancid Aeon” in your ear.

Everything goes black, and the last thing you feel is your mashed potatoes, which you have just smashed your forehead into.

When you wake up, the first thing you feel is overwhelming pain in your chest. Your eyes are open, yet you see everything through a blood-red fog. You look down at your chest. A large chef’s knife is embedded in it.

You look at your left hand. A peculiar mark that you don’t remember ever getting is burned into the flesh of your palm. It is a stylized mask with a large crack through the left eye.

You look at your right hand. You are clutching a large CZ805 BREN, with an empty magazine.

You finally look infront of you, and note that everything has gone silent, except for the shell casing loudly bouncing on the tiles below you.

You are standing in a blood-smeared kitchen, surrounded by corpses. You are wearing a smooth, white mask. Behind your eyeholes, nothing resembling human eyes would ever be found by anyone, ever again.

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