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“Boko” – Fiction by John Grey

The Clown - Edward Middleton Manigault, 1912
The Clown – Edward Middleton Manigault, 1912

Many clowns are silly, and sad, and terrifying, but we doubt many clowns have experienced as many absurd twists of fate as the title character of John Grey‘s short story “Boko” from our Summer 2014 issue.

{ X }

MY REAL NAME IS JEREMIAH STEPHEN DENNIS KUNITZ, though people call me Boko. My story begins when I had just graduated clown school and was excited to be entering the real world of false noses and big stick-on ears. However, much to my dismay, the circuses were not hiring that year. My gloomy red smile drooped even gloomier.

And so it was that I spent at least two months pounding the pavement on my unicycle looking for work. Sadly, many doors were slammed in my face. If you’ve ever wandered down Fifth Avenue and wondered why many of the door-knobs are smeared with grease paint, then wonder no more.

I did think myself fortunate when, after sending in my résumé, I received a call from Human Resources at Bestial Labs. I was ushered into the office and steam-bath of a Professor Stamp. Unfortunately, there’d been a misunderstanding. The company was under the impression that my background was in cloning.

“Oh no,” I explained. “I’m a clown. I do squirting flowers and I’m absolutely amazing with a rubber chicken. Oh yes and I can ride an ostrich.”

Professor Stamp set his cloned voles upon me. I was lucky to escape with my red wig and pantaloons intact.

Without a job and no money, I soon found myself being kicked down the stairs by my landlady and almost strangled by her boa constrictor.

I tried an employment office. The woman assigned to interview me merely laughed in my face. Now whether that was because she had nothing for me at that time or she thought clowns to be hilarious creatures, I cannot say. The bites in my leg from her pit-bull service dog would indicate the former.

I must confess I was a very depressed clown and I had the scars on my wrists to prove it. But I refused to give up my dream and go into chicken sexing like my father. No way I would follow in anyone’s footsteps. Besides, my size three-foot-long shoes precluded such a mode of walking. I vowed to stick it out no matter what. I’ve always believed that people need a good laugh. Or any kind of laugh. Besides, my head was designed for shoving in the barrel of a cannon, not retail or banking.

For two sticky summer nights, I slept on a park bench. No one bothered me. A serial killer dressed as a clown had been disemboweling ballerinas up at the dance studio in the Heights. The lowlifes kept their distance in case I turned out to be the Baggy Pants Butcher.

On the third night, however, I was shaken out of my shaky dreams by a cop.

Continue reading “Boko” – Fiction by John Grey

FLAPPERHOUSE #2 is Now on Sale!

FLAPPERHOUSE #2 is no longer for sale– because it’s now available for free!
Just click the cover to read.



“The Heartless Boy”Ed Ahern
“The fallow months,” “What’s cooking” – Daniel Ari
“Faerie Medicine” – Julie Day
“San Vicente”Robin Wyatt Dunn
“Lemon Lane” – Foust
“Boko”John Grey
“The Virgin”Dylan Jackson
“The Workaday World,” “Lunch” Jeff Laughlin
“One of those women” – Aoibheann McCann
“Waning & Waiting,” “Erotics of Silence”Lonnie Monka
“Still Shooting” – Todd Pate
“Birdy Told Me” – Frederick Pollack
“Breakers”J.E. Reich
“The New Mother” – Judith Skillman
“Scars”Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
“Other Side of the Fence”Anna Tizard
“Hypothetical Foundations of a Quantum Theory of Familial Social Physics”
Joseph Tomaras