The Crack in the Creeps
“One more round.”
Jaclyn Pierrot stared lazily down at the glass of milk as he poured, her mind distant. After a night like tonight, who could blame her? She was pinned by a man that she wasn’t quite sure wasn’t a living NPC and from that moment forward...
“Lay it on thick, Sam” she said, scooting a candy cigarette from the box. She knew she should quit, but after a night like tonight, who could blame her? She’d been in this business for a little over a year; she’d seen it all and beat it all. From the richest businessman to even the most modestly wealthy, few stood a chance against the wild clown, but somehow Phrixus Deimos, the man who constantly campaigned against some cryptic coming chaos...
There was a crunch as she bit down on the end of the sugar stick.
That old familiar feeling.
“These things are gonna kill me, Sam,” she said, her words lost on the back of his neck. Jaclyn sighed once more, holding the glass of milk up to the light. “Cheers, kid!”
In one motion, she tilted the cup back, draining it completely. With an audible ‘ah’ she set the cup down, allowing the milk mustache to linger. She held out a hand, calling down the bar.
“One more round!” Jaclyn said, knowing that was a lie. In the end, we all know our vices whether we are willing to admit it or not. As he topped off the glass, she nodded her head. The clown took it into her hand again - after a night like tonight?
Jacky sighed, raising the cup to herself.
“These things are gonna kill me.”
Tank pushes the door open slowly from his room, flicking the safety off on his .45 ACP. Chances are it was the clown making some sort of commotion because she lost, as she was prone to do, but at this hour, he still wasn't ruling out discharging the weapon.
“Jacky?” he sleepily asks the darkened hallway. No response. Tank can see that theres a light coming from the kitchen. He tries again, “Jacky?”
“I’ll tell you when I’ve had enough!!”
The clown’s voice cuts through the darkness and speeds him along. Just before he rounds the corner, a glass sails past his head before exploding into the wall. He can feel shards cut into his cheek and hand. Tank manages to shield his eyes then reluctantly peeks around the corner to get a visual on the scene.
Standing on the bottom rung of a stool at the breakfast bar is Jaclyn Pierrot, wearing Super Mario Brothers pajamas, furiously waggling her finger at the corpse-doll Bunny. He has been dressed up in a tiny white dress shirt and tie with an apron wrapped around the waist. There is a fake mustache pushed under his nose and an open gallon of Vitamin D milk sits beside him. Jacky grabs for the jug, loses her balance, and tumbles to the ground in a spray of white liquid.
“Jacky, what the fuck?” Tank asks, stepping around the corner. She manages to reach the milk once more and begins pouring it down into her prone mouth, sputtering all the while.
“Go away,” she manages to mutter before turning her attention back to the jug.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m gonna drink myself to death…” she says, scooting herself onto her rear and sliding her back against the wall. Her pigtails, now dripping wet with milk, lay limp against her shoulders.
“With milk?” Jaclyn nods her head. Tank raises an eyebrow. “You can’t drink yourself to death with milk.”
“Sure I can,” she sniffles. Her arm runs across her nose, wiping at the milk with her already damp pajama sleeve. “I’m lactose intolerant.”
Tank stares for a moment, his jaw agape. The clown closes one eye and peers into the opening to try and gauge how much milk is left. Before he can stop himself, Tank begins to roar with laughter. Jacky looks up.
“What?” she asks, furrowing her brow. Tank covers his smile. Clearing the distance with only a few steps, the massive man kneels down, reaching his hand out to gently pull the jug from her hand. She resists for a moment, but in her emotional state, she doesn’t put up much of a fight. Tank tilts the milk back and finishes it off.
“Hey!” she exclaims in protest. He wipes away the residue and sets the jug down. “Why the hell did you do that?”
The large man nods his head, turning to the ground in thought. After a moment, he looks up, his face stern and serious. “Because I’m your bodyguard.”
It’s her time to drop her jaw. His expression cracks and he begins to grin.
“I had to protect you,” he motions towards the empty container, “From the milk.”
Shock turns to anger and then outright laughter as Jaclyn Pierrot take stock of her situation. Tank reaches his hand out and pulls her to her feet.
“Target neutralized,” he says, “You okay?”
She taps her toe into the milk, watching the ripples, then nods. “My hero.”
“You wanna tell me what this is about?”
Jaclyn bites her lip, then shakes her head. He holds out an arm, an open invitation for an embrace.
“I…” she starts to lean in then stops, pushing herself away. “Shouldn’t.”
“It’s okay, Jacky,” Tank says warmly, “I don’t bite.”
She nods and gives into him, her form lost as his massive arms fold around her. There is comfort in his the embrace, just as there’s comfort in the grave . Her eyes dart to the counter, a feeling of panic rushing through her. They land on a butcher knife just past him.
