t’s the ones without faces that I notice first. 

The garish colors of their bodies stand out in the darkness. Electric. Neon. Optic. Shades so distinct and bright it hurts my eyes to linger. The closer they get to me, standing alone in the black, the more they multiply.

All at once, the creatures stop moving. Frozen in place, some of them are upside down or sideways, emphasizing the spikes in their hair, the uneven shape of their heads. It’s only once they have stopped that I realize they are all exactly, eerily the same. 

Through the darkness walks one creature, the only one with a face. He moves forward steadily. I back away, peering in the darkness for an exit that does not exist. Once he is standing directly in front of me, he stops abruptly. 

His mouth is permanently stitched in a smile. He tilts his head to the side, studying me. The other creatures come closer, but my eyes stay on the one in front of me, trying to understand him through the dark X of his eyes.

“What do you want?” I ask.

But he doesn’t speak.

Instead, a bright ball appears. It bounces at an irregular speed, just out of reach. The darkness shifts sluggishly around me as I struggle for the ball. It bounces playfully out of reach. 

I look back at the creature in front of me. “What do you want?” I ask again.

A pickleball paddle appears in my hand. I look down at it, surprised and unsure. “Do you want to play a game? Seriously?”

The ball continues to bounce out of the corner of my eye, so I try hitting it with the paddle. It makes contact, soaring toward the creatures standing in the back. I gasp as it hits one of them in the shoulder. It returns faster.

“It’s a wall drill!” I say, knowing that I still can’t see walls anywhere in the black.

As soon as I have the right rhythm to make the wall drill successful, the game changes again. Now, a small practice net stands between me and the creature. The ball has returned to its original status–bouncing erratically in front of me.

“Okay, so warm up time is over,” I mutter.

A paddle appears in the creature’s hands. The paddle has his own likeness in the center, surrounded by his faceless friends. The ball bounces off the top in perfect, syncopated rhythm. Clearly, the game is ready to begin.

As for each of The Freak Show Collection paddles, the design for the paddle came from the title of the paddle itself–freak. It represents that character in a “freak show” setting, with more mischievous elements than the Monster paddle. It does draw inspiration from horror iconography, which is part of why the bright colors are contrasted so starkly with the black background, but the figures on the paddle are more playful than scary. 

With its bright colors, so central to the Paddle Candy brand, it stands out on the court. Discover more about the Paddle Candy Freak Paddle, or get your own, by browsing through The Freak Show Collection.

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