Photo Prompt

Each month, we post a photograph as a writing prompt. Post your 100-word story in the comments section, and we’ll choose one to feature in our next issue. To see examples, read photo stories we’ve published in the past.

In the spirit of fun and fairness, please follow these guidelines:
• Post only one story per photo prompt.
• Be mindful of others’ feelings when commenting (keep it positive rather than giving feedback).
• Remember this is a shared safe space for all lovers of 100-word stories.

 

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk

96 Responses to “Photo Prompt”

  1. Anna Sapp says:

    You remind me of a dream. A place from the hopes of my childhood. An indoor carnival with exciting games and alluring sounds. We paid real money for tokens made of gold-painted lead. We’d place them into hypnotic slot machines and watch tickets convey out the bottom. Win enough and get a prize. Parents hated it. They said it taught us gambling. Even if we’d win we’d lose. We couldn’t help ourselves. Flashing neon and windows painted bright. A clown stood at the door invoking us in. She smiled like she wanted us, but her eyes said she didn’t care.

  2. Lisa Miller says:

    Dream Girl

    My daughter pointed and gave me a look. “No way.”

    But it was me. “Before you were born,” I said.

    She had found an old photo. I’m a clown, head-to-toe in orange and white with painted-on freckles. The other pictures went in a bonfire -before leaving Vegas years ago. Dancing career dreams crushed. Getting hired on only at Coyote Ugly and Dream Girls. But my street act always stole the show with most images snapped half-naked with fiery red hair flaming, spinning higher and higher off the ground.

    My daughter sighed. “Glad nothing went viral back then.”

    “Yeah me too.”

  3. J Arend says:

    “I told you to get out.” she said angrily pointing at the door.

    “But Flip Flop I promise I’ll change!” Michael replied.

    Flip Flop was starting to get agitated. “No! You always do this! Making jokes about me. Saying I have a big dick because of my shoe size. I’m a girl Michael! I’m tired of it!”

    Michael got on his knees and started pleading. “Please! I love you!”

    Flip Flop pulled out a handkerchief that seemed to be never ending. “I’m sorry, it’s over.”

    “Tell me you’re kidding!” Michael cried.

    Flip Flop responded, “Do I look like I’m joking?”

  4. Lily O says:

    The circus was a classic red striped tent propped up an acre from the saw mill. I was always fascinated with clowns, no matter how afraid. They held face so well, never showing what they’re thinking; it’s terrifying, but strangely admirable. When I walked into that decrepit mill, I found the entertainers caking on makeup and donning flashy costumes. I spotted a girl whose makeup looked like skin, dead eyes and warm smile fixed in place. We locked eyes, and she abruptly pointed me towards the door. I could feel her eyes on me as I quickly turned and fled.

  5. Jacelyn Freitas says:

    She walked down rusted steps calling for the boy. The boy who was her’s now. He would make a great addition to her circus. He would join in her show. He was trapped in her gated hell.

    Her iron fenced hummed with the electricity in the distance. No one was ever going to leave.

    Cries escaped the boy’s throat as he ran. She laughed as he ran into her only funhouse. He quickly lost his way in a maze but she found him in no time. He begged and plead but she only said one thing, “There’s no way out.”

  6. Zoe says:

    it wasn’t much, but it was what she had.
    black freckles dotted her face,
    white paint staining her skin.
    orange hair laid flat on her head,
    tan fingers wrapping around necks.
    red spilled from open holes,
    silver knives exposing truths.
    green bills picked from pockets,
    blue cards swiping on screens.

    ‘do you want to see a trick?’
    of course.
    ‘follow me.’

    colorless is the sight of regret.
    it wasn’t much, but it was what she had.

  7. Ruth Bonapace says:

    “C’mon Hunreee, twirl for me,” she taunted. “Do your flaming batons.” She shook her hips and her stiff orange skirt caught his eye.
    “Only if you show me your diabolo,” he teased.
    Henri gazed at Mimi. What of this creature, this freckled harlot with impossibly red hair? He knew she was an imposter, that her French accent was as false as her eyelashes.
    But on this night, alone with her in the tent, Henri imagined her the fabled Columbine, his principessa of the grand commedia dell-arte, not Regina DeCarlo from Arthur Avenue, and that he was, indeed, the great Pierrot.

