ONE CLOWN SHORT, page-16

They approached the woman and went through their usual introductions.
"From the corporate office? You ought to be ashamed of your- selves, showing up here. I sit
in this parking lot day in and day out trying to sell this lousy cannon. It's the only thing I've got
left to sell."
"We came to change that for you. What's your name?"
"Wilma. I use my own car to tow this monstrosity out of the store every morning and tow it
back in every night. And I sit out here rain or shine."
"Wilma, do you have any other employees?"
"What do you think I am—stupid? As much as I despise this company, I know enough that
I don't need to waste more of the company's money by keeping useless employees on the
payroll."
"Then why do you do this everyday?"
"I would like more challenges in my job, but other places aren't any better. See that office
supply store across the way? That store is busy all day long. But you know what? Their corporate
office allows each store to have only twenty shopping carts. Their customers were complaining
all the time. No carts in the store. They were in the parking lot, and there was never enough help
to collect them fast enough. I finally gave them some of mine. I have two hundred carts, barely
used. So it's no better. Headaches no matter who I choose to work for."
"Here's a list that we put together in some other stores that we visited. Look it over and let
me know if it's in line with what you would like to see happen." Mandy had scribbled out a
handwritten copy of the list and handed it to Wilma.
"This would be an excellent start. I can't think of anything more right now. But you know
what? Can you fix the inter-office mail?"
"What's wrong with it?"
42"
"Aside from that it takes at least a month to get here, you keep sending me markdowns for
inventory I don't have. It's just a waste. Nothing gets here on time anyway, so why bother?"
As they got back into the car, Butane Bob said, "We're done. I've seen enough. Let's go
home."
"Done," the two women agreed.
As they were driving through rush hour traffic on the way to the airport, Butane Bob
shouted, "Look Mandy! Burger Boy! Do you think you can pull off the same trick again for
dinner?"
"Do I have to? Isn't once enough?"
"Come on. You know how much I love it."
Mandy approached the counter with Violet, and Butane Bob found a table in the back. She
told the manager the same sad story.
"Are you with the guy with the hair?"
She hesitated—"Yes."
"Can I take his picture? Then the burgers, fries, and cinnamon shakes are on me."
"What's with the picture taking?"
"The company is looking for a new spokesperson for the cinnamon shake. Seeing that he's
all dressed in red with that crazy hair, he'd be perfect. I get a big trip to New York if I win."
"Butane Bob, they want to take your picture again," Mandy said as she set the food on
the table
"Should I fix my hair?"
"No, I think that's what they like about you." "Say cheese."
Flash.
CHAPTER NINE
THE NEVER STARTING MEETING
The meeting notice read:
Please be prompt!
We have much to cover in this very important meeting.
43"
8 a.m. sharp in the IT conference room on the second floor. The purpose of this meeting is to get the
corporate business owner's input of a new employee intranet portal. Our aim is to create one place to
service all of our daily needs, reduce time and paper, and allow our employees all over the country to
become more efficient in their daily work routines.
"Wow! What a novel idea—become more efficient."
The meeting notice was sent by Patti Gulley on behalf of Paul Brown. Mandy didn't know
either of these people. She hadn't had much interaction with anyone in information systems yet.
But she thought that this might be the perfect opportunity to get her training manuals to the
stores via the portal.
She arrived at the conference room at about five minutes before eight the next morning. The
room was dark. She turned on the lights, picked her seat and sat down. Then she waited.
"So much for being prompt," she thought. As she waited, she went through her day planner
and tried to organize her day for when the meeting was over.
Review and approve the training module on juggling props.
1 p.m. meeting with doodler staff on how to freshen the look of their artwork.
Talk with Lester about his attendance issues.
2 p.m. Conduct online training session with the sales team n Iowa.
4 p.m. meeting with Butane Bob on a new line of cannons for humans.
It was a good thing she had brought the new training manual on juggling with her, to use as
an example of the volume of her team's work that would need to be available on the Web site.
She could get a head start reviewing the draft while she waited.
Mandy was startled when a man she had never met before came into the room at around
eight thirty.
"Good morning. I'm Mandy Maloney."
"Oodgay orningmay. Icenay otay eetmay ouyay, Mandy. Iway amway Paul Brown."
"Excuse me, I didn't understand what you said."
"Oodgay orningmay. Icenay otay eetmay ouyay Mandy. Iway amway Paul Brown. Areway
ouyay ethay onlyway oneway erehay? Erewhay isway everyoneway? Iway oughtthay Iway aidsay
eightway amway arpshay."
Mandy looked at him. "I'm sorry, I must have been deep in thought." She tried to laugh it
off. What was this man saying to her? She couldn't understand him. Was her hearing going bad?
"Erewhay isway ymay assistantway ithway ethay ojectorpray? Isthay ouldshay avehay allway
eenbay etsay upway ybay ownay." He left the room
Pretty soon the others started to arrive, Gary and Violet among them.
"Looks like we forgot to tell you." "Forgot to tell me what?"
"Any meeting request that comes from IT always starts a minimum of a half hour late."
44"
"I've been sitting here since before eight. Some guy came in a couple minutes ago, but I
couldn't understand a word he said."
Gary and Violet started to laugh out loud.
"Didn't you bring your dictionary? Or did we forget to tell you about that too?" asked Gary,
still unable to control his laughter.
"I guess you forgot again," she said sarcastically. "What dictionary?"
Everyone seated in the room held up a yellow and red book at the same time
"It was in your bag at orientation. It's the Information Technology-slash-English
dictionary."
"I was half asleep when I looked through that bag. It's stashed in the closet somewhere at
home."