The Joker is Wild
A man screams in the distance, as those two words seal his fate. He is rapidly drowned out by the whistles, luxury, and glamor that is Atlantic City.
The doors open wide to the now 'well-dressed' Jaclyn Pierrot. Well dressed of course being a bit of a stretch as she's merely swapped her Tims for more formal foot ware and added a top hat that's much too small.
Her heels click on the checkerboard marble floor as she sways her way through the crowd. Men and women alike stop and stare, which makes her smile even more. After all, it's not everyday you see a clown in a cocktail dress, especially with legs like hers.
She has a tattoo on the back of her right calf of a girl with pigtails whose face is all blacked out except for her smile. She is holding a bouquet of colorful balloons that goes up the back of her thigh. Her left is a combination of clown images and words, some of which appear to be carved in.
She stops and looks around, clearly lost before her eyes start to explore the crowd to for friendly faces. She notices a startled and clearly midwestern couple looking up at her. She winks to the pair and then waves much larger than she need to.
'Hiya!' she squeals in her deep Jersey accent, at the startled pair 'I'm looking for the crapper!'
The spinning of the planet does a turntable scratch and all eyes land on Jacky.
Waffles paces. He turns to Ariel. He lifts a finger and begins to speak then stops, finger dropping to his chin as he turns on his heel. As he walks in the other direction, his shoulders dip forward as he hunches over in thought. He pivots once more and turns to Ariel, hands held out. She interrupts him as he's about to speak.
His brow furrows.
Waffles: You don't even know what I was going to say!
Ariel raises her eyes at her colleague, clearly annoyed.
Ariel: Is it about coins?
Waffles grumbles dismissively, jamming his fists into his pockets.
Waffles: Well it'll be better than this shit!
Lockology Escape Room
Sunday, April 18
'I think it will be good for us, Ed. We're doing team building!'
Jacky has Ed slung over her shoulder and a glass jar in one hand as she shoves her way through the front glass door. The two receptionists exchange a look at the sight of the manic clown and her passive partner.
'I think you need a team for team building?’ says the shorter, seated receptionist. Jacky rolls her eyes and turns to the other one a cute college guy wearing a black baseball cap with just the name 'Lockology' embroidered across it. He pulls his hat low on his eyes.
'Ye it's like me and three people versus five of them,' Jacky exclaims loudly to the pair, setting the questionable jar on the counter top a lot more quickly than one should, an excited smile plastered underneath the jester grin.
This would be her third match as a wrestler!
She smiles and allows herself to daydream.
Her, the cummerbund slung over her shoulder as she stood on that second rope. No longer some second rate PI, but now, a first rate wrestler who also makes money as a PI!
'Is that math accurate?' interrupts the seated receptionist again who is rapidly shushed by her colleague. Jacky is shaken from her daze.
'Who knows?' shrugs Jaclyn dismissively, 'Just sign us up for a room!'
The man with the low hung baseball hat tightens his jaw as he types into the computer.
'Aztec, UFO, or crime scene?'
'Gee, I don't know. What do you think, Ed?' Jacky shifts the body over to her shoulder so she can look back at him. The three sit in silence, anxiously awaiting the response from the corpse which never comes.
The two exchange a glance once again. The one that is seated mouths 'What the Fuck? only to receive an look of panic from her compatriot. A few minutes pass and Jacky has yet to move, still smiling anxiously at her friend.
'I recommend crime scene,' the receptionist in the baseball hat offers and Jaclyn turns away from her Ed, practically beaming.
'Alright,' the man says, typing briefly into the computer before turning and removing a key from behind him, one of many set up on the makeshift cork-board behind the desk.
The man slinks from behind the counter and opens a door that Jacky had barely noticed toward the back side of the station. Another door further down opens and he waves her in. She scoops her jar up and hefts Ed higher onto her shoulder; she's got an extra bounce to her step as she follows the receptionist, Ed helplessly flopping against her back. He finally stops by a red door, pulling it open to reveal what looks like a study.
Jacky enters the room and looks around. A TV, a Globe. Books. She turns back to the attendant just as the door is closing.
'Wait, isn't this like laser tag?' she starts, realizing it's just her and her friend.