  8. Elizabeth Steddin says:

    My tall thin stiletto heels bound down the metal stairs, creating familiar clicking sounds as I descend. I’m already back to the same places I’ve spent the last three months forgetting about. Desperation calls for dressing in red and white stripes as guilt flares through my veins as if they’re on fire. I walk all the way down to the evil streets of Manhattan as the sounds of quick wind and fast-talking strangers surround me like a blanket. I waltz the full way down to the side row between where street greets sidewalk. It’s going to be a long night.

  9. They told me it would pay the bills and I suppose it does. It would take me places I’ve never been and that’s true, too.

    But they laugh so much. Fingers pointing, bodies bursting, into convulsions, at my face, all a charade, I am a clown.

    To myself, mostly, hiding behind stripes I painted once upon a time I suppose when my world awoke while I overslept in the depth of no care.

    But I do care, only enough now for a smile, to limit the frowns. Please crown me with a dare that will sweep me anywhere but elsewhere.

  10. Gina Dantuono says:

    It started with her red shoes, the way they fit on my small feet.
    I could hide inside the heel and just disappear while looking down.

    I’d slide between her dresses, and feel such soft embraces.
    I would wrap the sleeves around me and fade into her dwindling scent.

    I painted my smile with her brightest gloss and gave my cheeks a brush of blush. I opened my eyes with a gentle penciled precision.

    I colored away my sadness into a caricature of her beauty.

    I find my light while carrying her shadow.

    I will always be her little boy.

  11. S. Fish says:

    Gone

    She stood, pointing to the stagnant corn field. Her orange wig and skirt flapped in time to the slow carnival music that whispered in the background. She stood deathly still, not an eyebrow moved or a finger twitched. The music stopped suddenly, and a scream erupted from the field, high and blood curdling. My head snapped towards the painful sound. When I looked back, no one stared back at me, she was gone. Not a whisper of her being remained. The only evidence that she had ever existed, the orange felt flower that bobbed innocently in the soft afternoon breeze.

  12. mt says:

    She spent her life in a freezer, emerging every third Monday for her worshipers to adore. Her face, covered with a cake of spoiled ice cream and poignantly rancid mustard, symbolized her religion’s view that silence is most toxic when frozen. Blood filled the tip of her nose as she pointed to the door, ordering all to leave. As the faithful obeyed her command she lifted the edible orange wig from her head and placed it in her mouth, consuming every strand of hair. Members of the congregation, familiar with this obtuse ritual, each swallowed three of their own hairs.

  13. Anastasia says:

    How She Feels Inside

    No girl feels pretty in highschool, but she really hadn’t been. She was taller than the boys by eleven. Her arms were like wire, her eyes buggy, her feet clownish. She collected fashion magazines. Perfected the skill of makeup. She could alter any feature. Temporarily.

    Eventually, she was discovered by a modeling agency. They praised her long legs, her alien eyes. She moved to Hollywood. Handbags, clothes, shoes, there wasn’t anything she couldn’t sell. Women envied her. But years into her career, that feeling hadn’t subsided. The camera flashed, flashed, flashed. Did it ever reveal what she still was inside?

  14. Eric Skinner says:

    Take Your Daughter to Work Day

    “You loser!” Brianna’s mother shouted downstairs. “Humorless laughingstock!” Brianna’s mother was warned about getting tangled up with this clown. “You’re too young.” “He’ll never earn a serious paycheck.” But he made her laugh, then Brianna was born. The pleasant child fit naturally in her father’s giant footsteps sparking levity amongst her classmates and provided relief from her mother’s bickering. “Make sure you’re dressed for this damned thing, Brianna!” her mother shouted. “And move it along!” Brianna added the final touches to makeup, adjusted her wig, and laced her floppy shoes as her father honked his horn outside her bedroom door.

  15. Dorothy Rice says:

    Now I Only Wonder

    At thirteen, Audi alternated orange, blue or pink- and purple-striped hair. After high school, she went to clown school, or she wanted to. She was an organizer for the Communist Party; that’s what Grace heard. She was a nanny for some rich Swiss family; someone saw a photo on Facebook before Audi slid from the grid.

    Who was Audi, really? Former Girl Scout, thrift-store dresser, dark doodler, my daughter’s edgy friend. A circus performer, I hope, with her blood-red rosebud smile and shiny orange wig. A girl I used to worry about. Now that Grace is grown, I only wonder.

  16. Krystyna Fedosejevs says:

    Actor

    She moved to fulfill theatrical aspirations. Degree tucked in resume. Portfolio empty.

