Clown Wasteland formed over time on the outskirts of a teeming metropolis like frosting on the edge of a cake. First came the massive cargo face erupting from desert sands, vomiting agents of insanity down its sticky tongue. The agents looked like people, but were more colorful, and more dangerous. These agents beckoned onlookers with manifestoes and promises of easy living while they built temples of detritus with the dreams of lost children.
The clown hierarchy was rarely seen and operated behind the eyes of the cargo face, surveying the wreckage wrought by their manifestoes with a maniacal glee. They would occasionally release fractal spores into the sky, an invitation to distant lands to reject nationalism and become one with the governing madness of their expanding empire.
Like Spahn Ranch, young idealists heard of Clown Wasteland and began arriving from the suburbs seeking shelter for work. Or did they just crave community and a way out of responsibility? The Clowns handed them manifestoes and welcomed them to their sugary kingdom, and soon the suburban idealists became as colorful as the clowns, though paradoxically mute and despondent. This was because the idealists were no longer contributing to humanity, their life force diminishing gradually in childlike confusion as they devolved in a chromatic haze, submitting to the regular allegiance injections and rainbow incarcerations. The individual dreams, goals and ambitions of the idealists were subsumed into a collectivist swamp that could only feed more chaos. Like lost totems of possibility they gathered dust waiting for the manifestoes to work.
There was a machine in the center of town that all the new recruits were forced to enter, the Dual Gender Discombobulator (DGD), a smiling device that mixed the x and y chromosomes of the recruits like a genetic food processor, spitting out a confused wreck of a clown who was deeply unhappy, yet perfectly malleable. The proud individuals who refused to enter the machine were confined for all time into the rainbow prisons and mocked mercilessly by the clowns and the newly-converted recruits. ‘Why, the fools are rejecting the future in favor of themselves!’ This was anathema to the clown hierarchy, who stomped out these hosts of heresy like pretty, obsolete petals in a field of endless, devouring weeds.
Many idealists starved (for it’s quite impossible to eat inactivity), and their bodies were taken to the Lake Of Many Colors to become future ink. You see, everything eventually decays in these charlatan communities because clowns can only steal from dreamers and deface civilization. They are not artists like you and I.
Many new recruits were tasked with building colorful gears from the lake, not realizing it was a cannibalizing endeavor; fashioning crude parts made from old, congealed versions of themselves. The clown hierarchy realized that busy work was useful for keeping the recruits in line, even though the gears had no real purpose. The DGD for instance, required no gears to run, powered solely by the life force of those who entered and from barrels of imagination stolen from the nearby metropolis.
Well, rumors of Clown Wasteland started to reach the capitol, and it was only a matter of time before boots hit the ground and the military was dispatched to ‘clown zero’ to assess this new danger to civilization. The soldiers arriving were stunned, surveying the apocalyptic scene with unease and revulsion. How could they save people who didn't know they were imprisoned by their own ideologies? All that the soldiers could think to do was to keep the clowns and their idealist puppets tight in their gun sites, heavy rifles sweating in the sweltering desert.
Some of the idealists became suspicious of the motives of these clowns, and they found their way out of the colorful riddle fences circling the expansive haze. Struggling with thirst and exhaustion, they came at last to the distant and logical solution of the manifestoes, a rainbow mushroom cloud. But of course, never-ending war was always in the fine print.
Sergeant McCarthy brusquely cordoned off the scene with some riddle markers and radioed back to the metropolis, anxiously awaiting further orders. He could only wonder, what was the endgame of these clowns, and why did it seem like they were biding their time?
-E. P. Mattson
Copyright © 2018 E. P. Mattson, All Rights Reserved.
Clown Wasteland digital painting by E. P.
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