A Funny Fog

“Well that’s funny,” Marvin said.

“Funny ha ha or funny strange?”

Beatrice, Marvin’s wife roused from her doze at Marvin’s statement. Her hair was piled unevenly from sleeping against the car window and she rubbed her eyes as she tried to determine what Marvin thought was funny.

“Strange,” Marvin said. “See that fog bank up ahead? It wasn’t there a minute ago.”

Beatrice peered into the gloom faintly illuminated by the aging Buick’s headlights and saw a wall of fog rapidly approaching on the road ahead.

“Honey, it’s dark. You just didn’t see it until now, that’s all.”

The car plowed into the fog as she spoke and the world turned into a dark cave filled with cotton.

“No, it just appeared. It wasn’t like I came upon it; it literally materialized just before I spoke.”

“Well it’s a bit late now to worry about it,” Beatrice attempted to press her coiffure back into place without success.

The passenger seat of the Buick wasn’t the most comfortable bed but the road trip to Marvin’s parent’s house was into its twelfth hour and Marvin refused to stop until they got there. Bernice figured that if he was determined to soldier through and keep driving he could just do it on his own; she wasn’t going to lose sleep because he was stubborn. There was a crust of dried drool on her cheek and her hair was a disaster, she wondered if maybe it would have been better to stay awake after all; exhausted would be better than disheveled.

“So how much further is it Magellan?”

Marvin glanced at his wife and pursed his lips but didn’t rise to the taunt.

“Maybe another hour or two.”

“That’s just perfect. What the hell is that?”

Marvin looked at the road again trying to see what she was talking about. Dense clouds of mist, wet asphalt, dark trees turning the road into a cave but no hazard he could see.


Words froze in his mouth as he spotted what had bemused his wife. Standing beside the road, just within range of the headlights was a figure. In the darkness, he never would have seen it except that it wore a bright yellow coverall that reflected the headlights back at them.

“Is that a utility worker?”

“I don’t think so,” Beatrice said. “Where’s his truck?”

Marvin’s foot lifted and the Buick began to slow.

“Don’t stop.” Beatrice’s hand grabbed Marvin’s upper arm so hard he knew he would have bruises later.

The car was not moving much faster than a walking pace as they drew abreast of the figure. The coverall was bright yellow with stains on the knees and chest. The man’s face was as white as the moon and Marvin could just make out a wild afro of brilliant red hair.

“Is that a clown?”

“Keep going Marvin.” Beatrice’s voice shook with fear.

Nodding in unspoken agreement, Marvin pressed his foot down urging the Buick to accelerate.

“That was really weird,” he said as the clown receded in the rearview mirror.

“What was he doing way out here? I mean—a clown?”

“It’s the boonies honey. He’s probably some local wacko who had just a bit too much moonshine.”

They drove in silence for a mile and then Beatrice gasped.

“It can’t be.”

The beam of the headlights illuminated a figure beside the road. It was wearing a yellow coverall.

“He couldn’t have gotten ahead of us,” Marvin said.

The Buick roared past the figure. His white clown face and hair were identical to the man they had passed a mile before. He smiled broadly revealing black teeth as they passed.

“What’s going on?” Beatrice’s voice shook.

“I don’t know. It’s got to be some sick game the locals are playing on people.”

“But it’s the middle of the night.”

“Well, I can tell you we’re not stopping. This is one man they’re not going to fuck with.”

A mile later another yellow suited clown appeared beside the road grinning broadly. This one waved as they passed.

“Marvin I’m afraid.”

“Nothing to be afraid of honey, we’re safe in the car. We just have to keep moving.”

Three miles passed without a clown, Marvin began to relax.

“See honey,” he said and then he saw them.

Standing in the road, barely visible in the fog was a line of yellow suited figures. Dozens of them filled the road. Marvin hit the brakes and the Buick screeched to a halt mere yards from the line of grinning clowns.

Marvin threw the shift into reverse and turned around to see the road. His mouth dropped open in shock. The road behind them was filled with yellow suited clowns.

He frantically looked back and forth. The road was filled with clowns in front and behind. Motion drew his eye to the side window and he saw more clowns climbing over the guard rail on both sides of the road, they were surrounded.

The army of clowns moved closer and soon stood against the Buick. Marvin refused to go down without a fight; he punched his foot down on the accelerator intending to crash through the line of clowns behind the car. With a shudder and a cough, the Buick’s engine died.

The doors were ripped open and dozens of white-gloved hands reached into the car and seized Marvin and Beatrice. They were dragged from the vehicle and disappeared beneath the horde of clowns.

The fog evaporated as suddenly as it had appeared. The clowns and their prey disappeared with the mist; dissolving as if they had never existed.

The Buick sat in the middle of the road, doors ajar.


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