Death By Clown
Mark Allen Davis
Grandpa Anarchy and his sidekick cornered Bofforma III on the steps of Frosthaven city hall. The world's oldest hero punched two of the last of Bofforma's clown army, then approached the stairs. Behind him, Panic at the Dance Hall Boy spritzed the faces of the two stunned clowns; their white faces and red noses faded as they transformed into normal Frosthaven citizens.
The sky was overcast and grey; the villain -- a truly imposing clown of well over six feet and in excess of three hundred pounds -- waited on the top steps. He sported oversized red sandals and a white robe trimmed with gold and red puffballs in a row down the front. His golden mask flashed amid lengthening shadows; it was lined with silver on the inner surface to mimic a whiteface look, but the nose was bright red.
"Give it up, Bofforma!" Grandpa Anarchy called out. "Your reign of terror is at an end! Take off that mask!"
"Never!" snarled the massive clown. "In a million years I could not hope to find a more perfect vessel for my essence! Nor have you the power to rip it from me, you frail fool."
Bofforma III was the last Emperor of the Kalownian Empire, an ancient clown kingdom that dominated the Anatolian plateau of Asia Minor between 2300 and 2000 B.C. He was a contemporary of the Minoan civilization, and a renown sorcerer whose life force was intrinsically tied to the golden death mask buried with him. He possessed those who wore the mask, and infected others with a mind-controlling virus that transformed them into an army of clowns at his command.
"Face it Bofforma you've lost," yelled Grandpa Anarchy. "The antidote engineered by Omnigen Corp from my special pancakes has returned the citizens of the city to themselves, removing them from your mind control. There's only you now."
"No matter!" the clown retorted. "I require no army! I really must thank you, Grandpa Anarchy. I am powerful in my own right, but in the body of the strongest sorcerer in the world, I am nigh invincible! You may have defeated my army, but who are you to oppose me? An old man with his bare fists is no match for a magician of my caliber!"
Bofforma raised his hands. Storm clouds swirled overhead. Lightning struck with a boom and a bright white flash. The grass near Grandpa was burned black. Wisps of smoke rose. The hero did not flinch.
"I've beaten you before, Bofforma," said Grandpa, raising his fists. "I can do it again!"
Bofforma emitted a deep, booming laugh. "Do not lie, Mr. Anarchy," he said. "Do I not possess the body of your oldest and dearest friend? Surely Dark Dr. Dark is the last person you would willingly strike!"
"That pompous ass?" Grandpa snarled. "Any time, any where!"
Energy crackled along Bofforma's arms and arced from one hand to the other. "It matters not," he said. "You can't lay a finger on me, old man. I will never let Dark Dr. Dark go. There is nothing you can do about it!"
"We'll see about that," Grandpa said, striding up the steps.
Energy struck Grandpa. He stumbled, but then continued climbing. Bofforma uttered a rapid patter of words in an ancient tongue. A glowing red shield surrounded him. Grandpa strode through it as if it were nothing more than a hologram or projected image. The clown's eyes grew wide. A massive sword of glowing silver energy appeared in his hands. He swung, but it passed through Grandpa to no effect.
Grandpa Anarchy punched the clown in his golden mask. The clown stumbled. Grandpa punched again and again, and Bofforma III fell backwards, clutching his red nose.
"How?" the clown exclaimed. "My magic...."
"Because," said Grandpa, "Dark Dr. Dark is far more paranoid than you could ever guess." Reaching into his shirt, Grandpa Anarchy produced a small leather bag. "This charm protects me specifically from Dark Dr. Dark's magic. He created it for me himself for just such a situation."
"Impossible!" the clown exclaimed. "If that were true I would have known it! All of his memories are mine to access!"
"He had all memory of it magically wiped from his mind," Grandpa said with a laugh. "You loose, Bofforma!"
As Grandpa reached down, the clown snarled, "You win this round, Mr. Anarchy. But I will be back! So long as my death mask exists, I am always one step away from returning to establish my empire upon this earth again! I am nearly five thousand years old and you are but one old man! You cannot always be there to stop me! One day I will...."
Grandpa yanked away the mask. The clown faded and shrunk, and became Dark Dr. Dark once again.
"And what did you do with the mask?" asked Professor Emily Wolcott. "That is the heart of my collection -- and a very dangerous magical artifact to boot! Where is it?"
Panic at the Dance Hall Boy stared out the window. He whistled. Dark Dr. Dark and Grandpa Anarchy exchanged glances.
"Our deepest apologies," said Dark Dr. Dark, "but...."
"It sort of accidentally fell in front of a steamroller," Grandpa blurted out.
"Yes," said Dark Dr. Dark. "A regrettable accident, but entirely our fault, I'm afraid."
"Then it accidentally fell into a metal shredder," Grandpa added. "Then it was accidentally melted in a forge and accidentally scattered to the four corners of the earth... save for those bits that wound up in another dimension... accidentally...."