ONE CLOWN SHORT, page-26

"I think it's the curse of the Big Top company. We have been using those mugs at Three
Ring for years without a problem. It must be the coffee you use here. It's pretty gross, if I do say
so. Or it could be that you are all a bunch of klutzes. That would be my observation."
"But Lisa, a couple weeks ago I saw the garbage man dumping all the bins into a single
trash cart. Are you sure all this trash is being properly recycled?"
"Of course it is, Mandy. Don't insult me. The housekeeping staff has been given very
specific instructions on how to handle the recyclable items. I went over it with them myself. And
they all received handouts as reference for later."
"But Lisa, they can't speak—"
"They have been given adequate instruction. You should all feel proud about being green. I
don't understand why you don't want to be green. We owe it to the community."
She stormed out of the office mumbling, "When are we going to get to fire all these
crybabies? They just don't get it."
"I feel a garbage assignment coming on," quipped Gary. "I promise I'll keep my eye out for
the trash pickup."
"Me too. Anything to prove to that bitch who's right. I really hate her—can you tell? I'm
with you on this one for sure." Fire was crackling in those violet eyes.
About two weeks later Gary came to Mandy's door. He stood there not saying a thing. He
was holding an aluminum soda can in one hand and a napkin with the required four lipstick
marks in the other.
"What do you have there, my friend Gary?" "Evidence, my friend, evidence."
"And what kind of evidence is it?" She was trying to play along with him.
"Evidence that will put Lisa Peeples out of business."
"You have piqued my interest. Please tell me more."
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"I was taking my usual afternoon walk in the parking lot. Early on in my career here, I
swore off the sweets and started taking walks during the break. My wife is a very good cook and
I was coming home every night without an appetite because of the afternoon treats. In order to
keep the peace, I decided to swear them off for good. Old habits die hard with me. When I hear
that music playing every day at three on the dot, I go for a walk, no matter how much work I
have in front of me. Anyway, today I see all kinds of trash blowing around the parking lot. And
since I'm supposed to be helping out my community, I start to pick it up. Plus I figure the
exercise won't hurt me. I pick up several things and head to the dumpster.
The dumpster is full and the lid is half open. I lift it up and look inside, and—lo and
behold—every kind of garbage imaginable is in there. Food, paper, bottles, cans, and toners are
all sitting quite cozy in the dumpster together."
"I knew I could count on you to solve the mystery, Detective Gary."
"Ah, but the story gets better. While I'm inspecting the trash, the garbage truck drives up
and empties the dumpster into the back with everything else it has picked up today from who
knows where all around town."
"So much for being green. Do you want the honors of talking to the honorable Ms. Peeples?
Or should we let Violet do it? She'd get great enjoyment from it."
"I vote for Violet." "Me too."
They handed the evidence over to an ecstatic Violet. By the twinkle in those violet eyes,
both Mandy and Gary knew there would be sweet revenge in her future.
"This is fabulous! I can't believe we caught her red-handed. I'm going to enjoy delivering this
to that hussy."
Violet had the perfect plan all worked out in her head. But Lisa Peeples was never in her
office when Violet paid a visit. Ten times a day she would stop by with her trash can full of
garbage. She couldn't wait to dump the whole thing all over Lisa Peeples's head. The office was
always empty.
Finally Violet took matters into her own hands and called Lisa's cell phone.
"Good afternoon. Jolly Jugglers, this is Lisa Peeples. How can I help you?"
Violet knew that Jolly Jugglers was small but nonetheless a competitor of Three Ring. "She's
up to something if she's answering the phone for Jolly Jugglers," she thought.
"Hello, Ms. Peeples. This is Violet Smith from Three Ring." Dead silence
"Violet, did I say Jolly Jugglers? Freudian slip. I worked for them before I came to Three
Ring. What can I do for you?"
"I have a dumpster full of trash that should have been recycled. Where would you like me to
leave it? In your office here at Three Ring? Or should I have it delivered to you there at Jolly
Jugglers?"
Dead silence once again.
"Violet, please don't blow my cover. Please." She was begging.
This was good. She was right where Violet wanted her.
71"
"I would never do that to you, Lisa. What do you think I am, a backstabber or something?"
"You have to try to understand my position."
"I do? Last time I checked, I was taking orders from a director at Three Ring. I doubt I have
that same loyalty to Jolly Jugglers. They don't happen to sign my paycheck."
"Please try to understand. I screwed up and didn't check the phone number before I picked
up the call. Everybody wants to be green, but nobody wants to pay anyone to manage the
program for them. I have to fund my retirement account just like everyone else.
I have to work for two different companies just to make ends meet. Three Ring pays me
peanuts! Jolly Juggler isn't any better. At least Jolly Juggler lets me work from home so no one
knows I'm double dipping, except you."
"Well, how much do you think Three Ring will pay you when they find out that nothing is
being recycled? It's all going into the community dumpster."
"It is not."
"I have the proof. It's right here in my hand, waiting to be dumped all over your desk."
"No way."
"Yes way. Shall I save it for you to see when you return? Or should I write your resignation
letter for you?"
More silence.
"Let me call you back in an hour or two, once you've had some time to think it over."
Click.
"What a stupid, arrogant bitch that woman is! Fund her retirement account, my ass! She
needs to go back to where they drink pop—wherever that is! This is Florida. We drink soda, and
we eat black beans with rice. We love our little melting pot! Handing a janitor written
instructions to follow—where does she think she is? I'll teach that Lisa Peeples what recycling
means!"
Several times a day Violet began to visit Lisa Peeples's office to deposit a load of trash on
the desk. It was beginning to pile up quite nicely, covering the computer and phone. And it was
finally beginning to make its way to the chair and the floor, cascading gracefully from the desk.
She took great pleasure in this task. She was finally getting a smidgen of satisfaction out of this
miserable thing called a merger.