Combat Clown/Interview With A Clown
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
This is my first attempt at an actual story. There have always been ideas brewing inside my head, but I've never been much of a writer. I'm more of a visual person. It's a bit wordy, but I hope you like it. It's sort of an origin story. Enjoy!
Chapter One: Send In The Clown
The studio a hub of activity. Gaffers and crew men hustled to and fro, hoisting lights and fixing settings. Stage hands shouted orders as cameramen made sure all there equipment was in working order. The sound technicians made sure all the microphone levels were at their best sound quality, and no feedback could be heard. The production crew was going through their final checklist, making sure Camera One would cut to Camera Two fast enough, and the proper graphics would come up in order.
In the center of the chaos, surrounded by make-up artists and hair stylists, was star Paragon News Network reporter, Erica Layted. Ms. Layted sat in her interviewing chair, reviewing her notes. Make up artists were making sure her bright blue eyes sparkled in the studio lights, that her already perfect skin gave that warm glow millions of Americans had come to adore. The hair stylists were busy confirming that her wavy brunette hair had that perfect luster, that it was ready to be tucked behind a perfect ear, the way she always did when she asked the “hard questions”. The wardrobe department made sure they smoothed out every wrinkle on Erica’s Versace suit, giving her that air of professionalism, combined with that sexy good-for-television appearance.
Everything was going according to schedule, except for one thing:
“Where the hell is my interviewee?!”
The station manager rushed to his star attraction’s side.
“Have patience, Erica”, the manager pleaded. “He claimed he would be here at two o’clock.”
Erica Layted was visibly perturbed.
“Look”, Ms. Layted said, pointing a slender finger at her overweight, sweaty boss. “This is the first interview that has a chance at being even an iota of decent. I would have never attempted to do this story on ’Paragon’s Hidden Heroes’, if I knew they’d all be a buncha losers.”“Oh, you had some interesting pieces there.”
“Yeah? Like what?! The guy from Skyway City who could turn into a pumpkin? Or maybe the girl who lived in Founder’s Falls who could shoot foam from her eyes? Real Emmy-winning stuff there.”
Erica huffed and waved off her suitors, signaling she was done. The station manager shifted nervously.
“Well they say this guy’s a real hero. Real interesting stuff.”
“Well he better be,” warned the reporter. “This city wants charisma, power! I mean, fer cryin’ out loud, I interviewed Statesman! These people want an icon! They want depth! They want-”.
Erica’s tirade was cut short by the sound of doors being smashed open, and the sound of sheer terror. A primary colored blur whizzed around the studio sounding like an F-22 Raptor. Smoke and loose sheets of paper leapt into the air as the multi-colored tornado of chaos went around the studio three times before screeching to a halt near a startled Layted and station manager. The smoke cleared, revealing the cause of the whirlwind of destruction.
His rocket skates, still smoking ever-so-slightly, retracted into a pair of bright red oversized combat boots. The green and purple camouflaged baggy pants weren’t enough to detract from the bright yellow leather shirt, that was sprinkled with purple polka dots of varying size. A lime-green army vest sat upon broad shoulders, protected by bright red and blue shoulder pads. Green and purple gloved hands ran through fake green hair, as he lifted the brightly colored goggles off of dark mirrored lenses where eyes should be. A plastic white full face helmet shone dimly in the studio lights, and an unwavering plastic smile greeted all of the studio members, who gazed back in awe.
Erica blinked in awe, as a neat and straight smile ran across her face.
“…They want this guy.”
The Combat Clown had arrived.
Chapter Two: The Introduction
Combat Clown surveyed his surroundings, with his hands on his hips. Angry studio workers scrambled to fix the mess the Clown had made. Upon approving his environment, C.C. fixed his gaze upon his two hosts. He sprang toward them, arm outstretched in a handshake.
“Hiya! I’m here to be on TV!”
The station manager blinked a few times, still in shock, before snapping himself out of it, and shaking the strange man’s hand.
“Yes. You must be Combat Clown. Welcome to the Paragon News Network studio.”
“Neato.” The Clown turned his ever-smiling attentions to the prized news anchor. “And you must be Erica Layted.”
Perhaps for the first time in her career, Erica stammered. “Y-yes. It’s a pleasure to be interviewing you this afternoon.”
Combat Clown shook her hand vigorously, almost ruining that perfect hair she works so hard for. “Nonsense, the pleasure is all yours!”
Ms. Layted and the station manager were rendered slack-jawed. The Clown merely returned their gaze with that omni-present grin. After a moment, the station manager snapped to.
“Right then Let’s get things started. Places, everyone! Places!”
