Je suis Joyland Louie

Je suis Joyland Louie

Louie, as seen in 1949 by Kristine Pafford's grandmother, Anna DiSante Binter. Photo courtesy Kristine Pafford

When people ask about my story, I can't help but wonder why they're so interested. My story is one you've heard a thousand times — born in 1910, grew up poor, one day swindled a bayou witch out of some of her moonshine, cursed by said witch and turned into mechanical clown, bought at a trade show in the '50s, shackled to an outdoor organ and forced to play for half a century before being abducted and held in bondage in the basement of a child molester. I'm not special.

Aren't we all, in our own way, sustained and made immortal by the tears of children? Don't we all yearn to have those awful bonds cut, those enchanted metal rods which bind us to the horrible Wurlitzers we are all, in our own way, forced to play? My struggles are no different than yours, except that I'm a clockwork clown who devours the souls of the living as a means of revenge on all those who wrong me and trapped me in this hideous form.

We all yearn for freedom, am I right? You're stuck in that job, you're stuck with that mortgage; I'm stuck in the basement of a sex offender. You can't shake that two-pack a day habit, you can't get rid of those allergies; I can't get rid of the need to hide in people's closets and wait until they're asleep. It's the human condition.

I don't know why you think I'm special, I don't know why I'm getting all of this attention. I'm no different than you — we can all look into that mirror mounted on our organs and say, "je suis Joyland Louie." That said, I've agreed to answer some reader questions here. Here goes.

Jami Frazier Tracy writes, "Experts say that anyone can wear red lipstick. Which is better for my skin tone — orange/red or blue/red?"

Well, Jami, truth is I've always pictured you, when I've seen you (which has been a lot!) in red/red. Like, a really crimson shade of red. All over. And crying. Personally, I have always liked blue and red, because I'm cursed to permanently look this way.

David Link wrote in to ask me, "How come you never called?"

David, I was already in the house.

Doug Van Es is a real sicko and wants to know, "Is he anatomically correct?"

Yes, Doug. I have the exactly correct anatomy of a mechanical themepark clown. How often do you think about this? You scare me, and I eat children.

Jeremy Blitz wants to know: "Where does he hide the bodies?"

Jeremy, the truth is I am a big believer in the sanctity of the environment. You would be, too, if you were shackled to an organ in a crumbling amusement park built on an ancient Indian burial ground. (Before you get your panties in a bunch, I do not mean Native American, I mean Indian. These people were from India. I don't know how they got here.) In any case, I don't like a lot of waste. I try to use the entire body, which is easy considering that most of it is delicious. What I don't eat, I use as compost or tea. Hiding the bodies isn't really necessary when I'm done, because there isn't much left. Thanks for writing, Jeremy!

Matthew Lynn Wiseman used more than his fair share of questions when he asked, "How many people died on the roller coaster, and/or How many people died in the Wacky Shack? Now that it's gone, has all the joy left Kansas? Do they feel responsible for the lack of joy here?"

Matthew, I don't have all of those numbers, but I'm sure is was in the mid-hundreds all told. That might just be wishful thinking on my part. Truth is while the park was running I didn't get to see a lot of death. Mainly, I would just eat the souls of people who'd get too close and look in my mirror. I would eat the souls and the bodies would still be walking around, no one the wiser. This might help explain the state of Kansas today. Those Kochs, wee Kwissy Kobach and little Sammy Brownback all visited Uncle Louie long ago. That roller coaster, though — you would never have caught me on it. Even I have my limits.

Looks like we have time for one more question. Andy Fay wants to know, "What if Louie's recent servitude at the hands of a pervert has been a kharmic kind of restitution for his demented transgressions at the service of Joyland for all of those years. Whoa. Ask him the tough questions!"

Andy, you've got it all wrong. I wasn't at the service of Joyland and I wasn't in servitude to some pervert. Joyland was the best! The Wacky Shack was my kind of people! Don't get me started on Ol' Porky the Paper Eater, either… let me tell you, Porky was a FREAK. Oh, man, even though I was in constant agony thanks to the metal rods they'd affixed to my hands to prevent me from physically assaulting the guests, we had a lot of laughs. As far as being held captive in the basement of "a pervert," it's a tale as old as time. Surely you've seen Beauty and the Beast. "Barely even friends, then somebody bends, unexpectedly…."

OK, well, back to the grind. Being free is tough — you've gotta make your own way! I'm working on an autobiography and will be auctioning the movie rights to my story. Who do you see playing me? I'm thinking Daniel Day-Lewis, but the studio wants Vin Diesel. I swear, they're more demented and evil than I am.