Copyright 1996 Michael Thibault

In the spirit of Devil's Night the Cacophony Society sponsored a Halloween haunted house. Entitled the Museum of Mental Decay it featured such highlights as Atrocity Alley ("Images of evil crowd this passageway thru the sphincter of the superego thru the bowels of the unconscious"), The Operating Room ("The intellect's inclination to analyze and dissect expresses itself in grotesque and socially unacceptable ways"), Goat Parlor ("Baaa!"), and The Catholic Closet ("The church's mortification of the flesh leads to intensification of the sexual impulse") to name a few. Being one of the original "Klowns" I was invited to participate in The Clown Dungeon ("Childhood fears come alive as these painted funsters express a violent ambivalence toward the lost innocence of youth"), the coup de grace of a psychic aberration tour.

The event was held at this ramshackle address on Mariposa, south of Sunset. Behind the main house was another shack, surrounded by a intricate courtyard littered with strange, delirious decorations. The building itself, inside and out, looked like it'd been dipped in Elmer's and rolled in DeSade's junk drawer. Mannequins in homemade bondage attire, movie props, metal and plaster sculpture, and every item Ron Popiel ever sold were displayed in one big moire. In short, everything cheesy, greasy, and sleazy. The place was owned by this aging hippie type named Alex who sported shoulder length gray hair and seventies-style lime green leisure slacks over a gimpy right leg. I overheard somebody mumble polio at one point and wondering aloud if it was an STD. As far as I could tell this was his low-budget version of Hef's love palace, and judging by the tone in his voice he seemed like a massive control freak. At one point he grabbed an industrial strength vacuum cleaner out of a Cacophonists hands and fell to his knees to show the proper sweeping pattern for maximum nozzle suction. Taking an eyeball scan of the scum covered premises I played Free-association and came up with a word: Guyana. While he was never less than cordial to us he was never more than demeaning to the people living on the lot. Particularly one of the permanent "house guests," a wannabe stripper named Erica who, in the true spirit of Halloween, sported super enhanced pumpkin sized breasts. We're talking 42-29-34 here -- and that's just the RIGHT one!

The separate "chambers" of the house, all designed for maximum fantasy, and reeking in a dusty, stale bouquet -- The quality of which I'm sure would be familiar to the Officers originally responding to the Gacy and Dahlmer addresses. It lent a certain pathetic quality that stank of rancid meat and the sweat of those desperately searching for something that's not in their life. In short, the kind of home your parents never let you stay over at when your "economically challenged" school chum had a slumber party -- you know, the family that sported the "dirty & poor" reputation. Then again, maybe you don't...you ever been to Alabama?

In preparing our room we drove around the neighborhood and found an apartment's worth of orange shag on the sidewalk and nicked it. After razoring the rug to size we laid it down over a sheet of plastic, extra protection if things got wet and wild. As We moved the shag into place dark, muddy stains began growing on my hands and became testimony that the carpet had been stripped outta a crackhouse for a good reason. As luck would have it, while still desperately taping the decorations to the walls at curtain time only ten pilgrims had arrived by half past call and we just barely made it.

As it turned out however, we'd been listed in the L.A. Times, Reader and Weekly and by the end of the first evening alone we'd seen a couple hundred paying thrill-seekers. Being in the last room we'd set up an onslaught of sensory overload: Upon entering the groups were blinded by a 1,000 watt strobe pulsating at the clinical frequency best suited to promote epileptic seizures. A monitor played a VHS loop of Chuck Berry pissing into a white woman's mouth, only to be interrupted by a piercing 100 decibel fart so mighty his ass cheeks fluttered like a peacock multing. Seriously, it sounded like the Queen Mary's fog horn, you could get in it and drive it away, it was that firm. "Bitch, you can smell my fart too," Chuck would beam incongrously while one puzzled where the precise placement of the microphone was to achieve such clarity without a six-track Dolby Stereo system. Behind all of this was a non-stop cycle of clown music incessantly drilling the space between your ears like a Sears Craftsman power tool. Believe me, after the first three hours I wanted to kill a President, any President, and by God, a Senator just wouldn't do.