“But I do…” she thinks. All it would take was one quick grab and then…
That old familiar feeling.
Jaclyn shoves herself away from the startled Tank. Grabbing Bunny’s paw she rushes towards the stairs, shouting over her shoulder. “I gotta go to bed!”
Tank watches, confused as the clown bounces up the staircase. Just as she reaches the top, she turns. Her golden eyes, fully dilated, meet his and he can feel his heart jump.
“She’d kill you.” Tank spins around to see his long time partner Trevor, leaning against the doorframe leading to the parlor. His arms are tucked across his chest. “If you went upstairs, she would kill you.”
“Why do you say that?” Tank asks.
“That’s what scorpions do.” Trevor explains.
The larger bodyguard examines the puddle and sighs - he’s tired and just wants to go back to bed. He starts to search around for a towel before he notices the knife on the counter, slowly rocking to a stop. His eyes shift back to the now empty stairwell.
“This belt is a burden.”
The scene opens up to the bedroom of Jaclyn Pierrot. She stands in the large bay window that overlooks the streets of Chicago, the Cross Hemisphere Championship pulled around her waist. Her hands run lovingly over the face plate.
“It binds me to him, whether I want that or not because everywhere I go, his baggage follows. Some new story of an injustice they felt at his hands or flapping their folds about some ‘end of days’. First Johnny, then Sebastian, and now here you are, ready to fight this phantom that you’ve fixated on for so long.”
She shakes her head.
“Phantoms are something you should fear, Phrixus. But what’s fear? A feeling and nothing more. Fear has no effect here for me, or for you, so let’s focus on the facts. I earned this.” Jaclyn Pierrot holds her hands on either side of the belt in display. “This is not a product of his imagination or some grand scheme. This is not some fortune that fate has placed upon my lap. This is a testament to the sheer determination that I am willing to put into each and every fight I have.”
The clown scowls.
“And yes, despite that, I’ve taken a fall. Two this year and you get to go around and say you did it! You beat me and that’s the biggest brag in this business, but really, what did that do? Did I disappear? No, and here I am. I’m not mortally wounded because you wriggled out a win. I’m not distraught from my defeat. And I don’t see your success as some sort of sign of an impending doom.”
She makes an exploding motion with her hands on either side of her head as though her mind is blown.
“It’s a wake-up call, it always is. Focus your fire, Jacky. Don’t forget to aim.”
Jaclyn taps the side of her temple.
“See I didn’t have my sights set on you. I saw something I wanted in the way of another win over Hastings and, well like pretty much every opponent you’ve ever faced, I kinda just forgot you were there in the end. My mistake, but I won’t make it again. See this belt is a burden,” her fingers thumbs into the waistband, tilting it towards the camera to display her name engraved into the face, “but it’s mine.”
“I know. You see this as I saw it - an extension of him - and that’s also how you see me. A member of a militia with a mob mentality - the crawling cataclysm that is the Creeps. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you Phrixus - I just don’t follow along anymore even though their baggage seems to follow me. See this belt? This burden? It was what I thought bound me to him, but it’s what broke me free. But there’s no such thing as a clean break, is there? You always have those feelings linger along, but feelings are just that and nothing more, so let’s focus on the facts. The fact is that when you lead, someone always follows.”
The Cheshire smile slides across her lips.
“And so what happens to those phantoms when you’re willing to walk ahead - will they face you if you turn and you walk their way or just freeze when you fail to frighten? Let’s find out, Phrixus - we’re face-to-face finally - so it’s time to see if you do what you do best. Freeze, fail, and focus on the wrong things at the wrong time. Phrixus Deimos: This is no holy war. There are no martyrs or saints - no greater good will be decided by the outcome of this outing only who has it within them to outlast the other. The events aren’t about some evangelical evaluation of your worth - but whether you have the wherewithal to withstand what the other person brings, but you don’t see that. See your problem is you worry about the weight of the world, but really?”
Almost comically, Jaclyn Pierrot flexes her less than impressive biceps.
“You should worry about the bearer of that burden.”
Her golden eyes drop down to the belt as the scene fades to black.
Several Days Later…
Three forms sit on the paisley couch in the middle of the living room - they are merely silhouettes in the dimly lit space. The clown-faced woman paces in front of them, nodding her head in satisfaction, the pink pigtails bouncing as she does. She stops, turning to the group as she addresses them.
“I’m glad you’ve all joined me…” Jaclyn says, clasping her hands behind her back. The sinister smile begins to crawl across her mouth once more. “As you know…”
She spreads her arms out wide.
“I’ve come up with a plan to steal the United Global Wrestling Coalition World Heavyweight Championship belt!”