Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.
H Trope: amusement park goes berserk
After watching the old, old movie, DOC HOLLYWOOD last night, I was once again reminded that I LOVE small-town carnivals. We experienced a number of them when we lived in rural Wisconsin in 1994 and for me, the nighttime lights, music, crowds and laughter never fail to delight (can you tell I’m reading Jane Austen’s NORTHANGER ABBEY?)
But I’m sure there’s a dark side to these events as well.
Who among us doesn’t know a child terrified of clowns? Indeed, MOST children are terrified of the apparitions at one time or another. We also know that with carnivals come clowns…and when an amusement park has been around for a long time and has run down…and there’s been a death on the grounds…
On a sweltering, record-heat summer day with nothing else to do, fourteen-year-old Wakou Itou and his friends scoot under the fence of a nearby amusement park and have themselves a fun day – mostly by following cute girls, scaring animals and mocking park workers.
Especially one of the clowns at the entrance of the (very) unbusy “Kiddie Land”.
Security chases them away a few times; and once the clown himself gets mad and chases after them, a well-thrown rock from him catches Wakou in the ear. Furious he turns to beat up the clown – and security walks around the corner.
Him and his friends leave the “Kiddie Land” to go to the closed roller coaster, Plunge Of Death. It’s been closed for a month while police and other authorities investigate the death of an Iraq War veteran who plunged from the heights in an as-yet unexplained accident.
Wakou and friends spend half an hour looking for the exact place he hit the ground by looking for blood stains. The sun goes down and the closing of the park is imminent.
“Let’s go kick that stupid clown’s butt,” Wakou exclaims and leads the pack back to “Kiddie Land”. Overhead, there’s a flash of heat lightning and Wakou feels a strange surge of something at the back of his neck. Ahead, the lights of “Kiddie Land” flicker, blaze then fade. Under the arch of lights, the clown is staring at them. His red wig seems to glow…