A/N: This is for Halloween, and it's also for The Kritty. Thanks! And I apologize to Terry McMillan for the rip-off the title from "How Stella Got Her Groove Back."

Summary: Get your mind out of the gutter. Sam struggles with his fear of clowns.

Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural. This is for entertainment only, and not for profit.


Dean froze.

He stood there blinking in the middle of the room, balancing the meat lover's pizza and the six pack in one hand, fisting the beef jerky stick in his mouth with his other hand. All he could think of was how he was going to hold onto the jerky with his teeth and then pull his gun from his back waistband without dropping the beer, breaking the bottles, and wrecking the hell out of the pizza.

What the hell?

Sam sat at the crappy little wooden table in the crappy little motel room, over by the crappy little window (naturally). He hunched his shoulders and stared at the box on the table in front of him.

The box was metal, about six inches tall, five inches wide. What caught Dean's attention was the colorful image painted on the back, which was the only side Dean could see. He had no doubt there was more of the same on the other three sides.

It was a clown. A damn clown with a colorful hat, a red wig and coveralls with large buttons on the front. Dude was grinning freakily from ear to ear. There were too many teeth in that smile, and if it wasn't for the fact that Sam was sitting directly behind the thing, Dean would have gladly put a round right through that round red ball of a nose.

Sam turned the little crank on the tin box, and the music started, all loud and tinny. It took Dean a second or so to recognize the tune: Pop Goes The Weasel.

To Dean it sounded like those ice cream trunks he'd heard all summer long when he was a kid. Chump magnets, he called 'em one time. Something to lure the suckers in and take their money. Never mind that he'd bought ice cream for him and Sammy from trucks like this more than once.

The tune played, and the lid popped up at the end of the song, and the motion made Dean want to clamp the beef jerky hard between his teeth, reach back underneath his leather jacket and pull his Colt 1911. He could do it, too. Dad taught his boys to be ambidextrous.

Dean crossed the room in one quick catlike motion. He slid the beer and the pizza box onto the table (just in time, too, 'cause his hands were about ready to cramp). He craned his neck to see, and damn near knocked the beer over anyway.

What he was looking at was fugly.

The clown pop-up's smile stretched from one ear to another. The lips were purple, and so were its chipmunk cheeks. Pale grey skin, a wide and toothy mouth with blood red gums that looked like something Dean saw on one time on Shark Week that time. The eyes were pitch black and the clown hat and costume it wore was tattered, green and purple, black, orange and yellow. Fuzzy purple hair exploded around the thing's ears and the back of its head, right underneath that crunched up little black fedora. The little plastic hands were curved into claws, reaching forward, and the whole damn thing was just so cheerfully homicidal that Dean frankly didn't know what to think.

"Christo," Dean mumbled. Damn, that was hard to do with a mouthful. Dean pulled the jerky out of his mouth. "Christo," Dean said clearly, and he smirked, proud of himself.

Sam ignored him. He stared fixedly at the ugly little fucker.

"Uh, Sam…" Dean said slowly. "That's a clown. C-L-O-W-N."

"Uh huh."

"Dude, you have an evil clown in a jack in a box type thing there."

"Yeah," Sam huffed impatiently, as if that wasn't news and he was a little pissed that Dean noticed that in the first place. Sam looked awfully young now, and he damned sure needed a haircut. Kid was looking positively shaggy.

"So, huh," Dean cleared his throat. Best not to antagonize the crazy sibling, but…"Where'd you buy it?"

"Drugstore down the street."

"Uh huh. Why'd you spend your hard-earned cash on that?"

"I'm just tired of it." Sam shrugged. "It's a stupid fear, Dean. Just stupid."

Dean looked at him warily.

"I mean," Sam plunged on, "I don't even know how why I got like this in the first place. All I remember is the first time I saw a clown I just felt…I felt a wrongness, y'know? With the face paint and that big fake smile, I mean they have to be up to something, right?"

"Uh…yeah…"

"They can hide machetes in those big floppy pants of theirs. Straight razors inside those gloves."

"Um…sure…"

"Strangle you with those long thin floppy ties of theirs, or the suspender straps ---"

"Okay, little miss sunshine!" Dean chirped hastily. "Wayy too much information. So you're telling me you bought this thing to get over your fear of clowns?"

Another shrug of those broad shoulders. "I guess."

"Oh-kay then." Dean smiled brightly. It was more of a "I put up with you 'cause you're related to me" kind of smile. "Grub's here. Step away from the clown, dude. It's time to eat."

Two pizza slices later Dean insisted that Sam push the clown back into the box and close the lid. Dean snorted, gestured at it with his half-eaten pizza slice, and mumbled with his mouth half full, "You gonna sleep with him, too, Samantha?"

Maybe, Sam thought sulkily.

He closed the lid anyway.


The rest of the evening was quiet. That job at the old Madsen place had been a long, hard grind. Two days of dodging thrown objects like dining room tables, chairs and old gas stoves, just to track down the spook's remains for a good old fashioned salt and burn. After that Wallace Harvey, your not so friendly neighborhood vengeful spirit, had gone bye-bye to his eternal reward.

Dean went outside to check on his baby one more time, and that was it, he was done for the night.

