ISSUE #17 (March 2020)
Written by Tobias Christopher
"CLOWN AND OUT"
“Come on, Bart,” Jase Allen said as he pulled on Bart’s arm as they headed toward Wyatt’s house. “You haven’t had any fun since you lost your powers. Remember how we used to go on adventures when we were living in the Speed Force? How you were a hero to everyone?”
“I wasn’t a hero to anyone, the Speed Force was just giving me a fantasy to live out,” Bart told him. “I just wanted to be someone’s hero.”
Jase took his hand and looked up at him. “You’re my hero, Bart. You gave me a home and a purpose. And when you get your powers back, we’ll be Central City’s greatest crime-fighting duo since Batman & Chris O’Donnell!”
“Chris O’Who?” Bart asked. “Well, I have been wanting to spend more time with you. A kid’s party is just as good as any to hang out.”
“Trust me, Bart, this is going to be wild!” Jase said as he walked through the fence to the backyard, finding… very few people. Wyatt sat alone at a table as Adam greeted the others.
“I thought you were going to arrive late!” Adam said. “Your friend Opie is here, too.”
“Oh, yeah, it’s been a few issues,” Jase said as he looked at Opie. “This is my big brother, Bart.”
“Nice to meet you,” Bart said. “So, when’s the party start?
“An hour ago,” Opie told him as he looked over at Wyatt. “How many people got an invite?”
“Everyone at school,” Wyatt said sadly.
“Maybe I should have gotten him friends instead of a rare toy,” Jase said to himself. “Where’s Cody?”
“In the shed, sulking,” Wyatt told him. “Jay left and went back to Australia. Cody’s sad because he lost his wrestling partner.”
“Yes, that must be it,” Adam said sarcastically.
Bart headed to the shed and found Cody laying in his bed, clutching a pillow like it was a person.
“So, this is the great Risk,” Bart said. “I thought you were always full of adrenaline and adventure.”
“I was before this morning,” Cody said. “You know, I’ve been a risk-taker, a gambler, always putting my life on the line for adventure. Then I gambled it all and lost my heart.”
“I know how that feels,” Bart told him.
“Jay’s gone. He was the only person that ever got me, knew who I was and what I wanted out of life,” Cody told him. “I miss him.”
“Then go get him,” Bart said. “Hop a plane and—“
“And what? Beg for his forgiveness? Tell him I love him? Screw that,” Cody said as he sat up. “Jay walked out on me, let him come crawling back. I don’t need him. You’ll see, he’s going to come begging for me to take him back, saying he can’t live without me. Any time now, he’ll come walking through that door.”
An awkward silence filled the air as they stared at the door.
“Please?” Cody whispered, hoping Jay would come back any second.
“Come on, Wyatt, don’t look so down,” Jase said. “Your true friends are all right here. The ones who’ll do anything to make you happy.”
“You’re right,” Wyatt smiled. “Thanks, Jase. You really are my best friend.”
“And I’ll introduce you to more of my friends, too,” Jase told him. “Like my buddy Jon. You’ll like him, he lives out in the country. We’re supposed to go camping soon, maybe you can join us.”
“I’d like that,” Wyatt said as his mother walked out of the house with a birthday cake with lit candles.
“Who wants cake?”
As Bart walked out of the shed with Cody, he immediately recognized his old enemy. “YOU!”
“Excuse me?” the woman asked as Bart ran toward her at normal speed.
“What are you doing here, White Lightning?”
“Mom, what’s he talking about?” Wyatt asked.
“I knew it was a matter of time before someone figured it out,” the former villainess known as White Lightning said. “Wait a minute, that huge hair… Impulse. I’m not White Lightning anymore, I’ve retired. You can call me Kyra.”
“Yeah, well, I retired as Impulse,” Bart told her. “What are you doing here?”
“Giving my baby the birthday he deserves,” Kyra told him. “I adopted him a few years ago when I was trying to rob a casino. The orphanage bus had broken down just in front, and from the second I saw Wyatt, I knew I had to have him. I retired from being White Lightning to raise him and took a job at a local business factory to support him. But it was all worth it because I can’t picture my life without him.”
“It’s the blue hair,” Wyatt told him.
“And what are you doing here?” Kyra asked.
“My baby brother and Wyatt are best friends,” Bart told her. “I just didn’t know his friend’s mother was a supervillain.”
“RETIRED super villain.”
“She’s cool, Bart,” Cody told her. “She takes good care of Wyatt. I just wish I’d been told about years earlier so I didn’t want to kill him so bad a few weeks ago.”
“It’s okay, Bart,” Jase told him. “I trust her.”
“Jase is good at picking people he can trust,” Bart said. “Except for that guy at the bicycle shop, luckily I got there in time.”
