I was passing through Tooele, Utah on my way to Vegas for my twenty-first birthday when I encountered Uncle Dizzno’s Funhouse. I had pulled over at a cheap (and crappy) diner for dinner, and was chowing down on an impossibly greasy hamburger when I glanced out the window across the road.
I had no idea how I had missed it before, and my rationale at the time was that the lights were turned off when I went into the diner, and turned them on after I had sat down. It looked fun, it was an outdoor theme park with a Ferris wheel and log flume, and several attractions inside of tents. I finished my crappy food, paid, and went across the road to the park.
The park itself was called Wonderland, as displayed by the large sign with lightbulbs spelling out the words. I began to walk through the arch, stopping at a bright ticket booth. There were no signs to indicate the price, so I just pulled out my wallet and asked the man in the booth,
Speaking of the man in the booth, he was mostly hidden by shadow, but from what I could make out, his head was impossibly large, he was very skinny, and he was very still.
The man motioned for me to put my wallet away, and spoke in a gruff, gravelly voice,
“It’s Saturday the 14th. Everyone gets in free today.”
“Wow, thanks. Great deal.” I passed through the turnstile, and entered the park.
There was a large midway with two buildings on each side, with the big top at the end. The Ferris wheel was in the middle of the midway, and the log flume was at the back, near the big top. There were only about fifty or so more patrons, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves.
One of the four buildings was a ghost train, and I figured I would try that first. It was nothing special. The coolest part was when a man turned into a skeleton. The animatronic guy was standing there, and a huge cloud of smoke appeared, and when it cleared, a skeleton was standing there instead of the man.
The next thing I did was go on the Ferris wheel. It wasn’t very big, and looked like it would collapse at any moment, but it was fun. After that, I bought some popcorn and candyfloss which actually tasted pretty good, better than the food at the diner (but it would be hard not to be). Then I moved on to the next building.
This one was Uncle Dizzno’s Funhouse of Bewilderment. Other banners around the main sign stated things like “A Barrel of Fun!” and “Go Nuts!” I decided to go in.
The first room I entered was a room with brightly colored stripes on the walls. There were pool noodles hanging from the ceiling that you had to push through. It was disorienting, but fun.
The next room had strobe lights and beach balls hanging down in your face. The third room was full of those funhouse mirrors. I enjoyed making myself look like a fat little midget in one, and in another, I looked like a tree. I laughed pretty hard in that room. For some reason, this room, which would normally be nothing special, was one of the funniest things I have seen in my life.
I was willing to bet this was the last room, but instead of leading outside, it led into a tent. The tent was bare, except for a table in the center. The table was a round one, with a red tablecloth.
There was a man sitting at the table. He wore a derby hat with a small flower stuck to the front covering up a crop of orange hair, a white face with blue paint around his lips, green eyebrows, and a big red nose. His hands were white with long, red nails that looked almost like claws. His clothes looked just as stupid as the rest of him, with pants that had one leg striped, and one blue, a polka dot shirt with striped sleeves, and green and yellow striped waistcoat. He wore no shoes at all, but had a pair of colorful stockings on. Clowns have always sort of creeped me out.
“Are you Uncle Dizzno?” I asked.
“You betcha, kiddo,” he said in a raspy, deep, cheerful voice.
“How do I get out?”
“Dontcha’ wanna stick around longer, buddy? Isn’t it FUN in here, pal?”
“Yeah, it was pretty cool. But I need to get going. I’m going to Vegas for my birthday.”
“Oh, is that so? If it’s your birthday, how about we have a little party? Wanna see a magic trick?”
“Well, I really need to get going, so-”
“Ah, it’ll only take a sec. Here, I’ll make myself change into your worst nightmare.”
This was the point when I noticed his eyes had begun to film over a bright yellow.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah. Now get ready, 'cause this is where it gets all the more horrifying.”
The yellow glow in his eyes intensified. They began to bulge, and popped out. His big red clown nose began to swell up, bigger and bigger until it was the size of an orange, and then exploded. Green, chunky fluid splattered out of his burst nose, dripping onto the table. His head began to spin, slowly at first, then faster, all the way around like an owl. Chunks of skin began peeling off his hands. As his head spun, it was like a potato peeler was being held to his face. The skin just peeled off, like a banana.