They settled down to watch the baseball playoffs. "Gonna get their asses kicked," Dean mumbled softly as he sprawled on his bed. He always took the one nearest the door and this time was no different. Sam opened his mouth to ask whose ass was gonna get kicked. Dean yawned again, and a moment later he was snoring softly.

Damn.

Maybe Dean was tired. Yeah, that was it. At one point Dean snorted in his sleep, turned over on his side and faced Sam. His right hand slid underneath his pillow.

Sam didn't mind. He smirked a little every time he even looked at the box. He'd beaten it. He'd won. Before he would have imagined the clown crouched down inside there, grinning, lurking, biding its time, probably with a small knife concealed in its hand somewhere, like that little Zuni fetish doll in that Trilogy of Terror movie with Karen Black. He didn't know where this fear came from. Didn't come from Dad, and it sure in the hell hadn't come from Dean.

Earlier this afternoon Sam sat there with the clown in the box for a good forty five minutes while Dean went to get the food. His fingertips tingled at first as he held the box.

He jumped the first time the bastard clown came popping out.

Sam pushed it back down, closed the lid. His fingers shook.

He turned the crank again. His fingers shook some more.

Pavlov's dog, that was it. He had to desensitize himself. Break the cycle of fear. Sam's nerve endings sizzled, as he touched the box, stared at the pictures of the clowns on all four sides, turned the crank around and around and listened to that godawful "Pop Goes The Weasel" tune, over and over again. He stared at the clown pop-up, got nose to nose with it.

Once he even thumped it in the face with his thumb and forefinger.

Five minutes before Dean walked in Sam could feel something inside him just burn itself all the way out.

Whatever fear he had of clowns was gone.

"Planes crash," Dean pointed out one time. "Yeah, and clowns kill!" Sam had snapped back.

Not anymore, Sam thought to himself. He looked over at Dean's sleeping face, so relaxed and restful in repose, and smirked. How ya like me now? Who's your daddy?

Sam felt worn out now. The crowd on television roared in response to a home run or some other damn thing, but Sam closed his eyes, drifted off a little more. Time was he never would have felt comfortable enough to do that in the same room with even a picture of a clown. That punk clown in the box? It was nothing to fear, just plastic, cloth, paint, and metal springs. That was it, that was all.

"Hello, Sam boy," the clown whispered softly.

Sam froze.


The clown was out of the box. It stood on the table, and Sam couldn't help but notice that the top of its head was nearly even with the top of the open lid of the box. Its tiny little feet were long, orange and floppy, curved up at the edges.

"Dean," Sam whispered softly.

Dean didn't move. He didn't even twitch. He was sound asleep, and ordinarily Sam envied Dean's ability to do that, but this was not the time, not with a killer clown in the room.

"Big brother's sound asleep." The clown grinned as it pulled a small shiny straight razor out of one of its gloves. It gestured towards Dean with the blade. "Try not to scream too much, yea? Don't wake him, Sam, and I'll leave him be. You're the one I want."

Sam nodded.

"Knew you were the one from the moment I laid eyes on ya. Why do you think you bought my box in the first place? I compelled you to." It licked its purple lips and grinned, exposing needle-like teeth. "I need to bleed you each and every day, boychick. Nothing like eatin' regular."

Dean opened his eyes. He raised up, twisted around as he brought his right hand out from under the pillow, and that was when Sam realized the knife in Dean's hand was the silver one.

The one Pastor Jim Murphy blessed the first summer they'd spent in Blue Earth.

"Eat this, freak!" Dean snarled, and the look of shock on the clown's face as Dean threw the blade was priceless.


The box melted into greasy brown slag right after Clown Boy did.

Dean pulled his knife out of the wall and smirked. "Don't think one more stain is gonna matter in this dump."

He went out to the Impala and brought in a gallon jug, then saturated the mark on the wall and the table with holy water. In cases like this Dean sometimes tended towards overkill, if only to make pretty damn sure that the fugly didn't get the fug back up. Sam knew Dean would probably go back out to the trunk, get the rock salt and lighter fluid and do a controlled burn on both spots before they went to bed. It wasn't like this place was the Hilton Hotel, and anyway, they'd be leaving in the morning, which couldn't get here soon enough, Sam decided.

The outline on the wall looked like the spread-eagled body of a little clown, outstretched arms and big floppy feet.

Road kill. Sam looked, and he couldn't help it.

He snickered.

Dean quirked an eyebrow as he sat down on the bed beside Sam. "You okay?"

"Yeah." Sam nodded.

Dean looked skeptical. "You are?"

Sam nodded again.

"You sure? So you're telling me that Ronald McDonald, red wig, floppy shoes and all, could walk in here and you wouldn't blink an eye?"

Sam snorted. "I'd kick his ass."

"That's my boy."

Sam sighed. "I really hate Pop Goes The Weasel."

"You're singin' to the choir on that one, Sammy."

"Hey, Dean? We can work on your fear of flying now."

"Oh, hell no."

-30-

A/N: And yes, I did go out and buy an "evil clown in a jack in a box type thing" at Walgreens. So far it hasn't moved. Yet. My cat Coyote is keeping an eye on it.