Dunking Booth Man

As for my victims, I always look for the ones with the most to lose, men I was once like. Take this guy right here, with his pretty Japanese wife and two little girls, strolling along the thoroughfare in the giddy carnival lights. Hammered in my clown suit and slumped in my dunking booth chair, I wonder what I can say to this man that will pierce him to the core. A simple fucktard won't do, not around the kids. Neither will a donkeydick or frogballs or chickenchoker or anything so pedestrian. No, what I shout now is he perfect unforgivable thing and it comes out with shocking force, my masterpiece.

The man lets go of his wife's hand, backs up, stares. "That's not even legal," he says. "That sounds like a threat to me."

I say the unforgettable thing again, clearly enunciating each word. Love. Death. Decay. Then say, "Trust me, I know what I'm talking about. I've lived through it."

The wife tugs on his shirtsleeve and says that I'm drunk and that it's Christmas and what about the girls. But the man buys three balls, and then more, and then more, flinging wildly as a gawking crowd gathers. Each time he dunks me I climb back up with cold water dripping off my nose and greasepaint smearing down my face. Then I shout again.

He keeps at it, as if he can make the thing I said disappear. Little does the poor sonofabitch know that I'm only telling him what he needs to know, and that I have enough material to last forever, or at least until he sinks me for good.

About the author:

Thomas Cooper's short stories currently appear in Lake Effect, Beloit Fiction Journal, Night Train, Keyhole Magazine, Opium, and elsewhere. He is at work on a short story collection and novel.