Dude, Where's My Karma?
A soft groan escapes her lips as the golden eyes of Jaclyn Pierrot slowly blink open. The back of her head throbs - why she could not remember - and the distinctive feeling of nauseated fatigue floods her body. She can feel her gaze cascade towards the thin green carpet.
As her vision fights for focus, she momentarily wishes it would not, unable to turn her thoughts away from the idea of putting a coat of orange paint on that wall, let alone two. That, combined with what is likely the beginning stages of the concussion, causes her stomach to clench as she fights the urge to heave. A pair of twin beds sits against a wall with a small, fiberboard nightstand spanning the space between. On the bed closest to the door, a form sits, nervously bouncing one leg.
“Where the fuck am I,” she mutters.
The clown squints her eyes at the person who pushes themselves to their feet. They cover the room in an instant and she can feel a flash of pain as a metal object crashes into her cheek.
“Motherf-” she starts, but a hand grabs hold of her jaw, the thumb and forefinger pressing painfully into her cheeks. Her head is forced up so she meets the intense stare of her blue-eyed assailant.
“You shut up! You fucking-” The woman’s hand trembles as she struggles with the words, the delicately manicured fingernails digging into Jacky’s flesh. She can feel her eyes fill with tears. Her captor shoves her head back as she spits out the word, “Murderer!”
After a rapid succession of strikes, Jaclyn can feel the taste of copper in her mouth. She spits the blood onto the carpet, her amber eyes slowly looking up once more at the woman.
She is of average height and weight, blond hair pulled up into a tight bun on top of her head. Her clothes were what one would suspect a soccer mom might purchase if she was participating in a night of light crime - all black - right down to the gloves. In her bloodied hand, she holds the clown’s oversized .44 magnum.
“What did I murder, your sense of fashion?” Jacky asks, at first to the woman, but in the end to the barrel of her own weapon.
“I should pull the trigger right now - it’s what you would do, right?” The clown shrugs. “It’s what you did after all to me and my family.”
“You don’t seem that dead.”
Once again, the hard steel of the gun meets Jaclyn’s face. Hand now trembling, the clowns' captor levels the revolver once more at her forehead.
“You killed me the day you killed my husband. You don’t remember, of course. The countless corpses left in your wake, why would one single security guard matter? He was an obstacle in your path and nothing more - but to me?” Her lip quivers and she stop speaking, lowering the gun for a moment. Swallowing deeply, she continues. “He was everything. His name was Jim.”
“Is that short for Jimothy?” Jacky mutters, but the woman continues without recourse.
“He took that job for me, you know? We had gotten married young, right out of high school, but it didn’t matter. I knew he was the one. We didn’t have a big wedding, and we didn’t mind but Jim…Jim always wanted me to have more. With his bonus check, he had been able to scrape together just enough to make the trip good enough but Jim…‘Just a little while longer and we can swim with the angels…’ That’s what he called dolphins. Isn’t that sweet?” Jaclyn doesn’t move. “In the end, every cent he had saved, went to trying to save his life and I just can’t help but wonder, was there even a reason why? Why do I wake up every night now, wishing and hoping that moment was anything - a dream, a nightmare - anything but what it is? Did you even have a reason? Do you even have a response?”
Through one swollen eye, the clown simply looks on.
“Jim used to say that we shouldn’t seek revenge on people who wrong us. He truly believed that in the end everyone got what they deserved. That was the thing I loved about him, and I wanted to believe. As I sat with him in that hospital, watching him slowly slip away, I wanted to believe.” She steadies herself, aiming the gun once more at the clown, “Do you know the last time I smiled? It was when I turned on the news in that hospital and they showed you being showered with bullets. I thought to myself, Jim was right!”
She shakes her head, her lips tight.
“But that wasn’t it. That wasn’t your end, but after months of clinging to life, Jim finally passed away. I can’t say that wasn’t some relief. See, somewhere along the line I stopped believing in the world he wanted and started believing in the world you made.”
The woman’s hand stops shaking, her jaw set and firm.
“Do you have anything to say?”
They stare at each other, both looking past the pistol between them. There is a long moment of silence and then almost silently, the clown speaks.
“I’m sorry,” Jaclyn says, weakly.
“Excuse me?” The woman asks.
“I said I’m sorry,” Jacky repeats - louder this time - her one golden eye defiantly meeting her captors. “Sorry I didn’t shoot your husband more times so that god awful story could be shorter.”
The pistol begins to tremble once more, the woman's mouth dropping in disbelief.
