Hello! I’m Captain Jiggles

Unforeseen medical expenses arise, and you enter a bank to take out a loan. A bank teller explains that she has a “special new trainee” today who will help you in just a moment. Then a man in a full clown costume (wig, facepaint, oversized pants — the works) comes out and says, “Hello! I’m Captain Jiggles, the new loan officer, and I would be happy to help you now.” Write this scene.

This prompt in honor of WD’s own Chuck Sambuchino
seeing the release of his humor book today:
When Clowns Attack: A Survival Guide.
Get your copy here.

when-clowns-attack-coverOrder now

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226 thoughts on “Hello! I’m Captain Jiggles

  1. PGS

    Figuring “just a moment” would turn into a 30 or 40 minute wait I helped myself to a cup of lemon chi tea. (What kind of bank serves lemon chi tea?) and a couple too many cookies. Avoiding anything dealing with Your Health I collected a few magazines. This “special new trainee” better have some dam good options, I can’t even afford to go bankrupt!
    About the third cookie, a door opened and a clown walked in. I don’t mean some jerkey looking guy, I mean a real clown! 2 foot shoes slapping the floor and a full blown clown costume, wig, face paint, oversized pants – the works). Laughing, shaking the oversized hand I finally began to relax, until…. “Hello, Mr. Walker, I’m Captain Jiggles, the new loan officer. I would be happy to help you with your loan.”

  2. MCKEVIN

    Washington Giggles sat across from me that day at Washington Mutual bank. He was a creepy ex government worker, wore excessive makeup and would steal your breath away if you didn’t watch him. My mind retraced his criminal M O. File; Suspect, White, six four, two twenty, graying hair, widowed, Wharton MBA.
    “I’m sorry your application was denied.” Giggles stated with a painted smirk on his face.
    File; Wife, dismembered, insurance fraud.
    “I don’t understand?” I barked. I hated that Giggles recognized me but I refused to let him see me sweat. File; children, stabbings, sociopath.
    “Come back in six months when your credit is-“ Giggles spoke in a condescending tone. “But I have a medical emergency! “ I interrupted. “My health didn’t seem to bother you ten years ago did it?” Giggles retaliated. File; Disability, Sick, 2005, Social Security Administration.
    The Bureau had me haul this clown in for embezzlement, fraud and murder. Washington Giggles was the same charming psychopath that he was years ago. “How are things at the FBI Agent Warren?” Giggles said laughing. “It’s better than being someone’s prison bitch!” I ricochet silencing Giggles giggles. Several disturbed customers gazed in our direction. File; Evidence, circumstantial, plea deal. I’m not a vengeful person but Giggles needed to be locked away forever. He leaned back in his bank easy chair, rubbed his fake red nose and finally spoke. “Let’s start over. Agent Warren, I’m sorry but your request for an emergency loan has been denied. Better?” Giggles questioned. I felt heat rise from my lower extremities. Looking back it was a warning to caution. My right foot tapped uncontrollably when I asked Giggles “How’s your wife and children?…silence…Oh that‘s right they’re dead! I guess you’re the one who started over.” I snapped hoping to hurt Giggles like he’d hurt so many others. I had no such luck.
    A heavy set Brinks guard approached us with his Uzi drawn. “D-d-d-d-d do we have a problem here?” The guard stuttered as he stared from Giggles to me. “Everything’s fine officer. Mr. Giggles helped with my tax situation. However, one of us wants to avoid returning to jail for… violence.” I said utilizing my distraction training from the academy. “Go away!” Giggles hollered. Agitated the security guard apologized, the bank’s customers returned to their business and Giggles reviewed my loan application. He’d broadcast a smile through his painted smirk. I felt my health get better.
    “I see the problem Agent Warren. You neglected to include your rental income.” Giggles stated pointing to his computer’s monitor. I leaned over his desk to see what he discovered. Quicker than the blink of eye, Giggles pulled a straight edge razor from his red wig and slit my throat. Giggles stood signaling to others that our conversation was over. “Good day Agent Warren!” Giggles said as I tried to stop the bleeding. Giggles waved goodbye to everyone. The security guard, the bank’s customers and Giggles all ignored my grunts for help. Blood gushed everywhere.

  3. Dana Cariola

    The boys down at the docks told me about this place. They said, to ask for a man calling himself – Mr. Jiggles. At first, I’d thought they were joking. But, it was true. Mr. Jiggles is the man to see when you need that loan, no one else would even give a guy like me, the time of day.

    It was a legitimate bank, alright, only the clientele was not. So, here I am. Starring down at the Senior Loan Officer’s cleavage, as she twisted her manicured fingernails around her hair, and quietly scanned her eyes across the loan application. She glanced up, once or twice. Only to catch me in the act of admiring the view.

    “Everything seems to be in order, Mr. Welsh. I’ll send our new loan officer over to speak to you.” she said, politely.
    I watched, as she walked slowly towards the rear of the bank, then disappear behind a glass door. I imagined some dirty minded office worker, slapping her ass as she passed by them, in the narrow corridor.

    That thought stayed with me, while I waited patiently for – Mr. Jiggles. The sound of laughter throughout the room, brought me back from my dirty thoughts. I looked up from my downward stare, only to find a clown seated in the chair, opposite of mine.

    “Can I help you?” I asked.
    “No, No body can!…But, I can help you!” he mocked.
    Confused, I quickly rose up from my seat and excused myself from this uncomfortable situation.
    “Where ya goin!…Don’t you want some money?” he said. Then reached, deep into his red and white spotted jumpsuit. And, threw Monopoly money into the air.
    “Why you bastard!…Who put you up to this?..Was it Melvin?”
    “Why hold on there, partner. I was just havin some fun with ya!…Sit down…Let’s talk.” the maniacal clown requested.
    “No…this was a mistake. Thanks just the same.”
    “I’m Mr. Jiggles!” he boasted as he ran his over-sized white gloves,down his jumpsuit.
    “Your Mr. Jiggles?….Why are you dressed like that?….Is this some kind of a joke?”
    “Nah!… It’s my kid’s birthday.today. I promised the kid I would send in the clowns for him. But, the dam kid that I hired never showed up. So, I sent my assistant – Tracey. You know, the one with the big…”
    “Yeah, Yeah” I interrupted.
    “So, now I have to rush home and cheer the kid up!” he explained.
    “Well, okay. I guess that makes sense…But, why the fuck do you have to act like an ass now? With me?”
    “I was role playin!” he again went on to explain.
    “Your dam lucky I didn’t hit ya!…I was going too! Now, you fucking clown. What about my loan?..Did I get it or what? At this point in the conversation, don’t say anything. Just honk once for yes. And two for no! Got it!”

    A bike horn sounded out. Once. “Well, alright you twisted bastard!… Thanks!.. And, tell that boy I yours, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”

  4. Critique

    A Canadian Thanksgiving

    The prognosis terrified him. The doctor told Landry with treatment there was a 65% survival rate. Landry’s three year old daughter Maxine, had a rare cancerous tumor on her left kidney. She needed immediate surgery to remove the growing tumor followed by a stringent regime of chemo-therapy under the supervision of specialists at the children’s hospital in Edmonton- three hundred miles away.

    He hated to leave Hazel, who was four months pregnant with their second child and in the hospital for the third time, dehydrated and unable to keep food down. Her eyes wide with fear in her thin face, were red from crying. There was a chance she could lose the baby too.

    Elsie, a grandma who lived two doors down form them in the apartment building, babysat Maxine until the little girl became ill.

    The two people Landry loved most – lived for – were in the hospital. He hated to leave Hazel, her eyes huge with fear and reddened from crying but he needed to spend time with Maxine too.

    At night Landry crunched numbers, added in their dwindling savings, and his desperation grew. After paying Hazel’s hospital bill, there was no money for the treatment Maxine desperately needed. He had little hope the bank would lend him the money but he had to try. Exhausted, and emotionally drained, Landry put his head on the kitchen table and fell asleep

    In the morning after hearing his story, Merv Clark, an Assistant Manager of the Rodale Bank, agreed to an appointment the following week.

    Pushing through the revolving door of the bank, Landry tried to calm his racing heart as he crossed the granite floors to the business counter. The bank teller’s name tag read Sarah.

    Checking her appointment book Sarah looked up and smiled. “Mr. Lawson if you’ll take a seat. A special new trainee will be out to assist you in in a few moments.”

    His stomach growled as he eyed a clock on the wall – forty minutes left on his lunch hour. He didn’t need some rookie who didn’t know the ropes wasting his time.

    Hearing a commotion, Landry turned and a clown – decked out in full regalia – swaggered towards him.

    “Hello!” The clown swept his top-hat off in an elaborate bow and gestured for Landry to follow him. “This way please.”

    The bank staff and a few people in the line-ups started laughing and clapping.

    Anger rose in his chest. Was this some sick joke?

    Sarah nodded at him encouragingly.

    Landry followed the clown through some double doors and down a hall to an open door where he was ushered in with a flourish. Half a dozen people were seated around a table. A tall man rose and came towards him.

    “Welcome Mr. Lawson. I’m Merv Clarke – we spoke on the phone last week.” Merv continued. “I’d like you to meet the owner of the bank, Mr. Stanley Rodale.”

    A white-haired man smiled, stood, and shook Landry’s hand.

    “Mr. Lawson, I am very pleased to meet you. Please take a seat. I’ll get right to the point.” Mr. Rodale sat back in his chair.

    “My late wife, Mildred Rodale, and I will always be grateful for the way our lives have been blessed and our dream has always been to pay it forward. Every Thanksgiving I meet with my board members and we choose a customer we feel would benefit from the scholarship fund Mildred and I set up for young families.” Mr. Rodale continued. “Mr. Clarke filled us in on your situation and we would like to offer you the scholarship.” Mr. Rodale mentioned a sum.

    Landry was speechless. The amount would cover his existing bills and go a long way to helping Maxine get the medical help she needed.

    “I don’t know what to say.” Landry stammered.

    “That’s okay. The only thing we need is your signature on the form and the monies will be transferred to your account this afternoon.” Mr. Rodale passed the form across the table. “Feel free to read it through.”

    Overwhelmed, Landry scanned the form and signed his name with trembling fingers.

    Later that day after work he checked his account. The amount was there.

    Landry didn’t remember driving to the hospital. The elevators moved like cold molasses – he couldn’t wait to tell Hazel the good news.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Loved your story Critique. Shows heart and priomise in a present day world. Believe it or not, these things really happen. The media buries the news because, there’s no gore and blood and readership falls with good stories.

        1. Critique

          Glad you like my story Kerry. I agree – news focuses on the dark side most of the time. Guess i’m more of an optimist – the glass is neither half full or nor half empty – it can always be refilled 🙂

      2. Critique

        Thank you madeindetroit! Yes, wouldn’t it be nice if banks were more like that.
        I’m going to take some time this afternoon to read yours – and others – even though the new prompt is already up.

  5. Beebles

    This one looks almost dead, but what the hey.

    The Darkness Within

    ‘Hello, I’m Captain Jiggles, the loan officer. Don’t worry it’s a promotional thing. Would you care to follow me?’
    I am in too fragile a state to fully appreciate the man’s appearance; or to object. He is wearing a cheap clown suit – the sort you might wear on Halloween – no make-up, just a red plastic nose. I passively follow him into the small office. As I sit down at the desk my mind is racing, so fast that everything appears to be happening in slow motion. Detail stand out: the movements of a fly on the computer monitor; the pores on the man’s skin as he sits opposite me. This panic attack has not subsided since we received the news.
    ‘So, how can I help you?’
    ‘I need to borrow $20,000.’ Each word is an effort.
    ‘Excellent, Sir. I’m sure we can accommodate that. Can I ask what it is for?’
    I can still hardly say it. ‘My wife.’ I explain. ‘We are waiting on the results of some tests. The Doctor thinks it’s cancer. We need the money for an operation. Perhaps chemo.’
    The man’s cheerful expression melts from his face.
    ‘I see.’ He takes an awkward moment to adjust. His smile is weak as a winter sun. ‘Well, let’s see what we can do.’
    He begins to type. His fingers hit the keys with the rhythm of a funeral cortege and at the thought I find myself talking all of a sudden.
    ‘I thought it would be me,’ I laugh. The sound is a pressure valve, desperately easing the tension behind it. ‘I’m the one who still secretly smokes, after we supposedly gave up ten years ago. I’m the one who drinks, eats poorly, doesn’t take exercise. She’s a fitness instructor for God’s sake. She runs marathons, takes Zumba classes …’ I go on and on, about how open she is, how giving. How I don’t deserve her. How she doesn’t deserve this.
    I don’t tell him about the sex therapist we are seeing since her libido took a plunge off a cliff. We haven’t made love in six months. Or the six months before that. I was a pressure cooker waiting to explode. Then the bottom feeders in the pond of my mind start to think: maybe if she was gone, maybe I’d start dating; get more sex. I hate myself for the thought. It’s as if I have cognitive Tourettes; I can’t help thinking disgusting, inappropriate thoughts.
    I notice that the clown has stopped typing and is looking at me, in the eyes. It’s more than most people will do. Slowly he claws the synthetic red wig from his head, revealing a better head of hair than mine.
    ‘This hardly seems appropriate now,’ he mutters, rustling the wig. I watch it, like it’s a bloodied tumour.
    ‘Look,’ he says, ‘I’m sure we can lend you the money. Let’s go through the details and then that will be one less thing for you to worry about.’
    When we have finished he shakes my hand, his other hand placed compassionately on my arm. ‘Let me know how you get on. You just need to phone us and we’ll have the money transferred when you need it.’
    I am grateful.
    —————
    ‘Hi, yes, hello. I’d like to speak to …’ I take the phone from my mouth. I realise that I do not know the loan officer’s real name.
    I laugh, for real this time, ‘… Captain Jiggles? I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten your colleagues name… ah, Mr Weybridge … yes, yes please… it’s Mr Sanders.’
    I wait, doing a little dance in my head. ‘Ah Mr Weybridge … yes … no, no … actually we had the results through this morning, it’s not cancer … no … oh, some digestive disorder or something, anyway we shan’t be needing the loan … that’s right … thanks for your help anyway … and to you … bye … bye.’
    I hang up and exhale luxuriously. I can hear my wife humming to herself from the next room as she gets ready to go out. She’s meeting some friends for coffee.
    I’ll wait until she’s left. Then I’ll celebrate with a smoke.

    1. regisundertow

      I love this story. How very human have you drawn your MC, flaws and virtues thrown in a big stew pot of internal conflict. The observational honesty, especially at the “bottom feeder” part, cut like a blade.

  6. pauli101

    “Hello! I’m Captain Jiggles, the new loan officer, and I would be happy to help you now.”
    A fresh face at the bank, and trying to be politically correct with a happy smile without bursting into laughter, I shook his extended hand as we sat in unison across from each other at his desk.
    “Hi! I’m Ronald McDonald. Did Ms. Wendy Thomas explain to you, Captain Jiggles, my purpose in needing a loan?”
    “No, but please give me a moment to review your file, answered Jiggles.
    Silently I sat in my chair observing the different eye twitches; mouth smiling and frowning; and the gyrations of him jumping up and down in his chair as he traveled back and forward in and out of Ms. Thomas’s office for a few minutes before he settled back in his chair; folding his hands over my file with a plastered clown’s smile on him face.
    I was nervous about the answer I would receiving being that this was the third bank I have tried to get a medical loan. Telling myself in silence, “the third time is a charm.”
    The tune of sorry resonating loudly in his voice as Mr. Jiggles opened his comment with “well” causing my heart to sink deeper in my chest. And ending his speech with “no.” with no farther explanations.
    In hearing the comment without being qualified I was overwhelmed with anxiety. My heart started pounding against my rib cage; my breathing stopped; and all in a twist of fate I dropped to the floor fast and hard like steel, unconscious.
    Captain Jiggles’ face was the first I saw when I opened my eyes. Screaming at the clown’s face disoriented as I was as he and Ms. Thomas helped me back into my chair.
    “Oh! My! God!” has repeated in my ear from Ms. Thomas with a fearful expression on her face, and Captain Jiggles’ clown smile was not helping matters.
    Ms. Thomas walked away as Captain Jiggles started to hand me a business card. In a whisper I heard Captain Jiggles telling me to call this telephone number on the card later in the day after banking hours as he prompt me to hide the card in my suit jacket’s pocket. I nodded in understanding as Ms. Thomas returned with a glass of water clueless of what transpired between me and Jiggles.
    Later in the day I was hesitant about calling the telephone number as I perused the business card. It looked professional and at this point in time I decided to throw caution in the wind and go for it.
    I called. The receiver rang four times before Captain Jiggles’ familiar voice could be heard calling my name. “Well, Hi! Mr. McDonald. I am happy you called. Meet me at midnight on Fifth Street. Building 66613. Second floor. Room 246.” Then the phone went died.
    I looked at the phone in disbelief, silently weighting the health issues at hand and the extra money that is needed up front; what the doctor wants being that I am uninsurable.
    I kept the appointment arriving at the building early. A light was on at the second floor level so I proceeded.
    As I climbed the staircase. My worries turned into joy with every step. I knocked at the door it opened and I want inside. I felt a pain in my back as if being stabbed in my heart. Deeper the blade was thrust as the power behind it pushed me forward, collapsing to the floor.
    I did not yell or screamed I was just being with a dying question, “Why?” Captain Jiggles laughed as he stood over me, “You are worth more died than alive. Who know the money we will be making off of your kind donations.”

