Copyright 2010 Linda C. Wright
To April, Kathy and Glenn
For always giving me new material to work with
And to Richard for his undying support
Copyright 2010 Linda C. Wright
Available free of charge exclusively to obooko members. Although free of charge, this work
remains protected by Copyright and must not be reproduced, redistributed or sold in digital
or printed form.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2008921858
This book may not be reproduced in any form without express written permission.
Printed in the United States of America
ISBN-13: 978-1-58385-220-0
ISBN-10: 1-58385-220-4
To April, Kathy and Glenn
For always giving me new material to work with
And to Richard for his undying support
It was a clear, crisp January day. She'd been driving around for over an hour looking for the
place. None of the Internet map sites had ever heard of the address. She'd spent hours searching
them all. She usually left plenty of time to find her way to an interview, giving herself some time
to relax and gather her thoughts, but that was not the case today. Less than five minutes to spare.
She was feeling rushed and not on top of her game.
"This must be it," Mandy thought as she turned into the enormous parking lot. It was empty
for the most part—only a couple rows near the building were filled with cars. She scoped out the
entrance and found the closest spot.
"Wish me luck," she said with her eyes toward the sky. Mandy had been looking for a job
for almost six months. She had never heard of this company, Big Top Supplies, nor had she
been able to find any information on it. The classified ad in the paper read:
Large supplier of entertainment equipment
Manager of Sales Training
Stable company with room for advancement
Excellent Benefits, 401K Salary Neg. Send resume to:
Big Top Supplies
P.O. Box 49223
Winter Falls, Florida 33223
She answered every classified ad that even vaguely reflected her skills. All Mandy needed
right now was a job, doing anything, anywhere. She couldn't afford to be picky. When she got
the call to come in for an interview, she didn't think twice. She felt unprepared, but she was
desperate. Mandy was just squeaking by. She was working part-time at the local Burger Boy just
to keep her head above water. She couldn't ask her parents for the mortgage money again. It was
painful every time she had to ask.
"No one in the family ever stooped so low as to work at a Burger Boy. Why aren't you more
like your sister?" Her sister had married a jerk with money and sat around eating bonbons all
day. Why would she want to be like her? Mandy had had to ask for money a few times since she
was laid off from what her mother called "that lowly job" as a customer service manager. "So
what if the job was outsourced to India?" Mandy was told. "It's the kind of work those people
were meant to do." Not Mandy. She had been raised "better than that," or so her mother
repeated to her, over and over and over again.
"Please, dear God, let me get this job," she said as she walked to the front door
"I'm here to see Larry Adams," she told the dour-faced receptionist. "My name is Mandy
Maloney. I have an appointment." Mandy looked around the waiting area. Pictures hung on
every available inch of wall space. Circus pictures: flame throwers, elephants, clowns, human
cannonballs, jugglers, trapeze artists.
"So that's why the name of the company is Big Top," she thought. It had never dawned on
her that this company was all about the circus. "Well, I guess this ought to be interesting, to say
the least."
As she waited for Larry Adams to appear, she went over in her head her carefully prepared
responses to the sure-to-be-asked canned interview questions. They had been on every other
interview she had been on in the last six months. Mandy had no reason to believe this interview
would be any different.
Tell me about yourself.
What are your long-term goals? What are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
What about this job interested you?
If I could ask your last supervisor about you, what would he say?
"Ms. Maloney?"
Mandy shook herself out of deep thought and quickly stood up to offer her hand. "Yes. Mr.
"Please call me Larry. Nice to meet you. Let's go into my office."
As they walked through the halls, Mandy couldn't help but be awestruck by her
surroundings. All the walls were painted bright reds, yellows, greens, pinks, and purples. "This
must be a fun place to be every day," she mused.
They entered Larry's office, and it too was filled with circus posters and sales awards (in the
shape of cotton candy and sno-cones).
Mandy's eyes must have grown large trying to take it all in.
"I was taken aback by all this when I first arrived here too. I thought I was in circus
overload for a while. You'll get used to it."
In an interview-style response, she said, "It must be so motivating to be surrounded by all
this every day. I know it makes me feel good, with all the bright colors and circus animals."
"Well, that's what we live for here. The circus puts food on my table and gas in my car. My
kids have gotten used to those three squares every day! Tell me, Mandy, what do you like most
about the circus?"
"Ummm, I guess I'm a . . . clown and cotton candy girl," she stuttered. "Clowns are always
having so much fun, joking around and acting silly. And cotton candy is so light and airy and
sweet. It's such a pretty color of pink." She was really stretching to pull this response out of her
"Good, I like that—clown and cotton candy girl. I'm a hot dog and trapeze boy, myself.
There are people here that just live for the human cannonball or the parade of elephants, or
dream of being the ringmaster. That's what's so great about the circus. It has something for
everyone, doesn't it?"