So this is the concluding part to the first little 3 Ring novella about favourite clown samurai; Pookie.
I’m planning to do this on and off, just short and fun episodic novellas with different enclosed little beats. I wouldn’t say ‘story’ this one doesn’t really have much of an enclosed story on it’s own but the idea for the plot is from a kung fu movie I like, kung fu movies not known for their shakesperian storylines.
It’s just a fun little series I can keep on with in between things I’m working on, maybe I could get some of it in an anthology or a magazine eventually, who knows. For now I’m just blowing off steam with it, a bit of fun between more serious work I’m doing.
Bit of a shitty week honestly, only had two solid days of writing, then I had to go to work on father’s day and it was pretty depressing. Just watching all those happy families and knowing in the pit of my soul that that would never be me. It really upset me and then even when I got home I couldn’t shake the feeling and there was no one I could turn to.
So I’ll probably have a poem about that feeling tomorrow maybe. I wrote some on my break but I got distracted.
Very little bitching about the witcher today. I’m finally getting to some of the romance between Geralt and Yen and it’s I dunno, sometimes this book strikes me as if the author thinks he’s shakespeare and he can just have people spout flowery shit and then they have sex and that somehow constitutes romance. I guess to some people but I can’t tell if he’s an idiot or a genius in this regard. But this isn’t really a romance, it’s sort of an anti-romance because all the while I’m wondering why they love eachother when every scene they share it seems they literally can’t stand eachother.
Later he has this interaction with one of her other lovers (of which supposedly she has several) and it basically rips into their romance by pointing out that Geralt has no human emotions because he’s a mutant and Yen doesn’t love her as much as she’s intrigued by him and under a genie’s spell. So basically they don’t love eachother, Geralt just fancies her and is afraid he can’t get anyone else to stay with him because he literally can’t give them the love of a normal man. So it’s not really a romance since neither of them can truly be in love with the other.
So that’s an interesting part, the characters aren’t really likeable, Yen is horrible and Geralt is just sort of a placeholder character, he’s not really interesting on his own. The story too seems more interested in subverting expectations than actually being good. I mean it’s all well and good if you can surprise the reader but if the surprise is nothing happens, that’s not a good surprise.
I don’t mind if something is predictable as long as it’s good and interesting and fun. The first story is basically this huge build up to Geralt fighting a dragon which he decides not to do. The next story is about him having a duel with a mage which he walks away from. Oh yeah, really subverted my expectations by not having interesting things happen in your action fantasy book, really blowing my socks off here.
Well that’s enough of that I guess, the Parker book is probably the slowest and worst one of the series so far but it’s still miles better than the witcher and even the most boring parts where nothing is happening still manage to maintain tension and work really well. So it’s not a bad book, it’s fantastic but it’s just not as good as some of the others. I think it may just be that you’re seeing a softer side of Parker we shouldn’t be seeing. Because for me Parker is just this ineffable statuesque character that can never be stopped or show any weakness and in this he seems a little off and I think that’s done on purpose to show that his involvement with this woman is softening him and putting him at risk.
Anyway, enough waffling, hope you enjoy the samurai clown action and hold on for more fantasy brutality when I release more Cur.
The moon was high and Crow had grown tired of waiting for the clown to wake. His claw sang to him as he scratched the glass and it thirsted for the clown’s blood, whispering thusly.
He knew honor dictated that his foe should be conscious. But his mind and his claw would come up with a million and one good reasons why the code of honor didn’t apply. Such as ‘it only counted in the circus and he was a traitor, a ronin, a vagabond’, ‘no one would know’, ‘it would feel sooooo good!’.
The boy that was watching over him had long fallen asleep in his chair and Crow had given up pretense of hiding and was perched on the window ledge.
He scratched longingly at the glass staring at the mound of covers he knew the clown to be sleeping under like a cat licking the side of an aquarium.
“Ooh I c-can’t, I c-can’t wait!”
Almost on it’s own his claw started to scratch and scrape at a pain of glass in the hatched window. And as if on pure accident the small pain popped out and fell soundlessly on the inner windowsill.
