"Ten more today," said the Chief of Police.
Copyright B Purkayastha 2008
"The totals are dropping." The Commissioner was not happy. "Are your men slacking off on the job? A week ago, they were killing a hundred and more a day. Now, just ten?"
"Maybe," the Police Chief offered, "we've just about killed them all. After all, they can't melt into the population - they're fairly noticeable. Red noses and lips, white skin, green hair – no wonder they’re called clowns.”
“And the disease isn’t spreading?”
“We haven’t had any new cases appear among the general population, no. But as you know it develops incredibly quickly when it develops and it’s very contagious, so we’re keeping a close lookout.”
“What about the media?” The Commissioner turned to his assistant. “Are they still on our side?”
“The green lobby hasn’t managed to suborn them yet, sir. The media’s still calling it a disease that has to be stamped out.”
“And what does the green lobby say?”
“Ah, well, you know, they say the clowns aren’t actually doing anyone any harm, that they’re just a further development of the human race. They say we shouldn’t kill them, we should study them and partner them. Fortunately the media just lampoon the green lobby.”
“Let’s just hope they keep doing that until we eradicate the clowns. You say there are almost none left?”
“That’s what I said. At the rate we’re killing them, we should finish them all within the week.”
“H’m. Maybe we need something more, some way of bringing home to the general public that we’re engaged in a serious business, for the betterment of the common lot. That way we can keep the people focused on solving the problem.”
“You mean, we need some way of comparing it to the war on disease? But it is a disease. If we could say that the clown disease was created by terrorists…”
“I heard,” the Commissioner said, turning back to the Chief of Police, “that you have a specialist clown killer. One of your men who’s the best at the job of locating and killing them. Is that so?”
“Yes – he’s one of my officers. He’s go this remarkable knack of being able to sniff out clowns. No matter in which corner one is hiding, he’ll seek it out and kill it. He’s done more than eight hundred so far, more than the rest of the force put together.”
“I think,” said the Commissioner, “we should have him up before the TV cameras and give him a medal. Do you think that will work?
“I think it’s a wonderful idea, Commissioner,” said the assistant, obligingly.
The officer had killed so many clowns he had lost his real name; they all called him CK, for Clown-killer.
He hated the freaks. He hated their stupid swollen red noses and grinning red lips, smiling, smiling; and their green hair; and most of all he hated their shocked black eyes in their flour-white faces in the instant before he pulled the trigger and put an end to them.
Yes, he enjoyed killing them, more than he enjoyed anything else, good sex or the best Scotch whiskey or the sheer thrill of a good job done. He didn’t like killing, per se, and he never hunted. He just liked to kill the damned clowns. Yes, he could smell them too, the peculiar sticky-sweet smell of them, strong enough to track them down to whatever crevice they hid in. A clown could hide in some amazing places. Once he had killed eight of them, all apparently from the same family, hiding inside one little derelict car. He had set that car on fire and shot them one by one as they came screaming from the flames. They had smelt of burnt flesh and scorched hair.
He was almost sorry the clown menace looked like it was about to end. There were hardly any clowns left, and they were getting harder and harder to find. Yesterday had been the worst – he hadn’t got a single one.
Well, he thought, at least the department was making it worth his while. The clowns might be gone, but the medal would remain, and it would probably do his career no end of good.
He looked at the TV cameras with contempt. The mindlessness of commercial television was so obvious to him that he could not believe the people who watched it so religiously had any brains at all. He knew that this medal he was about to get was another spectacle; but so what? The laugh was on them.
Absently, he scratched at his nose and waited for his turn to come.
The Commissioner was speechifying – and CK had stopped listening to him a while ago. Ornate language wasn’t what got his attention, much less held it. The Commissioner could go on and on about the dangers from clowns – but CK knew how to destroy clowns, and he knew much more about clowns than the Commissioner, who, he was certain, had never seen one.
The scratch in his nose was getting more and more annoying, spreading towards his cheeks. He suppressed a sneeze and glared at the audience. He wondered what would happen if he saw a clown pop up behind them suddenly. Could he perhaps get away with clipping a few ears with his bullets before he killed it?
“…so, although these clowns are diseased and not necessarily evil, we must exterminate them for our own survival,” the Commissioner said. “And we have here our greatest weapon against the clown menace – an officer who, single-handed, has destroyed nearly a thousand of them...the cure for the disease, one might say. Today, we’re gathered here to present him with a medal for his actions.” He beckoned.
CK stood up and walked towards the Commissioner on his podium. He stumbled slightly and hardly noticed the gasps of the audience. He walked carefully and slowly, because he couldn’t see very well past the shock of green hair falling over his eyes, and because he couldn’t breathe very well through the heavy red nose growing out of his face.
Copyright B Purkayastha 2008