The Clown And The Cop (Chapter 1)

tagnone

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5

Colorado. Jimmy Crikket walked along with the hive of people buzzing about under the midday Sun. From work to home, from home to a friend's, from there to the coffee shop. All young people - no old men. Grandparents were ghosts, like the ghost of the city that stood here just a few decades past. Rare reminders of the old city still towered over the rural town, commercial towers, and government buildings spared by the blight that had made the VDT what it is - the blight of men at war.

As Jimmy kept walking, lost in thoughts, he stopped in front of a wall. Looking with disgust at what was on it: it was a poster, one of the many propagandistic posters of the Authority, its omnipresent symbol on the paper. Onto the symbol, there was a particular figure: a clown with long blonde hair and blue eyes, wearing what looked like the clothes of a stereotypical businessman and pointing at the viewer. The following words were also present: "Bobo the Clown says: I WANT YOU! To join the Righteousness! Enlist today!"

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Jimmy growled to himself. These damn things were everywhere in the town, and although there were different versions, almost all of them had this clown. Bobo the Clown, a name that, until some time ago, Jimmy hoped to never hear again and sometimes he still hoped that it was just gonna disappear from the face of Earth… but he knew that wasn't going to happen anytime soon. Did he know this clown? Yes, too well, unfortunately. Bobo, the Clown, was a dangerous serial killer that terrorized the town in the past when Jimmy was a police officer. The psycho killed various children over the years before being finally caught and killed by the police; Jimmy shot the bullet that killed him. He still remembers it as if it was yesterday: Bobo ran through the dark streets, Jimmy and his men behind him. Eventually, the clown found himself at a dead end, no way to escape. Then suddenly, as a last desperate attempt, the killer lunged at Jimmy, who shot him right in the head. Jimmy still remembers the conflicting moments at that time: he had never killed anyone before, and he never thought he would have had to, but on the other side, deep inside him, he wanted Bobo dead so badly for all he had done, he didn't want to keep such a person alive. The feelings became even more conflicting when that dumb clown makeup was removed from the corpse. Jimmy saw a familiar face: Lucas Walker Jr., a person loved by the whole town, a person everyone trusted, a person you'd trust to leave your child to. This came as a shock to everyone, although Jimmy was somehow the least shocked person. Not that he ever suspected of Lucas being a serial killer, but from the first moment he met him, he saw something wrong in his eyes.

He thought that the nightmare was finally over, but he was so wrong: Jimmy didn't know how or why, but Bobo came back as some goddamn puppet that worked for the Authority. Bobo became a Protector, an essential figurehead in the propaganda sphere. Of course, just like the Authority didn't waste his talent, he didn't waste the new power he was given. Because of him now, Jimmy was forced to run away, to hide. Because of him, Jimmy was now the criminal. The villain wanted to like the criminals he once chased. The clown's control extended to the whole town. No one remembered what Bobo had done, making it easier for him to build his way to people's approval. Worst of all, in zones like these, Protectors were freer to commit heinous actions on account of less Authority oversight. Something you don't exactly want to happen when your Protector is a psychopathic serial killer. Jimmy didn't know how the Authority's bureaucracy exactly worked. Still, if Bobo had to file reports, he guessed that they were all likely falsified, at least regarding his disgusting actions. Of course, there were multiple Protectors around in zones like these, with most serving as soldiers. Still, those here were just as corrupt as Bobo and allowed him to continue his twisted leadership without protesting.

Suddenly, music started playing from all the monitors displayed all over the town. Their placement was disorganized, random even. The music was sounded like a circus had just rolled into town, yet its melody was very, very off. "Ugh…" Jimmy muttered to himself as the monitors started displaying a colorful background, a familiar clown in front of it.

"Hello everyone! It's me: your beloved Protector Bobo! Welcome once again to the Bobo Show!" Bobo said, speaking with a voice you would have expected a cartoon character or some dumb mascot to have. "Things have been pretty bad lately, especially since that big fire from yesterday. Oh, that made me so sad!" Bobo wiped his face and forced a dry sob, then turning to a dumb smile again. "But we of the Authority don't get demoralized so easily! These unrighteous terrorists need to learn that you and I aren't afraid of them!" He said, his tone still cheerful but now also proud and full of determination like a leader. Both the people in the room where the show was being recorded and in the streets started applauding. Bobo's smile grew more prominent as he began speaking: "Your support is more valuable than any money and warmer than my own mother's hug! Anyway, going back on the fire's subject, I'll let you know that we managed to capture the culprits!" With that, Bobo started walking, the camera following him. He stopped in front of a man and woman: both were handcuffed and beaten badly… "Now, would you please tell our viewers your names?"