As the tour groups of six to fifteen entered we'd besiege the poor bastards, screaming, poking and shoving them through the gauntlet of harlequins -- Asswipe, Dirty Old Clown, Big Chested Nora, Chuckles, and myself Asswipe the Klown (That's pronounced "ASS-WEE-PAY" ...it's Spanish). And with horrors like Chuckles, stuffed with a softball of gummi worms in her "funderwear" and pulling them out for everybody's consumptive treat, it became quite a feat to cross the 120 square feet to the next room. It didn't help that Adam and the others circled the crowd using dildo shaped squirt guns to shoot dishwater soap "spunk" and whip them with paddles. In the hallucinogenic pulse of the strobe it wasn't much different than staring into Huey Long's eyes at scrimmage on the two yard line knowing full well he'd been suffering a particularly nasty urinary tract infection that week. The experience was that formidable, nothing short of a firefight in Plieku or spending the summer at the Hanoi Hilton.

Usually I began the set by vacuuming Naked John, an exhibitionist tied to a metal bed frame, and once the guests entered I'd feign surprise and turn my full Hoover fury on whoever was in range ranting, "It's cleaning time!" in my best two packs of Marlboro's a day Klown voice. Lemme tell you something, nothing turns apprehension to terror quicker than some maniac asshole in a clown suit siphoning through your clothing at your nipples and genitalia with a vacuum hose on full electro-suck. A scary prospect when you can't see further than two feet, there's a lot of Hanna-Barbera quality screaming, and you came unarmed to a neighborhood like this. You'd run away screaming like a woman if the fucking Klowns would just LET you...
Upon entering the sanctity of the lesbo Nun room and slamming the door, we'd bait them on the other side screaming, "Come out, ya fuckers!" The beauty of the plan became inherent in Gemini Manor's architecture -- Since The Catholic Closet was a dead end the group had to return to the Clown Dungeon to exit. And the look on the saps faces when they'd come back out to find us STILL there was priceless -- Never in a million years did they expect to have to relive that onslaught. Better yet, because the exit was to the immediate right of the Nuns' room they'd invariably pass it by in the flickering strobe only to congregate like lost cattle in the middle of the jesters, while we circled and prodded their sorry asses until we FELT like letting them go. This was usually the best time to grab somebody's hand and force them to touch Naked John, although by the wee hours there were quite a few who seemed to enjoy whipping the poor guy. One man in particular enjoyed it so much that Nancy the Dominatrix pushed him over Naked John's motionless, syrupy body and demanded, "Now it's YOUR turn!" As the poor shaken bastard clenched his fists in anticipation the last thing he heard before the crop whipped through the air toward his ass was Naked John sighing breathlessly into his ear, "Finally...someone else!" Getting them out was more difficult than it seemed as their disorientation was complete by this time and I usually resorted to screaming, "Get the FUCK out!," and, "The exit is that was in the direction of my finger -- The OPPOSITE way you are looking! Here, let me direct you safely to the exit by placing my left hand on your ring buttock and pushing you toward it!" Whereupon I'd immediately lock onto their asses and yank flesh. Frankly, it was a lot more fun with the women. Sometimes the men would take it the wrong way and try grabbing my dick, spinning it like a the combination dial on a bank vault.

Generally though they were pretty much Holsteins and it was left to our choice an assortment of revelry: "Put Your Fist In The Clown's Mouth", "Back Door Surprise", "Don't Tell Mommy What The Clown Did", "Touch The Clown", "Hide And Go Squeeze", and my personal favorite,"Fudge." At one point I traded the Hoover for a drill with a fake bit, prodding it diabolically into their bodies just to watch their eyeballs turn china white. Unfortunately the spinning auger caught my oversized clown suit supertwisting the fabric so quickly it almost snapped my neck. After that I stuck to vacuuming private parts and tossing gallons of water over the crowd.