“You know the difference between karma and revenge? Karma is something you hope happens - revenge is something you make happen.” The clown licks the blood from her lips, “You really think you have it in you, kid?”
“If you can do this sort of thing, so can I.”
“Well, true,” Jacky says, nodding her head grimly, “but the thing is…I have a nose for it.”
Jaclyn Pierrot kicks out with both legs, catching the woman - who has wandered too close - unaware and fully in the stomach. Doubling over, she finds those legs quickly wrap around her waist, jerking her towards the clown. The gun spills from her hand, just out of reach as Jacky’s teeth clamp down onto her face. She begins to scream as the teeth dig in, doing her best to get away, only for the two to tumble to the floor.
Jaclyn peels the last of the tape from her wrists, grimacing as she does. The chair which had her held lay in a rumble beside the woman who was holding her face, now covered in blood. Lifting the gun from the floor, the clowns' swollen eyes look down towards her would-be-adversary, who slowly shifts away.
“Please no…” she sputters.
“Relax!” the jester says, flipping open the cylinder to make sure there are still bullets in the chamber. She flicks it shut with a click.
“What do you think I am, some sort of villain?”
The scene opens up. Jaclyn Pierrot sits on the edge of a twin-sized bed in a small motel room. Her gun, an oversized .44 magnum, sits on the bed beside her. One eye is completely swollen shut.
“What is karma? People often confuse that word with one that brings them some sense of satisfaction. The chase of a cause they see as noble, but really is only a reach for retribution. Some call it payback, some call it retaliation but we all know what they really mean - revenge.”
“Such a dirty word though, isn’t it? It’s why it’s never what we seek, but often how it seems. To ourselves, we see our causes as righteous and clean - the return of a wrong doing. We scrub the dirt from the very description of our deeds and reposition ourselves as avengers, but the act, the deed, and outcome of vengeance is still the same. We say to ourselves, ‘They had it coming!’ and therefore we are divine will - an act of a god, whether just or unjust - and therefore the result is no longer in our hands. We merely were the executions of an larger plan - a purpose - a prophecy. Does this sound familiar?”
The clown-faced woman rolls her one good eye.
“The truth is, sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences. After all, in the end everyone gets theirs and you, Phrixus, you’ve had this frozen feast ready to serve for some time. And yet time and time again, though you tell this tale, time and time again I find myself disappointed, hungry, and unhumbled.”
Jacky shifts on the bed, angling her unbeaten side towards the camera.
“You so often position yourself as the agent of change - a harbinger of hope - that the ‘haves’ who have for so long had not will once again have again,” She looks down to her wrist, where a watch would be, tapping at her tattooed flesh.“Well, when is that? When do the winds of change stop whistling of what may be and instead become a force worth withstanding?”
“Such a paltry prophecy: a promise you force yourself to believe despite all evidence. The Creeps came, then they were cast away, but still somehow they remain. And this version of vengeance you had hoped would fall down onto my head? Remains unrealized to this day.” The clown holds her hands out in front of her, “Why, you wonder? What keeps me from the fate that has befallen those before me? It’s simple really -“
Jacky leans forward.
“There is no divine hand that holds my fate; no force that I cannot face. You see, my dear Deimos, what you and yours have failed to realize is that everything I have and hold today is a product of what was put into it in the first place. Pain, perseverance, and a pure, unadulterated desire to show each and every person that steps into my path what true power is. At the end of the day, isn’t that what karma really represents? The consequences of your actions - not some criminal you’ve condemned.”
One finger waggles at the screen.
“What is karma?”
She raises a painted brow.
“Karma is not kind or considerate. Karma is that moment you know all too well - when everything slips away and you find yourself once again lying in that ring, looking up at those lights, wondering, ‘Wasn’t this meant to be my day?’ I just want you to remember: you had it coming - cause karma has its way.”
Jaclyn stands up from the bed, looking down at the frame. Her pistol is once more in her hand.
“They say karma’s a bitch, but if that’s the case, then well…”
She aims the Aristocrat at the camera.
“Just wait ‘til ya get a load of me!”
There is a loud bang and the screen fills with light, then shifts to static, before fading to black.
There is a heavy thud at the motel door, then another, this time splintering the frame at the hinges. Hanging on by a thread, the third time's the charm and the impact causes it to crash down into the thinly-carpeted concrete floor. A massive man in a full bunny suit, flanked by another wearing overalls and a bear head, steps into the room, each one wielding a hammer in one hand and a pistol in the other.
The man in the bear head pulls his mask free, his eyes wide with a combination of disgust and shock. Without turning, he quietly mumbles to his partner a single word that sums up the entire scene.