Crow felt his mask rising as his face stretched into a drawn out long grin. It must be fate, the glass just fell out. The night, the moon wants me to kill him, he told himself as without thinking he snaked his free hand through the window and unlatched it.
Slowly he eased the window up, it was sticky but he managed to open it silently. Staring his empty cold eyes at the sleeping boy, his chin to his chest drooling and snoring loudly.
He thought about silencing the boy permanently, but something told him that the clown should be the one that dies first.
Crow dropped soundlessly into the room, rolling like a dust bunny from hell. He tiptoed towards the bed and then without telegraphing he leapt like he was wires. With an inhuman speed and agility he pounced on the sleeping Pookie stabbing and shredding the bed with an animal furosity.
“Huh, n-no blood, w-where’s the blood?” He shrieked and stabbed the head under the covers and was startled by a loud popping noise. He withdrew his claw attached to the end was a balloon with a silly clown face drawn on it quickly deflating with an anti-climatic farting noise.
Crow bobbed his head nervously and swivelled his eyes around the room. The boy somehow was still asleep, still snoring loudly and drooling even more than before.
He swivelled his head like an animal and looked at the closet.
“Ah s-so you’re hiding, like a coward.”
He hopped off the bed with no noise except the tired springs of the bed sighing.
His skinny sandaled feet touched down weightlessly and he came around the bed to reach the closet.
The crow fell forward as a quick swiping sound and a flash of silver caused one of his legs to fall off as it was attached by a clasp that suddenly burst. He stood looking down at it puzzled as blood began to spurt from the stump.
Pookie rolled out from under the bed and sprung to his feet putting the sword to the crow’s throat.
“I do balloon animals too- for the kids.”
The crow laughed maniacally moving the sword away from his throat with his three pronged claw “Just a s-scratch”
“Even a one legged crow can still f-fly!” He shrieked as he leapt as if his one leg was a pogo stick. He mounted Pookie’s shoulders and started to furiously scratch and slash at Pookie’s back. He was far too fast and unpredictable for Pookie to fight back and too close for him strike with his sword. All he could do was feebly slam the freak against the thin wooden walls as he mauled him like a cat.
In one fluid motion he threw Crow out of the window. Without hesitation Pookie leaned out to see where he landed but saw nothing but a claw flying into his face he only had time to block with his fleshy hand. The claw pierced right through and the crow pulled him right through the window. His sword hanging on just barely as he slid down the slanted metal roof covered in broken glass.
He slid all the way down catching onto some gutter with his bleeding hand, his sword hand hanging loose as he dangled off the roof. The drop wasn’t that high but it would still hurt. But before he could even consider making the drop a slender hand wrapped around his wrist and his face was an inch away from the black crow mask.
“Need a hand?” He raised his claw.
Pookie looked down at his sword hanging loose and then up at the curved points of the claw hook. There was a brief moment of silence that seemed to last an eternity.
Then out of nowhere an odd whooping whistling sound and a spray of blood hit Pookie’s face. The Crow’s head fell off and rolled over his shoulder and then they were both falling.
“Oops” Finch smiled under his mask as his glaive boomeranged back around. He caught it in his armoured gauntlet with a mechanical locking noise.
Pookie groaned as he lay in the loose top dust on the ground, Crow’s dismembered body lying next to him. He rose to an indian sitting position with a painful creaking noise, cracking his neck from side to side shaking off the cobwebs. He looked at Crow’s body “Did I do that?”
A sudden shrinking feeling put his teeth on edge as he heard wooden sandals clacking on metal roves coming closer. Realising it wasn’t over he scrabbled to his feet and listened. It was dark now, but the moon was high and the stars were stage lights twinkling. It was deathly quiet, just the wind and the creaking of wooden buildings and the long way off call of some nocturnal beast, a coyote or an owl, both.
He’d landed in a tight back alley with lots of cover but he was out in the open, the saloon backed onto a bunch of houses that looked empty in the dark. Two story shacks with wooden shutters.