  7. Craig the Editor

    John “The Boulder” Gable vs Captain Jiggles

    John “The Boulder” Gable grasped the metal door handle in his massive hand and pulled. He then stepped inside and surveyed the scene. It was the interior of a typical mall strip bank done in shades of blue and gray. On the right was a row of tellers assisting customers with their transactions. On the left were several desks with aqua blue chairs in what he believed to be the loan department. It had all the warmth and charm of a funeral home.

    John had earned the nickname “The Boulder” because of his gargantuan size. If the fact that he was nearly seven feet tall and weighed over three hundred pounds of solid muscle, he was also the master of more than half a dozen fighting techniques. He was also a weapons master and Olympic level marksman. He could disassemble and reassemble practically any firearm known to man. He was the most sought after mercenary in the world. “The Boulder” was a one man walking army.

    He was there at the Sun Downer’s Savings & Loan for his friend, Little Bobbie who the latest collateral damage in his mercenary endevors. Bobbie needed a new kidney…or was it a liver? “The Boulder” was a terrific mercenary but a terrible medic. Little Bobbie insisted on going to a regular hospital.

    A petite brunette in her early thirties cautiously approached “The Boulder” and breathlessly inquired to his needs. (Sadly, “The Boulder” was asexual and not interested in fulfilling her needs.) He told her that he was interested in obtaining a medical loan for a close friend.

    She then led him over to a desk and offered him a chair that was too small for the task. Then she explained that a new trainee, a Captain Jiggles, would be out to help him with the loan process.

    As he sat wedged into the too small chair next to the too large column he contemplated what kind of man Captain Jiggles might be. If he was a nautical captain or even better, a member of the armed services than things should go well. He knew and understood military personnel. He couldn’t recall ever serving with anyone named Jiggles.

    Meanwhile Captain Jiggles took a last minute inventory before he headed out to meet his first client. At five foot three and a body like a bowling pin he was a non-threatening entity. His title was purely theatrical. He wore a cobalt blue jacket reminiscent of 18th century sea captains with gold buttons, epillets and matching gold braids. His white over sized pants were held up with suspenders and a hula hoop. Perched on his bald head was a string orange wig which was topped with a Napoleon Bonaparte style hat complete with white feathers and one lonely, sad squirting flower. His black and white shoes were nearly two feet in length. The toes would go up and down with every step, as though they are trying to bite something. His face paint was mostly white with touches of blue accents. It was more subdued than he preferred but the bank had a very conservative approach when it came to face painting.

    Captain Jiggles had worked hard to get where he was today. He wanted desperately to show that clowns had a place in society outside the circus. He picked up his joy buzzer and headed out to meet his first client.

    “The Boulder” sat up when he heard a distinct clicking sound. He rose to his feet and waited. He couldn’t pinpoint the sound but it seemed to be getting closer. Then from behind the column appeared Captain Jiggles.

    Captain Jiggles gave a jaunty salute and in his best high pitched clown voice said. “Hi! I’m Captain Jiggles here to help you with your loan application and perhaps there’ll be enough for a vacation!”

    “THe Boulder” took one look at Captain Jiggles and promptly fainted nearly crushing Captain Jiggles who stepped aside at the last moment.

    Looking at the “The Boulder’s” massive frame, he exc;claimed, “Oh, dear, It would appear that Mr. Gable suffers from an acute case of coulrophobia!!”

    1. madeindetroit

      Quite a twist at the end.
      A butt kicking mercenary fainting at the sight of a clown! I guess it happens. Caught me by surprise. Well written and loved the descriptions, especially the line about the bank having all the warmth of a funeral home. Sounds like a few banks I’ve been in before.

  8. AndromedaK

    First post! Any feedback?

    Captain Jiggles offers his gloved hand out to shake, a wide grin on his face. I immediately burst out laughing, unable to control myself. His grin fades despite there being a permanent one painted onto his face. He stares at me, an unreadable expression on his face. Meanwhile, I’m doubled over in laughter.

    “Are you alright, miss?” He asks politely. Noticing the genuine concern on his face, my laughter quickly dies down.

    “Uh yes I’m quite fine, thank you. But may I just ask why you’re dressed like that?” I reply in an attempt to mimic the professionalism he has shown me in his physique.

    “Well, ma’am, I’m at work, and these are my work clothes.”

    Okay, so that wasn’t exactly the response I was expecting. I waited for him to continue, to elaborate. When it was clear he wasn’t planning on saying anything else on the topic, I cleared my throat and corrected my posture.

    “Right. Okay, so I’m here to take out a loan.” From here the conversation went as it usually would. I pretended he was in a suit, and apparently so did he.

    I decided it was best not to mention anything about it until I was ready to leave. I turned to him and asked, in no unclear terms, “So why are you dressed as a clown?”

    To this he replied, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

    A burst of laughter escaped my throat. “What? You’re working at a prestigious bank, and you want to be working with the circus?”

    He smiled. I could see the creases on his weathered face and for once, I saw him as a kind-hearted man, not just a clown. “No, of course not.” He chuckled. “This is actually for my daughter, Jessamine. She turned nine the other day. For her birthday, she wanted to go to school dressed as a clown. I didn’t see the harm in it, so I told her it was fine. Her teacher, however, wasn’t fond of the idea. She called me up while I was at work to tell me about how terrible my parenting was. She told me that humor wouldn’t get Jessamine anywhere in life, and that the ‘real world’ was strictly professional.”

    I frowned, not seeing what this had to do with him coming to work dressed in such a preposterous costume.

    His clever smirk widened even more. “And her teacher, Mrs. Sidman, had a scheduled appointment to meet with the loan manager today. I wanted to show her that even a successful person could be a little humorous. Needless to say, she wasn’t enthused.”

    I laughed again, this time in an understanding rather than offensive way. “Good for you, and tell Jessamine I wish her a late happy birthday.” I turned and walked out the door, knowing that this fearless yet hilarious man had just made my day so much better.

    1. cosi van tutte

      Hi, AndromedaK!

      This is a wonderful first post. I really enjoyed the reason for his dressing up.

      My only suggestion would be: In the beginning, when she cracks up about his costume, show why she is laughing about it. Is it the silly expression painted on his face? The tiny hat perched on an enormous red afro? Is it just the ridiculous mental disconnect of a clown working at a bank? Or does it remind her of some obscure SNL/Monty Python skit?

      Other than that, this story was well-written. I really liked this whole paragraph:

      “His clever smirk widened even more. “And her teacher, Mrs. Sidman, had a scheduled appointment to meet with the loan manager today. I wanted to show her that even a successful person could be a little humorous. Needless to say, she wasn’t enthused.”

      I especially liked how you left the teacher’s reaction up to the reader’s imagination. 😀

    2. Beebles

      Hi AndromedaK
      Liked this. I think it is harder to write something uplifting, easier for the dark stuff perhaps. it certainly lifted me up.
      Look forward to more.

      1. regisundertow

        Definitely easier to go for the darker side, there’s more material to mine. Kudos for not taking the easy path. It was uplifting and it did force me read it with a different mindset.

  9. jacquelinespain@hotmail.com

    He struggles as he gets into his car, with one leg broken and a bandage covering almost every part of his face. “This is not going to be easy. How the hell am I going to get to the damn bank without getting myself into another one of these accidents,” thinks Rodney to himself. He has been in agony all weekend. He sat in hospital for nearly 24 hours only to hear that his medical card is no longer his medical card.
    Rodney pulls out of the drive way and nearly runs over the cat, the dust bin lorry swerves as he enters the road. “What the hell do you think you’re doing mummy? You going to get us all killed! Better get those injuries of yours seen to!” shouts the dustbin removal man in rage as he speeds off.
    “Well that was almost, number three must be waiting around the corner. My mother always says bad things happen to you in threes.”
    Rodney eventually gets to the bank and after many tribulations he finds a parking space right in front of the bank. As he opens his door a man on a bicycle comes past him and rides over his only good foot. “Sorry didn’t mean to do it, you should be careful with those injuries man, it looks bad,” says the man on the bicycle and cycles away.
    Rodney gets to the revolving door of the only bank he has been with since the day he started saving for those model planes of his. He managed to take all his birthday money and pocket money to the bank manager to save for him since childhood and he did, he did do a good job looking after Rodney’s savings. “I would like to speak to someone about a loan.”
    The bank teller, a tall red head, who weighs about 15 stone looks, at Rodney with nervousness. She must me new, thinks Rodney to himself, I have not seen her here before.
    “Sorry sir, I am only a trainee, fresh out of college. You wouldn’t say so would you? Most people think I look about thirty, but I am really only 20 the other day. My parents say it is because of our family trademark, we all big people. Why is it that people think that size is makes you look older.” Blah, blah, blah. Could she please get me to the man that knows something about loans then? “Please I need to sit down, my leg is broken, my head is getting dizzy, and do you think you can find someone who can help me with a loan.”
    “Okay, I will be back in a minute. Why don’t you sit over there in the waiting area, you can put your foot up on the magazine table. Would you like a glass of water or maybe a cup of tea perhaps? You really do look tired, would you like some assistance to get to the chair. I could get the guy in security to see if he can’t help you over to the waiting area.” It must be a family trademark that they talk too much as well.
    “What can I do you for, nice to meet you Rodney. Hello! I’m Captain Jiggles, the new loan officer, and I would be happy to help you now,” says a clown to Rodney, who has not even made it past the carpet yet. He is wearing a big curly black wig, with a painted white face and huge humongous red nose. His shoes are almost reaching Rodney’s tips of his shoes and the costume has every colour diamond in a pattern on it.
    “Well did they cat caught your tongue. It looks like the only part on your face that was not damage. Oh my dear, you look like you have been injured.”
    “That’s why I have come to ask the bank for a loan. I have been in an accident over the weekend. I need urgent medical attention and I don’t have any money. Could you please tell me where the real loan officer is? It is getting late and I need to get to the hospital before my injuries kill me.”
    “I don’t know about you, but I feel a bit thirsty. Would you like a glass of water perhaps or maybe a cup of tea? You might have to drink it when we get upstairs though, my office is located on the fifth floor. We will have to take the stair today. I do apologize for the inconvenience, but the lift is not working. Don’t ask me what the hell happened to it, but we all think it is the new girl, she is a bit heavier than the average young 20 year old, if you get what I mean.”
    “Are you joking, I can’t even walk properly, how you suppose I get up five flights of stairs?”
    “Doesn’t bother me Rodney, if you would like we can have the conversation right here. I am quite comfortable anywhere, this bank is like my home. I have been running it for as long as you have been a child. I have been hiding on you on the fifth floor. I only ever come down, when my clients wants to make a loan for the very first time. Guess why?”
    “Why?”
    “Because I have come to tell you, no you can’t you can’t you can’t, you can’t. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!”

  10. Hiba Gardezi

    ‘OLLEH!’
    ‘Ola?’
    That does it for Jiggles.
    The red nosed, goofy figure falls onto the bank floor laughing hysterically and rolling on the ground.
    ‘HAHAHAHHH- O-HAHAHAHHHAH-L- AHAHAHAAHA-A-AHAHAHAHAHAHAH’
    ‘WHAT?’
    ‘Snap your fingers in front of his eyes’ the “Manager” tells me.
    I snap my fingers.
    ‘HA’ He finishes and gets up dusting his pants.
    ‘Hard to be clean ‘round here’ he says
    ‘But what was so funny?’
    ‘HA-’ I cover his mouth.
    ‘No, tell me’
    ‘Just that you said Ola. Like what? Am I Galician.’
    ‘Gali what?’
    He turns around and looks at me a hand on his hip ‘It’s Galician, hun.’
    ‘Okay’
    ‘Yeah ‘
    ‘Well, then what did you say?’
    ‘Olleh’
    ‘And that means?’
    ‘It’s a greeting in English’
    ‘No, it’s not’
    ‘My shirt said so. I read it.’
    ‘in front of a mirror?’
    ‘In front of a mirror.’
    ‘I see, but back to business, Mr… Jiggles. Can I withdraw my money?’
    ‘No’
    ‘What?’
    ‘No’
    ‘Why not?’
    ‘I stole it’
    ‘Huh?’
    ‘I… stole… it.’

    ‘Hahahahahahahahaha’
    ‘No, more like HAHAHAHAHAHAHA’
    ‘BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH’
    ‘Good, very good. A little creativity, though’
    ‘BWAHAHAJHU O.IP9OPUFADEDASADAHAHAHASHAHAHAHAAAHAHANM7, Y7’
    Captain Jiggles, jumps into the air and happy dances. ‘I have taught you well’
    ‘Thank you, Captain’
    ‘Now, what about scaring?’
    ‘Scaring?’
    ‘Of course’
    ‘But we just laughed’
    ‘And you’re saying we weren’t scary when we did’
    ‘But clowns are supposed to be nice’
    ‘No. you think that? You are a disgrace.’
    ‘I’m sorry. Another chance?’
    ‘Another chance.’
    ‘Teach me ,Captain Jiggles.’
    ‘The essence of a clown is the creepy perverseness. Masked scare is real scare.’
    ‘But why? Why should we scare?’
    ‘Because scaring makes us who we are’
    He smiles.
    And it does scare me.
    This he says ‘Smile’
    Smile?
    I smile.
    ‘Stop it.’
    ‘What ?’
    ‘You’re doing it wrong’
    ‘Why?’
    ‘That’s a sincere smile. I can see you’re happy deep down to be learning. Insincere. Yes, that is what we need. Think of things that make you angry and then smile.’
    I do exactly as he says.
    ‘Yes’ he says satisfied ‘Insincerity, young one, can destroy anything.’

    1. regisundertow

      I’ll need a few go’s at this to decipher it. Soon as I thought I knew what I was meant to think, I had to reconsider. This isn’t an easy read by any stretch of the imagination, but knowing your style makes it easier to search for the nuggets of story underneath the story.

  11. 5Tommy00

    …and became lodged in the wall next to him. As he fell to his knees, the blood ran down his chest and hid momentarily behind his clown suit.

    The end of the manhunt had ended. Five weeks worth of police work, dead-ends, and nights away from home had come to an end.

  12. SheepCarrot

    It’s been a weird week so I haven’t had a chance to read anyone’s stories yet. But here’s mine and I’ll try to read and comment tonight!

    I pull into the bank parking lot and squeeze my rusty Toyota between a Beemer and a Chevy that looks worse than mine. At least mine still passes inspection. I sigh as I climb out of my car, grateful for the cane that I initially rebelled against when my doctor gave it to me. “I’m not old!” I argued, but he wouldn’t listen.

    Too many years chasing bad guys and getting in scrapes has taken its toll. Not to mention that last perp who tried to run me over with my own patrol car which shattered my knee, and it never did heal right. Now I’m looking at medical retirement if I can’t get it repaired…which is more like replaced with nine months of physical therapy. No one can afford that on a cop’s salary, and besides, my insurance will only pay for thirty PT sessions. After that it’s all me.

    I drop my car keys in my jacket pocket, then shuffle my way into the building. The door chimes as I enter, but otherwise the room is silent. I look around, my every instinct telling me something isn’t right. There are jackets and purses on desks and chairs, but no people. No sounds of paperwork being shuffled, printers spitting out loan applications, or the click click of ladies’ acrylic nails on keyboards.

    I ring the service bell, and hear movement from down the back hall. A young lady emerges, her skin paler than her crisp white shirt. Her eyes are wide, and I can see beads of sweat on her forehead despite the bank’s air conditioning. “C-can I help you, sir?” she asks, her voice hardly audible.

    I drop my voice to a whisper. “Are you okay?” She gives a slight shake of her head, a movement so slight I wonder if I imagined it. “Alone?” Same negative. “Watched?” I see her eyes take on a glassy sheen that can only mean she’s on the verge of crying. I clear my throat and return my voice to normal. “I’d like to check my account balance.” I pull my wallet out of my pocket, letting my badge flash for a second as I reach for my bank card. “Is that all you need?”

