“It is simply that, whatever the Jokes For Women group says, women are just not funny."
"It is a terrible affliction," Adora Belle agreed.
"An interesting dichotomy, in fact, since neither are clowns," said Vetinari.
"I've always thought so," said Adora Belle.
"They are tragic," said Vetinari, "and we laugh at their tragedy as we laugh at our own. The painted grin leers out at us from the darkness, mocking our insane belief in order, logic, status, the reality of reality. The mask knows that we are born on the banana skin that leads only to the open manhole cover of doom, and all we can hope for are the cheers of the crowd.”
– Terry Pratchett, Making Money
Candyfloss and Razorblades
There isn't much to say about Gert for most of the residents of Tamarack Falls. They see her sometimes whenever the circus or a fair sets up shop, of course. She's a staple in the local clowning community. Has been for a while now, ever since she blew into town with one of the various fairs. In between that, she's been known to do... odd jobs, mostly. Birthday parties and the like. She's certainly good at it, even if she has been known to leave quite a few parents feeling like they were lucky to escape with their lives. She's a bit weird, certainly - who walks around dressed like Charlie Chaplin, honestly? and those teeth - but she seems... well, not harmless, really, because she tends to put people on edge, but she certainly hasn't done anything yet. She's just one of those folks you see around, and usually cross the street to avoid.
To the Lost of the area, though, she's a known member of the city's Autumn Court, and one who revels in her role as one of the things that go honk in the night. She hangs about the fairgrounds, mostly, whether there's a fair there or not, and lurks in the darkness to... discourage the kiddies from wandering into the dangerous places. It isn't hard, really. Even without her natural assets, people tend to run away when a demonic clown lurches out at them from an alleyway, and then its mouth opens up and there's nothing but red and teeth and screaming.
Autumn is about fear, after all, and for a lot of people, there is nothing more terrifying than the sound of squeaky shoes in the darkness behind the big top. So run for cover, kiddies.
The clown is coming.
“White hat, white boots, white costume, and white face - and on that face, delineated in thin lines of red greasepaint, was a smile belying the real face, which was as cold and proud as that of a prince of Hell.”
– Terry Pratchett, Making Money
Gert is a diminutive, demonic clown, but not the one that most people tend to think of. There's no motley here, no bumbling, no pratfalls and wide smiles. She is the whiteface, and the expression she wears makes it very clear that, when the pies start flying, someone else is going to be the one getting splattered.
She's a tiny little thing, well under five feet in height, and seems to be built entirely out of sharp edges, with a sharp, severe face that perpetually sports a white greasepaint mask. A few deeply-etched lines at the corners of her eyes make it difficult to determine her age; she looks like she's in her late twenties to early thirties, but there are streaks of gray in her brown, tightly-bunned hair, and the cold glint in her eyes is one that isn't usually seen in someone so young. Those bright-green little eyes stand out all the more, not just because the vibrance of their color isn't seen in normal humans, but because her eyes are set within deep black circles of greasepaint.
Her mouth, too, seems to be silently mocking those around her - it's an unnaturally long, thin-lipped slash of a thing that always seems to be curled upwards at the corners into a smirk that one could only describe as "demonic". When she does actually open her mouth, or grin, there are far, far too many teeth visible, and they're too predatory, too pointed. Inhuman, occasionally serrated, occasionally fanglike. They gleam, and the impossibly deep red of her lips stands out far too sharply against the unnatural, sallow whiteness of her skin.
Worse, the horrible, fanged grin is often the only thing visible on that face. Shadows around Gert don't /work/ right. Her own never seems to quite hold still, and when she moves, she seems to dive in and out of patches of deep, midnight gloom, interspersed with the occasional lurid orange glare, like cheap halogen lamps. She steps through a world of shadows and darkness all her own, as if perpetually walking through the night, past buildings and street lamps that don't exist for anyone else - and whenever the shadows close in, all that can be seen of her face is the gleam of that grin, stretching so wide that it can't possibly still be attached to her face, and the occasional evil glint of her green eyes.
She doesn't have too much of a figure to speak of. She has narrow shoulders and wide hips, but this is the only real sign of a traditionally feminine build to be found. One would be tempted to call her "petite", but that word calls to mind a sense of shyness, or at least of impish energy. Gert carries herself too proudly for that. She stands up straight and tall, with her only-just chest pushed forward and her chin held high. One would almost think that she was trying to look down her nose at them if she wasn't so short.
The air of slightly callous pride is only enhanced by the outfit she's chosen. She wears an old-fashioned but perfectly tailored suit and tie, with the jacket usually left open. She would look the spitting image of Charlie Chaplin, complete with cane and bowler hat, if Charlie Chaplin's suit had been brown, and he himself had been given to staring so intensely at people that they might worry about catching fire. And she always sports a pair of brown leather gloves, no matter the weather.
The chill breeze around her carries a faint scent of popcorn, cotton candy, and dry straw, and those who get very close indeed might hear just the faintest hint of off-tune calliope in the distance.
- Clown: It's a calling. Even if she is a bit... unusual about it. Sardonic and sarcastic and cynical, with plenty of dark humor and mocking laughter to go around. She also makes some mean balloon animals.
- Autumn: I am the terror that honks in the night.
- Scarecrow: What's that, dearie? The Ministry? Never heard of it, I'm sure. You shouldn't listen to such rumors.
- Charity Work: She tours around children's hospitals putting on shows for the kiddies. Magic tricks and the like. Surprisingly good at it, too.
- You'll Float Too: There are dark places that good little boys and girls simply should not go - the fairgrounds at night, the dark caves out in the woods, the abandoned warehouse surrounded by dark rumors. Of course, Gert is not very good, so she's there all the time.
- A Comedy Classic: When Gert was snatched up by the Fae, radio was still in its golden age, Abbott and Costello were looking to be the next big thing, the first ever colored film had just been released, and World War II was just getting into full swing. Damn Nazzies.
- Mister Bad Wolf: Do tell me if you ever figure it out, dearie.
- Mister Fancy Man: Really, now?
- Mister Fiddler: The odd ones always are the most entertaining, that's for sure.
- Little Miss Rust: Not altogether there just yet. But there's enough. You'll learn, dearie. You'll learn.
- Miss Sea-Witch: Hang on to that sanity, dear. It seems to be in precious little supply these days.