There was that damn whooping noise again, like a bat or some kind of bird swooping down on him. He batted it away with his sword and sparks split the night in two for just a moment and flew away again.
It came down again and he had to roll, which was a bad move forgetting all the cuts on his back. Rolling through the dirt hurt like hell and he probably picked up more damn glass from the window.
It was no good, he had to run and find some place where he wasn’t so exposed
He took off in a random direction that damn noise following him. The feet clacking and the blade spinning and getting closer nipping at his heels like some flying cockerspaniel.
Pookie bust open some little shack and barricaded the door with a hatrack. The whooping sound reached it’s peak as he slammed the door in the face of the flying cockerspaniel. Only to get a long curved blade stopping an inch from his face as it embedded itself with into the door.
Pookie opened the door again and yanked the thing out of the wood. It was almost like a bladed boomerang or shuriken. Made- it seemed from some kind of cross shaped tool forged into a shape reminiscent of a bladed swastika.
He looked at it with some puzzlement before sticking it down the back of his trousers and sheepishly poking his head out of the door. Looking up and around the roofs and ledges he gingerly exited the shack and started to look up and down the street. And then the noise came again louder and faster and seemingly in greater numbers.
Two of the damn things criss crossing coming right at him, he ducked one and the other cut the whiskers off his chin.
He heard a shrill laughter in the dead silence “YOU DIDN’T THINK I’D HAVE ANY MORE RIGHT?”
Pookie tried to place the voice but it echoed off the buildings and travelled all around him. He was too busy not getting his head cut off to see where the blades flew back to or if they came at all. Pookie had no choice but to get to higher ground. He scaled the ramshackle buildings using the rough edges of wood and large gaps in the planks, keeping an ear pinned for those spinning blades.
He reached the top and got his footing and then waited and listened. They came again one right at him, the other on a curved trajectory coming around his side. He dodged the first and deflected the other up over his head with his sword.
“YOU CAN’T KEEP THAT UP FOREVER.”
Pookie sneered but he couldn’t disagree, there was no way he could keep this up, the blades would keep coming and just ware him down or wait til he made a mistake. He had to think of something.
Finch quickly caught and launched another volley from his perch on a richety old wooden water tower overlooking the saloon. It creaked and moaned under him as he shifted his weight to throw the two shurikens.
He’d staggered them so he could use one hand to launch both, he just threw one after the other as soon as caught them in his gauntlet.
He watched them quickly disappear into the night only catching glimpses as the moonlight touched them. He smiled as they got closer to the clown running around like an ant on the rooftops below.
The clown flipped and flopped around barely escaping them once again. Finch simply snickered and planned a new trajectory in his head as he watched the blades arcing back to his position.
“Getting closer” He whispered.
The blades came back casting moonlight off of them like silver water. But there was something wrong, a sudden uneasiness gripped Finch. Struck by an imminent giddiness or vertigo, his face felt hot and he felt off balance as if realising a horrible miscalculation.
And at the last minute he saw it but it was too late.
He caught the first blade and before he could throw it back another – a third blade hidden in the shadow of it’s trajectory cut his hand off. It fell from the roof still holding the first blade. The second blade still coming unimpeded without any way to catch it Finch dodged uneasily, the blade cutting him along the side. He tumbled onto the rooftops below, sliding down the slick tin and onto the dusty ground below.
Finch was still for a moment. He stirred and then rose to his knees pulling his stump of a hand closer to his body. He took out another blade from his cloak and shouted “THAT WAS A CUTE TRICK, BUT IT CAN ONLY WORK ONCE!”
“It only has to work once” A voice above him said.
Finch looked up to see Pookie on the rooftop looking down at him. Finch scrambled to his feet and into a run as he flung the shuriken in his hand.
Pookie easily deflected it and jumped down to his level. He stopped and thoughtfully picked up Finch’s hand with the blade still clasped in it.
“Hey you forgot this”
Finch stopped only a few feet form Pookie in the shadow of the tall water tower, he turned holding his stump.
“You bastard, you couldn’t find me so you just copied the trajectory of their arc coming back. Hoping I wouldn’t notice a third blade under the others.”
