ONE CLOWN SHORT, page-17

"Well, you had better find it. You're going to need it. It's standard issue around here."
Mandy threw her head back in frustration. Another quirky thing to remember. The list was
getting so long. She wondered if it was ever going to be possible to keep them all straight.
The man who had been there earlier came back into the room
This time he was accompanied by a woman who was also unfamiliar to Mandy. They were
chatting like old friends. Mandy could not make out a single word. As they took their seats, the
woman held out her hand to Mandy.
"Iway onday'tay elievebay eway avehay etmay. Ymay amenay isway Gail Lightman."
"Mandy Maloney. Nice to meet you." They shook hands and all the while Mandy had a very
confused look on her face. She glanced over at Violet. She mouthed "Gail Lightman and Paul
Brown" then pointed at her translation dictionary.
"Asway oonsay asway ymay assistantway ingsbray ethay ojector- pray, eway illway etgay
artedstay."
Paul Brown ruffled through his papers. "Ohway Iway eemsay otay avehay orgottenfay ethay
andoutshay. Iway'llay ebay ightray ackbay."
The group sat there in silence. It was closing in on nine o'clock. Gail started to talk.
"Isthay isway away eryvay importantway ojectpray eway areway oinggay otay iscussday
odaytay. Iway amway illedthray otay ebay orkingway onway itway. Mandy atwhay isway
ouryay ositionpay inway ethay ompanycay? Iway onday'tay ememberray eeingsay anway
announcementway introducingway ouyay."
Gary and Violet were furiously turning the pages of their dictionaries
"Mandy, she's talking to you. She wants to know your position in the company."
"She didn't see your announcement," Violet interpreted.
"Oh, uh, I'm the manager of sales training."
Gail sat smiling, seeming to thoroughly enjoy putting them through their paces. Gary and
Violet took it all in stride as they searched for words in the dictionary. Mandy was becoming
increasingly annoyed by the whole situation.
45"
"Itway isway icenay otay avehay omesay eshfray alenttay aroundway erehay. Etlay emay ogay
andway eesay atwhay isway eepingkay Paul."
"You are fresh talent." Gary was reading from his dictionary. "Good to know. Is it
unreasonable for the fresh talent to expect a meeting to start on time? I've got things to do
today."
"We all do. This just goes with the territory."
"And you just blindly accept this kind of rude and obnoxious behavior?"
"We've heard they are highly respected in their field around the world. Big Top is lucky to
have them," Violet chimed in.
Mandy glanced at her watch. It was now half past nine. Paul and Gail came back with
another woman who was carrying the projector. The three of them started to set it up and
connect Paul's laptop.
They plugged one cord into the projector, but then the other end wouldn't fit in the laptop. It
was like musical chairs trying to figure out which cord went where. The projector finally came
on, but the laptop went dark. No one else in the room moved an inch to help.
"Iway amway osay orrysay orfay isthay elayday. Iway appreciateway ouryay atiencepay.
Iway owknay eway allway avehay otherway orkway otay oday."
No one picked up a dictionary this time. Everyone stared blankly back at the two. By this
time the assistant had left to get some help.
Mandy was beyond annoyed. She had been sitting in this room for more than two hours, and
the meeting had not even started. Plus, she couldn't understand a word that was being said. She
got up to leave.
"Ohway onay, onay, onay. Ouyay an'tcay ogay. Eway illway etgay artedstay inway away
inutemay."
Gail blocked the door. "Excuse me please, Gail."
"Onay, ouyay ancay otnay eavelay." Gail was standing her ground. Mandy turned to Violet
for a translation.
"You are not allowed to leave. They will be ready in a minute."
As Mandy returned to her seat, Gary whispered, "You have to keep in mind, they both
passed the test to get into Mensa, but couldn't follow the directions on how to get to the
induction meeting. They never made it."
"So that's why Big Top hired them? They're so smart, they can't find their way out of a
paper bag?"
Finally the projector came on and Paul's presentation appeared on the screen. He passed out
the handouts, and it seemed as if they were ready to go.
"Elcomeway otay ethay initialway eetingmay orfay ethay eationcray ofway ourway
employeeway intranetway itesay. Eway avehay itequay away itbay otay overcay isthay
orningmay osay etlay'say etgay oinggay. Asephay oneway eginsbay odaytay. Asephay otway
illway eginbay onway Friday."
46"
The screen said "Phase One" in big bold letters. The next screen said "Phase Two." Nothing
else—just "Phase One" and "Phase Two."
"Ooklay atway ethay imetay." He looked at his watch. "Iway avehay anotherway eetingmay
otay attendway. Ankthay ouyay orfay ouryay attentionway isthay orningmay. Ymay assistantway
illway informway ouyay ethay imetay andway aceplay ofway ourway extnay eetingmay."
Paul shut down his laptop and walked out. Gail followed him. Everyone else in the room
was scrambling through their dictionaries to figure out what just happened. As people found
words, they shouted them out. Mandy tried to write them down.
Meeting
Attend
Another
Attention
Thank you
Inform
Meeting
Next
Place
"I think he has another meeting and he'll let us know where the next one will be. Thank
you." They all gathered up their things and left.
"Violet, what was that all about?"
"Those two? They've both been here for years. They were recruited from what I've been told
is a very fine and highly regarded university."
"What foreign country is it in and why don't they speak English? They seem to understand
what we're saying."
"They do understand us. They just like being hoity-toity, like they're better and smarter than
the rest of us. They don't get why we can't understand them. Supposedly it was quite a coup
when they signed up to work here. Some very big companies were also after them, I've heard."
"We were probably the only ones who agreed to issue a translation dictionary to all the
other employees," Mandy said with some disgust.
"You might be right on that one."