    The new city inspired creativity. Refined her attire with whimsical style and vibrant colors. Not unlike her, parents would say. Their girl was daring. In her element whenever she performed a new act.

    They need not worry, she assured them. She found a job.

    When they announced they booked airfare to visit, she was the one to worry.

    She looked to creativity to help shape her explanation.

    For her stage was a street curb. Her acting was of a clown trying to lure business to a pizza outlet.

  17. Rikki Santer says:

    Under the Big Top

    He spoke to her at exactly the wrong time but embedded into the lining of his mouth
    was exactly the right time to name call her with his most slippery of knives.

    “I’m bolted insular into another station of the cross,” she said as she wobbled from trying to juggle his steel ball syllables.

    The ringmaster shook his head. “Where is justice in the ambiguous border of this circus center ring?”

    “For Chrissake,” the audience shrieked at the two clowns, “Look out for splinters,”
    as sequined teardrops sparkled on the pair’s prideful cheeks.

  18. Sheetal A says:

    She had been terrified of clowns ever since she was a child. The incident took place when her parents had taken her to the circus and she went to visit the restroom. He caught hold of her then… His hands roaming every where in her body, the horror and the shame she felt. Today, as she painted her face white and added the freckles, she adjusted her rubber red nose and flaming red wig. The pinstriped skirt looked great and so did her smile. It was surreal, but abject poverty had left her with no choice but to clown around.

  19. Dagmar Seeland says:

    It’s not funny. No, really it isn’t.
    But what can you do when your partner has raided the fridge again and payday is not until two weeks later? It’s a good spot here, and people can be quite generous, especially the ones with kids. Keeps me busy. And better than prostitution, believe me.
    Wait – why is that car not slowing down? Didn’t he see the ‘no entry’ sign? Jeez, it’s my partner. He’s not drunk again, is he? He must recognise me by now. He looks livid. O God, I just remembered – I’m a clown. He hates clowns…

  20. Mackenzie Smith says:

    Stuck

    Carly.

    I kick off the shoes easily and hop over the bathroom threshold. God. I look like a construction cone. My orange hair lands in a whispered heap beside the toilet.

    Carla.

    The tights are at my ankles when I unbutton the blouse. I try stepping out of the skirt, but end up felled like a Lorax-licked tree beside the wig. Fucking tights.

    Clara.

    Groaning, I stand up again. The soap bar is blackish, but I jab my face with it anyway. Water splatters my breasts. I check the mirror, face dripping.

    White face. Red nose. Fake freckles. Fuck.

    Clown.

  21. Elizabeth Stone says:

    “Working Girl”

    She paints her makeup on the same way every day, fake freckles and dark lips. She pulls the bright wig over her head, instantly becoming someone she’s not. Her outfit is loud, gaudy, screaming – “Look at me! Look here!” But the expression on her face is blank; wasted. Her eyes are dead, lost in a world of dusty hollers and loose coughs. She points paying customers down the corridor toward the showroom, miming the way with her un-manicured hand. Some look her way and snicker, others scoff. She remains stagnant, silently watching the minutes tick by on the clock.

  22. Hardy Griffin says:

    Halfway through a screaming argument with my wife on a Sunday morning, my son wanders out of his room with sleep still in his eyes and gives me a look that says ‘Hey, dad, it’s okay. You can chill out if you want.’ Cuts my sentence in half. How long have I taken him for granted, all that wisdom hidden behind his 12-year-old face? He has flaming red hair, and maybe it’s this or maybe it’s the way he laughs at the shambles of our lives, but he reminds me of this photo of a clown pointing the right way.

    • Ken Gosse says:

      Many good stories from this photo, but I like your take on it because it’s different from most by using the image as an image within the story rather than writing a story about the person in the image.

      • Hardy Griffin says:

        Thank you so much, Ken — I did want to kind of change the emphasis, although I think it was a bit too emotionally heavy in retrospect! Also, thank you for being the photo prompt angel and offering such great support and insight.

        • Ken Gosse says:

          Your comment raised a thought. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it’s worth a million stories, too. Many are offered every month, and most of us look back and say, “Gee–that’s not exactly what I wanted it to be.” But, after all, one-hundred words requires careful, thoughtful, editing. I’m amazed at our results. We all should be.