“And you didn’t” Pookie smiled as he threw Finch’s hand down. “Can I go back to bed now?”
Finch thought for a moment and pulled out another blade and lifted it as if he meant to throw it.
“Haven’t we played this game already?” Pookie jeered.
Finch launched the blade with much more force than before but it was wild and in a wide uncontrolled arc. Pookie didn’t even have to move to dodge or deflect it.
It simply passed with a burst of air and that loud whooping noise.
Pookie was puzzled as he felt little droplets of water hitting him, followed by a loud creaking and snapping. He turned to see the water tower quickly buckling under it’s weight as one of it’s ramshackle supports had been cut away by Finch. The remaining supports wobbled and groaned painfully as the whole thing started to come down leaking from either side.
There was nowhere to go in the alley, and it all happened so fast. Pookie were pinned on either side by houses and there was no time to cut through Finch and outrun it.
He couldn’t think of anything else but to cut it. He held his sword over his head and watched in slow motion as all that water and steel and wood fell on him.
Finch’s continued to laugh maniacally until his laughter was turned into a high pitched yelping noise. As he was instantly crushed by the falling debris.
Everything went white for a second and he couldn’t breathe and then he opened his eyes and he was in his bed again.
“Was it a dream?”
“Err” Donny said motioning to the blood all over and the broken glass and then further swivelling to point out the street covered in wet debris.
“How did I-?”
“All that commotion woke me up and first I hid in the closet but then I thought you might need my help. So I got a little closer hiding in one of those houses and when I saw the tower coming down I opened a door and yanked you inside before the thing fell.”
“Don’t people live in those houses”
“I guess not” the kid smirked. “Aren’t too many folks live in a place like this, use to be a mining town I’ll bet but the mine must have gone dry, no mine, no miners.”
“I thought you lived here?”
“No I’m just visiting, I live in the next town over, it’s close enough so I can walk and see the shows twice.”
“You really like that stuff huh?”
“I mean, yeah, what else is there?”
“Huh, I never really thought about it that way”
“This world is nothing but suffering and blood and misery but- I dunno. I go in that big tent and it starts to feel like it’s not real. Like it’s all just one big show and we’re just performers and death is just a game we all play- there’s just something about that you know?”
The clown groaned as he turned over “You might be right”.
The kid smiled as he looked at the back of the clowns head and then he saw the scratches on his back. “You know you should really get those looked at, they might be infected.”
“Ah I dated a chick with long nails once, I’ll be fine.”
“I dunno-“ Donny was cut off by a loud whirring noise and he turned to see the door shaking. A small blade sawing through the door launching wood chips and dust into the room.
“Goddamit!” Pookie yelled as he reached for the sword resting against the wall next to the bed. “People are trying to sleep in here” He shouted as he quickly unsheathed his sword letting out that mocking laughter.
The saw cut a precise square out of the door. Turkey then retracted the blade slowly allowing the square piece of door to fall away replacing it with his masked face.
“Heeeerrr-“ Turkey was cut off as Pookie, frustrated just turned the blade over in his hand and launched the sword like a spear through the door. Pinning Turkey in place, the blade still laughing. He then rolled over and slept the rest of the night.
In the morning he woke to birds cawing outside, the sky was a bruised putrid orange. Pookie felt somewhat rested although he hurt in numerous places, more numerous to count. He got out of bed drowsily, he picked up his sword sheathe puzzled by it’s lack of a sword and looking out the window. Seeing the streets covered in debris like a hurricane passed through. He slipped on a patch of almost congealed blood on the floor as he stumbled towards the door. Confronted by the Turkey mask through the square porthole and the silly face of his sword pommel staring back at him.
He shrugged and pulled the sword out of the door resulting in a loud thudding noise as Turkey’s body hit the ground. He looked over the blade before tutting and wiping it on his pants and sliding it back in his sheathe. He yawned opened the door and stepped over Turkey’s body going down for breakfast.
Donny waved as he sat waiting in the booth one to the right of the one he was sitting in the other day.
The pool players were gone and only the old coots remained still playing their game.
