The man in the clown suit produces a quarter, seemingly from nowhere. He is in a run-down apartment, before a white-plaster wall. There is no furniture.
He sweats beneath his makeup, and his body is gaunt with deprivation. He smells abominable. The floor swarms with roaches, a brown-shelled carpet.
The clown vanishes the coin with a deft finger movement, spreads his hands to show they are empty. The room fills with applause, a susurration of brown wings.
After a short time, the applause dies down. The silence is heavy, expectant.
The man chokes back a sob, and the show continues.
Hugo/Nebula Award Recommendations!
19 hours ago