  23. Lily Y. Lang says:

    Photo Prompt: A Meaningful Death to Protect

    ‘Freshly baked pretzels: free samples.’ The heart-shaped sign by the dark staircase, next to a well-lit room with many people happily partying, captivated my twin sister’s curiosity as we walked past it that dreadful evening.

    “Let’s check it out,” she suggested.

    “It’s not worth taking the risk in a strange town,” I said.

    She fell in love with a handsome, fun guy at the party, and cut ties with friends, family, and me.

    My dear sister managed to call me before she died. Her handsome boyfriend was a pimp to many fun-seeking, innocent girls there.

    The clown was her ghost.

  24. Dean Okamura says:

    The Clown Vanishes

    Celestina Gautier was the bright star of Le Cirque des Rêves, Fabrice Roy’s new play set in an ethereal world of clowns.

    Once, during rehearsals, Roy said, “You need to fade. Become pure emotion. Emotion is the basis of true theatre.” They smiled and appeared to agree.

    On opening night, Celestina’s clown face radiated, even reaching my balcony seat. Stage lights surged to hues reminiscent of the dawn. Scents of flowers washed the room like a coming change in the weather. Her performance sailed along the swirling storm winds until she cried out, “I want to be free!” and vanished.

  25. Marc Champ says:

    The Mark

    Quite a boring job, directing visitors into a tent, making rude remarks about their appearance. I scan each face as they walk by. He should be here soon.

    Out of the corner of my eye I see a lanky man with pale skin and his hooters wife. It must be him. As he makes his way towards me I begin to harass him, the usual. He’s got a temper and when he opens his mouth to reply, I spray my clown nose down his throat.

    He gags and then spits, but it’s pointless now. He’ll be dead within an hour.

    • Mr. Read says:

      Great twist. Should have known from the title! Contract killer clown is a nice update to the serial killer clown trope. Not sure about “hooters wife”, but loved the story.

  26. Arthur KC Chan says:

    This is to correct a couple of grammatical errors in my previous submission. I am sorry to have caused you confusion and inconvenience if any.

    Arthur

    ————————————–
    Sadness

    There are two types of clowns. One hides their sadness behind the red nose and tries to make people laugh. The other reveals their sadness and hates the world.

    Father was a professional of the first kind. He met mom in a circus. I remembered when I was a child, we had lots of laughs. On my seventh birthday, he left home to tour the globe. Never returned. I grew up to try to follow his footsteps, but only to find myself sliding along the other track.

    So here I stood, silently protested, “Get out of my way, please, mother.”

  27. Arthur KC Chan says:

    Sadness

    There are two types of clowns. One hid their sadness behind the red nose and tried to make people laugh. The other revealed their sadness and hated the world.

    Father was a professional of the first kind. He met mom in a circus. I remembered when I was a child we had lots of laughs. On my seventh birthday, he left home to tour the globe. Never returned. I grew up to try to follow his footsteps, but only to find myself sliding along the other track.

    So here I stood, silently protested, “Get out of my way, please, mother.”

  28. Hayley Chow says:

    I squint for a moment, then my eyes widen with recognition. “Susan?” The garish orange clown pockets her juggling balls, her painted smile faltering, but I press on. “From accounting?”

    Her shoulders fold in as she looks down her red nose at the ground, looking just like she did when I caught her eating a cheap tv dinner in her cramped corner cube yesterday. But in another beat, she straightens and puffs out her chest, jaw set with defiance before pulling a banana out from behind my ear and cartwheeling away.

    Well, tomorrow’s staff meeting is going to be awkward.

  29. “She Had a Natural Talent for Clowning”

    Anastasia’s body joked in broad gestures while her face screamed wry. With a tilted head and a mincing clown step, she could amplify a joke into a stand-up routine. All she needed to graduate from clown school was a name.

    When Anastasia asked her mother for suggestions, Clotilda was inscrutable. She slowed her breathing. Finding a name is a singular quest.

    Anastasia left the house in a huff. Children playing outside imitated her strut, parading behind her. She walked backwards, raising her arms like a majorette or a policeman directing traffic.

    And then the name popped out. “Boza Boza Boom.”

  30. Jim Byrnes says:

    Coulrophobia

    At first glance she looked rather harmless, but a more critical evaluation revealed a subtle sinister aspect that caused the hackles on my neck to perk up. Her un-blinking eyes were blank, unfocused, and without expression, the painted face devoid of any emotion.

    Clowns are supposed to make us happy, right, but I believe the space between funny and frightening is a very thin line.

