The motley bells jangled on the Fool’s head above his painted visage. “There was a time, you know, when the cap and bells was the height of whimsy,” he said in a singsong voice.

“That’s changed,” I said.

Abruptly, the Fool’s capering stopped. With the speed of an uncoiling spring, he charged me. A moment later I was pinned against the far wall, a pale and bony hand about my throat.

“I know it’s changed!” he shouted. “I am what people pecieve me to be! Therefore, thanks to you and others like you, I am split down the middle!”

“W..wh..” I choked, seeing bright lights on the periphery of my vision.

The Fool dropped me and I sank, gasping, to my knees. “What do I mean?” he said, bright and smiling again. “Enough people see me as a simple jokester that I am that. But enough people see me as a murderous psychopath that I must be that too. I can’t be both at once.”

“So…s-so…” I gasped.

“So I’m a pendulum straight out of Poe, swinging back and forth with a razor-sharp edge,” the Fool spat, his tone, suddenly dark. He kicked me in the stomach, eliciting a howl of winded anguish as he did.

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