'Let's play a game,' says the mechanical voice from behind Jacky. The door slides shut, it's just her and Ed. Her and Ed and her thoughts.
And her gun.
Her gun: Her best friend. Her confidant, her mentor.
Jacky spins the top off of the her jar, rapidly draining the clear substance.
Always at her side, asking for action. Admirable?
Bad, this is bad.
Jacky looks up from staring lovingly at her pistol, clearly not bothered by the situation. She has slung Ed down into a chair near the globe.
'Call it canned Comedy,' Jacky shrugs. She begins to pull bullets from her pouch to reload her pistol, ‘Can't really complain! Confinement. Constant chaos! Consider it training for Carnage vs UGWC! Chumps vs champs! Champs like me!’
Do disagree, Jacky.
Jaclyn Pierrot was far from being a champion. Hell, she was far from being a human. Jacky glares over in the direction of where Ed's body has been shrugged off by the plastic planet and now stares eternally off in space.
'Excuse me,' Jacky starts to squeals defensively, clearly aghast, ‘Everyone expects excellence when I am involved.’
‘Everyone except you, Ed.’
Her eyes lock with the side of the Ed's head and she goes to take another drink of her beverage. About halfway through the jar, she tilts it back a bit too quickly and because she has not changed her gaze, this causes the ominous liquid to spill over her lip and into her nose causing her to cough furiously.
‘Fucking fuck! Fuck this fucking-’
Jaclyn struggles to breath now and drops the jar, which shatters on the poorly covered concrete, causing the liquid to get all over her. Fumes fill the facsimile of a gallery.
‘Got goddamn good gasoline all over my god-’
'Another Roman coke!' she slurs.
Jaclyn sits on a stool at the bar and a number of expired cocktails sit in front of her, cheeks pressed into both fists. She's clearly had a few beverages already.
She smiles at the bartender who barely makes eye contact as he sets the drink in front of her and begins to make his way back to an over talkative man who just won a jackpot at pachinko. Her smile turns to a frown and she shoots a raspberry at his back.
In the mirror she sees the couple from earlier pointing at her and laughing so she plunges her face down to the tiny straw and proceeds to drain the glass.
Poker. Crapper. How should I know?
She grumbles to herself silently. She continues to slurp at the glass until there is no liquid left.
Suddenly, she turns to a man sitting beside her and and blurts out, 'How was I supposed to know it's craps?!'
'I didn't say anything about to you!' he snorts and her neighbor now takes the opportunity to slink away from his unhinged companion. Just then, the bartender sets another drink in front of her.
From the gentleman.
She turns back to her new drink and crunches an ice cube in her teeth before locking eyes with a pair of blue steel eyes across the bar.
She sits up straight, adjusting her miniature top hat. A smile splashes across her face as he stands and makes his way over.
Play it cool Jacky!
He sits beside her and she bites her lip taking a quick peek at her phone. Jake Henderson.
Jacky was moonlighting as a bounty hunter. This one skipped his bail on a murder charge. He's taller than he looks on her phone. And a lot cuter.
'Hi, I'm Saul,' he lies.
She looks at him and then he multiplies and continues to shift in her vision. The twin images began to sway so she closes one eye.
'Hiya!' she shrieks excitedly, much louder than she needs, and she begins to tumble forward in her stool. He reaches to catch her but she rights herself smiling once again, blinking from one eye to another.
'I'm Jacky!' she bellows, picking up the drink and lifts it in the air, continuing to the room, 'And I didn't know it was called Craps, okay?'
'I heard. Don't be a sad clown,' he tilts her chin up to meet the cold embrace of his eyes. She smiles brightly.
'I'll just hang out with Saul,' she says to herself.
Just until his brother gets back.
She winks at you.
Waffles: This is trashy.
Ariel: I agree.
Waffles: Why don't you say something.
Ariel: Jacky chooses her own path. You introduced her to alcohol. And gas.
Waffles: Okay but that part was funny.
Ariel: It was not.
Waffles: What would you know about comedy?
Ariel: I know more than you.
Waffles: Oh? Tell a joke.
Ariel: Are you looking for material?