By 10:00 PM it was out of control. The Nuns were drunk on holy wine, going so far as to literally toss a patron head first into a statue of the virgin Mary shattering it. As for the Klowns, we were close to going Postal, resorting too quickly to physical intimidation upon any bastard that made the mistake of not laughing or worse, laughing anyway. Naked John's congeniality was strained when Chuckles unceremoniously vomited a belly's worth of Hershey's and worms all over his back. Later as the viscous liquid sluggishly seeped into his ass crack somebody shoved a Flash Gordon RayGun up his ass and pulled the trigger, shooting sparks and making a great chattering whine into the Hot John Sundae. It seemed in pretty good fun until the next group arrived and I'll be goddamned if one of the woman wasn't carrying her son. We're talking a fucking infant here! The Klowns were kind of taken aback and while nobody wanted to admit it later the festivities were noticeably restrained before the child. Either we all realized we'd crossed the line, or we simply didn't want to be some demented memory tattooed on her synapses only to surface 30 years later and require two therapy visits a week to remedy. With our luck she'd have snapped during Cirque du Soliel XVII and run amuck swinging a wet sock of manure.

Earlier in the evening one woman was pushed into the iron stove and began bleeding across the torso. It developed she'd had surgery the previous week and the stitches in her stomach had just ruptured. Although I didn't exactly witness it -- I can't see anything with the mask on, witnessing everything through the twin eye tunnels cut deep in my latex mask -- there seemed to be a perfect 2.5 second beat before the Klowns erupted, "What the hell are you doing here? Get the FUCK outta here!" Indignant that anybody would be so obtuse as to visit a haunted house with stitches holding them together we continued without reservation or guilt. The next evening when a woman with a faulty pacemaker collapsed just shy of a cardiac arrest we sent her off with a cheery, "Tough shit, asshole!" I mean for Chrissakes, the advertisements articulated clearly this was "not a haunted house but a walking tour of the diseased soul." Let the bitch tell me she didn't get her money's worth, my ass... The crowning absurdity occurred when the roof collapsed underneath a woman unceremoniously depositing her into the bathtub in the main can right next to the owner Alex, who was currently on the toilet taking a dump. Rumor was, he wasn't happy. I met her in the second bathroom while taking an oxygen break and it looked like she'd been stuffed in a commercial clothes dryer with a bucket of granulated earth for 75 cents worth of tumble dry. I hesitated to ask whether the gap in her teeth had been there before the accident...I didn't want to unduly frighten her.

Several times I'd walk the crowds and work the lines, spinning riffs and generally making nonsense to lighten the 90 minutes plus waits. It was during one of these trips that Chuckles was apprently attacked and almost raped by some madman whose nueral network snapped under the high-intensity stroboscope. By midnight the courtyard was over-capacity by two hundred, and everybody was crashing and burning. Hallucinations set in and I spent most of the rest of the evening hugging Chuckles while she a dry-humped my leg and puked chocolate syrup all over the carpet. The second day we were joined by Barfy the Cheerleader, Rush Bo Peep, and Nancy the Dominatrix who spent the evening slinging a leather whip across Naked John, the tour guests, the Klowns, me....Hell, this bitch was scary. At one point I'd wondered aloud why she had to whip the Klowns of all people. After all, we'd spent two nights in six hour plus shifts and dammit we were too hungry, thirsty and tired. A gorgeous brunette in a tight fitting blue mini-skirt and carrying a tray laden with glassware for the waitress effect piped in with a hormonally beefy, masculine voice, "I have to warn you, she's my wife." Having temporarily lost all cognitive ability except nodding, another Cacophonist asked if she was faking it or what. He paused, smiled and sheepishly admitted, "She's really into some stuff, man."