    The deal breaker for me was when she raised her arm and her pointy finger popped out, beckoning me further into the tent. Shamelessly I turned on my heel and ran screaming from the tent.

  31. Amber Beck says:

    The nightmare began as it often did – in a subway tunnel with a clown pointing, finger bent strangely. Her eyes were dead but her clothes were anything but; a bloody red. Rather than reminding the girl of spilled blood, it resembled blood still moving and beating through a dying heart. She always took a moment to watch the clown, wait for movement, some kind of life, but nothing ever happened. So she followed the command. It always led her to a door. And strangely, when she woke up, she could never remember what she saw beyond it.

  32. Dawn says:

    Clown-girl

    Aged twenty, Catherine Korelli was presented with an heirloom from the people she´d thought were her parents.

    Inside the box, a note read:

    Dear Cathy Custard-Pie, (her real name)
    Please don´t resent me for leaving you with your Grandparents…the Circus is no place to raise
    a child.

    P.S, I wanted you to have these little keepsakes from your late Mother.

    Regards, The Great Korelli.

    On Dress-Down Fundraiser Day, Police Officer Korelli chose to wear the zany clown´s outfit to direct traffic in town knowing that if but one word from her lips did depart…

  33. Sanity Restored

    Mom and I drive from my ophthalmologist’s office, slumped in seats. We’ve learned my eye disease worsened. My surgeon increased my Prednisone, attempting to save my sight. I’m ranting; a steroid rage; everything and everyone is at fault. Mom’s shoulders rise to her ears at my onslaught.

    “And!” I hiss, my voice low, guttural. “Would you look at that fucking clown.”

    Mom grips tighter the wheel. I jab at where I want her to see. She looks where I point. Does a double take.

    Literally, a balloon-carrying clown crosses the street: red nose, oversize shoes, rainbow wig.

    We crack up.

    • Carol Kulesha says:

      I LOVE THIS JOB

      Plaid ballet skirt, polka dot tights, puffy sleeved blouse and red vest. Ah yes, the shoes that glow and sparkle. White pancake, red round cheeks, over-sized eyes and cupid mouth. A yellow wig with a beaded cap. Who am I today? A dainty lady clown I think, so the small red nose.
      I’m ready. I’m happy.I love this job!
      For your fun, I toss you candies, play my ukulele and dance through the crowd.
      What! Are those firecrackers? NO. NO. NO.
      Grab the children, run and hide
      and now amid tragedy my work begins.

    • The clown story I posted is a true story.

    • Kate says:

      Really enjoyed this one.

  34. Astrid Egger says:

     Bert mounted his unicycle and arrived early for the information meeting. None of his colleagues recognized him in his uniform: striped pants, orange shirt and wig and clown’s white face. Maria at the sign-in table almost fell over when Bert presented his Harrier Parking Enforcement ID.
            Michael Deemer, the manager, said: “Starting Monday most of you will learn to fly drones from the hangar and compile all tickets from there.”
            During Q&A Bert said:“Let’s hope that the drones won’t be misguided. A casual employee and part-time clown shouldn’t have the last laugh.”

  35. Sarah Henry says:

    The moon was a little fingernail-clipping sliver of unhealthy yellow the night I heard their arrival. The circus music was incongruous with the cold and otherwise empty night.

    Hearing the whistle warning of the train cemented my dread, and I tugged the dog along aggressively. No time for contemplation or sniffing tonight. I needed to be inside when they rolled through town. Those grease-painted things clad in chilled polyester and cold-hardened rubber. Triangle eyes wide and glowing in the dark, arms hanging at their sides sinisterly, head tilted. Mocking smiles.

    If you were lucky they wouldn’t stop in your town.

  36. Lisa Carvalho says:

    Makeup. Wig. Red foam nose. Indignity didn’t bother her. What she hated were the tiny wild eyes, the grubby palms, the needy parents. And the noise! She was the quietest clown around yet it was nothing against the roar. Each time she tried to quit, something prevented her escape. Today it was a wide-eyed, crossed-kneed toddler who peed a little on her oversized shoes as he screamed, “Where is da potty?! A million sad clowns couldn’t help the kid just then, but she could. He needed her. She fought back a grin, and showed him where to go.