Waffles: No, make me laugh.
Ariel: Don't you have a mirror?
Waffles: Ha. Ha. I want to drown you in holy water you sanctimonious little shit.
Ariel: Holy water?
Ariel looks genuinely confused.
Waffles: Yes, what about it?
Ariel: What's holy water?
Waffles: What? You should know!
Ariel: Wait: How do you make holy water?
Waffles peers through Ariel's eyes to the back of her skull: he is now both upset and exasperated. He's held out on talking long enough just throws his hands up in the air before landing them on his hips, their gaze locked in an intent game of cat and mouse. Ariel finally gives in.
Ariel: You boil the hell out of it.
Ariel continues to stare at him stoically until he cracks a smile before erupting in laughter, which she joins in herself.
‘How the hell can I hope to happen to get out of here!’ screams Jacky. She puts her head between her legs. Hopeless. How could she have had it in her head she could do this sort of thing?
Her head shoots up, a light bulb buzzing angrily as it struggles to gain power almost appearing above her head.
‘Just a joke,’ Jacky says to herself, ‘just a joke to lighten the mood. Something…’
Jacky waggles her eyebrows.
'Jovial.' she begins to do a few exaggerated stretches.
'Kill me now,' Ed says ironically.
'Let's let loose and lose all limitations of language. Let's linger in the ludicrous lust of the laughter,' she expounds as if building to something spectacular.
After a short, speechless pause, she shrugs helplessly.
Okay well, one thing is for sure. Only opportunity occurs through outright obliterations. Objectively speaking, of course.
Pull the pistol!
Jacky whips the pistol from it's usual hiding place of her waistband.
Quit! a voice resonates in the air. Jaclyn freezes, scanning the room.
Shooting solves nothing!
Jacky stares at Ed who stares somewhere and as much as possible, they share a silent laugh. She shoots the door. She shoots the TV. She shoots the door. She shoots the door. She shoots the globe.
Once again she takes aim at the door.
Too bad that you can't think though things thoroughly,' hums the dejected voice of Ariel as she gives up her pursuits and settles quietly into the void.
'Undeniable, you just understand, though,’ Jacky begins to give a pep talk to her pistol as she steadily reloads it, 'Ultimately, it's not unescapable.'
Jacky flicks the gun back together with a satisfying click.
‘Very valid effort, my vigilant vessel! Let's let the vendetta be violent!’ she exclaims gleefully and begins to fire the second set of six shots into the door. One finally clips the lock and the door swings free. Jacky raises her arms high into the air, proud of her handiwork.
The fumes leak out into the hallway as the two emerge, Jacky pulling the body of her friend back onto her shoulder and then tucks away her weapon.
'What a way to win a match! Who would want to wrestle this!? We've already won!!!!' she lifts the imaginary cummerbund high in her hand, the phantom crowd cheering wildly.
Jacky is exhilarated. She is once again smiling from ear to ear.
She stops in her tracks, turning her head so she can see Ed out of the corner of her eye.
‘That's an E,’ she expresses eloquently.
‘Explain,’ he says, exploring for edification.
‘E again,’ she expands as she exponentially emends.
Suddenly, from behind her, her friends from the front desk can be heard between coughs hoarsely down the hallways.
'You need to leave!’
Jaclyn starts to make her way to the exit.
You forgot one.
Jaclyn stops in her tracks and tilts her head towards Ed, clearly lost.
‘Z,’ he says, the metaphorical mic dropping magnificently to the ground.
Jaclyn grins, hoisting her friend onto her back, tugging his arms around her neck like a corpse cape.
‘Zoomies!’ she shouts, zipping back through the door. She can be heard giggling in the distance as she leaves the pair of irate receptionists scrambling after her, to escape the fumes being carried down the hall by the air conditioner like a zephyr.
Was it sandlewood?
She lingers behind him, her hand still loosely grasping at his.
What was sandalwood?
Images of wood and sandals and bunnies and donuts raced through her brain. All except the bad thoughts. Those always took their time
Do I even know what sandalwood smells like?
'This is craps,' he introduces.