    Her nod is slight, and after pushing two buttons on the keyboard, looks back up at me as she returns my card with a trembling hand. “Your balance is nine hundred eleven dollars and five oh cents.” I nearly smile at her response. Clever girl.

    There’s a commotion down the hall as I’m slipping my wallet back in my pocket, and I’m only a little surprised to see a clown storm out. “What’s taking so long?” he demands. With a glance I take in his apparel: baggy ripped jeans, mismatched suspenders, stained white t-shirt, a multi-colored and patterned trench coat, over-sized polka dot bowtie, white gloves, and of course the makeup, nose and hair. He zeroes in on me with a glare behind the blue stars surrounding his eyes. “What do you want?”

    “I’m here for a loan.” I fish in my jacket pocket for my cell phone. It’s a relic compared to today’s smart phones. The guys at work are constantly ribbing me that it flips, but I never knew how well that would come to my advantage. Without removing it from my pocket—or even looking down—I dial 9-1-1 and hit send.

    He smirks as he reveals the handle of a pistol in his waistband before he points down the hall. “Well I’m your loan officer, Captain Jiggles. We’re all getting money today.”

    1. regisundertow

      That was a pretty smooth way of aligning the story to the prompt. Also, I always enjoy it when the reader is given the opportunity to figure things out before they are revealed, thanks for this.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      What a great take on this prompt. I especially appreciated all the details that pulled me right into your fantastic MC’s world. Plus, the way you presented those details was masterful.

    3. Beebles

      For me it was the little things that made my hairs rise. The lines ‘I nearly smile at her response. Clever girl.’ raised the tension and gave an insight into his mindset. Good finish with the leading line of the prompt.

      1. SheepCarrot

        Glad you liked it, Joseph! There’s definitely more to be said, but word restrictions had me cutting it at what I felt was a nice breaking point. A possible project to continue at another time, perhaps. 🙂

        1. Kerry Charlton

          I’d call it a perfect response. You grab the reader with the first sentence and don’t let go till the ending. No doubt, this is the best response this week to a miserable prompt. Go past the jail to the corner of the board and collect $200.00.

  13. Observer Tim

    THE DEAL

    “Congratulations, Miss DeGare, you’re now eighty thousand creds richer.”

    “Thank you, Mister Jiggens. This should just cover the regen treatments for my friend’s leg.” And the fees for keeping it quiet.

    We shake hands, fulfilling the social ritual for sealing a business deal. Now it’s time to address the megaturtle in the room.

    “I do have one other question, Mister Jiggens. Why are you dressed up like a clown? Who hit you and why?”

    “What makes you…”

    “You’re wearing white pancake makeup with red patches around the eyes and a balloon suit that makes it impossible to see your real body. The bruise around your left eye is painted over but still swollen. Now, who hit you and why?”

    “It’s not really your…”

    “I just borrowed eighty thousand credits to pay medical expenses for someone I met yesterday. My business is what I choose it to be, and I’ve decided this is.”

    “It was my …ex-boyfriend. The breakup didn’t go well.”

    As I stalk out of his office I wonder whether he’s a coward or just meek. Either way, I’ve been itching to beat on someone since I rescued Four-Five-Three from that death-maze yesterday and the ex-boyfriend has just nominated himself. I stop at the receptionist’s desk in the front of the bank.

    “Were your business dealings satisfactory, Miss?”

    “Yes, fine. Now tell me about Jiggens, your loan manager. Did he just break up with his boyfriend?”

    She looks at me like I just asked the colour of her underwear.

    “That’s personal…”

    “I’m Stefani Danger.” She gulps, which means she’s heard of me. “I want to know details, and you’re going to tell them to me.”

    A few minutes later she breathes a sigh of relief as I walk out the door fully informed. Zephram Gillis, brother of a local crime boss, is going to get a visit he won’t soon forget.

    Gillis has bodyguards; I have crew. Sooki, Rissa and I take care of the goons without any real effort; per my instructions none of them die.

    I walk into Gillis’s apartment with my bolter drawn and encounter the first hiccup of the day. There are two men here: one a tall hero-type and the other a shorter businessman-type. Despite that I can see the family resemblance.

    “Which one of you losers is Zephram Gillis?”

    Mister Hero smiles, “Who’s asking?”

    I immediately shoot the other guy; a high-mass low-velocity slug hits him in the chest and knocks him down. The hero-type is the one I should be talking to regardless.

    “I go by Stefani Danger. Heard of me?”

    “Actually, yes. I’m Harlan Gillis; you just shot my little brother.”

    “Aren’t you worried?”

    “Not really, but you might be. Five minutes ago Zephram became the new head of the planetary government. His troops will be here to congratulate him once the coup is cemented.”

    What have I gotten myself into?

    “All is not hopeless, Miss Danger. Perhaps we can discuss this ‘misunderstanding’ over dinner?”

    Those lines are easy to read between; he wants to trade sex for gunshot wounds. I’ve accepted worse deals.

    “Sure. But my girls go free.”

    “Done.”

        1. Kerry Charlton

          My neck is stiff from bowing to the master, week after week. I’d call it brilliant, I couldn’t get past first base with this week’s prompt.

  14. szyatkin

    My first story –
    It is a quiet day even for the local bank. The old teller hears my story on unexpected medical expenses and tells me that someone else will help with my loan application, a “special new trainee”. From the back comes out a man in full clown costume and make up. He says “Hello! I’m Captain Jiggles, the new loan officer and would be happy to help you now”.

    I follow him reluctantly to the office in the back. The office looks normal, at least no clown pictures or toys around. It has a typical office desk with Captain Jiggle’s big leather bag on. Also the officer looks very serious for this to be a joke. I can’t risk my loan application so I keep serious and tell why I need money badly for medical expenses. I need a hair transplant. Well I am only 40, and already bald. On the top of that I am single, so I really need hair.

    Captain Jiggle looks at my balding hair and scans me. He shakes his head and in a serious tone says “I understand. But why would you not consider the Bruce Willis style or a wig. I attack back “Are you kidding me sir? With my head out-of-proportions which Willis? And a wig? Please for God’s sake I would not even consider it.” The officer is good at his job, challenging my application, but I have also prepared well. He gets a little tense still looking at my application. Then he asks me how I would pay the $12,000 loan back and my current finances.

    I run him through the math of my well-balanced monthly finance. Half of the $800 monthly rent income from my mother’s apartment, minus $200 monthly groceries, minus $100 utilities, minus $50 cigarrettes, lottery and booze. I have $50 left per month which I use to pay the credit card minimums. He asks if I have any other income. I tell him about the chance of winning the lottery since I play it every week.

    The officer is in deep thoughts, I am also getting nervous. What if the clown does not approve, should I have lied about my income? He looks for something in his bag but while his hand is still there changes his mind, gets up abruptly and says he has to discuss this with the boss. He goes to the back of the room and opens the door. Unlike the front, there is a lot of noise. I take a sneak look and see the other room full of clown costumed men filling their bags with money. I can’t hear anything but see the boss first pointing to the money then holding his arms high as if telling angrily Captain Jiggle to take care of this.

    I relax, feeling an assurance that Captain Jiggle can only approve the loan. I shout out back to the other office “thank you boss”. Then I hear quietly someone saying “get rid of that clown”, but I am not sure which clown he meant.

  15. Helenekb

    First time post. Here goes.

    My back is killing me. Doc says I have ruptured disks or something, like it’s some sort of car part. It won’t kill me, or paralyze me or anything, doc says, but it sure makes it difficult to sleep. No kidding Sherlock. Haven’t had a good night rest in ages. Doc’s been giving me pain meds but I can’t use them while I’m on the job—I run heavy equipment, bulldozers and graders. Forget yoga. I’m not gonna twist around like some pansy-assed fruitcake. I want him to fix it.

    Doc suggests we electrocute it. He wants to implant some sorta wire in my back that will shock my spinal cord down there and block the pain from getting to my brain. The only problem is my insurance is crap. Thanks Obama. It’s gonna cost me a fortune. If you didn’t know, I am not made of money. I got my house mostly paid off, so there’s that. The misses says I should do it; besides she’s tired of hearing me complain all the time. She even set up an appointment for me this morning.

    I get over there and they tell me I got a loan officer trainee and I’m like great, I don’t got all day or anything. And out comes this guy all dressed up like a clown. I mean he’s got the white face paint, the red curly hair, the red nose, everything.

    “Hello, I’m Captain Jiggles, the new loan officer and I would be happy to help you now,” he says. “If you’ll come with me.”

    He leads me back to an office that’s decked out like some circus tent—red and white stripes canvas hanging from the ceiling, balloons everywhere, and a wooden ring around the desk. Cute.

    “Have a seat.”

    There’s a god-damn whoopee cushion on the chair.

    “Oh my,” Jiggles says, “Someone’s been in the beans. I got just the thing. Smell this.”

    He grabs this huge flower he’s got pinned to his red outfit and points it at me. Next thing I know I get a blast of water in the face.

    “Oh no. Should have known my pistol flower was loaded. Let me wipe that up for you.”

    And he starts to pull out this handkerchief. And pulls and pulls. It’s one of those gag handkerchiefs, you know, goes on forever. I’ve about had enough. Besides, my back is killing me.

    “Quit clowning around!” I yell, jumping up from my seat. “Another trick out of you and your nose is gonna look like that permanently.”

    “Oh dear. Oh dear,” the clown says, hands to his nose in an exaggerated grimace, then he gives it a squeeze. It honks like some kind of goose.

    “That’s it! You asked for it,” I am ready to deck the joker.

    “Stop! Please,” he says, dropping the clown act finally.

    “Why should I? I came here to get a loan I you’re treating me like I some kinda idiot.”

    “You got the loan,” Jiggles says, taking off his nose and bright red wig. “Your wife stopped by last week and got the papers filled out.”

    He hands me the papers and sure enough it’s all there. Home equity line of credit approved and ready to use.

    “I don’t understand. Why the clown act.”

    Jiggles pulled a cord from the ceiling, balloons and confetti dropped from the ceiling. “Surprise!”

    My wife and son are there. The guys from work. Friends from church. It’s a regular party, cake and everything.

    My wife comes up to me and smiles, “Happy fiftieth birthday, dear.”

    My son, the wiseass teen, congratulates me next and say, “I can’t you believe you didn’t figure it out. Mom’s been working on this for weeks. You know her best friend works here.”

    “Yeah, so? It’s not like you would think there’d be clowns at the bank on a working day?”

    My son rolls his eyes. “It’s Columbus Day, Dad.”

    1. madeindetroit

      Great first post.
      As I said to a previous first poster, you will learn a lot about writing from the great writers here. For your first post, you did a fantastic job. You obviously have been writing for some time. You took me inside the head of the MC and finished with a great reveal!

      Looking forward to reading more from you.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Strange, I was certain I’d made a comment on this, but it’s not here. Anyway, this was a very creative take and I’m glad it all worked out even though your MC was pretty stressed before the reveal.

  16. pinkbamboo

    I stared at the clown in front of me and then at the bank teller.

    “I don’t think this will help me.” I stood up and turned to walk away. I have no time or the mood for these kind of jokes.

    “Oh no no, Miss Mindy. Jiggles here will be able to assist you.”

    “I know I don’t look like the normal officer or whoever you’re expecting but give me a chance on my first day here. Are you really going to discriminate and dismiss me just because I wear an attire that is different from the others here? You didn’t even give me a chance to tell my story” the clown looked at me sadly.

    I looked at him and nodded. He was right. I should not have dismiss him based on his appearance. That was very shallow of me especially since I knew the feeling of being judged.

    “I’m sorry. So you can help me with that loan?”

    Mr Jiggles looked at the clock and shook his head, his green bushy hair moving sideways.

    “No can do now. Can you come back within 4 hours?”

    “Won’t the bank be closed by then?” that would be 7 pm.

    “I’ll be here. Thanks for giving me a chance Mindy” he shook my hand and left the room before I could answer.

    4 hours for me to go to the hospital to see Ted, get home and shower before coming back.

    *******

    “Mr Jiggles?” I should have asked his real name. I can’t believe I’m in a bank, knocking on a proper door and addressing the loan officer as Jiggles.

    The door opened and the man was still in his clown suit. He gestured me in and closed the door behind me. I took a seat as he poured me a glass of water. I wanted to ask about his clown attire but he seemed to be in a hurry.

    “So I heard you need a medical loan” he opened up my file.

    “Yes, I do. It would help my family out” I noticed my hands were shivering as I pictured Ted in the hospital bed.

    “If I may ask, what medical condition are we facing here?” he scribbled something on the file.

    “My husband has cancer and we just need help with the treatments”

    “Oh, you’re married. Interesting”

    I nodded. Interesting? What is so interesting about me being married? Jiggles nodded and pointed to the long scar on my right arm with the tip of his pen.

    “What’s going on here?” he asked gently.

    “Oh, just some accident I had few years ago” I removed my arm from his desk uncomfortably.

    “I thought it might be some domestic violence case going on” he looked amused.

    I was getting annoyed and really uneasy as I cleared my throat. I mean, surely that has nothing to do with him. I just need him to hear me out, approve my loan and I’ll be out of the way. Whatever compassionate I felt for him earlier of the day had been replaced with irritation of his nosiness. Why is he bringing up the dark past?

    “Sir, can I have – ”

    “Do you have a police record?”

    “What’s that got to do with anything?” I was puzzled.

    “Oh, we need to clarify it here” he jabbed the bottom portion of the paper with his pen.

    “Okay .. well, a few years ago I .. reported a domestic abuse to the station” I looked away, unwilling to look at the clown.

    “Your husband?”

    “No, this was before we met. It was uh .. an ex boyfriend. He .. hurt me” I took a deep breath.

    “Interesting” another scribble on the pad.

    “Uh, it was just one case that time. He got arrested, put in jail. Case closed” I gestured with my arms.

    “How long did you tolerate the abuse before calling the cops on him?”

    “Er .. about a month” I shifted in my seat. Please stop asking me questions about that time. I really want to bury it, get my loan and just run back to Ted.

    Jiggles nodded and slammed my file shut.

    “Mindy, I’m afraid I can’t give you the loan” he shook his head.

    “That case was closed a long time ago” I stood up, enraged that I had wasted my time. I was also afraid that my personal past had affected my current financial state to get help for Ted. Should I plead him? Should I get down on my knees and beg?

    Jiggles sighed, got up and stood next to me. If he’s not helping me, I’m going but as I turned to leave, he grabbed my arm and pulled me back.

    “Darling Mint, why did you call the cops on me? I thought you loved me” he chuckled.

  17. Kerry Charlton

    HELLO, I’M CAPTAIN JIGGLES

    It wasn’t the first or last time that Charles M. Loser was in big trouble. In fact First City Bank had a bulletin posted with his photo. Underneath a simple sentence,

    ‘Do not let this clown in here, ever.’

    He would show up, grope women, scare the children and jump on desks trying to expose himself. Unfortunately last Wednesday, the floor supervisor Bill Handfeel and the assistant manager Will Willingto weren’t there that day to keep an eye out for him. When he entered the bank, another clown rushed up to him,

    “I‘m Captain Jiggles, the new loan officer, do you need money?”

    “Yes, but the bank won’t give it to me.”

    “Why not?”

    “I don’t know, my pet raccoon needs his foot reset and Aunt Clara wants a bunion
    removed.”

    “Will a thousand due?”

    “Are you serious?”

    “Yes, there’s a special today, no interest, ten years to pay it back. Are the terms good enough?”

    Charles looked at the other clown and started to choke up on the good news. He managed a weak response between his tears,

    “Yes, what do I need to do?”

    “Hold this sack for me and go to the bank window with me.”

    “Okay, anything else?”

    “Do you know how to run?”

    “I’m as fast as the wind.”

    The two approached a teller’s cage and Captain Jiggles slipped a note to her. She gasped quietly as Jiggles loaded Charles’ sack with bundles of hundred dollar bills. Jiggles sprayed the young teller in the face and she slumped over in a sound sleep.

    “Okay, we’re going to dance our way out of here,” Jiggles said. “Do you know how to sing an old song.”

    “What is it?”

    “Annie had a baby.”

    “You mean Rhythm and Blues from the fifties?”

    “You got it, are you ready?”

    The two clowns danced and jigged their way out the bank door. Customers stood in amusement thinking it was some kind of promotion the bank was throwing. As soon as the two hit the sidewalk, they sprinted to the nearest alley.

    “Here’s your grand,” Jiggles announced, “and five hundred more for a bonus.”