"M-my name is Jerome Afton…" the man said. "And this is my wife, Leona Afton…"

"Wowie, these sure are good names!" Bobo proceeds to sigh. "Such a shame that two criminals like you have them."

"P-please, Mr. Bobo, we didn't do anything… we were just passing by, and suddenly we were arrested…"

"Oh, of course! A building suddenly caught fire, while you were nearby and you say, you were just "passing by"!" Bobo proceeded to laugh: a thick, natural laugh. Not an act. It felt like mockery, not without satisfaction. "Do you think we're stupid? Is that what you think?"

"No, we-"

"Where is he?" Leona suddenly asked.

"Hm?" Bobo turned to her. "Who? I'm sorry, but I can't read minds. You gotta be more specific."

"Our son…"

Jimmy's eyes widened as soon as he heard those words. He knew this wasn't going to end well.

"Son… hm…" Bobo put his hand under his chin and narrowed his eyes as if he was thinking intensely. He then proceeded to move his hand away from his chin and snapped his fingers. "Oh yes! I almost forgot! These two have a child. I know, such a tragedy… poor little creature had to find himself in such a complex situation…" Bobo sighed before smiling. "But no worries! That child will be given a new home and family! Now… focusing back on these two… what should we do?"

The people once again made themselves heard, this time speaking, and all of them saying one same thing: "Execute them!"

Bobo grinned. "That's exactly what I wanted to hear. Well then, without further ado, let's go with the execution!"

"W-wait! Mr. Bobo!" Jerome begged, but it was useless. Bobo didn't want to listen to him. He proceeded to take two very contrasting items: a colorful umbrella and a gun. "U-Uhm… w-what are those for?"

"I'm delighted you asked, John!"

Before Jerome could even attempt to correct him, Bobo proceeded to open the umbrella. "They say it's going to rain today, so I don't want to risk getting wet… or worse…" Bobo said before proceeding to point his gun at something the camera wasn't recording.

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The couple seemed to have known what Bobo would shoot at, bracing one another, awaiting their doom. "Till death do you apart, you dirty criminals!" With those words, Bobo proceeded to shoot. Soon after, a massive sign fell on the two, crushing them. Jimmy, at this point, had to turn away to not throw up; the others were, however, having very different reactions, applauding and cheering at the deaths of the two. "Aww, look at them! Even death can't do them apart!" Bobo laughed. "I knew that big sign would have come in handy sooner or later. Anyway, that was all for now! See you soon!" With those words, the sadistic show was finally over, and people focused on their previous activities. Jimmy had resumed moving as well. Staying out in the open for too long could have been dangerous after all.


Bobo hummed as he gave the umbrella and the gun to one of his agents, pretty pleased with today's show. He had never crushed someone to death before, but as they say, there's always a first time. "Today was a good show! Good job, everyone!" Bobo said out aloud as he walked away from the studio. His building was such a cool place. It was kinda a shame it had to be in such a poor town, but Bobo didn't mind much; he was born in this town after all, and being its hero and ruler was fantastic. His job within the Authority wasn't an obstacle: he just had to say everything was fine and that all he did was absolutely necessary. Fortunately, the other Protectors supported his version, and those who refused to cooperate, well, they were quickly taken care of.

"I suppose the show is over." Said a female voice, causing Bobo to stop.

"Ah, Kassandra," Bobo said as he turned to a ridiculously tall woman with dirty blonde hair, blue eyes, and the typical outfit of a scientist, except for the long heels. Protector Kassandra Doe, that's how she was called. It was pretty clear that wasn't her real name, but the big guys of the Authority thought the name suited her. Kassandra had worked for the Authority for a very long time, but only recently had she moved to this town. Despite all the years of service, she didn't look old at all; she barely looked 30. Yet, it was clear that she was much older than that; you could tell that from her eyes. "Yes, it was a perfect show. Don't tell me you missed it."

"Well, someone had to file those papers."

"Pfft, boring!" Bobo said when really, he was glad that Kassandra was such a laborious person. Bobo would get overwhelmed when there were too many papers to file and too many things to organize. Because of that, Kassandra had essentially become his secretary and his right-hand woman. Other than that, she was also instrumental with something else… "Anyway, where's the little one?"

"What, little one? Due to my height, I can consider almost anyone a "little one.""