His voice breaks her daydream She looks around and then realizes what he said. She tears her hand away from his. Jacky looks up venomously from her daze and exclaims, 'My name is not craps!'
'No,' he gently grabs her hand and waves the other towards the table, 'this is craps.'
She looks at the table. The dice ricochets off the table and a man yells a number. She nods with realization.
Random numbers, money.
She snatches a martini off of a tray and then proclaims, 'More drinks!' towards the startled waiter. She pulls herself closer and wraps herself around the arm of her new friend before she tugs him toward a busy table.
'Let's make it crappin!'
More drinks arrive.
She can't remember, she knows he has a brother or he is his brother.
Wait. Was he her brother?
No that's stupid, she doesn't have a brother.
Or does she?
Her eyes narrow on the side of his face.
'No that's stupid,' she thinks and winks at you.
He was somebody. Her phone buzzes and she pulls it from her waistband. It's the McDonalds app with a McNugget coupon.
She looks at him again.
Nope. Not a McNugget.
She absently scrolls over to her app and looks at her balance.
That's it! He has money!
The two continue to drink and gamble, somehow her mere presence is enough chaos to make the dice seem predictable and the money stacks up. Her laughter becomes infectious as did his jawline. She smirks up at him, once again slurring her words.
Her arms fumble up and around his neck and she pulls herself on to the tips of her toes. She whispers quietly and closes her eyes, whispering up to him, 'We're doing pretty craptastic wouldn't you say?'
Maybe cool it with the crap jokes.
She smiles innocently and bats her oversized flown lashes up at him.
'So if we keep going, will you buy me a necklace like Isadora?'
'The necklace that Andie walks away with in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Kate Hudson? Matthew McConaughey??'
'I don't like Kate Hudson,' she pushes him back at arms distance, eyes scanning his.
'What?' she says soberly. Jacky’s gaze narrows, 'Say that again.'
'I don't like Kate Hudson. She just plays the same role.'
'Kate Hudson,' she spins on her heel and stares up into his eyes defiantly, ' is American Sweetheart.'
'Chill? Chill?! I will not chill! No! Have you even watched Fool's Gold?'
She looks down at the table. He doesn't have money! It's all plastic!!
That's it! he is money!
He tries to speak up, but by now Jacky is drunk, belligerent, and determined. She pushes off of him and up towards the top of the table, using his hand for balance. Her heel absently kicks the chips across the table.
'Have you even seen My Best Friends Girl!?' Jacky reaches towards her waistband, 'She made ME attracted to Dane Cook! Do you know how she does that?! By being a goddamn American'
Jacky pulls him towards her, her eyes wide and violent. She finally loosens a magnum from her waistband, aiming at her startled companion.
'Icon!! I am a bounty hunter and I'm here to take you in for rebooking! You may be cute but nobody,' she waves her gun menacingly over the crowd who now begins to scatter as a number of men in all black converge on the tables, 'and I mean Nobody better say another word about Isodora!'
Despite the fear, the group still remaining unfortunately near the table look in confusion.
'What?' says Jake.
'The name doesn't matter!!' she screams, and then offers soberly 'Kevin?' she looks down at him hopefully and then shrugs.
'Its time to make like a popsicle and freeze, buddy!'
The group of men begin to surround the table.
'Put the gun down, miss!'
She turns to the speaker and then to the next man in black.
'Whoa, am I seeing doubles?' she says aloud turning to see the number.
Triples? Triplets? Triplets with septuplets? Septriplets!?
She spins a few more times before screaming, 'Blackjack!' And one of the security guards leaps on the table from behind her, reaching for the gun. She is wiley and slithers loose, laughing wildly. Another member of security joins in the apprehension.
Jake looks around himself and up at the wild clown who is wiggling free from two different guards as a third joins the fray. He makes like a banana and splits.
'I mean: Freeze Snake!' she shouts as she wrestles free of the guards. She leaps down to the casino floor and draws back the lever on her magnum pointing it right at the fleeing man before she is tackled by the swarm of security. They are able to pull her gun from her hand but she continues to flail and bite, but the sound of the brawl fades into the glamour, the glitz, and the glory that is Atlantic City.
As Jake reaches the door all he can hear behind him is those two words.