    “I cant believe my good luck Captain.”

    By the time he finished his sentence, Captain Jiggles had walked away. Charles slipped the fifteen C notes in a baggy pocket and walked away singing,

    ‘Annie had a baby, can’t work no more
    No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
    Annie had a baby, can’t work no more.
    Every time she start to work,
    She has to stop to walk the baby ‘cross the floor.’

    [Hank Ballard]

  18. Kelsey Elf

    George had never been to the circus before and neither had his niece, Natalie, so when he saw that the big top was coming to town he went and bought two tickets. Two weeks went by and the big day arrived and when George went to pick up Natalie she answered the door with red magic-marker polka dots drawn all over her face.

    “Whatever has happened to you?” George asked.

    “I have the chicken pox.” Natalie answered.

    After much conversation it was revealed that little-Davie-down-the-street had told Natalie that elephants like to crush children. And no amount of assurances (related to extensive elephant training or potential candy-apple eating) would convince her otherwise.

    So George piled just himself into his car and headed to the show, and once he arrived he realized how creepy it is to be a man all alone at the circus. George decided to show how nice and not creepy he was by smiling at the small boy seated next to him. Quick as a wink he found himself installed next to the boy’s oversized mother instead.

    As she spilled her elephantine frame over the armrest George suddenly had a flash of thought that perhaps little-Davie-down-the-street hadn’t been so wrong after all…

    But then the lights dimmed and George lost himself in the thrill of the acrobats and the smell of the popcorn and the pulse of the music.

    “This is truly an incredible circus” thought George.

    And indeed, it was. George watched as simultaneously a trapeze artist walked across a tightrope, a group of contortionists made a human ladder all the way to the top of the circus tent, and an elephant balanced on a beach ball.

    “And now, our juggling clown!” announced the Master of Ceremonies.

    Out stepped an outrageous clown, on stilts, juggling bowling pins set on fire!

    The audience said “Ooooohhhh” and “Aaaaaahhhh.”

    And then the clown tripped.

    A fiery bowling pin flew into the air and landed on the elephant’s ear. She trumpeted and reared back, catapulting the beach ball upwards. It flew through the air and smacked the trapeze artist directly between the eyes. The trapeze artist careened backwards, grabbing onto the human ladder. The ladder swayed, and the top contortionist grabbed at the frayed red tent. The big top tore open, contortionists pelted from above like rain, and elephants and people stampeded alike.

    George was knocked to the ground and quite a few people trampled over him. With his face pressed to the floor, George watched a (still flaming) bowling pin roll jovially by.

    A month later, George hobbled towards the bank. They had been delaying his loan meeting for weeks. Every time George called to set up the appointment, he was told something like:

    “Upon review of your application, we need a little more time to process X, Y and Z…”

    But George was convinced that he would not leave without having his loan approved today. He limped resolutely into the bank.

    The bank teller greeted him with a smile.

    “We have a special new trainee who will help you in just a moment” she quipped.

    Out stepped a man in a full clown costume.

    “Hello! I’m Captain Jiggles, the new loan officer, and I would be happy to help you now.” said the clown.

    George ran screaming from the bank, his application forgotten.

    “You were right!” The bank teller said to the intern. Her grin was as big as his red, painted one.

    “Of course,” said the intern, pulling off his multicolored wig. “A little bit of research into each application and we’ll never need to turn down an unsavory loan again. People will just run away when faced with something they fear.”

    “What’s the next case on your list?” asked the bank teller.

    The intern gave a lopsided smirk. “Shark bite.”

    1. madeindetroit

      Creative take on the prompt. Loved your dialogue and the pacing was perfect.
      I’d love to read about the next case of shark bite.
      That would interesting.

      Great job.

      1. Kelsey Elf

        Thanks, madeindetroit! I tried writing in a more “flow of consciousness” style and was worried about the pacing, so that is a super helpful comment. I would love to know what happens with the shark bite case, too! 🙂

  19. cosi van tutte

    Just one more for the fun of it…

    Quid Albertross walked around the office with a big, doofy smile all over his face. “Hey, hey!” He pulled out an old bike horn and honked it. Ahh-ooogah! Ahh-ooogah! “The fun boat has arrived!”

    He walked over to Sharon Bondravsky and planted himself on the edge of her desk. “Hey there, Sharon Sharon Bo Baron. Ohhh, Sharon!”

    She clenched her jaw and typed three wrong letters in a row.

    “Hey, Sharon. Do you know why the chicken crossed the road?”

    “I’m trying to work.”

    Ahh-ooogah! right in her face. “Sorry! Wrong answer. You’re supposed to say ‘To get to the fun side of the street.'”

    Sharon sighed. “Could you please go bother someone else?”

    That’s when Steve O’Leary came in.

    “Oooo-Hooo! A customer!”

    “Quid, don’t you dare–”

    But it was too late.

    Quid ran over to Steve. “Hey, hey, hey! You look like a fine upstanding kind of guy.”

    “Uhhh.” Steve just couldn’t say anything more than that.

    “You’re so upstanding you know what you should do? You should become a stand-up comedian.” Ahhh-ooogah!

    Steve backed away from him. “I just want to take out a loan.”

    “Sure. Sure. You can take out a loan, but you can’t take out my sister.”

    “I’m sorry. What?”

    “Ahh, I’m just foolin’ with ya. Come on into my office and we’ll talk loans.”

    “Uhh, I think I want to discuss loans with someone else.”

    “Don’t worry. I don’t bite.” He wrapped his arm around Steve’s shoulders. “I only bite people I know and I don’t know you just yet. Come on! Come on!”

    “But I…”

    Quid ushered Steve to his office and closed the door.

    Sharon walked over to Trent Smith and slapped the back of his head.

    “Hey! What was that for?”

    “You gave Quid those Snickers bars.”

    “I couldn’t help it. He was being such a diva about everything. You know how he gets when his blood sugar is low.”

    “Yes, but you gave him fifteen king-sized Snickers bars.”

    “I thought he’d have one or two and put the rest away for next time. I didn’t expect him to eat all fifteen all at once.”

    “Who could expect such a thing?”

    Ahh-ooogah! Ahh-ooogah!

    She slapped the back of Trent’s head. “Don’t you ever make that mistake again.”

  20. cosi van tutte

    This one has a loose connection to the prompt…

    All of the evidence was hidden away.

    Sheila spread the white make-up over the deep red-blue. She painted a wide red smile around her mouth and a line of yellow stars trailing down her face.

    The ruffled collar of her costume concealed the fingerprints. The white gloves, bruised knuckles.

    Sheila almost felt normal.

    He was locked up.

    She almost felt safe.

    He would never be freed.

    But the fear clung to her like a needy child. What if he escapes? What if there’s a re-trial? What if they set him free? What if? What if? Oh, what if?

    Anxiety pounded her heart until she wanted to cry.

    Her hands hurt. Her bones hurt. She thought about calling in sick. Just stay home. Home was safe. No. No, it wasn’t. Home is where he was. Home is where it hurt the most.

    She went to work – the only clown in the entire office. But everyone knew her story. No one commented on her desecration of the dress code. They understood and they let it be.

    She did her job, trying so hard to prove to everyone else that she could still work. She wasn’t broken. But every phone call startled her and strengthened her fear’s voice. They’re calling to say that he isn’t in his cell. They can’t find him. He’s coming for you. He’s coming to kill you.

    By noon, she was a trembling wreck.

    Mordecai from the billing department stopped at her desk. “Hey, gorgeous. You look hungry. Do you want to go get some food?”

    She stared at her Excel spreadsheet. If I stay here, I’ll be safe. He never came here. I’m safe here.

    “Sheila.” His voice was so gentle and kind. “Do you want to have lunch with me?”

    “I can’t.” Her voice still had a raspy edge to it and her throat hurt. “He’ll get mad if he sees me with anyone else. Especially you.”

    “He won’t hurt you anymore. You’re safe.”

    “Am I?” Tears rolled down her face, smudging the stars. “What if? What if? What if? Oh, Mordecai. There’s too many what if’s. Please go. Please. I don’t want him to—”

    “He won’t. I promise.” He removed her frizzy wig and kissed the top of her head. “Even if one of your What If’s comes true, I’ll keep you safe. Please, Sheila. Have lunch with me.”

    “What will you do if I say no? Will you hurt me the way he did?”

    “No. Sheila, I am not him. I will never be him. I swear by everything I love and have ever loved. Sheila, I will never hurt you. I’ll protect you.”

    “Can you protect me?”

    “I don’t know if I can, but I will.”

    She looked up at him and her fears went to sleep. “Where do you want to go for lunch?”

    He smiled. “Your choice.”

    1. regisundertow

      Interesting take. I just finished reading an article on domestic violence, coincidentally. I liked how everyone in Sheila’s department sort of looked the other way when it came to the dressing-up, knowing the reasons behind it. Also, “Mordecai”, interesting choice of name. I wonder how it plays in the overall plot.

      1. cosi van tutte

        Thanks, regis!

        I chose the name ‘Mordecai’ because I thought it was a cool sounding name. Then, when I read your comment, I got curious about what the name ‘Mordecai’ actually meant. So, I looked it up. Turns out, ‘Mordecai’ means warrior. So, maybe he will be able to protect her better than he thinks?

  21. acre19641

    Hello Captain Jiggles,
    I need a loan for my medical bills. I have no collateral but I have Social Security check every month.
    See I invested in artificial dumbness back in 1987 when I got out of the Army. Then it became real. See I need to buy a car, get an apartment plus a well needed vacation up north.
    I only need 5000.00 dollars in my checking account will do.
    Captain Jiggles, response;
    I am wearing a clown suit but you don’t make enough on Social Security to pay for a fee meal.
    So my answer to you is no and you’re the clown do you want my costume to make some real money?
    I took the clown suit and I work for the circus plus make money and ride in a little car.

    By Shawn Acre
    Oct 1, 2015
    At 530 PM.

  22. S.P. Geary

    Chilly conditioned air washed over me as I opened the door to Community’s Own Credit Union. It felt like I was opening the doors to my own tomb. With an effort, I pushed that image away. No! This would work; it had to work.

    This was my last chance.

    I checked my look in the door’s reflection: Shiny shoes? Check. Tan suit that said I’m serious but not intimidating? Check. Big phony smile on my face? Check.

    The lobby was small and the counter had two dark haired women working at it; one in her twenties and one middle age. The space in front of the middle aged woman opened up so I stepped in front of her.

    “I’d like to see someone about taking out a home equity loan,” I said.

    Her smile was mischievous. “Ok, hang on, I’ll get our loan officer.”

    She disappeared into an office area and said a few muffled words to someone there.

    HONK! HONK!

    I jumped as someone in the office tooted a bulb horn like you might find on a kid’s bike.

    A guy dressed like a circus clown, complete with the big shoes, polka dot jump suit, and big red smile painted on his face emerged from the office and walked towards me.

    No! No! This could not be happening. Not now. I needed this loan quickly and quietly and I was getting caught in some goofy promotion that the credit union was running. It couldn’t get any worse.

    Then I noticed the pea size mole jutting of the white make-up on the clown’s chin.

    Things got worse.

    “Bill? Bill…is that you?!”

    “Yeth THUR!” the clown barked, “Hyuck! Hyuck! We don’t clown around about financing
    your dreams!”

    He leaned forward and said quietly, “Yeah…it’s me.” Then he said more loudly, “Why don’t we go over to my dethk and dithcuss your financial needth?” HONK! HONK!

    I followed him over to his desk. There were bunches of colorful balloons taped down at each corner and crepe paper ribbon draped messily on both sides and the front. A multicolored sign on the modesty skirt read, “Let Cabbage the Clown make your big top dreams come true!”

    When we were seated he said, “So waddiya think of your handy work? You proud? You come to gloat?”

    “Oh my God Bill I didn’t know it would come to this! I swear I thought you’d land on your feet!”

    “You knew exactly what would happen when you showed Dan that email. The only thing that I could never figure was how you kept your name out of it, and believe me I’ve figured it plenty this past year. I hear you not only got my job, but you got my office too. Nice view ain’t it?”

    “Listen, Bill, I’m sorry for what happened, I really am, but, I’m desperate. Please, you gotta help me. Your my last hope – I’ve been everywhere else and they all turned me down. I need a loan…I need fifty thousand as soon as I can get it. I did something stupid at work and I have to raise one hundred thousand to cover it. I sold my boat and convertible – I got fifty thousand of my own money – but I need help raising the other half. I’ll put my house up for collateral.”

    I wasn’t sure if Bill heard me because he went on, “You know what I did for the first six months after I got canned? I scrubbed toilets for the Parks and Rec. Department! I lost my house, my wife, and my kids. No one would interview me; none of my so called friends would even return my calls. I got this job because my former cleaning lady’s kid is manager here. I’m living above a garage.”

    My mouth went completely dry and tasted of metal.

    “Bill…please.”

    “Jared, Jared, why so serious? I mean, after I reject your loan and you get fired I’ll put in a good word for you here and – who knows? – maybe you could land my old job again.”

    He smiled and his teeth flashed brightly against the red of his clown make-up. “I dunno though… you’d have some pretty big shoes to fill!”

    HONK! HONK!

  23. Published1

    “Are you insane? What bank would allow an employee to dress like that? I need to talk serious business with a serious per–” Laura Leighanne said, until she was interrupted.

    “Whoa-Whoa-Whoa,” a well-suited man with a tie called, as he entered the lobby. “I’m the Branch Manager, Chuck Todd. Nice to meet you, ma’am. Just calm down and I will attempt to help you as much as I can. Jiggles, you’re fired. Security!”

    The short blonde followed him to his office confused, where he closed his door. Both looked through the glass door as two muscular men escorted the clown out of the building. Jiggles flipped them both off and laughed as he walked by.

    “Thank you for doing that out there. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how to handle that type of situation. He appeared sane in his interview, but I think he surprised us all when he came in this morning. We thought he was kidding so we waited for the punch line. Now, let’s talk numbers. How much are you looking for and what is its purpose?” …

    1. S.P. Geary

      I like the compact action of your piece! It puts the reader right in the middle of the action and propels them to the ending with a high liquid velocity like a water slide!

      Thank you!

  24. regisundertow

    There’s a metric ton of things I wanted to include, but I’d be writing until the next prompt and this piece is already too long. Hope you enjoy.

    PUT A LITTLE MAKE-UP

    White Pierrot lifted his sleeves, revealing ham arms decorated with wolf inkjobs. One of those arms traced a wide arc, almost scraping the ceiling, and smashed a beer bottle on the Ginger Harlequin’s face. I reckoned I could hear bone shattering – to those around me, it sounded like a flag going up. Some people held their breaths. Others grinned. And, once the moment evaporated, the floor erupted. White and Ginger’s packs charged at each other, demented Satyrs and Maenads dancing to bloody violence. Fists and stools flew, glass disintegrated on heads and turned into fine mist that blended with the cigarette smoke. A Chuchin sat on a Pagliacco’s chest and hammer-punched him to unconsciousness. Bozo had an Auguste in a guillotine choke and was kicking his shins with oversized steel-toed boots before they both slipped and fell on the ground. I removed my red nose and watched with fascination as Grimaldi, my Virgil, smirked from ear to caked ear next to me.

    It took a few broken limbs and every single employee in the club to break the fight. White had a large gash across his forehead and was blinded by blood, but it still took two bouncers the size of mountains to throw him out on the curb. He spat tobacco-stained phlegm at them and wretched onto the asphalt before he shambled towards the nearest hospital, yelling gravel-and-scotch obscenities at the night sky. I watched him turn a corner and disappear. This happens every Tuesday?! I bellowed, my hands clutching the points of my rainbow chin wig. Grimaldi (aka Carl Craven from Portfolio Management) took a deep drag and exhaled his words in a voice like tectonic plates grinding. Naw, man. Not every single Tuesday. Them two have it out for each other. But. This is as much for our benefit as it is for theirs.

    My blank face made him cackle. It’s all a show, dummy! he exclaimed as he punched me in the dick. We’re here to have a good fucking time and the boys just gave it to us. Be thankful. Let’s get back inside, I’m thirsty.

    The first thing that came into my mind the next morning was how Carl’s clothes resembled and contrasted his clown outfit at the same time. His simple cornflower blue shirt and black tie appeared like a deflated version of the vulgarly oversized costume he seemed to be so comfortable in the night before. The cartoon sailor hat had fitted perfectly over a curly hairline in tactical retreat, a few stragglers failing to cover the dry piece of exposed skin. He smelled of reasonably-priced aloe vera aftershave and a low-carb breakfast. He didn’t acknowledge me as I walked into the coffee room, his attention on the single sheet of A4 paper in his hands. He then muttered something that sounded vaguely like ‘morning before grabbing his cup with the bank logo on and disappearing into his cubicle. He spent the next few days buried in paperwork, barely saying a word to anyone.

