For a holiday treat I thought I'd post my very story "Mime" for your reading enjoyment. The formatting is lost here, but you can also download it free at Smashwords.com.
And for the latest (but not greatest) on the Fugitive Fiction Masquerade Ball see my writer's blog, Fugitives of Purgatory.
Forewarning, the language on this story may not be appropriate for all readers.
Now, with no further ado...
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It was just past midnight and there was a mime trapped in an invisible box behind Donatello’s. Pauli had just been commenting to Mouse how there had been a dumpster there a few years ago, back when this was a regular drop. But the dumpster was gone now, relocated because the police had found too many bad things in it, which was why Don’s had been off the drop list for so long. The place was cold now, safe. Except for the goofy painted street rat feeling out some ghostly prison where the dumpster used to be.
The mime smiled at Mouse and Pauli as they came out the back door. His face was white and his hair such a pale blond it looked like bleached bone, all contrasted by a red scarf and black leotard. He stood under the alleyway street lamp like it was a spotlight, waving now with one hand and propped against the air with the other.
The two men shared a look. “You think he saw anything?” the smaller man, Mouse, asked his friend.
“Saw what?” Pauli said, approaching the clown. “We’re just two dish washers closing up late. Ain’t that right, Smiley? You didn’t see nothing, did you?”
The mime jerked his head back and forth like a cartoon character.
Both thugs laughed, though the humor died quickly as they crowded into the dim spotlight. All three stood within the ring, very close, very quiet. Pauli folded his thick arms and glared. Mouse smoked his cigarette, the red glow reflected in his steady eyes. The mime just smiled lazily.
Mouse finally flicked the smoldering butt into the clown’s chest. “What the hell you doing here this late?” he demanded.
The mime made a pillow of his white-gloved hands and laid his head there, asleep for a moment. Then his eyes popped open; even his eyes were almost white, so light was the grey of his irises. He straightened his neck and shook his head, as if disappointed.
“Couldn’t sleep, eh?” Pauli slapped Mouse’s shoulder with the back of his hand. “Hey, what do you know, I speak mime!”
Mouse looked the alley up and down but it was dark and empty, save their own silver Cadillac. “What’d you do, walk here? Ain’t no houses ‘round here, no buses running this late.”
The mime made like he was running in place, stumbled and recovered, then shook his fist back at whatever invisible obstacle he’d just tripped over.
Pauli cracked up. “Oh, I think I like this guy.”
“Yeah? Well I don’t.” Mouse groped him, feeling around his skintight clothes, pinching the soft red fabric at his neck.
Pauli became serious. “You ain’t wearing a wire on us now, are you, friend?”
The white face also became serious and moved in the negative. He drew an X over his heart and held up one hand.
“You know what would happen if you were?” Mouse asked.
One finger cut the air across his red scarf.
“That’s right,” Pauli said. Then he back-slapped Mouse’s arm again. “Hey, you know who this guy reminds me of? Remember Lexi? Sexy Lexi? Thought he was a funny man.”
Mouse rolled his eyes. “Yeah, he thought he was fucking funny. Don’t miss that guy.”
The mime thumbed at himself and shook his head, as if to say, Me neither. His face drew into deep frown, fingers fluttering down like tears from his eyes. He tugged at his legs, which were now fast to the ground. Then he started swaying, hands flat and rising to show the water level. The silent crying became mute pleas for mercy, until his fingers brushed his mouth and he blew up like a blowfish to keep from drowning. But he could only hold his breath so long. His grey-white eyes roamed to and fro, mouth finally popped, and he silently gasped in a death swallow of ethereal water.
Then he took a bow.
The two thugs shared a look.
“Yeah, that’s right,” Pauli said suspiciously. “Lexi’s swimming with the fishes.”
“Hey, Pauli, while we’re strolling down memory lane, you remember Tanner?” Mouse glanced around, then nodded upward at a nearby fire escape. “Might be a good night for remembering Tanner, eh?”
“Yeah, might not be a bad idea.”
The mime held the tail of his scarf aloft and dropped his head, hanging dead, just like Tanner. The next instant he was smiling casually again, pointing at himself and shaking his head: You don’t want to hang me like that.
“You’re pretty fucking smart for a homeless circus freak,” Mouse growled.
“Think he’s a cop?”
“Nah. This ain’t no cop style. Maybe some wiseass thinks he’s got money coming. That it? You keep on silent treatment if you get paid, is that what you think?”
The mime rolled his eyes at such a ridiculous idea.
Pauli leaned in close. “No, wait. You know who this guy really reminds me of? Whitey Brown.” He gave the obligatory chuckle at the name. “Remember that albino fuck? Looks a lot like him.”
“Except Brown’s dead.”
“Yeah,” Pauli said, not quite sure.
The mime nodded in agreement and drew another invisible line across his throat.
The thugs’ eyes met and decided on action.
Mouse seized their victim, twisted his arms to the rear and kicked the back of one knee. The mime dropped into a kneeling position.
Pauli pulled a switchblade. “Fun’s over, Smiley. You should know, I fucking hate mimes.” He popped the knife and let the lamp light play on its edge. “Hey, Mouse, you know the best thing about killing a mime? No one hears him scream.”
Pauli gave a humorless laugh and jerked the red scarf out of the way. Underneath, a fine bloodless slit gaped in the mime’s throat. The clown’s eyes burned with new fire and a smile flashed on his face as a straight razor flashed in his hand.
No one heard Pauli or Mouse scream.
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