THE EVER-CHANGING FACE OF WERNER CHANGYFACE
Werner was a strange boy who loved nothing. His mother dressed him all in white, and wiped his face with a salivary hankerchief. His hat flopped like cold dough about his ears. Werner was eight when he ran away. When he escapaded away. Over and through the following eleven years he joined a series of circuses, each larger and grander than the last. Each circus experience sat inside the body of its predecessor, in its entirety, like a set of Russian dolls. He had no fear of bears in cages, or ropes from beams. Werner became a clown.
By the age of twenty one, Werner had established for himself a prodigious reputation as a master in the art of exchanging currency for joy. With every passing year his make-up mutated away from conventional designs. Each clown must choose a face; a unique design of his own imagining. Elaborate, ornate, flushed with many wondrous colours, Werner's clown visage evolved. But eventually the novelty wore thin. Werner lost the will for variety. The white remained, though. Bleach became his mode. Colours were stripped away. Small wrinkles arose like tiny tectonic plates of epidermis, one by one about his eyes. His fading eyes. Time sluiced through his eyes. So very weary.
In the rain, behind the big top, standing alone in the long grey grass: Werner. The raindrops splashing roughly at angles about his brow. The sky's cold fruit knocking the pale paint loose from his pores, dribbling down his long face, pooling strangely, horizontally, in the crevice of his closed lips. In these moments he found clarity. A deeper feeling. But no love. No love for Werner Changyface. Werner trod heavily back to the crowds. Soaked to the soul.
The circus sensed his loss of faith and rejected him, like a transplanted organ without suppressants. There was a future brewing without him.
He found himself at his mother's home. But she was not there. He didn't know why. The windows were dark, as though the rooms were filled with tar. The shadowed eyes of a picked-clean skull. Werner took a step to the left of the blue varnished front door and pressed his cheek into the solid brick surface. The loose granules on the wall rasped at his face, grazing the skin. His face gave in return; a slime of white paint sticking to its surface. Werner growled. A large delivery van passed on the road behind him. He twisted his head against the wall just in time to see the vehicle turn a corner and disappear. He ground his head back. The blood was running freely now. His forehead and cheeks were torn and raw. Werner sensed he was being watched. Turning away from his mother's house, he looked up. There were hundreds of dark little birds lined along the telephone wires that strung out across the street. They sat silently, their tiny breasts fluffed out against the cold. Werner moved away. His long floppy yellow boots squelched has he walked.
Werner climbed the hill overlooking the town where he had grown-up, and stopped half way to contemplate his history. His heart exploded then, unseen, in his ribcage.
The people on the bus that trundled along below watched his body roll down the slope toward them: a flapping tumble of colour and cloth.
Werner's body began its decomposition. His face began to darken as the Autumn day's abortive daylight shrank behind total cloud. A slight breeze removed the red flower from his pocket and deposited it upon the ground beneath his unseeing eyes. It rained again.
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