    We applied make-up on each other in the parking lot behind the club. Whiteface with red triangles underneath our eyes, exaggerated eyebrows, oversized lips. We helped each other into our suits. I had bought mine online, but Carl’s outfit was handmade by himself. He had picked the fabrics, done his research, chosen time and location-specific colors and materials to bring Grimaldi to life. Why clowns? I asked. Why not pirates, or ninjas? Carl (no, Grimaldi) smirked. It ain’t Halloween, man. We don’t play dress-up. This is ritual.

    I helped him pull his suspenders over his shoulders. Why not animal masks? That’s ritual too. Grimaldi thought for a moment and said, That’s another club. Very pretentious.

    I smiled and the crowd smiled with me. I spat a tooth out on the floor and the crowd cheered. I picked it up, swallowed it, and the crowd howled. Grimaldi later told me he was surprised it had taken me that long to get into a fight. Consider it your member’s fee, he had said. Rodeo had elbowed me by accident at the bar. Transitioning from insults to punches had been almost natural. 27 seconds later and he was smashing my face on the floor.

    He pushed an unmarked door open and we entered the men’s room. A Hobo had passed out face down in one of the two stalls. I knelled next to him just as blood and vomit came spewing out. Grimaldi was peeking underneath the other door. Woof, woof! Atta girl, he laughed as he got up. He lit a cigarette and offered it to me as I wiped my mouth with toilet paper. You know what coulrophobia is, right? He asked. The nicotine numbed my tongue. My voice came out like a croak. Yeah, fear of clowns.
    Grimaldi nodded as he lit another cigarette. This one he reached underneath the other stall’s door and offered it to its occupant. I could see a pair of feet in pink platform heels tipped by pom-poms.
    Yeah, man. Fear of clowns. It’s pretty common, I got an uncle who can’t stand them. Goes all pale and sweaty when the circus comes to town, like a fish. I always thought it was silly. Clowns are always fun, man. That’s their function. No matter how shitty the world is, the clown is smiling. The clown is friendly. The guy you can count on for a laugh. No disrespect, ma’am.
    A female voice came from the other stall, Not taken.

    He lit a third cigarette for himself and took a deep drag. He picked on make-up flaking around his neck and flicked it away, for a moment lost in thought. It’s not clowns they fear, it’s paradoxes. The possibility that a clown’s idea of a good time might not be the same as theirs. Anyway. Let’s go ruin someone’s week.

    The termination letter hadn’t come as a surprise. Rumors spread like wildfire, especially when other branches went offline every week. We were all good at putting two and two together. I was amazed by the wording, though. “Corporate responsibility”. “Risk mitigation”. “Strategic re-orientation”. Bold expressions. Hollow-point words. I’d get excited if I hadn’t just lost my job. Me and the majority of the employees had suddenly found ourselves with plenty of free time to contemplate our role in “an exciting new era for the Company”.

    Most of the people who were fired were immediately dismissed, escorted off premises by security. Customer service personnel was to finish the day, then pack their things. I couldn’t find Carl.

    I headed to my car on my break. I lifted my sleeves and pulled my gear box out of the trunk.

    Hello, I’m Captain Jiggles, your loan officer. Which side of me would you like to see today?

    1. cosi van tutte

      Hi, regis!

      I really like this line: “It’s not clowns they fear, it’s paradoxes. The possibility that a clown’s idea of a good time might not be the same as theirs.” because I think that there is a strong element of truth in it.

      1. S.P. Geary

        I really liked your line: “yelling gravel-and-scotch obscenities at the night sky.” This is a great description of that boozy yelling that I hear at bars. Your piece makes the reader re-think their perception of clowns!

        Thank you.

      2. regisundertow

        Thanks, Cosi. Been reading a book lately about how every horror can be defined as a paradox given existence (living dead, for example) and thought it was spot-on for clowns.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          It is spot on for clowns regis. Under the display of words is the issue of a sick generation of people. While in the past, fun was looking at the sunset with your favorite girl or guy, now it’s down and dirty. How much gore can you take before you have to turn your face away. A very powerful message you have written and your word description is excellent.

          1. regisundertow

            Thank you Kerry. Do note that this search for release at all costs is a product of how paradoxical and nonsensical the world has become. This is a world where you can get away with destroying the world economy because you’re “too big to fail”. The grim, vomit-stained clown is just a reflection of this madness.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      I think I’ve read this twice every day since you posted it, and I’m still not certain what to say. The details and locales are amazing, even though I’m not certain if they are real or imagined. You used the words paradox and nonsense and that explained a lot for me. Whatever it all means I found your writing to be wonderfully dense and layered. Great take on this prompt.

      1. regisundertow

        I’m humbled, Reatha. I truly appreciate your words. The locales are all real and so is the clown ritual (to a certain extent; I think it only takes place once or twice a year).

        We’re surrounded by paradoxes and things that make no sense. It’s enough to make anyone go a little nuts if they dwell too long on this situation.

    3. Beebles

      Regis
      should be working but found this and fell into it like a mud bath. Intriguing gritty and sick. Thank you for reminding me that it doesn’t have to make sense to us. only to them.

  25. jhowe

    She found the address on North 44th Street and double checked the sticky note.

    A pawn shop?

    She walked by the plate glass window, pretending to browse. A man dressed as a clown sat behind the counter.

    The jingle bells hanging on the door jangled as she entered. A desk placard on the counter said C. Fredrick Jiggles.

    “Mr. Jiggles?” she said, approaching.

    “Call me Captain,” he said, his painted mouth turn down in a perpetual scowl.

    “Melissa Wilder,” she said, extending her hand.

    “What can I do for you, Ms. Wilder?” He shook with a white gloved hand.

    “I got your name from a friend, well, more of an acquaintance really, and he ….”

    “How much do you need?”

    “Well, you see, my husband, he’s sick and…”

    “How much?” he said picking up the phone that hadn’t rung.

    “Thirty six thousand,” she said with voice aquiver.

    He spoke quietly into the phone and hung up. He pulled a checkered handkerchief from his breast pocket and mopped his considerable brow. A very small clown with orange hair limped in from the back carrying a white canvas bag. Captain took the bag and slid it across the counter. “There’s forty grand in here. I prefer to deal with round numbers.”

    She took the bag with a shaking hand. It was heavy. “How does this work?”

    “It’s simple as pie,” he said, crossing his eyes. “One of my guys comes by every Friday about three in the afternoon. You pay him a grand and he leaves.”

    “For how long?”

    “Three, four months.” He leaned back in the chair and put his feet up. He didn’t wear big shoes. “My guy will tell you the balance when it’s time and you have a week to pay it.”

    She trembled while she did the math. “I’ll still owe twenty four thousand dollars.”

    “Plus interest.”

    “But,” she said, “can’t we work out some longer terms?”

    “I’m assuming, by now, you’ve tried that route.”

    She hung her head. “Yes.”

    “Let me ask you this,” he said. “Your husband, he’s not sick, is he?”

    She looked up, into his puffy eyes, his makeup thick and cracked. “No,” she said, hesitating. “He gambles. A lot.”

    Captain tented his fingers and stared. Finally, he held out his hand and she placed the bag in it. “Let me send a couple of guys, talk to him, you know, convince him of his sins.”

    “Will you hurt him?”

    “Probably, but nothing permanent.”

    “I don’t want him to get hurt,” she said. “I love him.”

    “Call Gamblers Anonymous then,” he said, rummaging in a drawer. “I got the number here somewhere.”

    “That didn’t work,” she said, starting to cry. “I wouldn’t be able to pay you much. We’re broke.”

    “Look, you’re a sweet broad.” He cracked his knuckles, the sound muffled through the gloves. “I do a certain amount of pro bono work, when it’s for a good cause. And believe me, he’s probably using my bookies on occasion and I don’t relish the idea of losing business.”

    “You’d do it though, for me?” she said, no longer trembling. He nodded. “And you won’t hurt him too much?” she said. He waggled his fingers. She sniffed. He handed her a clean handkerchief, a yellow one.

    “Just this once,” he said. “Don’t get all buddy buddy on me.”

    “Why do you dress like that, like a clown?”

    “You want me to send some guys or not?”

    She nodded, smiled slightly, and walked out the door.

    1. ajhaughee83

      I really enjoyed the loan shark angle – very clever. I also like how your description of him with a “considerable brow” and “makeup thick and cracked” was embedded neatly into the dialogue.

      1. madeindetroit

        Loved the idea of a sympathetic loan shark dressed as a clown. Aren’t they all?
        As usual, your characters, descriptions, and dialogue are spot on. The character detail you layer in as the story progresses leaves me wanting to know more about how this ends.

  26. Bushkill

    Captain Jiggles

    “Hello! I’m Captain Jiggles, the new loan officer, and I would be happy to help you now.” The bobble head turtle pinned to his shoulder noded happily.

    I blinked then checked my watch and pulse while muttering to myself about medication screw ups and stupid procedures. “What the hell is barium doing in a glass anyway?” I say a little louder then I should have. I noticed faces turned to stare at me.

    When I looked straight ahead again it was the same silly clown face staring back at me. He gave me the Jazz Hands and smile routine and I blinked again, nonplussed.

    “Hey there, handsome. I don’t know where Bari went with your glass, but I’ll share some water with you!” He reached under the counter and pulled out a spray bottle of water and launched a stream in my direction.

    Clearly my medication had taken the edge off my reflexes and humor because I didn’t flinch as the stream hit me mid-tie and splattered in shiny droplets. Rivulets raced down my tie and my light colored shirt took on a decidedly darker hue. My eyes narrowed, “Listen here, Mr. Jiggles, …”

    “Captain”, he said, as he interrupted me, one hand still on the trigger of the water bottle. In a flash of movement that startled me he reached across the counter, grabbed me by the tie and yanked me forward. My body obeyed, my drug fogged mind screamed, and Sergeant Sunshine was trying to wipe the water off with a colored cloth he had retrieved from somewhere on his person. Every swipe of the brightly colored swatch left a matching colored streak on my shirt.

    My mood darkened and I pushed myself back from the counter. I was fairly sputtering when the lady behind me, a biker with the moniker Chicks on Wheels emblazoned across her over stuffed shirt put a hand on my shoulder and checked to see if I was alright. I wasn’t and gave her a piece of my mind. No way was some bike riding bovine gonna console me over Giggles.

    Back to the clown. I approached his counter again, a gleam in my eye, “I need a loan. I got collateral, my crab boat Carol Ann. I need the cash quick and don’t have time for the normal labyrinthine morass.” I was quite firm.

    Captain Jiggles didn’t seem amused. In fact he appeared quite distracted and when I looked down at the counter he was arranging pens and pencils on his Bermuda desk calendar. Cleverly, and in clownish character, he chortled when he made a triangle.

    I growl. Literally. The Captain, with feigned irreverence, took my paperwork and processed it, running a cashier’s check before waiving me off.

    While leaving, my anger over matched my calm and I slammed the wall with a fist. Alarms sounded and guards wrestled me to the ground. As they slapped the cuffs on I heard one of them say, “An outburst like that’ll get you 10 -20 in Federal, Chief. Don’t touch the walls.”

    1. jhowe

      Pretty clever there Bushkill. Not only did you throw in some zingers from some other prompts, you kept the story flowing with good writing. I particularly liked the bike riding bovine remark.

    2. cosi van tutte

      Hi, Bushkill!

      Just so you know, this line made me laugh out loud: “He gave me the Jazz Hands and smile routine and I blinked again, nonplussed.” I really liked your nods to the previous prompts, especially the Bermuda triangle. 🙂

  27. cosi van tutte

    Sorry! This is a long one…

    The violins swirled their notes like ribbons of color as Jeremy launched into his last monologue. “Indeed, you call Framm a fool and rightly so. So it is true. But he is an honest fool and I count him amongst my truest friends.” He rested his hand on Framm’s shoulder. “It is as you have said. The end of an era has at length, at last come.”

    His voice was note perfect. Every word came out loud and clear and well-enunciated, but enriched with emotion and truth. “So, I pray, my friends. Do not mock and speak derisively of Framm. Weep. Oh, my friends. Weep. For we have witnessed the end of an era.”

    The violins twirled up into a single, sweetly sorrowed note.

    “We shall never see its like ever again.”

    Jeremy closed his eyes and felt the ribbons’ glowing touch as the crowd rose to their feet with “Bravo!” and sharp whistles and applause. Wondrous, joyful applause. It was what he lived for. It was his breath, his heartbeat’s rhythm.

    “Hey, Jere.” Alfred knocked on the door.

    Jeremy reluctantly opened his eyes. He was no longer on stage.

    “We got another one. Could you come out and do your thing?”

    “Of course.” He hadn’t been on stage in thirteen years. “I’ll be right there.”

    Alfred left the room.

    Jeremy pulled a tub of greasepaint and a make-up kit out of his desk. “Another opening.” He slathered the white grease all over his face. “Another show.”

    ***

    “I don’t care what my credit rating is.” Ms. Olga Glothenstroth towered over poor five-foot-zero Calvin. “I haven’t been to Monte Carlo in years. YEARS! You hear me okay, little man?”

    “Yes, Ma’am.”

    “But I can’t go to Monte Carlo because I need a certain amount of money. I don’t have that money on hand. I need a loan.”

    “I am aware of that, Ms. Glothenstroth, but we—”

    “It is your job to give me that loan so that I can go to Monte Carlo and fritter away my money as I see fit. So, sit your tiny little self into your—”

    “But Ms. Glothenstroth—”

    “—-seat and—-”

    “—-your credit rating is—”

    “—give me—”

    “—abysmal and—”

    “—THAT—”

    “—-I can’t give it to you.”

    “—LOOOOOANNNN!”

    “But it’s against company policy.”

    She snorted. “You think I care about your dippsy-doodle policy? What are you? Stupid in the head? I WANT A LOAN!”

    “But, Ms. Glothen—” Alfred came up to him and whispered in his ear. Calvin relaxed. “Oh, thank God. Ms. Glothenstroth, I’m afraid I can’t help you with your needs.”

    “Oh, so you are stupid. Could you please get me someone who knows what he’s doing?”

    “Actually, he’s coming to talk to you right now.”

    “Good. Why don’t you get your itty-bitty self out of here?”

    “But…this is my office.”

    “You think I care about that?”

    “No. I don’t think you do.”

    “Darn spittin’ right I don’t.”

    to be continued….

    1. cosi van tutte

      Continuation/Conclusion…..

      “HELLLLLOOOOOO, EVERYONE!” Jeremy walked over to Ms. Glothenstroth. His kayak-sized shoes slap-slap-slapped with every step.

      She gave him a condescending look. “Who invited Bozo?”

      Jeremy grinned. “I’m not Bozo.” He leaned forward into her space and whispered, “That name’s been trademarked. Can’t use it at all.”

      She backed away from him and managed to stomp on Calvin’s foot in the process.

      “I am—” He spun in a circle and extended his arms in a ta-da! position. “—Mister Jiggles, the loan officer, and I am going to help you out, you lovely fat thing you.”

      “If this is a joke—”

      “Oh, no, Ma’am.” said Calvin. “It certainly isn’t.”

      “Now,” said Jeremy. “this—” He put on a pair of white gloves and took hold of her hand. The gloves let loose a rude “PFFFBBLLTT!” “This is a joke.” He laughed.

      She pulled her hand away from him.

      “What? You don’t think it’s funny?”

      “I came here for a loan, not to become part of a deranged clown’s act.”

      “Well, that’s just a mean thing to say. I’ve worked very hard on my act. Every word. Every intonation. Every gesture.” He pulled a long, inflated balloon out of his pocket and twisted it several times. “Do you have any idea how hard it is to apply clown make-up?”

      “No.”

      “Well. It’s hard. If you put too much on—”

      “I JUST WANT A LOAN!”

      “And I just want to make you laugh.” He handed her the balloon, which he had twisted to look like a dachshund. “Here.”

      She growled. “I don’t want to laugh.” She popped the dachshund with her talon-like fingernails.

      “You should. It would do wonders for your complexion and it might eliminate some of those angry wrinkles.”

      She gaped at him in wordless shock.

      He pulled three tennis balls out of his sleeve. “So, what kind of loan are you looking for?” He juggled the balls. “We have a short term loan, a long term loan, and an eternity term loan.” He stopped juggling to wink at her. “That last one will take you an eternity to pay off. You’ll be floating around in heaven in your angel gown—”

      “Angel gown?” Calvin exclaimed. “Her?”

