What Makes a Good Clown Go Bad? © F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner, 2016.

What Makes a Good Clown Go Bad? © F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner, 2016.

What makes a good clown go bad?

I had originally intended to release my short story, “Clowns,” for free on my site, here, but got the idea to release it through Amazon’s Kindle Select. I’d read a short story by Bonnie Ramthun, called “The Little Hitchhiker” (a fun read, by the way), and thought, okay, I gotta try this! And I was working on this story at the time and just felt oddly compelled to use it.


So, I rounded up my “usual suspects”: my proofer, Mandy, my formatter, Pam, and my Cover Guy, Lon.

So, now, you’re gonna pay.


Well, 99 cents, anyway.

Click here for “Clowns” KDP Select Link.

This story got such a chuckle from me when I reread it 28 years later—I’d actually forgotten all about it…though not in concept. I mean, I’d thought I’d written a “killer clown” story, but just had never followed up on it to see what I’d actually written. Isn’t it funny how the mind works? Some people can remember everything, while others, well, do not. And I’d written this (and most of the others I’m posting here) a lifetime ago! You’d think since I’d written this stuff…but, as I go back over all my short stories, it appears that I’d just been banging these things out (for good or ill) and flying onto the next idea…apparently forgetting to submit some of them in the freaking “fog of writing”!

And the purple clown that had inspired this story? Gone. I’d had it for the longest time, but must have given it away—

Or it’d walked away.

Some people have an actual fear of clowns (called “coulrophobia“), and after having written this piece, I can see why. “Clowns” is one of my earliest stories, written in 1987, and I had literally not touched it since then. So, for this digital version, I did go over it with fine-toothed blade—I mean comb—and a second set of eyes. And I love it! It is “the decidedly creepy clown story.” When she was done with editing it, Mandy had this to say about it:

Damn, nasty-ass clowns.

Yeah, I don’t really get a “fear” of clowns from her….

But, to continue with the weirdness surrounding this story, after Lon had finished the cover (which he said “creeped him out” as he worked on it…) he had this creepy little real-life story to tell me:

“When I was a kid (7 or 8) my father used to take me to the amusement park arcade where they had a dancing Peppy the Clown. You would put in a quarter (or most likely a dime) and music would play. You would then press the buttons and freaking Peppy the Clown would sing and dance. This scared me to death and my father though that this was a real riot.

“Fast forward 20 years. My father is dead. I am antiquing in upstate NY with my girlfriend. We are walking around the store when all of a sudden the hair on the back of my neck stands up and I started to sweat. I turned around and right behind me was a Peppy the Clown for sale.

“I felt him before I saw him.

“I hate him.”

Isn’t that just great?


In the back matter of the KDP Select of “Clowns” there’s a picture of me from my modeling portfolio, back in 1988. I wasn’t going to include a picture in “Clowns’s” release, but my formatter, Pam, included it on her own, and it kinda compliments the story. There’s an irony because though the picture is black and white…I’m actually wearing a purple tux and a purple bow tie.

And because the clown in the story is purple.

Anyway, this is just such a fun story! You’ll think me mad for saying that, perhaps, but wait until you read it….just before going to bed…while you’re in bed…the only light the glow from your e-reader….

I dare you.

You’ll see.

You will.

And so will your clown…sitting over there…on its shelf…

Watching you. With beady little porcelain or fabric eyes.


What makes a good clown go bad?

Don’t know.

They just do.


Related Posts

Lon Kirschner Articles:

Lon Kirschner may be contacted at:

Phone: 518/392-3823



Book Cover Site:


About fpdorchak

Upmarket paranormal fiction author. I write gritty, Twilight Zone-like fiction. Please check out my website:! Thank you for stopping by!
This entry was posted in Fun, Short Story, Spooky, To Be Human, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Clowns

  1. Karen Lin says:

    It would be interesting to know whether or not the masks at Carnival scare kids as much as clowns and santa. And interest that generalky, bug eyes evoke sympathy.

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  4. Marc Schuster says:

    Great cover!

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