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Compartment 114
Compartment 114
Pigment

Pigment

A Story by WaterColorPanda
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A circus clown finds himself with help from his friend a camel

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Pigment

Once upon a time a circus clown riding a camel watched the sky turn black. They traveled together at a slow pace through the endless distant desert. Somewhere behind them the high top welcomed in young guests with tired chaperones. “Too far from home,” the clown had whispered earlier in the day as he'd untethered the camel from it's post. 

American men who thought in bills and coins had attempted to escape the land now so far away, who's citizens' cravings for spectacle were easily sated. Small screens in their homes now provided them with wonders far beyond what the 3 rings could muster.

They'd gathered up the strong men, the gymnasts, the freaks and the lion tamers and traded hemispheres. They'd been through Mongolia, India, the rural areas still left in China. The women of the flying trapeze had soared through the air above the gaping mouths of full grown men in The Congo. The elephants had risen to what roar could be mustered by a hundred Nepali school children. But though the crowds were often grand, the only people who truly believed that the magician had cut his lady in half were too poor to sustain the traveling entertainers.

On that night the man in the red velvet coat tails had removed his top hat and held his head low. The show would end after that evening's performance. The clown had slunk behind the curtains at first glance of the bereft ring master, knowing what news was come.

“Egypt,” he'd crooned into the ear of the great beast as it knelt for him to climb upon it's back, “Is no place for a camel to be impressive,” Neither animal was in a hurry as they walked from the glowing candy striped tents. “And what good is a clown to them? I haven't ever made an Arab laugh, I don't think they even know I'm meant to be funny! What good is it being where no one knows what you're for?”

As the night cast it's shadow across the dunes the clown wondered where he might be headed. “I'm depending on you, you know,” he spoke to the back of his companions head. “This is your home isn't it? Perhaps for the first time you feel like you belong, don't you? After all you've never really had to use this thing before?” He patted the hump on the camel's back. “You've always had all the water you've ever wanted, never had to push yourself. I guess we'll both finally find out what you're made of.” Even in a windless desert the sound of crunching sand under the big camel's feet was almost inaudible.

“Clowns were meant for madness, you know. My ancestors? They smeared their faces in white paint filled with mercury. I don't really know if the first clown was even trying to be funny, or if he just went insane, but I suppose it doesn't really matter, all those that came after him were mad.” He wiped his hot forehead and paint smeared across his hand. “First clowns went mad, then mad men became clowns, and people like me found out what they were for.”

By the middle of the night the camel had stopped. “Yes, I suppose it is time to sleep,” replied the clown and dismounted. He wrapped his loose clothes around him in opposition to the growing chill and leaned against his travel partner.

“I was always mad you know,” Unconscious flicks of his tongue wiped away the red paitn around his lips, while the white of his forehead was washed away from the days sweat. “I always knew what I was for, you know, but before you knew me I was different. Or maybe just the same but in different clothes, with different tools, and different paint.” The stars were brighter here than the shedding clown had ever seen before. With no moon to out dazzle them they flickered the size of silver dollars making the sky seem within arms reach.
“I never thought I'd be allowed this close to heaven,” He said in an amused voice reaching up to swiped at one of the sprites that seemed to float in front of him, “doesn't seem like the place for a man who's killed, a man who never grew a conscience.” The camel took a deep breath in and huffed through it's nose in a long sigh.

The next morning the mad clown climbed once again atop the golden camel and they continued in no particular direction. There was a gentle breeze that kicked up small swirls of sand.

“Those dust devils, they always amazed me. That wind blows all the time but it ain't till it's been possessed by devils that any of us know it's there, what it looks like,” he laughed to himself softly. “maybe that's why the world has demons, cause pure things are invisible, evil adds the pigment.” The only paint left on the mad clowns face hid behind his ears and ran along his hair line. His lips were tinted pink but had lost their paint entirely. “It figures we'd run into the devil in the desert.”

Hours later he called out over growing wind gusts. “I heard once the desert is where a creature goes to change, to face himself. Seems your kind must constantly be reborn. Every morning you wake up in the sand a new camel, ha,” the mad clown snickered to himself. “I don't suspect I'll change, don't think you can change a mad person. Madness ain't part of yer personality, it's deeper than that. It's just what you are.” A piece of sand landed in his eye, he slammed his hand to his face and started rubbing mercilessly till tears ran down and flushed away the contaminant. “Yep, ain't nothing worse than being somewhere where no one knows what yer for. Years ago I made people scream, then I made people laugh. Most would probably see those things as opposite and say I'd changed somewhere in between. But if any of them had cut me open and looked inside they'd have seen I was exactly the same. Same person, same soul, different pigment, different face.”

The second night fell on them and they slept beneath a sharp crescent moon, in the morning they met the wind. They walked till noon before the mad man spoke again.

“I know how hard it must have been for you all these years. The only camel locked in a cage. It must be wonderful for you now in your element, doing what you were made for. There's something intoxicating in being exactly what you are isn't there? There's nothing more tragic than being stripped of your purpose.” the spinning gusts of sand twirled around the figure of the mad man and the camel.

“Do you see the town ahead?” he asked sounding relieved. “I was worried we'd both starve,”

The town was no more than a collection of small tents. A huddled circle of nomadic living quarters bundled up to resist the wind that grew wilder by the minute. The camel knelt and the clown dismounted. He walked the short distance to the nearest tent drawing a blade from his oversized tweed coat before he entered through a heavy flap at it's front. The wind tore at everything

Moments later from the tent was born the mad man, hands and face covered in red dragging behind him a body wrapped in cloth. He tossed it on the back of the camel before himself climbing aboard. The three strode forth into the storm.

That night fell with a glowing crescent moon and silence as the wind loosed it's hold on the sand and fell to the earth. Curling up against the edge of a dune the mad man began to butcher the body. “It's a pity to not know what you're for,” he spoke out as he worked. “But the real tragedy is to know what you're for, and to not be fulfilled in that knowledge,” He cut a large piece of flesh from the back. “So forgive me, friend, because I know, unlike me, this is not what you are,” He held the meat up to the camel. “You'll get used to it quick though, just pop it in your mouth and chew.”

© 2013 WaterColorPanda


Author's Note

WaterColorPanda
Tell me what you think, I want the good the bad and the interesting

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Reviews

I dont think of it as random at all, for me at least I find it as a warning to those to trusting and to eager to please even the most vile of society's parasites. I find myself almost taken to the side of the violent, a mere drop in the ocean as it seems, classically written, great read.

Posted 13 Years Ago


btw for you to accept my wriing you have to accept me as a friend and i already reviewd:P! and ok i will but i cant since you dont accept my friend request!!:p

Posted 13 Years Ago


really random story!!!! the good its really random the bad well try to make it a lil bit more appealing the interesting its how it ends and how it starts ! but overall great write!:)

Posted 13 Years Ago



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Added on May 26, 2011
Last Updated on March 14, 2013
Tags: desert, camel, self, exploration

Author

WaterColorPanda
WaterColorPanda

Portland, OR



About
I was born, so I’ve heard, on the 17th of October in 1986. I was a bit chubby but otherwise not all that unusual. I believe I cried quite a lot at the expectations everyone was suddenly making .. more..

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