      Jeremy resumed his juggling. “—and you’ll still be paying it off. We’ll have a medium contact you in the afterlife five times a day and harass you for your payment. We’ll absolutely spam you to bits.” He grinned at her. “Doesn’t that sound nice?”

      “I want a long term loan.”

      “Sorry. We’re all out of those.”

      “What? How can you be out of a loan?”

      He shrugged.

      “Fine. I’ll have a short term loan.”

      “Sorry. We can’t do that either.”

      “Why not?”

      He stopped juggling. “Our short term loan boat broke down tomorrow and we’re waiting for the cable guy to come bash some repairs into it.”

      She frowned. “That doesn’t make sense.”

      He laughed. “I know!”

      Her frown deepened. “You know what I think?”

      “Nope.”

      “I think you are a liar and a fake. You are not a loan officer!”

      “I am too. I am Mr. Jiggles, loan officer extraordinaire! And I will help you choose the right loan.”

      “I don’t want you to help me.”

      “Aww.” He reached under his fluffy red wig and pulled out his five-color paint set. “At least let me paint a self-portrait on your face.” He winked at her again. “You know, a portrait of me.” He dipped the paintbrush into the yellow paint. “Now, do you want my portrait to be clothed or naked?”

      She slapped him across the face and marched towards the door. She stopped halfway there to announce, “You are all horrible people.” And she left.

      Calvin applauded. “Bravo!”

      Jeremy smiled. He could almost hear those violins again.

      1. jhowe

        I recall someone called you Miss Van Tutte in a response once, and it stuck in my head. So, Miss Van Tutte, that was priceless. You have a knack for coming up with such unusual, such entertaining stories. I laterally hung on every word when I read this. Your wording was memorable and believable.

      2. ReathaThomasOakley

        Cosi, I see this tale two ways. First, Ms. Whatever gets her reward. But, I also see this as the way lots of folks remember wading through various bureaucratic systems. I am certain all these bankers were working when I last had to get my driver’s license. Fun piece.

          1. madeindetroit

            Miss Van Tutte, your stories are always so entertaining and well written and the characters you create are priceless!
            Your dialogue is always amazing. I’ve learned a lot reading your stories.

            Thanks.

      3. SheepCarrot

        Brilliant story, cosi! I really loved this part: “We’ll have a medium contact you in the afterlife five times a day and harass you for your payment. We’ll absolutely spam you to bits.” That had me dying (no pun intended…much) with giggles over here. Well done!

  28. madeindetroit

    The Fuzzy Clam

    When I was a child, I loved going to the circus. The lion tamer and the aerial trapeze artists were my favorites. Whenever I smell roasted peanuts, popcorn, and cotton candy, I’m reminded of those happy carefree days I spent at the circus. In fact, the circus is what inspired me to become a performer. I love the spotlight.

    But those dreadful clowns. How I hated the clowns. Their ghostly white face, orange scraggly hair, and phony painted-on smile reminded me of my dead grandmother lying in her casket. Talk about being scarred for life.

    So when I walked into the First Savings Bank of Detroit on a crisp October morning and filled out an application for a loan, I was flattered to learn I’d be the first customer of the bank’s newest loan offer. “He’s a special new trainee,” the vice president told me as he led me to an office and pointed to the chair in front of a desk.

    When the door opened, I froze. “Hello,” a male voice squeaked, “my name is Captain Jiggles. I’m the special new trainee and I’m happy to be at your service.” In one hand, he carried a manila folder. He shoved the other hand, covered with a white glove, in my direction.

    I found myself staring straight into the face of a clown. He had the chalky white face, orange scraggly wig, bulbous red nose, and phony painted-on smile of every clown I’d ever seen. He was wearing a baggy blue suit and yellow bowtie with pink polka dots. On his feet were the standard issue floppy red shoes. I felt a wave of nausea slide through my stomach and I started to sweat as he plopped in the chair behind the desk and opened the folder.

    Several agonizing seconds went by as he studied my application. “Well, Ms. Rain,” he said, looking up, “everything appears to be in order. I just have a few follow up questions. May I call you Misty?”

    “Of course,” I said, nodding my head approvingly. This clown was about to give me five grand. I’d better be nice.

    “You state your occupation as an adult entertainer.”

    I narrowed my eyes at him. “I’m an exotic dancer.”

    He squinted back at me. “You mean a stripper?”

    I sat up in the chair, my heart pounding. “I prefer exotic dancer. It sounds much more-“

    “Dignified?” Captain Jiggles interrupted.

    I nodded. “Yes, that’s right,” I said tilting my head back and turning up my nose.

    “Your employer is the Fuzzy Clam Cabaret on Eight Mile Road in Detroit?”

    “Yes. What’s this about?” I stood up and leaned over the desk. “All the information you need is on the application.”

    “Just a few more questions, Misty,” Jiggles said jotting a note in the file. “Please sit down.” He gestured to the chair, the phony painted-on grin still splashed across his face.

    “You’re applying for a five-thousand dollar loan for “elective enhancement surgery.” If I may ask, what body part are you wishing to enhance?”

    I sat down, crossed my hands in my lap, and stared at the floor. “My breasts,” I whispered, glancing up to catch his reaction.

    Captain Jiggles stroked his chin with a white glove. “I figured as much,” he said, grinning like he was imaging me as a 38DD instead of the 36C I sported. “Don’t be ashamed, Misty. I’m sure a woman in your line of work, after she reaches a certain age, could use a little…tweak.”

    “How dare you speak to me in that tone, you freak!” I screamed, leaping from the chair and pounding my fist on the desk. “Is this some kind of sick joke? I demand to speak with your boss.”

    Jiggles raised his hands in front of him in surrender. “Calm down Ms. Rains. The truth is we get hundreds of loan applications for enhancement surgery every year. The bank thought it would be nice to make the application process…fun. So Captain Jiggles was born.”

    I crossed my arms in front of me and leaned back on my three-inch pumps. “So you’re the Ronald McDonald of boob jobs, are you?”

    A wide grin spread across Captain Jiggles painted face, exposing his yellow teeth. “Exactly,” he said.

    I was getting a migraine. “When will I get the money?”

    “By the end of the month,” he said closing the folder. “Have you selected a surgeon for your procedure?”

    I shook my head. “I’m still shopping.”

    Captain Jiggles reached in a drawer and handed me a business card. I read the card out loud. “Dr. Milos Fram, Plastic Surgeon. I make mountains out of molehills.” I laughed. “You can’t be serious?”

    “He’s the best in the city and twenty-five percent cheaper than any other doctor,” Captain Jiggles said proudly. “I recommend him to all my clients.”

    I tucked the card in my purse and was half way to the door when Captain Jiggles voice cracked behind me. “One more thing, Ms. Rain.”

    I turned. The clown plopped his floppy red shoes on the desk and leaned back in the chair. “Tell him Captain Jiggles sent you!”

    1. jhowe

      I enjoyed this a lot. A very unique and entertaining response to this prompt. I liked the stage name of Misty Rain. All the way through, I kept thinking I’d heard of The Fuzzy Clam, so I looked it up and caught the Family Guy reference. If you keep writing like this, we’re going to have to start calling you Doctor Detroit.

      1. madeindetroit

        Thanks for the kind comments, Jhowe.
        I don’t post as often as I’d like to but I appreciate very much when someone reads the post and takes the time to comment.
        Doctor Detroit. Hmmmm. Sounds like a great name for a character in another story!

        Thanks much.

  29. ShamelessHack

    MONDAY.
    “Are you insane?”
    “Sorry, Brian. It’s all part of our latest campaign: “We don’t clown around at Fidelity Trust—unless you WANT us to!”
    “Can’t you just give away toasters or something? This is stu—”
    “Do it Brian. It’s only for a week. And besides…if you refuse, you can kiss your high-paying job goodbye.”

    TUESDAY.
    “Hello, I’m Captain Jiggles, the new loan officer, and I would be—”
    “Bag it Bozo. What kind of shithole bank is this?”
    “Well, I, we…”
    “Clown loan officers? Really? Bite me.”

    WEDNESDAY.
    “Hello, I’m Captain Jiggles, the new loan—”
    “Well, hell-o-o there, big boy. Look, Eduardo, this nice man likes dressing up, just like you, me and Bruce do. Isn’t that simply mah-ve-lous?”

    THURSDAY.
    “I’m Jiggles the clown loan officer. You want a lollipop, kid?”
    “Mommy! The clown exposed himself to me! Waahhh!”

    FRIDAY.
    “Are you Fred Johnson?”
    “I’m Captain Jiggles the clown loan officer and—”
    “Bullshit! You’re Fred Johnson. You been banging my wife while I been outta town, haven’t ya?”
    “I, huh, what?”
    “That jerkoff costume doesn’t fool me, Freddie. Take a good hard look: this is my Glock .45.”
    “NO!!”
    “Say your prayers, Fred.”
    “Wait! Wait, wait, wait! Look, here: I’m taking off the clown head. See, I’m not Fred Johnson.”
    “Hmm. You’re not. Sorry, Buddy. Hey, who exactly are you anyway?”
    “I’m Brian Klems of Writer’s Digest, creator of this idiotic prompt about clown loan officers.”
    “Oh, really?”
    “Yep.”
    “In that case, take a good hard look at my Glock .45…

    1. Reaper

      I have to say. I don’t think the prompt is that bad. We expect Halloween themed prompts on October and Christmas ones in December. The prompts you have the hardest time with will make you grow the most as an author. With that said, the way you expressed your displeasure was readable and fun.

  30. Alexis_Snow

    Mimesis

    All I can do is stare at his nose. That big, red, bulbous foam protrusion. It’s like Rudolph’s beacon leading my attention through the conversation and directly at that nose!

    Mr. Jiggles says, “Jayme?”

    “Y—yes, sorry. What did you ask?”

    “How can I help you today?”

    Mr. Jiggles is, in every way, a clown. He has a glaring red afro, white face, blue lips, gold stars around his eyes, and yellow dots on his cheeks. His white and red striped shirt is much too tight, and his black and white striped overalls are much too big. His giant black shoes squeak as he walks, and he’s wearing white gloves.

    “Ma’am?” he asks.

    I shake my head to keep focus—or break focus, it’s all the same. “I’m so sorry.”

    “I need a loan.”

    “I can certainly help you. Follow me,” he says.

    I trail after him. Despite his boisterous choice in clothing, he seems a nervous wreck. He rubs his fingers together repeatedly, walks a little too erect, and checks his watch several times. Before we arrived at his office, he constantly looks left and right to keep an eye on me to make sure I’m not going to do anything. It’s odd, but I suppose even people who appear one way on the outside can be totally different inside. It’s the way of the world, after all.

    “Have a seat. Can I get you any water? Something to munch?”

    “Uh, no, thanks.”

    “Then, what brings you in today.”

    I’ve always disliked clowns. Maybe there’s a reason for it, I can’t be sure. All I know is that they bother me. A lot of people are just like me, too, so I can’t fathom why they’d allow one of their desk jockeys to dress like a clown.

    “I need, uh,” I say, trying to look past that giant red nose, “a loan, uh, for medical bills.”

    “Well, I can certainly help you with that.”

    Behind those golden stars I can see his desire to know what medical condition I have that requires a loan. I can’t read his expression, though, because the make-up tells a different story. Is it sadness on his face? Is it fear that I’m contagious? Who cares! He’s a fucking bank-teller clown!

    Mr. Jiggles pushes a loan application at me, drops a pen on top of it, and says, “Okay, just fill this out, and we can get started.”

    I do, but it’s hard. Not so much the questions I need to answer, though indeed it’s difficult to remember my addresses from a decade prior, but rather, the clown staring at me as I complete it. I feel those eyes, that fake smile, and that goddamn nose bearing down on me like the Hindenburg. When I finish, I push it back at him as fast as possible.

    “Great, Miss… Clown,” he says, and looks up over a pair of reading glasses.

    When did he put those on?

    “That’s an interesting last name. Clown. Family name or husband?”

    What? Oh, fuck, what did I do?

    “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.”

    “You didn’t mean… oh, you’re talking about your last name? You didn’t mean to put Gilitiuk?”

    “What? No, I mean, yes. That’s me. I thought you said,” I point at the paper. “Uh, never mind.”

    “Okay, well, let me go ahead and get this to the loan officer,” he tells me as he stands. His shoes squeak as he walks to the door. “I’ll be right back. Are you sure you don’t want anything?”

    “I’m fine, thanks.”

    I don’t really know how long I sat in this office, but a man returns with a sheet in his hand. He’s well-dressed, manicured, and shaved. He has a nice cut, and his suit looks like it cost him as much as my medical bill. He sits down in Mr. Jiggles’s seat, and positions the paper on the desk in front of him.

    “Now, Miss Gilitiuk, it looks like you’ve been approved for $300.”

    I look around. “Where’s Mr. Jiggles?”

    “I’m sorry, who?”

    “Jiggles. The guy I was talking to before?”

    “There’s no one here by that name.”

    “He was just in this office. I swear you can’t miss him. Big bright afro, clown make-up and those cloths!”

    “Ma’am, please calm down. I don’t know who you’re referring to, but I’ve been handling your case since you got here.”

    Bullshit!

    I look out through the large glass window, and scratch my chin. Bank-tellers, customers, and a security guard all buzz about the lobby, but Mr. Jiggles isn’t among them. I scratch my chin again, and pick at my lip as I look back at the man sitting before me. He rubs his fingers nervously, and checks his watch.

    I look at the paper displaying my underfunded credit line, and then at the nameplate on his desk. Mr. Tiggs, it reads.

    “Tiggs?”

    “That’s me,” he confirms, and runs a nervous hand through his hair. “Are you okay?”

    I’m not. “I’m fine. 300 you said?”

    “That’s right.”

    “I need 300,000,” I tell him. “298,348 to be precise.”

    “I’m sorry, ma’am, but your credit won’t allow for much more than this.”

    “I never got any credit before, I didn’t screw it up. How is that possible?”

    “True, your credit is clean, but it’s too clean. The problem is your credit isn’t strong enough, yet.”

    “Well, I really need to—” I start to plead, but someone knocks on the window. I look up, and there’s a female clown standing at the door.

    “Sorry to interrupt, Mr. Jiggles, but we need your password for the computer to approve this customer transaction.”

    I look back, and Mr. Jiggles is sitting in Mr. Tiggs’s seat. “Alright, Jessica, I’ll be there in a moment.”

    I glance back at Jessica, and she smiles. She no longer wears make-up or clown clothes. It’s just a woman. She says, “Thanks, and sorry again for the interruption.”

    I say, “Wait, you just…”

    I hear a strange laugh come from Mr. Jiggles’s seat, and see Tiggs has returned.

    He says, “Now, where were we?”

    Three-hundred is barely one percent of what I need for the procedure, so I get up and start to walk out of his office. I look out into the lobby, and see three men in red tights stack on top of each other while a woman with a beard hands a little boy an ice cream sandwich. A clown wearing a guard’s uniform waltzes happily toward the tellers who appear to be showgirls.

    “What the,” I say as I walk through the lobby toward the exit. A man leads an elephant wearing a bra and boxers toward a small ball, and coerces the giant thing to balance on it.

    I leave the building as fast as possible, and I think I hear Jiggles calling out for me. Once outside, I turn back, and the lobby of people is nothing more than a lobby of regular people. The tellers wear business dresses, the bearded lady is actually a man, and the elephant is gone entirely, faded from existence. How strange, too, since it took center stage so righteously when on that ball.

    I take a deep breath, turn, and make my way back to my doctor’s office. I don’t think I’m gonna tell him about this, he’ll probably just want to lock me up. I don’t want to be locked up again.

  31. SaneNoMore

    Kent Washington was in the process of divorcing his wife, Martha. Kent and Martha have been married 20 years. 20 years of unconditional love and anything Kent needed from a hot meal to a clean house when he got home from work. Martha has been sick for a while and recently diagnosed with cancer. Martha doesn’t even know Kent wants a divorce. But Kent, now 40, and his 21 year old girlfriend have known for a while.

    Mr. Washington had a Corvette, fancy suits for every day of the week, and an 11 year old son, who he would see about one day a week, but always gave him toys and games to play – which is what kids really want anyway.

    Why does he need a loan? It’s not that he can’t keep up with his expensive lifestyle. Rather the fact that his private attorney alerted him that medical “excuses” allow for bigger loans and less interest. As Mr. Washington walked up to the bank, investment ideas flooded his head. These potential cash-cows made for a better day than usual.