“Morning” he croaked.
Pookie just winced holding his head in a freshly bandaged palm as he sat his sword down next to him in the booth.
“How’d you sleep?”
“Like a baby”
“You should thank Ethel, she came in and treated the scratches on your back, your hand too. She was even more annoyed when you didn’t scream after she poured grain alcohol on them. Didn’t even wake you.”
“I’m a real deep sleeper” Pookie reached down to feel the plasters and ointments on his back. He turned over to the bar where the old woman was grimacing and polishing bar glass.
“Err- thanks – Ethel.”
She just grunted back angrily and pretended the glass she was vigorously rubbing was a clown’s face.
Pookie sighed leaning back on his seat “I need to get out of this town” He winced as he put pressure on the cuts. His side too was still giving him trouble.
“You can come back with me, my town is ok, I mean you haven’t trashed it yet” He laughed.
“Is it far?”
“Nah, just gotta go over a gorge, but it’s no big deal, I do it all the time.”
Ethel interrupted them by throwing down two plates of eggs down on the table and storming off.
“I paid up for everything so we can head out as soon as you finish breakfast- boy my friends won’t believe this, I’ll be the coolest kid for miles” He smirked.
“THE CLOWN THAT CALLS HIMSELF POOKIE!” A booming voice shouted. “I’M GIVING YOU TEN SECONDS TO COME OUT AND FACE ME”
“-OR ELSE WHAT?” Pookie shouted back.
“Hmm” Cardinal thought about it for a minute before dropping his chain sickle to the floor. He started to spin it over his head like a lasoo and then threw it through the window. Hooking Ethel through the throat before yanking her out of the window like a ragdoll.
“TEN- NINE – EIGHT- screw it!” He started to spin the chain over his head faster and faster until it was spinning like a helicopter blade or a giant blender. He started to throw it and pull chunks out of the building, first collapsing the porch with a crashing snapping noise. He seemed intent on pulling the building down on top of Pookie. The chain whipped past the bar like the tentacle of a giant squid smashing all the liquor bottles and the lamp that was on the side igniting it instantly.
“We gotta get outta here” The kid said.
“Nah, I was gonna get out a packet of wienies”
There was a loud banging outside like a crash of thunder and an old man was standing behind the man in the bird mask.
“We’ve got a deal with you folks, we give ya food, our women, our kids, in return you leave us alone. – that’s the deal” The old man was thin and bowed and had a heavy looking sheriff badge pinned to a plaid shirt.
Cardinal turned and without saying anything he brought the chain down and cut the sheriff in half right down the centre.
“No!” Another voice said. “You didn’t have to kill him!”
The deputy ran to the sheriff’s body, tears in his eyes. “He was just a silly old man, you didn’t have to kill him.”
Cardinal stepped forward and said nothing. “He was your friend?”
“He was my uncle” The deputy said as he pointed the gun at Cardinal still on his knees, still with tears in his eyes.
“I see- “ Cardinal launched the chain at the deputy, it snaked and wrapped around his forearm yanking the gun loose pulling him forward. He pulled the chain back and forth yanking the deputy around by his arm. Painfully punctuating every turn with a bone cracking sound and a pained yelping from the young lad.
“But I did have to kill him, just as I have to kill you. We are all born into this world with a singular purpose and once we find it, we have no choice but to carry it out until our end.”
He yanked him forward and he fell into the dry dusty top soil, tears streaming down his face “Why? Why do we have to suffer, for that goddamn clown? Just kill him and get out of here and never come back!”
“Why do you have to suffer? Because you exist, you were born to suffer. If I did not make you suffer you would make yourself suffer, drink or bore yourself to death, is it any better than dying here in the dirt like this? Would you prefer he died of old age alone with shit in his trousers barely conscious?”
“Honk honk” A voice above them said.
Cardinal laughed and covered his eyes with his hand to look up at Pookie with the sun behind him standing on the roof of the burning building.
“I was wondering when you would make your grand entrance- you’ve done well up to now, you gave my comrades good deaths and I thank you for that. Shall we get on with it?”