“So, a fight isn’t going to break out?” Jase asked.
“No, buddy, no fighting today,” Bart told him. “Not when you’re so happy.”
“Of course, I’m happy,” Jase said. “I have you and my friends. I just wish you were better with your heart problems.”
“What heart problems?” Wyatt asked.
“Bart has a bad heart,” Adam said. “It was damaged in—“
Bart covered Adam’s mouth before he could say more. “In an accident two months ago.”
“You know I can—" Wyatt started to say as the fence was torn down and several mutated clowns stepped through.
“We’re here to party,” Shaky the Epileptic Clown said as he held claw-like fingers. The others started baring fangs and the same claws.
“The hell is this?” Cody asked as he saw Wyatt was wetting himself in fear. “Who hired the demon clowns?”
“You’re scaring my best friend!” Jase shouted. “I’m going to kick your ass!”
“The kid’s got the right idea,” Kyra said as she looked at Bart. “Enemy mine?”
“Oh, what the hell,” Bart told her. “Been a while since I’ve had a good fight. Adam?”
“I believe I do have a file on fighting downloaded in case I had to fight Superman,” Adam said as he looked at Opie. “Perhaps one of us should keep Wyatt safe.”
“On it,” Opie said as he picked Wyatt up. “No clowns are going to harm you today.”
“Let’s kill some fuckin’ clowns,” Cody said as the group charged toward the enemy.
“It’s okay, kid,” Opie said as he looked out the window while patting Wyatt’s back while he vomited into a trash can. “Coultraphobia’s that bad, huh?”
“I hate clowns,” Wyatt cried as he vomited again.
“Really? I couldn’t tell,” Opie said as he watched the fight. “Oh, cool, the fight’s started. Look at ‘em go. Wow, this is violent. This is not for the eyes of children. I’ll bet if this were a comic, it’d take the top artist in the biz just to draw how insanely awesome this is. And there goes the first clown’s head. Oh, wait, it’s sprouting tentacles and crawling back onto his body. Oh, wait, here comes Bart with a garden hoe. You gotta see this, Wyatt, it’s hilarious.”
Wyatt threw up what little he had left in his stomach.
“Or not,” Opie told him. “Now Cody and Adam are playing catch with one clown’s heart. I wonder if I should be recording this.”
“Just tell me when it’s over,” Wyatt said as he wiped his mouth.
“It looks like it’s winding down,” Opie said. “And… it’s over. The clowns are dead.”
Wyatt looked out the window as Opie looked closer. “Oops, the clowns are reanimating. They’re alive.”
Wyatt screamed in horror and held his hands over his eyes.
“Okay, now they’re dead,”
Wyatt uncovered his eyes just in time to let out a blood-curdling scream.
“Guess not, they’re stubborn little bastards,” Opie said. “Looks like they’re pulling a Terminator 2 and pulling themselves together. And here comes Jase with a flamethrower. Looks like that might finally be it. Nope, fire’s just pissing them off.”
Wyatt kept his eyes closed tight. “When will the nightmare we over?”
“Probably when Bart is finished with that chainsaw,” Opie said. “Wow, he really knows how to handle that thing. Okay, that should do it,” Wyatt uncovered his eyes but Opie put a hand on his shoulder and kept him from looking out of the window. “I wouldn’t go outside until the rain washes that blood away. I think it’s blood. Rainbow coloured blood, but still.”
Sometime later, the party had been moved inside so Wyatt could open his birthday presents.
“5,000 dollars?” Wyatt asked as he opened the box to find a large amount of money from Risk’s thieving.
“All in small unmarked, untraceable bills,” Cody told him. “You’re welcome.”
“I’ll just put this back for your college fund,” Kyra told him as she took the box as Wyatt opened Jase’s present.
“The Green Drunken Ranger?” Wyatt asked as he looked at the packaged figure “How?”
“It wasn’t easy, but my best friend is worth it,” Jase told him as his laugh stopped. “Seriously, someone died so I get that from the factory.”
“Which we will talk about at home,” Bart assured him.
“Here,” Opie said as he handed Wyatt a small box. “It’s not much, but it’s all I could get on such short notice.”
“Cool watch,” Wyatt said as he held it up a small gold pocket watch, which Bart immediately noticed.
“It was my Dad’s, I think,” Opie told him. “Never knew the guy, or if he even loved me. It’s better off with a nice kid like you that could get some use out of it.”
“Thanks!” Wyatt told him. “I’ll keep with me always.”
“Jase, where did you meet Opie?” Bart asked.
“School,” Jase told him. “He really took a liking to me my first day, I think he’s cool.”
“I think he’s Lucas Adam’s son,” Bart told him. “I think that’s Cyclone’s kid.”
TO BE CONTINUED…