It begins with a phone. The phone is not ringing. Not in the traditional sense. Being cellular, it emits a much more vulgar sound. One of your own choosing. You've always had poor taste. Or it is deep in your pocket, busily feeding the context of that stupid grin on your face.

The grin is for the passers by. You're watching them, and you wouldn't want to show them your frown. Your frown: it has a dirty reputation for causing self-consciousness to those subjected to it, and it would bring the undesirable type of attention, the type that does not induce beautiful nakedness. It did once cause a homely clown to take off his bigredfake nose. Which was strangely beautiful.

You see no clowns around, and something (the phone) is drawing (the grin) the unwanted (blood running from a cut into your left eye) kind of attention. The people are looking at you. Specifically. You. The people watcher is being watched. By people.

Your mind briefly flickers to murder. Because that old man deserved it. You try to say as much, but your grin allows no penetration of voice. Wedging it open allows the vomit out, but no voice. Why did that happen? It's a little hard to breathe. Probably because you're upside down. It's difficult to vomit properly under these circumstances. Scratch that. It's difficult to breathe properly when you're vomiting under these circumstances.

The phone receiving a call. It's either making noise or it is vibrating in your pocket (grin?). And? The old man deserved it. And? The clown's real nose was also red and bulbous. This is important: you have blood flowing into your left eye. And? BREATHE!

The old man was a clown. You recognized him. When you showed him your frown, he showed you his nose, and it was unique. And it was beautiful. And the man you hired to kill him was also beautiful. A beautiful trio: the past, present, and future of murder.

You'd like to answer the phone, but that's not part of the deal. You can't reach it anyway. It seems that your arm is not in working order. And you're upside down. If the phone was in your pocket, it has fallen out. It's on the roof of your car. Beside your head. Making its noise (or whatever) covered in your puke.

You haven't breathed in a while. Your lungs are empty. You can't draw a breath. You've got no reserves to push the vomit away from blocking your windpipe. You can hear the people talking. Snippets of conversation. All about you, but strangely making little sense. The words "bum", "clown", and "killer" make many appearances. They travel up and out of the mouths, walk over to your ear, and give a small curtsy before running off to the after-party to get totally smashed.

Your arm is smashed. To bits. And your chest hurts. You watched the old man for a while. And he needed killing. He was rude and worthless. But he was a clown, and a good one. You liked the clown separately, before you knew. The hired killer took contracts by phone. You left each other a series of messages, the last of which was a phone call. The one causing your phone to ring (or whatever).

And more of that bad attention. Sounds. Scraping, scratching, cutting, bending. Sometimes people surprise you. Not often. But sometimes. Usually only when they also surprise themselves. Head job, he was. Must've been. Walked around muttering, then suddenly fell into character as a clown. Then cleaned up, walked around muttering again, went into a dark alley and killed somebody. Sometimes for money, sometimes not.

The nose: that's how you made the connection. Unique. The fake one was big and spongey. He took it off to show you his new slight-of-hand trick. Big spongey nose disappeared in his hands and came out of a kid's ear, and you saw his real nose.

The phone's still making that sound (or whatever), the same sound that distracted you when you were driving. You've always had bad taste. Whatever you chose caused distraction. And you were going real fast. A rented car. Always treat'em like hell. Really push the limits. Strangely, you don't remember setting up this situation. And you're still not breathing.

Your left eye is useless, and your right eye's vision is getting all yellowy-cloudy around the edges. And you're upside down. Held down by a seat belt. What sort of self-preservation sense caused that?

Noise. Light. Door's gone. Boots. More words: clown, bum, killer. A shift. You find yourself staring at the rear-vew mirror. Eyeball to eyeball with yourself. You can really only vouch for your right eyeball, and only for a few more seconds, as the cloudiness reaches for the center of your vision.

Movement. You've been pulled back a little and you see the nose in the mirror. The unique nose. Your chest has stopped hurting. The first tendril of cloudiness finds the center of the nose, and feels its way around it, covering it, tucking it in with all the love of a caring parent.