“Get on with what?”
“My- “ Pookie shit a brick as the burning saloon started to collapse under him and he stumbled to tactically fall off the building landing on his arse. He got up and rubbed his bottom. “I meant to do that”.
“Pookie the clown! You have been found guilty of killing your master Chuckles the clown lord, do you accept judgement?”
“I- I mean- you weren’t there!”
“Yes or no!
“No!- fuck no!- I didn’t mean to- it was an accident!”
“There are no accidents, the chain of fate is one unbroken- err chain” A moment passed.
There was another thunder crack and something heavy hit Cardinal in the shoulder and there was a light puff of blood.
He turned and yanked the chain tossing the deputy against the wall, his body going limp and the gun dropping by his head.
Before he could turn Pookie pulled the cord and let out that ridiculous whirring kazoo noise. With one hand on the handle as a counter weight and his other hand pulling. The blade shot out at an incredible speed and Pookie cut Cardinal across his back.
Cardinal span and tossed the chain around Pookie’s sword arm flipping him over his shoulder. The sickle came down in Cardinal’s hand and he planted it right next to Pookie’s head missing his ear by a hair as he rolled.
“You can’t fight your destiny, you can’t stand against the caravan. They’ll kill you and everyone that ever laid eyes on you!”
“What’s so special about me?”
“Nothing- nothing at all” He threw the sickle at Pookie hungering for his death but the sickle stopped short and hooked into the ground. “What?”
Cardinal turned to see his chain was hung up on Pookie’s scabbard which was stuck in the ground. “How annoying!” He quickly unlooped the chain and turned to see that Pookie was gone “Huh?”
“Those masks don’t give you a lot of peripheral vision huh?” He said right next to him.
Pookie slashed him across the chest and once more downward toward the groin and Cardinal fell to his knees.
“They look cool though”. He said walking towards his back as he knelt.
“Thanks” Was the last word Cardinal said before Pookie cut his head off with one quick strike.
A couple of hours later Pookie lead by Donny wearing his travelling gear which consisted of a wide brim straw hat. A long segmented hiking stick and galoshes to the gorge he spoke of which was crossable via a sad looking rope bridge.
“Cool huh? This would be like an awesome spot for a final boss battle” The kid forshadowed.
“Yup” Pookie’s face looked long and drawn starring at the old bridge hanging over the wide gorge. A torrent of dirty irradiated water flowing beneath it.
The kid smiled “Don’t worry about it, I’ll cross first, show you it’s safe.” He took a step forward then turned back and laughed. “Besides you fall in there you’ll probably come out with super powers or something!”
“Or an extra toe”.
“I’d rather have a spare than missing one.” He called over his shoulder as he slowly traversed the swaying rope bridge carefully holding on to either side of the fraying ropes. He made it across dismounted with a little hop as if he expected applause.
“Your turn” he shouted playfully.
Pookie hiked up his baggy pants, his sword bobbing up and down as he cautiously took his first step onto the bridge.
The bridge reluctantly took the clown’s weight moaning and creaking as he edged his way gingerly across.
It was only when he made it about halfway across before he heard a hideous snapping cracking noise and he felt the boards shifting under his feet. He struggled to get his balance as the bridge started to collapse the parts breaking away like falling leaves.
The only part that remained was a single piece of rope connecting one end of gorge to the other that Pookie precariously balanced on. Shifting his weight back and forth wobbling in and out trying to stay upright.
“I guess I underestimated you” A voice said.
Pookie turned to see Donny kicking his galoshes off as he expertly mounted the tight rope. His bare feet clinging to it tightly like another set of hands. He walked along the rope with ease, like it wasn’t even there, his walking cane held out in front of him for balance.
“I was sure you’d be washed up by now” Donny smiled as he cast a glance at the toxic rapids below.
“Who are you?”
The kid grinned “Donald Duck” He said as he slid the Duck mask over his emotionless waxy face.
He quickly flicked his cane like a switchblade and a long spear point flipped out of it. “My friends call me ‘Canard’”
Read the rest here.
3 Ring Samurai