Once everyone prepared to start the interview, Erica slowly eased herself back into her seat, unable to look away from the brightly-colored hero. As he plopped himself into his own seat, looking around the way a child would at his first time in the circus, Erica Layted couldn’t help but stare.
This man was remarkable, she thought. Of all the people I have interviewed, of all the dignitaries and luminaries I have met, never have I seen one with such presence, such…gravitas.
Erica snapped back into reality. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Elated? Erica Layted? E. Layted? Elated! Get it?!”
The clown clutched his sides as he succumbed to a giggle fit. Erica couldn’t help but giggle along, as the two shared a laugh.
Elated. Never thought of it like that!
“Okay, we’re gonna go live,” intoned the station manager over an intercom.
“In five, four, three, two…”
Combat Clown almost jumped out of his chair.
Chapter Three: The Interview
The cameras recorded a good two minutes of dead air. Erica Layted simply sat there, notes in hand, giving Combat Clown goo-goo eyes. It took a stagehand shouting off-camera to snap her back into reality.
“Oh! Yes. Good evening, Paragon. I’m elated.”
The production booth grumbled and furrowed their brows quizzically. Combat Clown giggled.
“I-I mean…I’m Erica Layted. (Edit that out in copy.)”
Erica cleared her throat.
“Tonight, we continue our look at Paragon City‘s ‘Hidden Heroes‘. The men, women, and other beings who make our lives safe away from the public eye.”
“Because most of us have faces for radio!”, added the Combat Clown.
Erica lost it. Laughing heartily for a good five minutes, it took awhile to regain her composure. The editor in the production booth cursed, throwing a stack of papers into the air.
Once she regained her faculties, Ms. Layted continued.
“We have with us here, the Combat Clown, who is…who is…”
The clown merely crossed his legs, a big comical boot flying across his body as he awaited his introduction.
“…he really is something else.”
Combat Clown laughed.
“I’ve been called worse!”
“Um, tell me, Combat Clown. What does it feel like to be another face in a sea of costumed heroes?”
“Well, Ms. Layted,” mused the Clown, “it’s a lot like being in a three ring circus. Sure, you’re performing well, but there’s so much going on, it’s easy to miss out. And please”, Combat Clown said as he leaned forward.
“Call me CC”.
Erica Layted blushed. She had interviewed dignitaries, world leaders, and superheroes. Yet this common clown made her cheeks flush.
“Of course, CC,” she choked out. “Er, do you ever mind being the second, sometimes third fiddle?"
"Well, the way I see it, I'm like the auguste clown," CC explained. "The auguste clown is like the counter to the whiteface clown. The whiteface clown would be like...oh...I don't know. Ol' Statesman. The auguste is always under the whiteface in status. But the crowd likes us more! We're the funny ones! The jokers, the fools! Everybody loves to laugh. Don't you?"
The plastic smile was focused on Erica, and she felt it's intensity. It made her feel wonderful and uncomfortable all at the same time. All she could do was nod her head in agreement.
"Remarkable", she stammered out.
"Hah! What a wordsmith! Give this lady the Pulitzer!"
God, she thought. What is wrong with me? I have to focus on the interview. Not on this amazing, charasmatic, intelligent, beautiful clown.
Erica tried shaking herself out of her daze. She skipped ahead to her notes, to the important questions. Like the ones about Combat Clown's role in exposing Longbow corruption, and ousting Simon Sirus as a traitor to his country. She prepared to ask the question, tucking her hair back behind her right ear.
"There it is!"
Erica, startled, looked around.
"There what is?"
"That thing you do! The thing when you're about to ask a real important question about something real important!"
The Clown bounced up and down in his chair, and clapped exuberantly.
"Go 'head then! Ask away!"
She couldn't find the words. He was mesmerizing. He was intoxicating. She wanted to be like him. She wanted to be with him.
"I love you."
The studio got quiet as a morgue. Everyone was frozen in disbelief.
Combat Clown looked directly into the camera.
"Ut-oh", was the last thing he said before tape stopped rolling.
Chapter Four: Love And Insanity Ain't So Different!
She saw the station manager storm onto the set, yelling and screaming. She saw the stagehands and production crew talk amongst themselves, pointing at her, hands over mouths, arms crossed. She saw the network executives burst into the studio, threatening her termination, and the end of her career in newsanchoring. She saw them all.
But she didn't hear them.
All she heard was his laughter.
This clown. This fantastical muscle bound gift to the Earth wrapped in primary colors. His presence was commanding. His personality was shocking. His wit was razor-sharp. She saw forever in him, an eternity of blissful companionship, filled with laughter, laughter forever and ever.
Too bad she couldn't see she had completely lost her mind.
Combat Clown stood up, still chuckling, catching his breath.
