"I guess he’s still working here then." He opened a file drawer and started looking for
ONE CLOWN SHORT, page-42
something. "You’re in luck. Here’s his file. Hey, get a load of this! I fired him for
insubordination. He told me to go fuck myself when I asked him to come into my office."
Gary kept reading, and by the expression on his face, the story was about to get even juicier.
"Davy Jones was caught urinating in the coffee pot earlier the same day. I was preparing to
discuss the complaint with him when the incident occurred."
"Sounds like a real gem of a guy."
"Aah, it’s all coming back to me now. People had been suspecting something wrong with
the coffee for quite some time, but no one had any proof. A woman named Esther hated this guy
so much that on this day, she came in at about four o’clock in the morning to spy on him. He
showed up at about five thirty thinking he was alone. Right there at the coffee bar he unzipped
and let ‘er rip right into the pot. Esther snapped a Polaroid picture. She grabbed the pot and ran
down the stairs. She hid the pot, piss and all, until I arrived."
"I doubt that the one psychology class I took in college equipped me to deal with anything
"I went home and drank heavily that night. That’s what I learned in college."
"Where do you think he’s hiding?"
"Hard telling. But if you want my advice, I’d stake out the coffee machine. He’ll let down
his guard sooner or later."
The following morning at her daily staff meeting, Mandy got an earful from her collectors.
As usual, Cassie stood out in the conversation.
"I’ve made more than my quota of calls every day but I’ll be damned if I can collect even a
dime! I’ve been hung up on, called foul names, and screamed at—all because of someone named
Davy Jones! I don’t want to go back to Gary. Please don’t make me."
"Do any of you know who he is?"
—a resounding "NO."
"Well, he’s here somewhere. We have to try to find him."
"A long time ago there was a guy that worked here who I think was named Davy Jones. No
one liked him. He stunk. I wonder if it’s the same guy."
"You mean he would have been rated You suck?"
"No, I mean he smelled. Like rotten fish. All the time."
"You couldn’t get near him, he smelled so bad. He wore the same blue shirt and pants every
single day. The joke was that he went to Davy Jones’s locker at night and surfaced from the
ocean every morning to come to work."
"Gary didn’t mention the body odor—only that he peed in the coffee."
Several people spit the contents of their mouths across the table. Coffee was sprayed all over
the room and little brown dots covered every piece of paper in front of them.
"That’s it. There will be safe coffee in my office beginning tomorrow morning. Jerry, you’re
responsible for making it look like we’re drinking the coffee from the communal pot. Don’t want
him to become suspicious."
Mandy thought for a minute. "If anything seems out of place, tell me. Tell your customers
that this Davy Jones is not employed by Big Top. Big Top is still in business! Their balances are
past due and payable immediately or we will begin legal action. We’re going to find this creep.
"The rest of you, keep your eyes and ears open at all times. If he smells as bad as all of you
say he does, then we ought to be able to sniff him out pretty quickly. We must be vigilant. This
"We’ll find him, don’t you worry. Big Top is going to survive, or else!"
The team was excited for a change. This was a boost for Mandy. "Now go collect some
money! We have quotas to meet! Tomorrow morning I want to hear about money in the bank!"
Once the room was empty, she called Gary. "You didn’t tell me about the b.o."
"Aah, I’d forgotten about that. You could smell the guy a mile away. They didn’t teach you
how to have that conversation in college psychology either."
"So it’s one and the same guy?" "One and the same."
"Well, if he’s hiding here somewhere, we ought to be able to smell him out, don’t you
"Like I said, Davy Jones was no rose. That’s for sure."
If Mandy heard one more customer mention the name Davy Jones, she was going to scream.
Call after call—Davy Jones said this, Davy Jones said that. No wonder the collectors were so
They had only been able to reduce the account receivable balance by about two hundred
thousand dollars in the past couple of weeks.
They were never going to save Big Top at this rate.
"Sir, please. Davy Jones is not employed by Big Top Supplies. Your balance is due and
payable to us. The debt of The Wild West Shootout Show has not been forgiven. Let’s talk
reasonably and see what we can work out for payments."
"Are you going to stop shipping to us?"
"Unless you’re willing to work out payments with us, we will have no choice but to suspend
deliveries to you and begin legal action."
"Big Top has the best cap guns. We sell them like crazy in our gift shop. We can’t live
without them. How much do we owe you?"
"Four hundred and twenty-nine thousand, three hundred and thirty-three dollars."
"I’ll cut the check today." "You will?"
"I’ll be fired if we run out of those cap guns. I’ll cut the check." Mandy had hung a bell
outside her office. They were to ring it every time a customer agreed to pay. It wasn’t seeing
much action. She grabbed the rope and began furiously ringing it. Everyone stood up to see what
all the commotion was about.
"Wild West Shootout Show! Four hundred thousand! Davy Jones can’t beat us!"
The team began to applaud. Finally a positive moment had come in what seemed like a
cloud of doom. Even the smallest motivation would do some good. Violet kept a stash of
stickers that she doled out periodically for a job well done. Anything would help at this point.
She went to borrow some.
As she headed over to the other side of the floor, a permeating odor began to fill her nostrils.
It was a hideous smell.
"Where is he? You’ve found him. Davy Jones—he’s here. Who has him?" Her voice got
louder and louder. "Where is he? I want him!"
Violet came out of her office when she heard the yelling.
"Mandy, relax. We haven’t found Davy Jones for you."
"Then what’s that smell if it’s not Davy Jones?"
"The plumber has been here all morning trying to figure that out. During the revolt, it seems
the little devils also filled the drains with coffee grounds."
"Yes, coffee grounds. Who knew that over time they turn to cement. The sink was clogged,
and as the snake drilled through, the crap of a thousand years reared its ugly head—hence the
smell of sewage."