HONK HONK! Haha! Hey, everybody! It’s your pal Pickles the Clown! We used to have such fun together! Nobody else made you giggle quite so hard as Pickles—Pickles has all the best jokes! (Got yer nose! Haha!) Pickles makes the best balloon animals! (SQUEAK SQUEAK! Teehee!) Pickles dances real silly (whoopsie!) and gets real confused (what’s my name again? Oh, right! PICKLES!) and... and....

Oh, who am I fooling? I can’t keep up this façade. You’ve seen the news lately. You’ve read those cruel, fear-mongering headlines. It seems like clowns—clowns like your pal Pickles—are no longer wanted. It’s a hard time to be a clown.

And lonely, too. Wiggles hasn’t texted me back in weeks—last I heard, he moved back in with his parents. BoomBoom didn’t even show up when we made plans to see The Accountant. And Smiley? Rumor is, Smiley quit the clown game. I pray it’s not true. Smiley was one of the goofiest clowns of our generation.

Perhaps this will pass. Perhaps someone will ask Pickles to make one of his world-famous wiener dog balloons. Perhaps Pickles will get hired to do another birthday party. Perhaps strangers will stop glaring at Pickles. Perhaps Pickles can clown again.


But if there’s one thing Pickles knows (besides how to throw a pie! Teehee!), it’s that for every laugh, there is a tear. Even for clowns, this thing we call “life” has its ups and downs. I suppose there’s nothing for Pickles to do but wait for this unfortunate trend to run its course. In the meantime, I’ll slowly tear the skin off this screaming toddler I caught the other day. I’ll watch as his warm, thick blood splashes into my black-crystal goblet. After daubing at it with a gloved hand, I shall paint a crimson pentagram upon the oily, skull-strewn dirt of my subterranean lair. Whatever sweet blood remains shall run in twisting rivulets down my corrupt and wizened throat; pure and sweet, this life force shall eternally feed my vicious, hateful soul. Pickles shall never die, and—

Whoa-whoa-whooOOOOaaaaa! (Plop.) I just slipped on a banana peel! Yuk-yuk-yuk!