"I tell ya," he said. "You are one funny lady. 'I love you'. HAH! That's comedy gold!"
She stood up to meet him, ignoring all of the commotion around her. She grabbed his arm and held it close to her. She looked up into his fake plastic face and that never ending plastic smile.
"It's no joke", she breathed. "I love you."
"Ha ha! Right."
Combat Clown turned to leave, but she still held his arm. He sighed and nodded at his arm, indicating Erica should let go now. But she held tight. She never wanted to let him go again. She wanted to enter his big canvas tent, and perform in his circus for the rest of her life. She squeezed tighter, her eyes blazing with mad passion.
"You're a god. A wonderful trickster god, sent down to Earth to me. Don't you feel it too?"
Combat Clown grunted, trying to break free.
"Lady, the only thing I feel is you cutting off circulation to my forearm. Leggo!"
Ms. Layted refused to let go as Combat Clown tried to shake her off. Her mad grip on his person only grew stronger. She was crazy in love, unwilling ot part with what she thought was her soulmate. Finally taking notice of what was going on, the station manager and some others tried to pull Erica off of CC. But she refused to be denied her love. She kicked the station manager in the leg with a sharp high heel. She scratched at a network executive and bit a stagehand. Combat Clown put his hand on her head.
"I didn't wanna have to tell this joke, lady, but you asked for it!"
Combat Clown hit Erica Layted with a charge from his joybuzzer gloves. The jolt shocked her, and she loosened her vice grip. Combat Clown broke free, as Erica was tackled and restrained by network security.
"Get her outta here!", a bleeding station manager shouted.
"NO," screamed Erica as she was dragged away. "WE WERE MEANT TO BE TOGETHER, CC! I LOVE YOU! I'LL KILL ANYONE WHO COMES BETWEEN US! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU!"
Erica's words echoed as she was dragged out the door, and down the halls of the studio, ranting the whole time. Combat Clown dusted himself off. He looked around at the studio, which now looked like a grenade had gone off in it. He scratched the back of his head, and slowly started to back out.
"Well," he started. "This has been one heckuva time. I, uh, hope y'all had fun. Aaaaand I'll be seein' ya! Lookin' foward to catchin' this on the TV."
Combat Clown quickly rocketed out of the studio, and into the streets.
Boy, he thought. This'll make one fine VirtueVerse entry!
Shh! We're not going to break the fourth wall in this story. Keep it together.
Oh! Whoops! Sorry. Carry on, third person narritive.
Thank you. *Ahem*.
Combat Clown rocketed off into the horizon, as an ambulance took Erica Layted to the hospital.
Chapter Five: The Beginning
Ziggursky Penitentiary, Sub-Level Four, Mental Ward
The row of steel doors had only small windows on them, but through these small openings, madness seeped out. Amongst the rantings and ravings of madmen, tears of sorrow could be heard. Screams of rage. Cries of terror. The Zig's mental ward was an uncomfortable place to be. Warden McGoohan marched down the row with the prison's head psychiatrist to meet it's newest addition to the criminally insane.
"What's the prognosis?", demanded the warden.
"Obsessive compulsive disorder, coupled with an emergence in sociopathic tendancies." The doctor pushed his glassed up higher onto his nose.
"Apparently, Ms. Layted had a lot of repressed memories and emotions, stemming from her childhood."
"Incident with clowns, I presume?" The warden stopped in front of the last cell door, and peered inside.
"One can gather that as a hypothesis, yes." The doctor examined the cell next to the warden.
The all white cell had padded walls and floors. The only light came from a single light bulb, too high to reach conventionally. Tucked away in a corner, curled into a ball, sat what remained of Erica Layted. Her perfect hair, frazzled and frayed. Her perfect skin, dry and cracked. Her perfect face, dark circles under the eyes, and murmuring chapped lips. The warden squinted at his newest inmate.
"What's she mumblin'?"
The doctor flipped a page on his clipboard. "All she has said since the incident has been: elated."
The warden shook his head, standing up straight. He turned around and marched back down the row of cells.
"A shame", he said to no one in particular. "Such a pretty girl."
The jittery doctor quickly followed on the wardens heels. Erica listened to them leave, as she heard the sounds of the mental ward flood her cell. She rocked back and forth.
"E. Layted...and CC."
"Sitting in a tree."
"L. A. F. F. I. N. G."
Her laugh was unexpected. It started off with a chuckle. Then a giggle. Then it evolved into a deep belly laugh. Then it cascaded into a shrill cackle. A malicious cackle. A vengeful cackle. Erica's laugh rolled through the mental ward, drowning out the sounds of the others. It echoed through the Zig and out into the night.
It was cold that night in Paragon City.
Let me know what you thought of this!!!