Dirty Old Clown had spent most of the evenings waving his 18" double headed dildo for all to see and touch. At night's end he was surprised to find teeth marks encircling the faux circumcision; somebody had gotten down and sucked his imitation dick! Russ Bo Peep turned out to be a six foot plus, bearded, past his prime quaterback dressed in full curls, tutu and crowhook -- I need not add he was one scary motherfucker underneath the throbbing 1,000 watt strobe. As for Barfy, she'd arrived in full cheerleader regalia topped with disheveled hair, smeared lipstick, and hickeys planted across her neck and chest. Her enactment of an innocent high schooler rope-bound, endlessly begging for police intervention bordered the psychotic. At one point I was sure she wasn't acting anymore and I couldn't resist turning on her in full Klown make-up and grilling whether she was truly acting or not. Unfortunately she responded in character and I felt ice form in my bowels. Talk about method-Klowning, it was the spookiest thing I saw in the house.

After closing the second night I made a sad attempt at post-cleaning only to give up in face of the enormity of the task. The few participants still left collapsed in the ground zero of the Catholic Closet amid the rubble of what had once been somebody's home and nursed cheap beers. Syrup, gummi worms, water, spunk, trash and torn diapers littered every square fucking inch of the place. In all the two interlinked Klown and Nun rooms suffered astronomically more damage than all the other rooms in the entire house combined. All this swam through the soup of my brain as Al's squatting secretary received cunnilingus above her boyfriend's head bobbing under her skirt. The devastation reminded me of something..some place...but I couldn't finger it. Prolonged exposure to the strobe had ignited a fission strength migraine slow-burning in my frontal lobes. As a result my brain wasn't working much faster than a two slice toaster at the Walton home. Finally, like the bloated carcass of a drowning victim rising inexorably to the surface days later it hit me. As Al's secretary moaned toward a sloppy climax I knew exactly what this destruction reminded me -- Pagan Rome, 24 AD.

I awoke the next morning reeling from agony in every muscle in my body. Dragging my ass back to Mariposa I was only one of two Klowns who returned to clean up. With only a fraction of the people who participated, Chuckles and I (the only two Klowns) helped Reverend Al hose the fuckin' house down and return the furniture. A hired hand quickly made repairs to the room, hammering and gluing shards and wood splinters back into place. It wasn't a lot of fun, man. Facts is facts, and the facts is this: we were leaving this place a helluva LOT cleaner than we found it. I felt like taking a Quell disinfectant bath afterwards. I mean these people lived like pigs, man. Even more disturbing was the owner Alex who'd constantly amble around begging for anything and everything that he could keep for his own halloween party that evening. At one point he sighed that we couldn't have cut the carpet to size more nicely since it was obviously worth keeping. I felt as if any moment he'd cock his head toward me and ask if I'd be using my pants tomorrow. Although he invited us and our $16 for admittance to his Gemini Manor Party that evening we all passed. We were wasted and a the Hollywood swing crowd just didn't sound too appealing. Besides, the residents were dripping in geek vibe and it didn't help that he was constantly begging Chuckles to attend. I asked her if she'd ever been fucked by a polio gimp? It's gotta be like driving a Ferrari with a flat. Well, maybe I Geo Metro.... And it's probably STILL a better ride.

I suppose the pinnacle of the weekend occurred during the Sunday clean up. While paper toweling chocolate syrup off the sofa frame I discovered Erica's missing steel-tipped Stiletto's which she'd been bugging the shit out of everybody to find during the initial set-up. Mistakenly I announced the discovery and was rewarded to a shrilling shriek somewhere at the bottom of the FM bandwidth as Erica came running into the room, her great breasts entering first and not moving so much as a goddamn millimeter in any direction. Looking back her approach was like a lucid dream as she closed the distance between us with outstretched hands to hug me. By the time I realized this it was too late and I felt both enormous jugs dig into my ribs without yield. A strange phenomenon having no relation to flesh as I've experienced it and not unlike snuggling two of Pele's practice soccer balls. I can truthfully say that while I once fantasized holding such monstrosities in my grasp I'd settle for a brain with a chest like a piece of paper any day. The rumor is regular or enhanced, they all taste the same! Thankfully I am ignorant of this experience.

-- Tebo (aka "Asswipe" the Klown)