by Lisa McCourt Hollar
Leroy 'Frankenstein' Woods stepped outside his house to light up and found himself transported into the Twilight Zone. At least that's the way it felt to him, when he looked up towards the stars and saw the moon acting as a backdrop to a flying saucer. Leroy thought it had to be a practical joke, put on by his friends. They often teased him about his love for all things sci-fi and it looked like a UFO straight out of an old black and white movie.
"Nice try," Leroy called. "You can come out now Ben. I know you're hiding."
Ben didn't come out though. Leroy didn't even hear so much as a snicker, which was strange. Ben never could hold the laughter and if anyone had pulled this prank off, it had to be Ben. His other friends were too dumb to pull a prank like this.
Not even crickets answered. The only sound was the eerie hum of the UFO. Then suddenly the sound changed, thrumming a pulsing beat through Leroy's veins. The space ship, if that is what it was, moved in the direction of the field and decended among the corn. Feeling a strange urge to strip off his clothes and go running into town, screaming that the aliens were coming, Leroy did the only thing he could. He grabbed his rifle from behind the door and went searching for little green men.
Leroy had never cared much for farming. Corn just wasn't his thing. Marijuana was though. He had a shitload of it in the middle of that field and he didn't intend to let men from Mars take it from him. Not that he believed in aliens. He did believe in the Feds and he wouldn't put it passed them to have a camera disguised as a UFO, searching out farms like his. When he found the flying piece of shit, he would blow it to bits and if anyone came out looking for it, he would take care of them too.
It was dark in the field, but Leroy knew it as well as he knew the back of his hand. He knew where every rock, every worm and every piece of dirt was on his property. But the further he went, the more things seemed to be wrong. There was music that sounded like an organ grinder, and laughter. He paused, just a few rows from the activity.
"What the hell? That sounded like an elephant."
Of course it couldn't be an elephant. There were no elephants in Plainville. Even if there were, how could they get into the middle of his marijuana field without him knowing about it?
"Unless I'm high," Leroy thought. "I could be high and hallucinating all this."
Then, deciding he couldn't be high, because he didn't smoke the shit, just sold it and at quite a nice profit, thank you very much, he stepped the two rows over and into the middle of a circus.
"What the hell...hey you! Funny guy! What the hell is going on?"
The clown that Leroy was yelling at turned around and gave him a questioning look, as though to say, "Are you talking to me?"
"Yes Bozo, I'm talking to you. Where did you come from and how did you get this all set up without my knowing about it? Did Ben put you up to this?"
The clown smiled, a huge red smile, common to clowns. His shoulders shook with laughter when he turned, walking away from Leroy.
Leroy came by the nickname, Frankenstein, because of the scar on his face. The deformity ran from the front of his scalp, through the middle of his eye and down his cheek, ending at his chin. He had earned the scar in a bar fight against his Uncle Charlie and he wore it like a badge of honor. Not many men walked away from Charlie. Most were buried and now that Leroy had won this coveted prize, he wasn't going to let some clown mock him by walking away. He grabbed the creep by the back of his oversized costume and yanked him around to face him.
The carnies that had been setting up the various attractions stopped to watch.
"I don't know if Ben put you up to this prank, but your circus is set in the middle of my plants. The've been smashed! I can't sell them now and someone is going to pay!"
At which point the clown opened up his mouth and let out a shriek that shattered both of Leroy's eardrums. His hearing gone and his heart beating so fast, he thought it was going to explode out of his chest, Leroy pointed his rifle at the clown's face and fired.
Blood splattered, along with bits of flesh and brain. The gore rained down on Leroy like confetti and the rest of the carnies began to move towards him, their lips pulled back, revealing sharp teeth and something else. They were hollow inside.
Shaking, he backed away from the body, which was still standing. Leroy wondered if the huge clown shoes prevented it from falling. He was contemplating whether this should even be possible, hollow clowns that were filled with confetti, when a balloon began to expand, rising from the hole that was left between the shoulders of the deceased. As the balloon grew, it took on the appearance of the clown, whose head he had just shot off. When it was done, Bozo cracked his neck on both sides, opened his mouth and lunged for Leroy. Common sense told him to run, but he didn't. Instead, Leroy pissed his pants as the clown and his friends tore him apart.
The next morning, the town was surprised to see that Leroy had invited the circus to set up in his field. One by one, they entered the Big Top, expecting to be entertained and one by one they were torn apart.