#166 Bad Day for the Labor Department

by Peter Orchard

As the pain from tightly bound wrists brought him back to consciousness, groggy memories played through his mind. The carnival inspection, the familiar criminal names on the worker roster form, and the anaphylactic shock brought on by a deliberately spiked coffee. That damned milk allergy working against him again. The fact that he was still alive was surprising, they had obviously found his EpiPen and stuck him with the epinephrine.

Now he found himself tied to a sturdy wooden chair surrounded by teetering piles of dusty boxes and mounds of musty old clothes. The only light came in through a broken window in the door. Around the cracks in the glass he could make out a distorted vision of garish midway booths. Duct tape over his mouth prevented him from calling out and the inability to breathe properly invited panic.

They couldn't let him go: he knew too much. Would it be a quick death? Shot maybe? Weighted with chains and thrown in a nearby river? Chopped up alive and fed to the pets corner? Cold sweat beaded his forehead as his mind ran riot.

Slowly, a shadowy figure walked clumsily up to the door. A misshapen garish face. A fumbled turn of the key followed by the door slowly swinging open. His fate stared in at him with a horrific leer plastered across painted features.

It was a clown. . . and in each hand. . . he held a fresh. . . creamy. . . custard pie.

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