Cameron saw the clown the first time that night when he was having dinner with a couple of his friends. Every year they met up at their favorite pub on Halloween, to have the traditional beer and some wings. When they had gone out to smoke he had seen it standing at the end of the block, just sort of lurking there. Whoever was in the costume had paired the ridiculous polka dot and ruffled collared jump suit with a curly yellow wig, and an excessive amount of white makeup. Their red, widely drawn grin stretched out when they spotted him staring, and he felt his heart sputter a bit in his chest.

If there was one thing in this world that Cameron hated more than anything else? It was clowns. There was just something about them, from their creepy faces to their overly exaggerated false happiness. It just got to him deep down inside, and he found himself trembling a little despite being in a sizable crowd.

Thankfully he and the others moved on quickly from their first pub of the night, heading in the opposite direction of the clown towards their next destination. Things improved after that as they hit up another pub, snagging some free treats from local businesses along the way. Halloween truly was the best night to get both a hangover and a sugar overdose in equal measure.

He saw the clown again when he ventured downstairs to use the bathroom, navigating the shadowy basement hallway to the men’s. The ladies got the nice upstairs restroom with proper lighting, but blokes had to do their business in what felt like a makeshift dungeon. He was at one of the urinals, trousers undone, when someone came in behind him. Cameron wasn’t in the habit of peeking at other guys doing their thing, so he just shifted a little to better hide himself and kept at it.

The person in question sidled up beside of him, shuffling a bit too close for comfort. Cameron looked up to tell them to take some steps back, and found himself face to face with the same. Damn. Clown.

In his haste to get out as fast as possible, Cameron managed to make quite a mess of himself. He didn’t care though, he just ran upstairs while still zipping his fly, crashing back into the crowd. When he told his buddies what had happened they all got a good laugh out of it, but Sarah at least had the compassion to give him some wet wipes for his hands.

Cameron’s night of drinking ended there. He wasn’t going to risk another incident like that one, so it was best to be both sober and not in need of the bathroom again. He followed his friends along to a night club, where he saw the clown for a third time among the revelers on the dance floor. That was officially it for him and he called it quits, saying goodbye to his friends and heading for home.

He didn’t live all that far, just a few blocks, and instead of blowing the money on a cab he decided to walk. Trick-or-treat was well over now, and the streets were mostly empty. As he left the busy neighborhood of bars and clubs behind things began to quiet down, and he found himself longing for bed.

The footsteps came up behind him when he was about two blocks from home, though he didn’t think much of it at first. Not, at least, until they got faster. That was when Cameron whipped around, now afraid of being followed.

And he was.

There was the clown again, yellow wig askew and grin wide as ever. It was rushing towards him, in a way that made him cringe. Cameron knew he could run, but he didn’t think he’d make it far. He wasn’t in the best of shape, and anyway he was sick of this. Whoever this was, they had been following him all night, and he was tired of it.

With a loud yell Cameron rushed at the clown and met it halfway. He drew his fist back and decked the thing straight in the face, despite it screaming ‘stop, stop, no’ at high volume. He smeared white make up everywhere, pulling back to throw another punch that had the clown putting it’s hands up to cover it’s face.

“Shit, Cameron! What is wrong with you?”

Cameron recognized the voice and backed off fast, shaking out his hand which now hurt like the dickens. “Jeff? What the hell are you doing?”

Jeff was now clutching his very real nose, as the red rubber clown nose had rolled off down the sidewalk. He was bleeding a good bit between his fingers, eyes watering profusely. “It was a joke, Cameron! Damn! Me, Jake, Gerald, and Sarah though it would be hilarious! Didn’t you wonder why one of us was always missing tonight? I think you broke my freaking nose!”

“A joke? You know I hate clowns,” Cameron sputtered out, wanting to feel bad but not quite able to. “Do you need me to call you an ambulance or something?”

“No! Can I come to your place and clean up? I’ll call Sarah to come pick me up. You prick, you should let me hit you back,” Jeff demanded, his words muffled and muted because of his nose.

Cameron shook his head then, shooting Jeff a nasty look. “No way. You guys followed me around all night to torture me. It wasn’t funny, and neither was this. So I’d consider us even, asshole.”

Jeff threw off his wig, and the two of them set off walking. As they neared his apartment complex they passed a group of teenagers in costume, making their way home from a party. One of them was wearing a clown costume, and as they went by the kid stared at Jeff with wide eyes. Cameron just laughed a little then, hand still aching but sort of feeling proud of himself now. He still hated clowns, sure, but now he knew one thing.

He would never be to afraid to punch one directly in the face.

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