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“Shouting, commotion, carousing. Sleepily I went to the window and looked out over the town. It seemed all the lights of Mirocaw were shining, save in that section down the hill which became part of the black void of winter. And now the town's greenish tinge was even more pronounced, spreading everywhere like a great green rainbow that had melted from the sky and endured, phosphorescent, into the night. In the streets was the brightness of an artificial spring. The byways of Mirocaw vibrated with activity: on a nearby corner a brass band blared; marauding cars blew their horns and were sometimes mounted by laughing pedestrians; a man emerged from the Red Rooster Bar, threw up his arms, and crowed. I looked closely at the individual celebrants, searching for the vestments of clowns. Soon, delightedly, I saw them. The costume was red and white, with matching cap, and the face painted a noble alabaster. It almost seemed to be a clownish incarnation of that white-bearded and black-booted Christmas fool.

This particular fool, however, was not receiving the affection and respect usually accorded to a Santa Claus. My poor fellow-clown was in the middle of a circle of revelers who were pushing him back and forth from one to the other. The object of this abuse seemed to accept it somewhat willingly, but this little game nevertheless appeared to have humiliation as its purpose. 'Only clowns here are the ones that're picked out,' echoed Beadle's voice in my memory. 'Picked on' seemed closer to the truth.

Packing myself in some heavy clothes, I went out into the green gleaming streets. Not far from the hotel I was stumbled into by a character with a wide blue and red grin and bright baggy clothes. Actually he had been shoved into me by some youths outside a drugstore.

'See the freak,' said an obese and drunken fellow. 'See the freak fall.'

My first response was anger, and then fear as I saw two others flanking the fat drunk. They walked toward me and I tensed myself for a confrontation.

'This is a disgrace,' one said, the neck of a wine bottle held loosely in his left hand.

But it was not to me they were speaking; it was to the clown, who had been pushed to the sidewalk. His three persecutors helped him up with a sudden jerk and then splashed wine in his face. They ignored me altogether.

'Let him loose,' the fat one said. 'Crawl away, freak. Oh, he flies!'

The clown trotted off, becoming lost in the throng.

'Wait a minute,' I said to the rowdy trio, who had started lumbering away. I quickly decided that it would probably be futile to ask them to explain what I had just witnessed, especially amid the noise and confusion of the festivities. In my best jovial fashion I proposed we all go someplace where I could buy them each a drink. They had no objection and in a short while we were all squeezed around a table in the Red Rooster.

Over several drinks I explained to them that I was from out of town, which pleased them no end for some reason. I told them there were things I did not understand about their festival.

'I don't think there's anything to understand,' the fat one said. 'It's just what you see.'

I asked him about the people dressed as clowns.

'Them? They're the freaks. It's their turn this year. Everyone takes their turn. Next year it might be mine. Or yours,' he said, pointing at one of his friends across the table. 'And when we find out which one you are - '

'You're not smart enough,' said the defiant potential freak.

This was an important point: the fact that individuals who played the clowns remain, or at least attempted to remain, anonymous. This arrangement would help remove inhibitions a resident of Mirocaw might have about abusing his own neighbor or even a family relation. From what I later observed, the extent of this abuse did not go beyond a kind of playful roughhousing. And even so, it was only the occasional group of rowdies who actually took advantage of this aspect of the festival, the majority of the citizens very much content to stay on the sidelines.”
Thomas Ligotti - “The Last Feast of Harlequin”

Ligotti panel at NecronomiCon Providence 2017
Jul 04, 2017 - 8:46 AM - by Sam
This sounds spectacular! A panel at NecronomiCon Providence 2017:

Saturday, August 19 – 4:30-5:45pm
TEATRO GROTTESCO: The Bleak Universe of Thomas Ligotti – Grand Ballroom, Biltmore 17th Floor
Thomas Ligotti embraces the themes and moods of Lovecraft, Schulz, Cioran and others, and emerged from the shadow of these literary heirs to become one of the most powerful voices in Weird fiction. In this panel we discuss the bleak and pessimistic universe his work evokes, as well as works crafted by writers who count him among their influences.
Panelists: Matthew Bartlett, Michael Calia, Michael Cisco, Kurt Fawver, Alex Houstoun (Moderator), Jon Padgett

Can't wait!
106 Replies | 10,336 Views
Ligotti Panel at StokerCon
Apr 22, 2017 - 2:30 PM - by Nicole Cushing
A week from today (Saturday, April 29) at 2:00 p.m., there will be a panel at StokerCon titled "Thomas Ligotti and the Nightmare of Living".

S.T. Joshi, Ted Grau, and I will be discussing Tom's work aboard the Queen Mary. (A former luxury liner permanently docked in Long Beach, CA.) The panel will be in the Regent Room. Would love to see some TLO folks there.
11 Replies | 3,379 Views
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