ONE CLOWN SHORT, page-20

"Let me get you some water." She closed the door as she left. She ran to Gary's office,
hoping he was still there.
"Gary, bad news."
"What?" he said, without even looking up from his computer. Just then her cell phone rang.
"Ugh, my mother! Hi, Mom. I'm pretty busy right now. Can I call you back?" "What are you
busy doing?'
"Mom, I'm working."
"Oh, I forgot that you have a job. You hadn't had one in so long, I completely forgot about
it. I guess that explains why you haven't asked for money lately too."
"Thanks, Mom. I'll call you later." After she hung up the phone, she said to herself, "When
am I going to learn not to answer when she calls?"
Gary had been cooling his heels while listening to her silly conversation. It was the same
conversation he heard Mandy have with her mother day after day. She always answered when
she called, no matter where she was at the moment. He was beginning to think that no one else
even had her cell phone number.
"What's going on? Spill the beans."
"Pete, the salesman, gave Bozo a shock of static electricity when he shook his hand. Bozo is
dead! He was electrocuted by all those pins."
Gary's eyes became as big as saucers. For once, Mandy had left him speechless.
53"
"He's in my office right now crying his eyes out. He's devastated. Can you try to find Lulu
or someone to fill us in, so that we can tell our people before the rumor mill starts buzzing out of
control?"
He responded weakly, "I'm in shock."
"Let's tell our teams at once. I think it will be a little easier if we're together. Get Violet
too."
Mandy went back to check on Pete, and Gary headed down the hall.
"How are you feeling? Can I drive you home?"
"My wife is coming to get me, but thank you. We're going to stop and see Bozo's parents."
He started crying again. "I'm not sure I can face them."
"It wasn't your fault. They'll understand that. Let me walk you downstairs so we can wait
for your wife."
As the car pulled up to the lobby entrance, Pete began to insist that Mandy come with them.
"Please, please, I can't face them by myself." He and his wife were both begging her.
Pete's wife was also a mess, tears streaming down her face.
"Let me drive," said Mandy. "You two sit in back and try to calm down before we get to
Bozo's house." When she said the name Bozo they both began to wail even louder than before.
In a neighborhood of neatly manicured lawns and f reshly painted cottages, she knew
immediately which driveway to turn into. They approached a small house that was a deep purple
color.
The roof was pink and the shutters lime green. An elephant made of concrete sat on his
haunches with the mailbox perched on the end of his trunk.
Pete and his wife had composed themselves to some degree. They walked to the front porch
arm in arm. He knocked softly on the sunshine-yellow front door. "Maybe they're not home.
Still at the hospital or something. Let's go." As he turned away, the door slowly opened. An
elderly man said to them, "Come in, come in. We've been expecting you."
"We're so sorry for your loss."
"You have my deepest sympathies."
"Thank you. My wife, Clarabelle." He introduced an elderly woman wearing a floral ‘50sstyle housecoat with pink rollers in her hair. "Please have a seat. Make yourself at home."
The house seemed ordinary on the inside. Not a circus memento in sight. The furniture had
to be at least fifty years old, but looked to be in perfect condition. The plastic cover it had been
wrapped in all these years had certainly done its job.
Mandy exchanged pleasantries with Bozo's parents for ten minutes or so. They insisted that
they were fine and didn't need anything. Pete and his wife sat and sobbed through the entire
conversation. Clarabelle kept handing them tissues until a sizeable pile had formed next to Pete's
chair.
Finally she looked at Mandy, pointed at the pair, and said, "What's wrong with them?"
"They're very sad about the loss of your son. Pete feels responsible."
54"
"Well, I am too, but you don't see me weeping like a willow tree. I gave birth to that boy
and even I'm not crying that much."
Mandy picked up on Clarabelle's cue.
"Uh, I think we should be leaving now. Please let me know if there is anything at all I can
help you with." Mandy fully intended to come back later with a casserole and some other goodies
to stock the refrigerator, but she had to get rid of these two babbling idiots first. Clarabelle didn't
seem to be in the mood to deal with them either, and rightfully so.
Bozo's father escorted them to the front door. He followed them out onto the porch. Grief
was now beginning to show itself on his face. He had seemed so composed during their visit.
"He was obsessed with those pins, you know. It drove me crazy." His voice began to quiver.
"Every day, when he got home from work, he and Clarabelle took all the pins off what he'd been
wearing. She would rub out all the pinholes. Then he would pick out the next day's clothes, and
they put them all back on. It took hours." A tear began to roll down his cheek.
Pete and his wife began to wail all over again at the mention of the pins. Bozo's father
handed them some more tissues from his pocket.
"At least now I can paint this house a decent color and live out my days in peace. You have
no idea how many people drive down the street and start honking their horn in front of this
house. And I can get rid of that god-awful elephant! Some things are a blessing in disguise.
Bozo left us over a million dollars, you know. His bank statement came in the mail, today of all
days, so we opened it. How he ever saved all that, I will never know. He was an idiot. I thought
my wife had let go of her senses when she insisted on naming him that. But looking back, I
think she knew exactly what she was doing. The name Bozo suited him perfectly."
CHAPTER ELEVEN
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
"Larry, what were you thinking when you hired that Mandy Maloney? A clean-cut, allAmerican girl. WHAT were you thinking? She's going to single-handedly foil our entire plan."
"Believe me, she's not that smart, Louis. And besides, she was the only person who
answered the classified ad. Plus, she's really cute. I don't like ugly women, you know."
55"
"Think again with the right brain, Larry. Lulu came to see me. Mandy's refusing to cash her
expense check. No one has ever refused to cash an expense check before." He began to speak in
a high-pitched, singsong manner. "It's not right. I would be taking the company's money. That's
stealing."
"Why didn't you tell me Lulu was coming up here? If she sees me, our cover will be blown
for sure."
"Oh, get over it. You were behind closed doors at the time with your girlfriend, doing Lord
knows what. You really need to get a hotel room or something. Every couple of hours, I have to
spill something outside your door and call the janitor to vacuum it up to drown out all the
screaming you two do."