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Send in the Piano Clown (flash fiction)

June 12, 2013

Piano Man by John Nixon

“I don’t know if I should laugh or cry into my beer,” Leon said.

“Do both at the same time,” Samantha said.

“I feel like we’re stuck in limbo,” Leslie said. “Like we need to do something to get to heaven.”

“Easy,” Sam replied. “Just walk out of the bar.”

Leon said, “But I’m riveted to his spoken-word poetry about his doomed relationship while playing piano and interspersed with singing Send in the Clowns and Piano Man and tossing back cocktails.”

“Why is he dressed as a clown?” Samantha asked.

Leslie shrugged. “Maybe it’s a commentary on being a performer?”

“But now that he’s passed out, we can escape,” Sam said.


Apologies for being a little over this week: this story weighs in at 111 words.

Friday Fictioneers prompt given by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. For other stories inspired by this photo, click here.
Photo copyright John Nixon
Story copyright Dave Williams

26 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2013 10:01 am

    Oh…I just love what you did with this visual prompt…you managed to work in an interesting point about entertainers here…well done IMHO.

  2. June 12, 2013 11:11 am

    I wonder why the clown had such power over them?

    • June 12, 2013 1:13 pm

      Such is the frightening power of clowns. Reminds me of some clown paintings with eyes that seem to follow you wherever you walk.

  3. June 12, 2013 1:23 pm

    That was a different take on the prompt. Liked it.

  4. June 12, 2013 2:58 pm

    Oh, come now, who doesn’t love performance art? Very nice take, darling.

  5. June 12, 2013 3:46 pm

    I so know that feeling. It reminds me of watching a friend’s boyfriend’s terrible band play, everyone left but us and then it was too late.

  6. June 12, 2013 3:51 pm

    Interesting take on this funny photo!

  7. June 12, 2013 5:30 pm

    I read it twice, you set the scene up so well that I could visualize the couple, the performer dressed as a clown and whole dichotomy of things unfolding! Well written!

  8. June 12, 2013 7:18 pm

    It sounds as though was a relief to them when he finally passed out. I like how you had the performer doing all those things more or less simultaneously! That really would drive the audience crazy!


  9. June 12, 2013 9:20 pm

    This was very good and provides an interesting perspective

  10. June 12, 2013 11:21 pm

    This was an unexpected and interesting story. I guess when the entertainer passes out it’s okay to leave . . .

  11. June 13, 2013 2:21 am

    I like where you took this 🙂

  12. June 13, 2013 4:25 am

    Nice use of the prompt. Recalls more than one occasion watching with fascination and embarassement a friend perform and self-immolate on stage. Thanks for the link.

  13. June 14, 2013 4:30 am

    Dear Dave,

    I’m relieved that captive audience could finally escape.



  14. June 14, 2013 8:21 am

    I can’t quite tell, but were you sneaking in certain homages to various songs throughout (tear in my beer, knocking on heavens door)? If so, it was genius, and if not, it was still damned good!

    • June 14, 2013 9:41 am

      I have to admit that I didn’t sneak in those references. But it’s really neat that you picked those from the story! Thanks for reading!

  15. June 14, 2013 4:34 pm

    A lot of more story behind the lines here. How to sit through a performance like that… a very good analysis …

  16. June 14, 2013 8:29 pm

    Good job they weren’t reviewing the show! Great take.

  17. June 15, 2013 5:52 pm

    Nice take. This would actually be performance art I could get into.

  18. June 15, 2013 7:00 pm

    I’ve seen some passed out clowns before but never like this! Haha

  19. petrujviljoen permalink
    June 16, 2013 4:45 am

    Beware the clowns!

  20. June 17, 2013 5:34 am

    Love it! Especially the looong sentence in the middle from Leon. A perfect description of when art is actually just a pile of crap!

    • June 17, 2013 5:56 am

      Thanks! That was my favorite sentence — it was fun to write this story.

  21. June 17, 2013 6:04 am

    Fantastic. I’m actually dying to know how it goes on. Very skilled.

    • June 17, 2013 6:25 am

      Thanks so much! I’m not sure if I’ll continue this story… I’ll see how inspiration goes for this.

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