ONE CLOWN SHORT, page-30

"Yes, they are. And I must say, I kind of miss them."
"No more violets for me," echoed the violet-eyed Violet.
"I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. What's it going to be?"
"Well have a seat, and you'll find out."
Gary got up from his chair and Mandy sat down.
Fzzzt, blzzt-fzzzzzttt.
"What is that?"
"Whoopee cushion—but I can't figure out where it is."
She got up and started to examine the chair. She turned it over, looking at every crack and
crevice. Not a tear, not a seam, nothing to show how the whoopee cushion got inside.
"That's so weird. How'd they do that? Does everyone's chair have one?"
"I haven't tried mine yet." Violet ran back to her own office.
Fzzzt. Fzzzzzt.
They started to hear a chorus of fake farts moving down the hall from office to office.
"Sounds like they got them all."
"Whoopee cushions and white walls I can live with. I still think there will be more."
They peered out the window to see all the picket signs marching around the parking lot. It
sounded as if they were still chanting "Big Top Sucks and so do we."
Mandy decided to head back to her office and get some work done. Straightening out
Bozo's mess wasn't going to happen all by itself. She stopped in the bathroom on the way. All
the stall doors were closed. She heard a toilet flushing and waited her turn for someone to come
out. It was unusual for such a large crowd to be in the ladies' room all at the same time,
especially since most of the employees were outside on the picket line. She waited for a few more
minutes. No one was coming out. Finally it dawned on her. She bent over to look under the
doors. Not a pair of feet in sight.
"Gary! Gary!" she yelled as she ran across the floor. "All the stall doors are locked and the
ever-flushing toilet is at it again!"
He threw his hands over his head. "And I just got these pants back from the cleaners."
81"
Violet followed them to the ladies' room when she heard all the commotion. Gary crawled
under the stall door and tried to undo the latch. He couldn't. He was furiously rattling and
shaking the door, trying to force it open.
"Must be super glue. I can't get it open." "Don't make me laugh—I really have to go."
"Can't help it. I really think it's super glue."
He crawled into the next stall. Same thing. Finally he crawled out and lay on the floor
laughing. Mandy joined in and screamed,
"Stop! I have to pee!"
Violet hung her head over the sink snorting, she was laughing so hard. Pretty soon it was a
laugh-fest in the ladies' room as more people came in expecting to use the facilities.
The men followed, curious to see what was going on. All this with the roar of the everflushing toilet in the background.
Albert piped up. "If you think this is funny, wait till you go to the cafeteria. All the tables
and chairs are hanging upside down f rom the ceiling. Each place is set with silverware and
there's even a centerpiece in the middle."
A roar of laughter filled the bathroom.
Suddenly the door flew open. The laughter stopped immediately. Butane Bob. His face was
as red as his clothing.
"What's going on in here? Someone has superglued the fire siren switch to on and all of you
are on the bathroom floor laughing!"
Laughter rolled through the bathroom again. Violet couldn't stop snorting and several
others joined in. Mandy couldn't hold it any longer and dove under a stall door. Tears were
running down her cheeks
"Stop flushing the toilet!" shouted Butane Bob. "For God's sake, Mandy, we have all heard
other people go to the bathroom before. This place has gone to hell in a handbasket, and you're
worried about being modest."
The laughter became even louder than ever before. From the floor, Gary tried to say, "The
ever-flushing toilet has been superglued on," but it was difficult to understand him, he was
laughing so hard.
"What did he say?"
Violet answered slowly. "The ever-flushing toilet has been super- glued in the flushing
position. We can't make it stop. It's not Mandy. It's the toilet in the last stall."
"It's done this before?"
"Many times. Except now it's permanent."
Butane Bob turned on his heels in disgust. "All of you into the firehouse right now!" He
stopped and added, "Well, it really looks more like an igloo than a firehouse at the moment, so
just follow the siren and you'll find it."
A cell phone began to ring.
82"
"Mandy, tell your mother you're busy! I need you in the firehouse right now!" She was
laughing too hard to even consider talking to her mother.
"I'm letting her go to voice mail," she shouted from behind the stall door.
"That's a step in the right direction." Butane Bob stormed out of the restroom. They waited
for the door to close behind him before bursting into laughter again.
When they arrived at the firehouse, it looked more like an iceberg, and the whole situation
was now the sinking of the Titanic. Butane Bob sat down behind his desk.
Fzzzt-bzzzt.
Giggles couldn't be held in any longer.
"How are we going to get these people out of the parking lot and back to work? Thank God
the local news hasn't shown up yet."
"Think again, Butane Bob. The satellite truck is pulling up as we speak." Gary stood peering
out the window. The crowd from the bathroom had already taken all the seats.
"Can we reinstate the three o'clock break? That usually draws a crowd," said Albert.
"What do you mean, reinstate?" Butane Bob cocked his head to one side as he spoke.
"Dimple Vanderdoober cancelled that and confiscated earplugs in her performance
appraisal meeting the day before yesterday."
"Who is Dimple Vanderdoober?" Butane Bob now had his head cocked to the other side.
The chuckling stopped on a dime. Mandy wanted to hide under the chair. Both Gary and
Violet had fear in their eyes. The tension was suddenly so thick it could have been cut with a
knife.
"She's the new director of performance. She came from Three Ring," answered Mandy
bravely.
"She's the one who started all this with her new performance appraisal system."
"What!—no more automatic ten-percent raises?" Butane Bob was really in the dark on this
one.