  37. Emily Dolan says:

    This Way To Direction

    To the dismay of sidelined parents, desperate for time alone, the carousel stopped. As children tramped through mud, her chest tightened. She longed for the freedom to destroy sneakers, for the confidence that she could buy another pair.
    It had been two years since she got new shoes (red, clunky things) and chopped her hair so her wig fit better.
    Two years since paying bills superseded things like classrooms or clean bathrooms.
    A father approached her tent, his child giggling at her cherry nose while drool and overpriced popcorn escaped his mouth. She ushered them inside, smile caked in place.

  38. ft says:

    We’re Not Speaking.

    When I attempted to sneak back home near dawn, she was there on the porch in her orange wig, red nose and white pancake makeup. She pointed at an invisible watch on her wrist and then drew the finger across her throat. I got the pantomime.

    “But—!” I start but am shushed with the same silent finger. She flaps down the steps in her oversized shoes.

    “But—!” I start again but she smiles and points to the doghouse.

    What I wouldn’t give for a shot of seltzer or pie in the face. It’s the mime treatment I hate.

  39. sonal singh says:

    #100wordstory RIP Rollo

    “Who knew that behind the joviality & laughing facade, there lurked sadness?” They said, clustered around his grave.

    Whose grave, you ask?

    Why Rollo’s! He was the clown who held court at the mall. The same one who tickled our funny bones & made the kids giggle madly. He could spin laughter and magic. He could not see a kid be sad.

    Who knew he hid such sadness in him?

    “Maybe he did not have a clown in his life to make him laugh,” opined someone, sagely.

    “Yes, maybe.”

    May he RIP but suicide is never the answer.

  40. Jammo says:

    Taking his umbrella from the stand and placing the ticket in his pocket, his evening was set.

    Hailing his cab from his favourite company he finally arrived at his destination. Making his way through the hustle and bustle of all the other night-lifers, he would soon discover the reason why so many front seat tickets were still available for sale.

    “Good heavens, said the man looking up at the character on the stage,” That’s a whole lot of mad hair and calamity. I must be at the wrong venue. I think I’ve walked into a Boris Johnson impersonation contest!”

  41. My troupe works the Renaissance Faire. I’m, the royal jester’s cousin, Dim from the family of Wit. We preform a rendition of Romeo and Juliet.

    My favorite part being the death of Mercutio, where we would pick some unsuspecting fool from the audience, feed him the lines he’d spout, and school him on how to die in the most grotesque and dramatic fashion.

    Then as he falls to the ground, writhing in his final moments, I wait patiently for the twitching to end. I then step forward and point, as the Narrator says, “And he died… (dramatic pause) over there.”

  42. The 2025 Circus

    The New Greatest Show on Earth rolled into town in a solar powered caravan touting no abused animals or dangerous peanut allergens wafting through the air. No cavity seeking cotton candy, and certainly no scent of those nitrate laced hot dogs.

    Instead they boasted of designated eating areas serving mouthwatering organic fruit and vegetable treats, and thirst quenching purified water served in unbreakable glass bottles.

    The show features only one ring for better patron focus, no death defying acts; only those safe enough for children to perform at home. And “No Frown Clown,” allergen-free makeup available for circus wannabes.

  43. ThatCharlotte says:

    Her fingers said that way.

    She ushered me in silence to the place we all eventually go after our makeup starts cracking, our noses stop sticking, and every ounce of comedy is squeezed from our bodies like a tube of anything. Leaving us bent, empty, and years passed desperate.

    The paper was wrinkling in my hands like my skin.

    My true name was called and I sat in the chair I was offered. Part of me expected the familiar blow of a whoopie cusion to sound underneath me, but all that followed was, “Why do you want to work here?”

  44. Tamara Stanley says:

    Afternoon Freckle

    The Jolly Juggler took me from behind in the bathroom stall while I held onto the toilet and stared down at a half-eaten corn dog on the floor. He juggled the whole time. When we were finished I stopped by the mirror to straighten my orange wig, resecure my clown nose, and add a freckle to my cheek.

    Back outside I pointed visitors toward the four o’clock circus show and twisted a balloon into a race car for a boy who wore a helmet. I posed for photographs and made one of five approved jokes. I couldn’t clown around anymore.

  45. Hagan Maurer says:

    The Crowds of Clowns

    The crowds came and the clowns danced their sad dances. They wiggled their boots and honked their red noses and the crowds laughed and cheered. They lifted their children and the children screamed in horror, but everyone laughed at their naivety and the babies were taken away and put to bed in some far off land unknown to the clowns. The Clowns went back into their tents and danced their sad dances, waiting for the crowds to come back. They enjoyed their crowds: their plastered on smiles and ridiculous make-up; all pretending like they weren’t clowns.