"Hey! Nice joke! Maybe you aren't so cold after all!"

Kassandra looked at him, raising an eyebrow, her expression colder than ever.

"… never mind, you're a total ice queen." Other than occasional sarcasm and little jokes, Kassandra was pretty much emotionless. Bobo was pretty sure he had never seen her smile or laugh at all, even though he was a hilarious guy. But he had still not given up. "Ok, wait, listen to this joke-"

"Weren't you asking me about a "little one"?"

"Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me that! I wanted to ask where the child is."

"Ah, him. I left him in your office."

"Ah, excellent!" Bobo said, clapping his hands together. "And tell me, have the tools been cleaned?"

Kassandra nodded. "Of course."

A malicious grin soon formed on Bobo's face. "Very good." He proceeded to giggle before walking towards his office. There was indeed a child there, probably the son Leona had mentioned. As Bobo entered, he locked the door behind himself, putting on his facade. Fortunately, he knew how to deal with children. "Hey there, little one!"

The kid immediately backed away, pure terror in his eyes.

"Huh?" Bobo was confused. He hadn't started doing anything yet, and the kid was already scared. Perhaps he saw through his facade? No, that was impossible. Bobo had been doing this for years with many children, so he knew how to deal with them. "H-hey…" Bobo said, making his damn best to simulate a worried tone. "Is there something wrong?"

"I-I… w-well… I-I'm afraid of clowns, sir…"

"Oh Hell no!" Bobo thought to himself. Another coulrophobe. What the fuck was wrong with kids nowadays? At his times, every kid loved clowns, and now he met many of them who were afraid of them. Bobo typically thought of some other way to gain the kid's trust, like asking his name or hobbies or other bullshit like that. Still, the thought of all these little fuckers afraid of clowns was making him really pissed off. "Ok, you know what? Screw this!" Bobo yelled, dropping his facade. "I've had fucking enough of ungrateful bastards like you who decide to be afraid of the symbol of entertainment!" This kid wanted to be afraid of clowns so severely? Fine then. He was going to be one motherfucking scary clown. "Now I'm going to give you a reason to be really afraid…" he said with a grim tone, starting to approach.

The kid, of course, wasted no time in trying to rush towards the exit, only for Bobo to take his hat off, revealing to have been hiding a small knife. Bobo took the knife with monstrous speed and threw it at the kid with an even more monstrous aim, hitting him on one leg and making him fall on the ground. "Fortunately, I always bring a small knife with me," Bobo smirked, putting his hat back on. The kid was screaming insanely loud, but Bobo didn't seem to mind much. In fact, he loved it. "Scream all you want, you little shit! No one can hear you! Or, well, no one who cares!" Bobo laughed like a complete maniac as he grabbed the kid by the legs and dragged him towards his desk, slamming him on it. He sure was firm for being a wooden puppet. "Now, time for the real fun to begin!" Bobo proceeded to take two knives from his desk, impaling both the kid's hands with them to prevent his escape. The kid screamed even louder, but nobody came.

"Alright, let's see…" Bobo started sorting out various tools in his desk, most of which looked like the tools of some professional surgeon and butcher. "Hm… what to do with you? Hm… you know what, kid? I feel fancy today." With that, he took what looked like some sort of small drill. As Bobo pressed a button, the small drill began to spin, which of course, terrorized the poor kid, even more, causing him to scream even louder. Bobo took a moment to enjoy the screams before grabbing the kid's cheeks with his free hand. "Now, where should I start drilling? There are so many spots where I could begin." Bobo laughed. "But, I think I'll start… here!"
With that, Bobo stabbed the small drill into the kid's chest, causing him to scream so loud that he soon lost his voice. "Already done screaming?" Bobo shook his head, disappointed. "Oof, guess I'll have to focus on the sound of your flesh and bones then." Bobo pushed the drill further in. The kid found himself unable to emit any sound but sobs. Bobo didn't mind; he was too busy distracted, cutting the wood, so to say. Suddenly, Bobo removed the drill with a jerking movement, looking the kid dead in the eyes while doing it. The clown's eyes might have been painted, but at that moment, all his insanity could be seen. "Now stand still, kid, or I might kill you sooner than we both want," Bobo said with an utterly sick tone. He carefully moving the drill back towards the kid's forehead. He needed to be careful if he wanted to drill into the child's head without killing him instantly.

