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Clown Got Your Tongue?

A Collective Cringe

By D.K. ShepardPublished about a month ago 2 min read
Top Story - June 2024
Clown Got Your Tongue?
Photo by Marcos Ferreira on Unsplash

Jenny has written about clowns again. We all try not to sigh as she tries to describe white face paint and a red nose in some new profound arrangement of words. Today they are like a porcelain urn and a roma tomato.

Every time Jenny’s story is up for workshop we know we are about to meet some clowns. They might be serial killers in a horror piece or misunderstood social oddities who turn to clowning to find joy, but without fail they will be clowns.

We listen politely and the instructor leans back in his seat, a change in his usual attentive posture. It's the second to last week of the semester and it is a lot to ask for us to really focus on a fourth clown story. The first three had been subpar at best and none of us had high expectations for this latest invention.

“Timmy’s mother didn’t fully understand the feelings she was experiencing,” Jenny reads. “But she was certain of one thing, she was in love with this clown she had hired for her three year old son’s birthday.”

We cringe, some outwardly, some with their souls, but Jenny is too absorbed with reciting her latest masterpiece, she doesn't notice. A romance, we should have seen that coming.

“She pulled Mr. Giggles into the laundry room and knotted her fingers in his rainbow colored curly wig,” Jenny says in a breathy voice.

We grit our teeth through all the graphic details and romantic cliches Jenny uses to weave her clown love story. It may actually be more disturbing than the time she wrote about the homeless clown that wore his dead grandmother's wig.

“Against her better judgement, Louise had fallen head over heels for this galumphing fool in oversized shoes,” Jenny continues. “She felt such elation at the sight of his sunflower bowtie she could not bear the idea of him leaving her.”

Maybe if this would have been a comedy, it would have actually had potential. Spun properly the whole idea of the narrative could be wonderfully humorous. Jenny’s is not making any jokes though and any escaping laughter from one of us would probably prompt her to tears like it had last time. We had to cut the workshop short because she’d fallen to the floor and collapsed in an inconsolable heap of sobs and snot.

“After the wedding, Timmy took Mr. Giggles by the hand. ‘Daddy’ he said with a smile as Mr. Giggles placed a round rubber nose on the little boy's face,” Jenny concludes.

We manage not to give a collective gag and contain our excitement that the torturous reading has ended. After experiencing a brief moment of relief, there comes the realization that we must sensitively provide comments on such a bad story. If we aren’t delicate we could send her over the edge. And when Jenny goes over the edge it's more frightening than the clown that hid under children’s beds in her first story.

We make ambiguous comments about her use of descriptive detail and her establishment of setting. Not saying anything untrue, but leaving quite a lot unsaid. The instructor nods his head in agreement and does not offer any additional insight. He looks drained from the whole traumatic event. “Thank you Jenny, that was delightful as always,” he lies.


About the Creator

D.K. Shepard

Character Crafter, Witty Banter Enthusiast, World Builder, Unpublished novelist...for now

Fantasy is where I thrive, but I like to experiment with genres for my short stories. Currently employed as a teacher in Louisville.

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    Well-structured & engaging content

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Comments (29)

  • Lily Séjor20 days ago

    I died twice reading this piece! I think it's hard to write about writing and you just made it deliciously funny. Thank you! 💛

  • TheSpinstress22 days ago

    I feel quite sorry for Jenny! This is a great, fun little story though. Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Cathy holmes26 days ago

    Jenny is a little obsessed, isn't she? Lol. Though I am curious about the clown wearing grandma's wig, and the one hiding under children's bed. Hmmm. Bring it on, Jenny. I promise not to laugh, or at try not to. Congrats on the TS.

  • Sanjay Upadhyay26 days ago

    Nice, thanks for sharing such a nice post.

  • Sherif Saad27 days ago

    well writen

  • Shaun Walters27 days ago

    Well done!

  • Hilarious 😆 I love the cringey details of the clown and his attire, and the romance cliches! Lol you did a great job on the collective cliche internal cringe of a writing class hearing a very long clown 🤡 story with no real payoff lol

  • shanmuga priya27 days ago

    Congratulations 🎉

  • Sian N. Clutton27 days ago

    I wish this was longer, I have so many questions! The homeless clown who used his dead grandmother's wig sounds like an interesting story. Congrats on top story!

  • D. J. Reddall27 days ago

    Especially skillful is your creation of a suspicion in the reader's mind that Jenny might not make a ghastly mess of it this time--somehow, this treacle will turn to truffle oil as Mr. Giggles turns out to be a herculean lover or a wise and generous father to Timmy or something. It is just trash, though, and you dexterously capture the agony of hearing it play out. Nice work!

  • Kenny Penn28 days ago

    Oh man this is so relatable, almost like you’ve been in a creative writing class yourself and had to listen to one of these…writers. LoL congrats on top story btw!

  • DJ Robbins28 days ago

    Unique story. I think it could be fun to add to the story and make it a longer piece. I imagined a couple of workshop writers rolling their eyes at one another during Jenny's recital of another clown story.

  • Andrea Corwin 28 days ago

    A writing workshop where clowns show up in disarray via Jenny's stories. Fabulous!! The part about gentle feedback....almost...😂felt related to a writing platform...hmmm 🤔 LOL. Congrats on Top Story.🤩

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • wow clowns brr Amazingly written! :) Yet poor Jenny had to ramble on in her style. I loved it! Congrats on top story!

  • oh no, now we are all afraid we are Jenny....crap :) Congrats on the Top Story

  • Paul Stewart28 days ago

    Someone's writing pure unadulterated hot stuff of late, aren't they? Congrats on Top Story!

  • Katarzyna Popiel29 days ago

    I totally expected a twist at the end to explain Jenny's obsession. Childhood trauma? A runaway clown hiding in her house? A secret race of otherworldly clowns pretending to be ordinary humans? Maybe she keeps a red nose under her bed and dresses up in oversize trousers when nobody's looking? You left me hanging!

  • This was highly disturbing and I absolutely loved it! Jenny, please read your stories to me. Those idiots don't know a masterpiece even if it punches them in the face. I'm terrified of clowns and loveeeeee disturbing stories. DK please tell me Jenny is real. I soooo wanna be friends with her!

  • John Cox30 days ago

    I loved this, DK. I think Hannah hit the nail on the head with her comment that this was hilarious and slightly paranoia inducing. I often wonder how my stories read outside my own frame of reference and fear that readers might secretly cringe when they read them. Not looking for reassurance here. Just saying….

  • Fly Alone30 days ago

    Jenny’s fixation on clowns reaches new, unsettling depths as we brace ourselves for yet another torturous workshop, hoping to navigate her bizarre narrative with cautious, ambiguous praise.

  • angela hepworthabout a month ago

    Great work!! Very funny with the perfect twinge of unpredictability!

  • Margaret Brennanabout a month ago

    This was very funny, buy MY problem is that even as a small child, I've been terrified of clowns and dolls. I know ... weird!! But maybe if I'd have met a clown like Mr. Giggles, I wouldn't have been so afraid. Good story.

  • shanmuga priyaabout a month ago

    Masterful humour...I liked it 😊

  • Lamar Wigginsabout a month ago

    Mr Giggles 😅 Perfect clown name. And the subtitle was equally perfect. I can easily sympathize with the class. And would be apprehensive to make friends with her.

D.K. ShepardWritten by D.K. Shepard

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