  46. Ken Gosse says:

    Inspired by a Nick Downes cartoon: Two clowns with briefcases walk into an office where a man on the phone at his desk says, “Don’t bother. They’re here.”

    A Day in the Life of a Noir Clown ~

    As a clown, she was dainty, not burly,
    But her smile hid a streak very surly.
    The first one who spoke
    Was the butt of the joke
    When the clown shouted “Don’t call me Shirley!

    The first clown was roly and poly;
    The other was masked like a goalie.
    He sent a few tweets,
    Shot a guy, ate some sweets,
    Then said, “Leave him, but take the cannoli.”

    Even noir clowns can have a bad day
    When they can’t get a fast get-away,
    ’Cause a dozen per car
    Means you can’t travel far—
    With twelve bladders, gang plans gang agley.

    • Jammo says:

      Made me chuckle!
      Nice work,Ken!

      • Ken Gosse says:

        Thank you, Jammo. I decided to clown around a bit with this photo rather than write a single story. These three were selected from a set of over fifty Clown Noir limericks then edited to ensure a total of one hundred words. You might call it a juggling act. If they elicit a chuckle, a laugh, or a snort, I’d say they’ve earned their keep.

    • Dawn says:

      Noir Clown in the title implicits what Jung refers to as the dark side of the human psyche, clowns are funny and can be spooky too. You have captured those elements with this smart rhyme. Thanks for sharing the ref to the cartoonist.
      Your dedication lifts us up on hum-drum days Ken.

      • Ken Gosse says:

        Thanks, Dawn. My preference is for the lighter side and the concept of Clown Noir offers a fascinating mix from the very darkest to the absurdly funny. I always try to credit those who have provided inspiration for my writing. After all, I wouldn’t be where I am today without them–not that I blame them for that, of course.

    • Hardy Griffin says:

      I love a goalie-masked clown with a sweet tooth who shoots to kill but saves the cannoli. Wonderful image, as is the surly, not burly woman from the photo.

      • Ken Gosse says:

        Thanks, Hardy. I changed the original line from hurly and burly to match the young lady in the photo. The other two verses seemed to fit in very well and I only had to modify a few phrases to top-off at one hundred total.

  47. Kate says:

    CIRCUS

    “That was our exit, moron.”

    “For god’s sake give it a rest.”

    Sitting at the back I press my Barbies’ faces to the window.

    We shudder onto the shadow of the top in a cigarette silence. There are three hay bales left and I scoot into the center slice.

    A woman with a cherry nose and split pistachio skin slaps toward us. She tugs you into the circle: you join hands while she sends fiery batons yipping over your eyebrows.

    Back on the freeway I try to flick my dolls head over feet. Maybe if I set them on fire.

  48. Dan Slaten says:

    If you could bottle sadness and sell it then Jane was sitting on a goldmine. She seemed to have an unlimited supply to go around, though you wouldn’t know it from the smile painted on her face. You couldn’t see it from a distance either. She was so good at faking happiness and going through the motions she could have made it in Hollywood if she’d been blessed with slightly better genes. No, the only time you could really see Jane’s sadness was when you looked in her eyes. But who wanted to look in the eyes of a clown?

  49. Jamison Walker says:

    The Third Droplet

    The final droplet clung to the branch but refused to fall, it simply laughed in the breeze for it was the victor. His two brothers, whom now lay broken beside the bodies, had fallen to the rhythm of gunfire. From out of the church, a bride as beautiful as spring felt hot metal pierce her heart and the first droplet came down. The groom lurched from where he cradled her final breath and met the same sound of thunder, knocking the second droplet from its roost. Alone the last droplet remained and eventually froze to ice.

  50. sonal singh says:

    The first drops of Rain

    On a balmy afternoon Meera looked at the sky. It was overcast, almost ominously so. But, she knew that this often meant that it would not rain again today. The rain was playing hide and seek.

    You could literally smell it on the humid breeze. It tantalized you like a wily mistress but just when you expected it to fall; God whisked it away to caress another body of land.

    Meera signed, eyes closed.

    She felt it then, a tiny drop of moisture on her face.

    The first few drops trickled down the branch onto her face. It was raining.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.