Suddenly his head snapped back, perfectly straight, now just a bloody skull with that stupid little hat, staring right at me. He screamed, and his skeletal hands reached out, clasping around my neck. I cracked his wrists, struggling to get away. The hands snapped off, still clasped around my neck. When I fell to the floor, they left hold of my throat, flying through the air and connecting back up with his bony wrists. I turned and ran.
As I was racing through the mirror hall, Uncle Dizzno was in the mirrors. He smashed his hands through the glass as I passed, hands groping at me. He was standing in the exit, there was no way around him.
I tackled him to the ground outside, his skeletal body snapping into pieces. I was running towards the exit. Everything in the park was vastly different. All the patrons I had seen before were lying on the floor, dead, horribly burned. The buildings were on fire. The big top collapsed in on itself, sending fire in all directions.
Dizzno dropped down from the Ferris wheel in front of me, and began spitting out a pink, stringy substance which looked and smelled like candyfloss to try and trap me, but I managed to get out of the way. I was almost at the gates, when they closed. A light came on in the ticket booth, and that damn clown was inside.
“C’mon, kiddo. I just wanna kill ya,” he said.
“Fuck off! Open the damn gates or I’ll kill you!”
“Sorry buddy, I’m already dead.”
He smashed through the glass of the ticket booth, knocking me to the ground. He was on top of me, had me pinned. He slashed his nails across my face, opening up four bloody gashes. I grabbed a rock and pounded it on his head. His eye sockets began spitting fire, and he screamed as his skull cracked. He fell off me, but I barely had any time to recover myself. He spat more strings of candyfloss from his mouth, coating me. I fell over, and Dizzno came over to me, spitting more candyfloss, like a spider wrapping up his prey. I struggled, but the strands were like a steel net.
Dizzno squatted over me.
“Well kid, looks like I won this game of tag. Now, you're IT.”
Before I could reply, a honeybee flew onto my chest. The first bee was followed by more. They were climbing out of his mouth, burrowing into the candyfloss. Soon, they would reach my body and began burrowing into that too. I could not get out, but it seemed luck was on my side. One of the burning beams of the ticket line's roof cracked, and a thin piece broke off, falling onto my chest. The burning ember began melting through the candyfloss. The delectable treat I was wrapped in snapped, and I was able to get an arm free.
I punched the skeletal clown in the face, landing him on his rump. He screamed in rage, and more bees erupted from his skull. I quickly tore my way out of the cocoon, and at last I was free. Dizzno lunged at me, but I jumped out of the way, smashing through the gates. I ran, and didn’t look back.
I quickly went to the nearest place with living people, the diner. I began shouting for help once I got inside.
“Wassa matter kid?” asked the man at the register.
His eyes widened as he saw the slash marks on my face,
“Jesus! Dida mountain lion go afta you?”
“No, t-th-the circ-circus and clow-wn Uncle Dizz-Dizzno-”
“What circus? Uncle Dizzno? What the fuck kinda drugs are you on, kid?”
“I know exactly what the kid means.”
This raspy voice came from the booth next to us. The person sitting in there was an old man in a black coat. He elaborated:
“Ten years ago, there was a circus across the way from this very diner. It was pretty successful, and one of the biggest attractions was the funhouse. At the end of the thing, it actually went into the big top, which was not accessible from the outside. You could only exit the tent after you had watched the resident clown’s act. However, nobody liked this idea. The clown just wasn’t funny. One night, the clown got into a fight with a heckler. He began poking fun at the clown and tried to leave before the act was finished. The clown snapped, shoved his head in the cotton candy machine, killed him. Clown said he was sick of wearing makeup.
"Peeled his face off with a knife, then set the entire place on fire, killed everyone in it. People say that every Saturday the 14th, the clown comes back from the grave and picks one person to invite into the carnival. Then he kills em. Only about three folks ever survived, and this kid’s one of them. Oh, one more thing. The clown was a friend of mine. His name was Uncle Dizzno.”
And with that, he left.