Fortunately for the child, fate decided to be merciful, as a loud knocking on the office door caused Bobo to lose his focus. The drill went straight into the child's frontal lobe, killing them on the spot. "No!" Bobo yelled, furious, removing the drill and deactivating it before turning to the door. "Who in the fuck…?" He put the drill on his desk and moved to the door, unlocking it. "You better have a good reason for interrupting me like this!" Bobo opened the door. There stood a medium-tall and muscular Indo-American man, wearing some sort of military outfit. He was Protector Bintang Hidayat: if Kassandra was Bobo's right-hand woman, Bintang was his left-hand man. He served as the active leader of the military force, to the point people somehow called him "General Hidayat." Of course, him being a good soldier wasn't all. As a Protector, he was anomalous. His specific anomalous power was very particular: he could create weird pigeon-sized winged creatures resembling miniguns that would act under his command, which Bobo called "Deadly Wings." They were all around the town and allowed to cover the parts that soldiers couldn't; they could also obtain information since Bintang could somehow communicate with them. At that moment, however, Bobo was anything but happy to see him. "Well?"

"Sir, I-" Bintang interrupted himself, spotting the dead kid on the desk. "Oh… have I interrupted something?"

"Nooooo, you definitely haven't interrupted me! That dead child on my desk was definitely always there!"

"… that's sarcasm, isn't it?"

"Of course it is, you utter fool! I have told you so many times to not knock so hard on this damn door! It distracts me when I'm 100% focused on my art!"

"Oh… well, I'm sorry, sir…"

Bobo sighed. "Whatever, what's most important is what happens after."

Bintang took a moment to think. Whatever happened to all the people his boss had killed? All the corpses were brought to Bobo's office, but they just disappeared, never to be seen again. Kassandra seemed to be the only one to know the truth behind this secret, but she simply wouldn't answer when asked. Bintang's thoughts were, however, soon interrupted by Bobo snapping his fingers.

"Hey! I hope you haven't interrupted my work for nothing!"

"O-oh right, sorry. I was here to inform you that more graffiti has been found."

"Ugh…" Bobo was anything but happy to hear such a thing. Lately, someone had the not-so-funny idea of drawing graffiti on his posters. Some would be actual words like "LIAR" or "KILLER," but most were weird symbols. "Well, have you found the culprit?"

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"Well… Uhm…"

"Ugh, never mind. I can already imagine the answer."

"Sorry, boss…"

Bobo sighed. "How in the fuck are they so good at hiding? We have eyes and ears everywhere!"

"It's very likely that they're using some anomalous mean to hide."

"Well, how in the fuck did they get an anomaly powerful enough to avoid all our forms of detection then?"

"I'm afraid I don't know, sir."

Bobo sighed, frustrated. "What about Jimmy?"

"We haven't found Mr. Crikket yet."

"Well, put more effort into it! I called him "public enemy number one" for a reason!"

"Sir, are you really sure he remembers about your past?"

"Yes, I'm sure. When we went to look into his house, he had already left in a big hurry, and that was before me giving him the title of public enemy number one. He knew I was going to kill him, which means he remembers."

"Perhaps he's the one doing the graffiti?"

"An ex-cop like him doing graffiti? Nah, I know him too well. He wouldn't do that, not even to spite me. No, these are two different criminals."

"I see. Well, that just means we'll double our efforts."

"You better," Bobo said, giving Bintang a slight glare. "Anyway, if that's all, you're free to go."

Bintang nodded and left, closing the door.

Bobo sighed as he walked past his desk and stopped in front of the massive window of his office. He enjoyed looking down at the city, shielded from all the watchful eyes. Not a soul could see him, being high up as he was, but also because the window glass could only be seen through from the inside. His own personal shield of anonymity, a vale that blocked the outside world from his own private world. At this moment, however, he wasn't feeling as good as usual: he wasn't feeling like the mighty king who rules over the entire town, he wasn't feeling like Bobo the Clown, the great serial killer who had created a lot of art pieces; no, at that moment, he felt like Lucas Walker Jr., a name befitting of a nobody, a fool who had fallen for a trap set up by Jimmy Crikket and died at his hands. If Bobo had blood in his body, it would have boiled away from frustration. Oh, the anger at the thought that Jimmy was still out there. He'd won against him and escaping from his grasp. Bobo just couldn't accept it. He couldn't allow Jimmy to win again. "You can't escape me forever, Jimmy," Bobo yelled as if Jimmy could hear him atop his mighty tower. "This time, you simply can't win. Do you know why?" Bobo chuckled. "Because back then you were the hero of the story… but now? Well, now… roles have been reversed."

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