    As he struts into the bank, he looks around and sees a dirty looking man with a stained Rolling Stones t-shirt with holes in it to match his unintentionally ripped jeans. Soon after, he watches a couple of other hobos, a man and woman, talk and laugh like they’ve known each other for years. The woman at the front desk wearing a short, blue, glittered dress, like that of a ballerina or ice skater.

    “How are ya, honey? I need to see whoever is in charge of loans.” Kent said, looking around the bank or almost past the woman.

    “Right away, sir” she replied with a slight grin in a seductive tone.

    As Kent waited, he saw a mime with a badge by the door, an ugly tramp who could use a loan more than he could, and a big man decorated with jewelry sitting in an even bigger chair behind the biggest desk.

    After a short while, a clown approaches, makeup like it was freshly applied and untied shoes that seemed to heavy for his feet. A wealthy businessman in a circus situation. But this specific bank was recommended by his attorney, and if there was anyone Kent listened to, it was him. Having such a good day, Mr. Washington plays along.

    “I guess I’m just over dressed” Kent joked.

    “Hah, yeah. Uniforms every other day so we look forward to Fridays. This is a lot more comfortable than it looks. Anyways, let’s get you a loan”

    They walk down the hall and into the office. After about 10 minutes of some back-and-forth, Captain Jiggles informs Mr. Washington that his credit won’t allow for even half of his expected loan amount, and they can only give him the exact amount needed for his wife’s medical needs.

    “Look, I don’t have time for this. What is it with you idiots? How hard is your job?! I make in an hour what you make in a week. You cater to fools and bums! I drive MY convertible to MY beach house on weekends, and you wait all week to play dress up?!” Kent continues to condescend as he storms out of Capt. Jiggles office.

    He walks as fast as he can to the front door, still bad mouthing Jiggles and the whole bank. As he gets closer to the door, he looks back for one last look of disgust thinking how can a place be run so poorly. Searching specifically for the clown, he scans past all the people he initially saw when he came in. The clean cut man with his new Stones t-shirt, the young couple who are just happy to be married, the security guard standing in the corner, the college girl needing a loan for her textbooks, the manager sitting behind his big desk, the woman with the long blue dress behind the front desk talking to a man in casual, military type clothes with a name tag that says “Capt. Jiggles.” Kent is overwhelmed with confusion, still shaking his head with pity and again begins to leave. Scanning his vision back to the glass door exit, he sees his reflection in the door. The reflection of a clown.

    1. Reaper

      This had a strange Twilight Zone feel for it. A little more aggressive at the end but still in the same vein and with the sense of wonder that goes along with it. The message is smooth and well delivered too. The tense changes were a bit rough at the beginning.

  32. Anyanwu Butler 3

    “Just what’s going on here?” I say too sharply, even for me. I look around for the hidden cameras. I’m not exactly a trusting person, but this is just too much. Reality tv is going too far lately, though it’s not like ‘Candid Camera’ was dignified. I look carefully at the guy in the greasepaint and wig, to see if he’s Neil Patrick Harris, or somebody else I recognize. No light bulbs are going off, in that respect. I don’t see any cameras in the walls or ceiling, but that is a camera on the turned off computer on the loan officer’s desk.
    I address the clown, “Why are you dressed like this?”
    “It’s Halloween,” he answers, soothingly. “We all dress up.” Now I see the loan officer is dressed as a witch. One of the tellers is a zombie, another is wearing a Mets uniform.
    “Trick or treat,” I say as I hand over my forms.
    The clown hands me a little Snickers bar. I like those. I thank him.
    “Let’s see what we’ve got here,” says the woman dressed as a witch who I see every time I go to the bank.

  33. qwert

    “Hello! I’m Captain Jiggles, the new loan officer, and I would be happy to help you now.”

    And oddly, my first thought does not question the fact that a clown had just brought himself to the bank desk claiming to give me a loan nor the fact that the clown’s name is “Captain Jiggles”. What strikes me odd is that there is a thick British accent that coats his words. Englishmen usually conjure a sense of sophistication…But really, I should not be one for stereotypes.

    The clown who claims he is going to lend me a loan gives me an expectant look which I quickly avert my eyes from. His eyes are lined with a light sanguine and the same color has been applied to his lids making it look as if his eyes are bleeding.

    This is no ordinary clown.

    Not that his makeup artist is particularly great either.

    The clown now puts his gloved hands on the desk so that even my downcast eyes have to notice it. I look up and he asks, “Your loan, ma’am?”

    I shake my head as if to clear my thoughts and smoothing out my dress I say, “Of course, I do need a loan.”

    The clown brings his arms up and folds them elegantly across his chest. The frills on his sleeve wave gently, camouflaging themselves in his tawdry shirt displaying every color possible. Since he’s still standing, I can see that his shirt has been tucked lazily into equally vibrant trousers which by the look of it, probably makes a broad flare at his ankles.

    The drumming of the clown’s fingers who have somehow found the table again brings me back to reality. I repeat to irritatedly raised eyebrows, “I do need a loan.”

    “And it would be best if you tell me how much.”

    I wave him off. “Actually, I had a few questions about some other things.”

    “Other things?” He inquires.

    “About the bank and whatnot.”

    “Probably can’t help you there, ma’am. New employee, you see.”

    “So you only specialize in loans.” I say.

    “Well ma’am, I believe the title loan officer does imply that.”

    I remain silent not wanting to embarrass myself which shouldn’t have made sense because there obviously was a clown standing in front of me. But again…I shouldn’t be one for stereotypes.

    The clown seems to want to fill the silence. “Of course there are added luxuries if you want. A pie in the face for instance.”

    I smile.

    The clown smiles back with equal vibe.

    I’m about to make a comeback when I feel a warm feeling inside. I stare at those brown eyes beneath the blood makeover with consternation. A distant bell rings. So distant in fact that I see it before I actually hear it. A memory settles in my mind like a leaf slowly moving by the touch of the autumnal wind and ever-so-gently falling to the ground. Like a laugh so soft that you dare not touch it.

    So clouded that it’s like a friend who has done everything not to be breached.

    Before I know it, I’m out of my seat. I find my voice just in time to breathe out, “No way.”

    1. Reaper

      I think I caught most of what was going on but you managed to make some of this left to the imagination. Very scary and well done. I love the line, “Like a laugh so soft that you dare not touch it.”

  34. turtles88

    He smiles, “Hello! I’m Captain Jiggles, the new loan officer, and I would be happy to help you.”

    I place my purse on the counter top and take out my wallet, “Can I have a loan, please?”

    His smile gets tighter, “Aren’t you wondering why I’m dressed as clown?”

    I laugh, “No, not really. As long as I get my money I could honestly care less.”

    “So you won’t.”

    I blink and smile, “Excuse me?”

    “You said you could care less about me, but you won’t, because you know I love it when you compliment me on my wig and makeup.”

    I look to the left nervously, “Uh, no. I think you have me mixed up with someone else. I don’t think we know each other. I just need a loan of-”

    “But, Miss!” He shouts, “You do know me! I’m Captain Jiggles! We met five minutes ago. Here. At this exact bank!”

    I stare at him, “Is there someone else I can talk to? Maybe that lady I saw in the beginning? The one with the purple blouse?”

    He waves his hand away, “Nah, she’s too bossy. You wouldn’t want to see her.”

    I try to smile, “Hmm, no I think I would like to see her.”

    He fixes his tie, “Sorry, Miss. No can do.”

    “What’d you mean, no? Can’t you just bring her out here? Ring a bell or something?”

    He smiles without lifting his lips, “I already checked; she’s unavailable at the moment. If you want, you can wait here with me for awhile. I’m sure she’ll come around sooner or later.”

    I stutter, “But I didn’t even see you leave. You… you didn’t even go and check. How do you-”

    “You look confused. Oh, I hate to see a confused customer! Would you like to speak with my boss? Maybe he can help you.”

    I hug my purse to my stomach, “Um, yes. Yes please. I would like to speak with your, um, boss.”

    He leans back, looks down the side hallway, then leans forward and frowns, “Ooo, sorry about that. Unfortunately, he left a minute ago. You just missed him.” He snaps his fingers, “A darn shame.”

    I back away, “I… I think I’ll go to a different bank. But, um, thank you kindly for you’re help.”

    He shakes his head and sighs, “I’m so sorry, Miss, but I’m afraid your exit is unavailable to you at the moment. Why don’t we take care of your loan in my office, where it’s more quieter.” He smiles.

    ——————
    Sorry, everyone. I got lazy with this story. I haven’t been feeling very creative lately.

  35. Reaper

    Sorry Jay, still going. My challenge to myself won’t allow me to stop. Part 27. If I get a chance I’ll write a different story for you this week though. Oh, and check your email if you haven’t already. 🙂

    In the Beginning – The Trust Brain

    Inoperable, Nobody liked the word, but father O’Reilly might like it less than any of them. It was a drawback of being a priest. When the doctor in the Catholic hospital told him there was no hope, what was he to do? It wasn’t like he had real insurance, he just didn’t have to pay. So long as he went to that clinic. What was he doing in the bank anyway? Nobody in their right mind would give him a loan.

    What did he have for collateral? What was he going to put down as the reason for requesting it? Fighting a war against shadowy evil that may or may not have corrupted my only ally? That would go over like, well, a fart in church, he thought. Who knew a brain tumor would give him an appreciation for toilet humor?

    He stood in a line filled with the shambling living and the nearly dead. In the middle of the day in a bank downtown, what else would he expect? Geriatric ladies bent over from canes just inches two short. Their male counterparts, twisted at every joint by advance stage arthritis. Mixed in were the working homeless and unwashed unemployed standing one government check from the streets themselves. In the middle of this flock of the faceless lost? One lone priest, marching towards his reward.

    Those vacant faces did not stare. They were not too polite, but rather, just the type of skittish sheep, not his kind but the insulting one, who could not meet a man’s eyes. They did not want to be seen noticing anyone for too long. They looked though, every one of them probably thinking the father’s thin coat was almost warm enough to steal. First Cancer, now this. Father O’Reilly wondered if this was a punishment.

    When he reached the front of the line a big chested teenager smiled and popped her gum at him. She was probably fourteen, but if they made fourteen year olds like that when he was young he might have skipped the seminary. Why was he thinking things like this? She asked him to wait while she got a trainee to deal with his application.

    Then a clown appeared. Not one of the fun ones from the circus. No, this was a wicked looking clown like only Stephen King or Jay Wilson could come up with. The devil in disguise spoke to the priest.

    “Hello,” it whispered in tones for conspiracy and corruption, “I’m Captain Jiggles, the new loan officer, and I would be happy to help you.”

    “I need a loan.”

    “Not much profit in loaning to priests. What do you need the money for?”

    “I… I have cancer and work to do before I die.”

    “Cancer? Probably a punishment from God for being friends with sodomites. A priest should know that.”

    O’Reilly blinked, “You’re behind the times. Not even the pope believes that anymore. I just got there a few days before him.”

    The clown laughed from the belly, without increasing his volume. “The pope? We don’t care what beaners think. Not around these parts. Now, what do you have for collateral?”

    “Nothing.” The priest stepped back. “Never mind the loan. I’ll figure out something else.”

    O’Reilly turned and shuffled away from the counter, looking at the forlorn faces around him. Wondering as he did if the clown was really here. Wondering if he was really here. He dropped his jacket at the feet of one particularly homeless looking teen on the way out. As he reached the door the clown called out to him.

    “You come back any time you’re ready to see the truth!”

      1. Reaper

        I am pretty sure this story ends badly for all involved. Though I share the fear for the priest, because he has become the only character I still actually like. The others I just like writing about.

    1. cosi van tutte

      Hi, Reaper!

      This line made me smile -> “No, this was a wicked looking clown like only Stephen King or Jay Wilson could come up with.”

      I feel bad for O’Reilly. Especially since I suspect something bad is going to happen to him. Something worse than cancer. 🙁

    2. regisundertow

      I’m impressed, seriously. First thing that came into my head when I read the subject was, how is Patrick going to adapt this. Giving O’Reilly brain cancer just makes so much sense for the story and it also justified the clown’s presence in a simple but creepy way.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        You’re writing about a whole different world than I’m accostomed to but I hang to every word produced like one golden egg after another, polished and placed together by a master. This one just blew the socks off my feet in wonderment.

  36. ReathaThomasOakley

    A story about a clown
    (582 words)

    “Hello! I’m Captain Jiggles, the new loan officer, and I would be happy to help you now.”

    Howard stared first at the apparition standing behind the desk and then at the outstretched hand. What on earth, this can’t be…

    “Sir, are you okay? You seem a bit pale. Would you like some water? I could get you…”

    “No, no,” Howard croaked, then cleared his throat. “I was just surprised, musta dozed off.”

    “Oh, I do apologize for the delay,” he sat, “it’s been a busy day for me, new on the job and all. But, I think I’m ready. My supervisor will be in soon to observe…”

    “Just stop, stop,” Howard sputtered. “Are you telling me you’re the new loan officer? The person who will decide if I get a loan or not? I cannot believe a CLOWN has been hired by this bank. A CLOWN!”

    “Yes, Mr., um,” the Captain consulted some papers on the desk, “Mr. Hanson. I am a clown and also a loan officer at this bank, your bank. Now, just a few questions.”

    Captain Jiggles jumped when Howard slammed his fist on the desk.

    “By God, I will not have this,” he shouted. “Where’s this supervisor, I need to talk to him, get some answers here.”

    “Well, sir, my supervisor is a woman and I think she’s just coming in the door.”

    Howard jumped up from his chair and turned to face the woman.

    “Good morning,” she said. “I see you’ve met the newest member of our banking family. Please sit, I enjoy seeing a man with old fashioned manners, but, that’s not…”

    “Can you please explain,” Howard’s words exploded in a shower of spit, “why there is a clown, a freak of nature, sitting behind that desk where a normal person should be? Explain why this bank hired a clown?”

    “If you will calm down, sir. There is no need for this kind of language.”

    “Miss, you ain’t heard nothing yet. I’ve been banking here for over twenty years, knew the founder’s son, and never in all that time did I think I’d ever see a, a, perversion of nature, an unnatural being, working in this bank, right out in the open. Wearing all that makeup, that fright wig, that pink polka dot vest, and those shoes, my God those shoes would make the founder turn over in his grave.”

    Captain Jiggles stood up.

    “Mr. Hanson, I fought long and hard to get here. I have my Graduation Certificate from Clown School signed by Toby the Clown himself, and I’m working on my MBA at night.” The Captain was almost weeping. “But, I’ll bet you’re one of those who wants clowns to hide what they are, act and dress like a civilian, only become clowns in the privacy of our homes or sneak into one of the clown bars down by the harbor. You probably even advocate Reparative Therapy.” He sank back in his chair, his supervisor walked over and squeezed his shoulder.

    “Don’t cry,” she said with a smile in her voice, “you’ll ruin your make up.” Then she faced Howard Hansen.

    “Sir,” she said, still professional and polite, “I think you might be happier with another bank.”

    Howard was almost out the door when she added, “But, times are changing, and soon you’ll find clowns working and living everywhere, even being hired as nurses and school teachers.”

    “My God,” Howard stopped, “my God, end times are indeed upon us.”

    1. cosi van tutte

      Hi, Reatha!

      This was a brilliant take on the prompt and an interesting commentary on today’s social issues.

      Just so you know, this line made me smile -> “…and those shoes, my God those shoes would make the founder turn over in his grave.” And I totally misread this line -> “…sneak into one of the clown bars down by the harbor.” I read it a little too fast. So I thought it said clown cars, which confused me and made me smile all at the same time. 😀

    2. Reaper

      Reatha, this is such a perfect recipe. The changes that you put in here take a story that could be too blatant and make it just a perfect commentary. Nothing but respect for you here, this was amazing.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thank you. When I first read the prompt I thought I’d sit out this week, but my brain is filled with lots of responses to “current events”, and at some point those and the prompt collided.

  37. Trevor

    Word Count: 488

    Funny Money

    I had no idea what to make of the man that stood before me. The receptionist told me that their newest loan officer was “different”, but I never imagined he’d be THIS different. His hair was curly and a bright shade of green. A large red ball was on his face where his nose should’ve been. His shirt was pink with purple polka dots. His shoes were dark red and twice as big as mine.

    The new loan officer was a clown.

    “Hello there! I’m Captain Jiggles!” The man introduced himself in a squeaky, cartoonish voice. “I’m the new loan officer, and I know exactly how I can help you! Follow me!”

    Before I could question the man’s unusual attire, he turned around and opened a door at the back of his office. He walked inside and I, too bewildered to question him, followed suit. The hall went on for a short while before we came across a metal table underneath a solitary light bulb. On the table was a large cardboard box wrapped in pink paper. Smiley faces decorated the paper.

    “Go on ahead. It’s your gift. Open it!” Captain Jiggles instructed. After a moment of hesitation, I started to gingerly tear away the wrapping. Then, once the box was completely bare, I took off the lid and looked inside. My eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets.

    Inside the box were stacks upon stacks of twenty dollar bills. It was more money than I had ever seen in my whole life.

    “It’s yours now! Bye bye!” And with that, the clown was gone. He just vanished into thin air. But I was so overjoyed at my newly found wealth that I didn’t pay any attention to the magical feat that had just occurred before me. I put the lid back on the box and hurried out of the bank as fast as I could.

    But before I went home and paid all the bills cluttering my office, I decided to stop and get something I’d been wanting since I was 16: A Ducati. I stopped at the nearest dealership I could find, picked out the motorcycle I wanted, and talked to the salesman.

    But when I handed him the money I had collected from the box, he started laughing like a hyena. It took him a few seconds to calm down from his sudden fit of laughter.

    “What’s so funny?” I asked. With a big, goofy grin on his face, the salesman handed me one of the dollar bills. When I examined it more carefully, it occurred to me why the man had found it so amusing.

    Instead of President Andrew Jackson, a clown in mid-giggle adorned the center of the bill. A red balloon sat in each corner of the green paper. And underneath the laughing clown read the words, “Funny Money”.

    It should go without saying that I don’t care much for clowns anymore.

  38. JosephFazzone

    I looked him up and down, and after a tense moment I said, “Casual Friday, or is this some kind of initiation slash hazing thing going on?”

    Captain Jiggles looked puzzled, “Pardon? Is there something I can help you with today?”

    He probably has some kind of condition. It’s probably best not to judge. “Yes, you can help me, I need to take out a bank loan.”

    The clown paced up and down. His floppy shoes slapping the ground annoyingly along with these irritating squeaks his shoes made.

    “My my my!” He said in worried tones, “What to do? What to do?”

    He sat down on the desk, and a flatulent sound echoed through the bank. Several people looked at me in surprise and disgust. He started shuffling some papers together, and then folded them in half, and grabbed a pair of scissors. With deft hands he snipped here and snipped there and viola, he had cut my silhouette all connecting in a sort of kissing manner. With a big grin he handed it to me.

    “Thank you”, I said politely not knowing what else to say.

    “Now is there anything else I can help you with?” Captain Jiggles asked.

    “Is there anyway you can give me a loan?” I asked. “It is the reason I came here.”

    “Is it?” he asked with a sad sigh. “Well, we do loans here.”

    “So how about we do one then?” I suggested irritably.

    He laughed, and from out of nowhere he shot me with green silly string. I jumped back in surprise.

    “Quit clowning around!” I growled.

    He sighed deeply. “Might as well ask the tides to stop a rolling in. Might as well ask for peace to exist. Might as well ask for the Tooth Fairy to divulge the secrets as to her obsession with teeth.”

    He waxed philosophically which I can appreciate, but the pie in the face did little to drive his point home. I stood up, and screamed, “Screw you clown! I’m going to have take my business elsewhere.”

    To which the bank teller stood up holding my credit score and said, “Yeah, that was our point. Have a great day.”

    1. ajhaughee83

      I really liked the detail about the shoes slapping around on the floor. It highlighted the humor of the situation well. And I also thought the ending with getting him out because of his credit score was very entertaining. Very fun!

    2. Reaper

      Interesting and I do like the antics. You made that completely believable in such a surreal setting. I think you could have cut the obsession with teeth to just her obsession. It seemed a little too blatant but that might be a taste thing. Screw you clown, reminded me of the old joke. So you gave me a wonderful smile today.

  39. S.P. Geary

    You did a great job of filling me in on Jason’s past from your starting point in the middle of your scene’s action. I could feel the weariness growing inside John as he tries to be a good caregiver to Jason.

    I love your line: ” She was the sand on a violent beach; shifting, moving as the water crashed through but always remaining unchanged and ever present.” I especially like the description: “She was the sand on a violent beach,” very powerful; I know I will describe others like that from now on.

    1. S.P. Geary

      Please ignore this! This was meant to be the reply to Ajhaughee83’s submission, but I’m new to this forum and I entered my comments in the wrong box!

      Sorry.

  40. Pete

    I’m almost ashamed at this one….almost.

    Philo Auttenberg dreamed of cruising along the parkway in a convertible. It didn’t matter what parkway, or even the make and model of the convertible wasn’t of supreme importance, just so long as the top was down and his hair was blowing in the wind.

    The hair. That was the bugger of the whole deal. Because Philo didn’t have the hair. Oh sure he had nose hair, ear hair, back hair. But the top of his head was like that of a rain slicker. He’d tried plugs. He’d tried pills. He’d tried lotions, pin pricks, massage, and even that ill-advised electro-therapy resulting in a cluster of bluish, map-like continents on his globe.

    But now there was hope. Expensive hope. But hope.

    And it was hope Philo had in mind as he entered The Flogham/Swordum Circus Credit Union. He wanted to avoid running into old faces from his working days. The bank, located on the riverbank in a repurposed railcar was empty save for what appeared to be a brother/sister trapeze team cashing a check.

    “Can I help you mister?”

    “Um yes, my name is P. Auttenberg.”

    And there it was. The cocked brow. A glance at the framed black and whites on the wall. “As in Philo Auttenberg.”

    A reluctant nod. This was a bad idea.

    “Oh well, Mr. Auttenberg, it’s a pleasure. How can we help you today?”

    “I’m here for a loan.”

    “Okay, well, yes, certainly,” she said with a smirk. The smirk made Philo’s neck stiffen irritably. His slick head shined under the lights. “Our loan officer will be right out. Just keep your head where I can see it!”

    Philo groaned at the joke. Back at his seat, the trapeze hacks eyed him with newfound interests. Twenty years retired and yet it never ends, he mused. Something crashed. The door swung open.

    “Philo!”

    Captain Jiggles appeared out of nowhere, twirly-tied and tacky as ever. The bank lit up as he went through the entire spiel. A bit slower, creakier…lamer, if that was possible.

    Philo shook his hand, jolted awake by the gimmick. Then Jiggles pulled giant ear from his pocket.
    “Heard you’re looking for a loan?”

    Philo nodded sheepishly, like a turtle wanting to duck back in his shell.

    “Well, right this way, fella.”

    A short walk back to Jiggles’ office. “Gave me a desk job after that clown car mishap on route 44. All and all not a bad gig, get a commission and everything. Say, you still sticking that head…”

    “No Jiggles. No I’m not.”

    A click of his teeth. “One hell of an act, he said as they entered. “Please, have a seat.” Philo did. Sat on a whoopee cushion. Jiggles had a fit.
    Philo nodded, hoping to get on with it. The plan was to get the first treatment that week, and if went well, the car by summer.

    “So how much we looking at. Say a new car?”

    “Eventually,” Philo started, scooting up on his haunches. “But first I’m looking to—”

    Jiggles found a balloon. Blew it to life and configured it into a car. “Don’t want t a balloon rate, now do we?”

    Philo tried one last time to get the clown on track but again they were interrupted. This time by a knock at the door.

    “Mr. Flogham!” Jiggles called out. Philo stood, his rump tingling with anticipation. Flogham nodded.

    “Say Jiggles. Could you give me a minute with Philo here?”

    “Sure, thing, boss.” Jiggles romped over himself getting to his feet, spilling bells and candy, chattering teeth as he scooted around his desk and squeezed out the door. “We’ll get that loan all worked out, Philo, don’t worry.” With the door shut Philo heard the whole routine crank up again. “Hello there!”

    Flogham sighed. “That guy couldn’t loan a shark blood,” he muttered, almost to himself. Then, changing gears. “Philo, it’s been a while, you look…unfulfilled.”

    “I’m happy sir.” Philo managed, wiping his head. He thought back at how Flogham had taken him in when as teenager. Worked to perfect his craft.
    “I’ll get to the point. We need you, Philo. Things aren’t what they used to be. I’ve got unions, lawsuits, the whole Circus is hardly getting by.”

    Philo coughed. “My apologies sir, now if I could just—”

    “This is where you belong, Philo. Your act could liven things up. You know, sometimes, when I’m lying in my car, the rails whooshing beneath me, I can still hear the shock of the crowd when they used to see what you could do. The gasps. The magic. I’ve never seen a contortionist come close.”

    “Why, thank you sir, but all that said, I—”

    “Can you still do it?”

    Philo closed his eyes. There he was, thirteen all over again, wanting nothing more than to impress the man who’d taken him in. Flogham adjusted his top hat, tapped his cane against the desk. With one word Philo knew.

    “Yes.”

    Flogham’s mouth broke into a knowing grin. “Well, let’s see it.

    And so there it was settled. Two days later Philo Auttenberg greased up his bald head and delighted the soldout big top in Wappingers Falls. He did what made him famous. He did what made Flogham proud.

    He stuck his own head up his ass.

    1. jhowe

      Holy cow. That was brilliantly devised. You captured the aging circus performers perfectly and wowed us at the end with that, that reveal. I have to confess something though. As I was scrolling up from the bottom, that last sentence jumped out and, tried as I did not to, I read it. I’d give ten bucks not to have. But it was still a great read.

    2. ajhaughee83

      I did the same thing! I passed over a few times until I saw jhowe’s comment. I really enjoyed how you developed a whole world for these characters and integrated a back story for Philo that was revealed as the reader finished.

  41. Beebles

    Juggling Two Jobs
    ‘Would you care to step this way?’ Captain Jiggles said, smiling. He cantilevered his huge feet in the direction of the one of the consultation rooms, scattering customers as they dived to evade his scything arcs.
    I rolled my eyes. Ok, I thought, we’ll run with it.
    Copying his action step for step I followed him inside. He shut the door behind me and I took a seat, carefully placing my case to one side. The Captain smiled as he plonked into the chair opposite, oversized trousers ballooning. Between us was a thin laminate desk, a computer firmly screwed onto its surface to one side.
    Big red gloved hands interwove their fingers as he leaned forward over the desk. He fixed me with his large black starburst eyes, which looked out dolefully from a sheet white face, topped with a crimson wig. Under a large red nose … he smiled.
    I shifted in my seat and coughed. ‘Perhaps you should show me some identification,’ I said, trying to fill the expanding silence.
    ‘Certainly.’ Captain Jiggles produced an egg from inside the hoop of his striped trousers. The clown’s face was painted onto its surface. I sighed.
    ‘Oh, that’s fine,’ I said waving my arms and looking round for the hidden camera. ‘You can never be too careful.’
    ‘So you want a loan?’
    It took me a little by surprise. ‘That’s correct.’
    Captain Jiggles was up in a second and heading for the door.
    ‘Where are you going?’
    He stopped and smiled. ‘You said you wanted to be left alone!’ He produced a horn from inside his trousers and gave it two sharp ‘parps’.
    I threw my head back. ‘No I want a loan. You know, money?’
    ‘Aaah,’ The Captain smiled, raised a finger and returned to the desk. He began clumsily punching the keyboard with his sausage fingers. ‘Yes, hmm, yes. How much did you want to borrow?
    I leaned forward hopefully in my chair. ‘Oh, about $1000.’
    ‘Uh huh.’ The fingers stopped slapping. ‘Yes we appear to have a number of products that might suit.’ This sounded more like it. ‘Here is a chart showing the various interest rates.’ He grunted as he tried to turn the screen, but it was well secured.
    Slight irritation returning, I raised myself and leaned over the desk to see the chart more clearly.
    The custard pie hit me square in the face. It stuck for a few seconds before peeling slowly off and hitting the desk with a slap.
    ‘It’s a pie chart!’ I heard him announce, followed by two parps. I returned slowly to the vertical. I removed the pseudo custard filling from my eyes most deliberately with the fingers of both hands, flicking the slime away. I had had enough of this.
    ‘Get me the manager,’ I growled.
    ‘But …’ started Captain Jiggles before I cut him dead. I could see him now; he was smiling. And this infuriated me.
    ‘Get the bloody manager! Now!’
    By the time the Captain had waddled sorrowfully out and the manager had arrived, I had cleared most of the fake custard from my face, wiping it off my fingers on the edge of the desk. As the manager blustered an apology I used my handkerchief to remove the remnants from up my nose. Parp!
    I then proceeded to tell the manager, a small moustachioed man, exactly what I thought of his establishment and the service I had received.
    ‘And what’s more,’ I said, slamming my case down on the desk to emphasise the point, ‘The joke wasn’t funny and it wasn’t even real bloody custard!’
    With a deft flick of my wrists I unfolded my unicycle and, weaving through the line of waiting customers, juggled my way into the street.

    1. ajhaughee83

      I had fun reading this. Things I particularly enjoyed: (1) the pants ballooning out when he sat down. Pretty sure every woman feels this way about her thighs when she sits. (2) Pie chart! I am a big fan of puns. (3) I love that he was a clown as well in the end.

      1. Beebles

        Thanks ajhaughee83. I’m a newbie like yourself and its always good to know someone has read it. I’ve had trouble posting since I registered – I think my Bermuda post is lost in the ether. I was in fact thinking further about your post below and wondered if you had considered giving John some payback. The love he has for Jason is clear from your writing but a hint of redemption for John might have lifted it – if that is what you wanted. Perhaps something that suggested their relationship wasn’t all one way and there was at least a hint of some pleasure awaiting john in his caring and it was not simply familial duty. Does that make sense? Looking forward to more of yours.

    2. regisundertow

      The pie chart pun killed me and the ending was very appropriate 🙂
      A few grammar and wording issues here and there, but nothing that can’t be fixed with some polish. The story structure is fine and the pacing was great; it flowed very well thanks to the constant action.

  42. ajhaughee83

    My first time posting! I would love constructive feedback.

    I release a muffled chuckle as Marianne leads my brother around from behind her desk. Thank the Lord it was our neighbor who found him this time; someone who understands his condition and eccentricities. He must have made a side trip after he was finished in the restroom. I will have to speak to him again about wandering away or else we will have to go back to supervised bathroom visits. He loathes it when I treat him like a child.

    “Very funny, goofball. Now come sit in the chair, Jason. I need to talk to Marianne about a few things.”

    Today is Tuesday and he wears the incredible circus ensemble my previous girlfriend made for him, although it is a bit worn now. Tomorrow is Wednesday and he will be Mr. Waffles, the energetic dalmatian who must be walked on a leash and insists on all his meals being served on a bowl on the floor. I despise Wednesdays. At least Tuesdays are low maintenance.

    “What can I help you with today, John?” Marianne smiles in my direction.

    “I need to take out a loan to help pay for an alternative living situation for my brother.”

    Jason shifts in his chair and visibly deflates. I know he was hoping that I would change my mind after he had been exemplary all week. I haven’t been sleeping well since I came to this decision and I suddenly feel extremely tired, the weight of one long year wearing on my shoulders. But I need my life back. Our mother would have been supremely disappointed in my inability to handle the situation as well as she did. She was always so strong and resilient, never asking for anything for herself. She was the sand on a violent beach; shifting, moving as the water crashed through but always remaining unchanged and ever present. Until last fall.

    I look at Jason and he nervously double blinks. Will he be happy in that new facility? Will I actually be able to enjoy my freedom again knowing that I gave up? I swallow the lump forming in my throat and stand.

    “Nevermind, Marianne.”

    I can be the sand. I have to be.

      1. S.P. Geary

        You did a great job of filling me in on Jason’s past from your starting point in the middle of your scene’s action. I could feel the weariness growing inside John as he tries to be a good caregiver to Jason.

        I love your line: ” She was the sand on a violent beach; shifting, moving as the water crashed through but always remaining unchanged and ever present.” I especially like the description: “She was the sand on a violent beach,” very powerful; I know I will describe others like that from now on.

    1. Reaper

      First, welcome.

      Second, amazing. You did a great job of showing. My only criticism is that I want more. Word count is a killer and this wasn’t missing anything but it felt like there was a lot more story to tell, so it makes an amazing introduction to something longer.

      1. ajhaughee83

        Thank you for your feedback! I was pressured for time and I think next time I post I will find a bigger window where I can write. I thought the same thing – should have put a little more in…

      1. madeindetroit

        Welcome ajhaughee83.
        As time goes on, you will learn a lot about writing from the great writers here. They are willing to share their insight and will always be there to encourage you to keep writing. For your first posting, you did a great job. You obviously have been writing for some time. Your description is very powerful, taking us inside the head of the MC. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    2. regisundertow

      Welcome to the forum! That was a great story. Quite different than what I expected and I enjoyed it all the more for it. “She was the sand on a violent beach”, what a beautiful metaphor. Hope you decide to stick around.

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