"It certainly does." She was feeling more than a little nervous. She hadn't been to a circus
since she was a child and wasn't prepared to talk in any detail about it. Her heart sank. Being
unprepared was never a good thing for her in an interview. Her nerves were kicking in and her
mother's voice, saying, "Why can't you be like everyone else in the family," was playing over and
over in her head.
"Larry, can I ask you about the responsibilities of this position in sales training? What
exactly does the job entail?"
"This job? You'll be perfect for it. You'll have to develop a training program for our field
sales staff to get them up to speed on all the hundred thousand items that we sell. You know the
circus can't go on without a good-fitting pair of oversized clown shoes!" "How big is the staff of
this department?"
"I think there are about fifty people in this area. You'll have two supervisors, and the rest are
writers and research people. You'll also have a few doodlers who spice up the documents with
cute pictures and circus jokes. Other than that, I don't really know what else they do over there,
and I don't really care. That will be up to you."
Now Mandy was really nervous. He was talking like she already had the job. Larry didn't
seem truly interested in anything about her, except that he was staring at her breasts. He was
beginning to give her the creeps.
"Well, I think we've talked enough. Can you come in on Monday? How does $75,000 sound
to start? Yearly bonus ranges from thirty to fifty percent of your annual salary. And I haven't had
a year yet where I got less than seventy-five percent. This is a great place to work."
Her mouth dropped open. This was the craziest interview she had ever been to. For some
odd reason, asking if she could have some time to think it over didn't seem appropriate. And she
was desperate. Telling her mother she had a job would at least put her back into semi-good
graces for a while. She wouldn't have to listen to her parents complain about Burger Boy
anymore. She hadn't been able to get that greasy smell out of her clothes, no matter how many
times she washed them.
"Monday is perfect. What time should I come in?"
"Terrific, you clown and cotton candy girl!" Larry winked. "Be here at nine. It's going to be
so great to have some fresh blood in here, especially someone who's so knowledgeable about the
Mandy thought, "Knowledgeable about the circus? What am I getting myself into? Is this
guy crazy?" The pay was fabulous—she could get off the hook with her parents and out of debt.
And she could stop flipping hamburgers! Hallelujah! But what did she know about what kinds
of supplies were needed to run a circus, let alone how to teach someone else about them?
Mandy stood up and extended her hand to Larry. He did the same.
"Mandy, we're happy to have you as part of the team." As his eyes moved slowly up and
down, Mandy suddenly felt like she had just been undressed
"See you on Monday morning! You can find your own way out."
She called her mother from her cell phone on her drive home. "Mom, guess what! I got a
"Well, finally you've called with some good news for a change." "I start on Monday.
Manager of sales training at Big Top Supplies."
"I've never heard of Big Top Supplies. What do they do? I hope you haven't gotten yourself
into another menial position, Mandy."
"They sell circus supplies. It's a good job—good benefits and a good salary."
"Well, it's about time. I hope that this year I can say something positive about what you're
doing with your life in the Christmas newsletter."
"Just wanted you to be the first to know. Bye, Mom."
"Every single time I call," Mandy thought, "my mother knows just where to put the knife in
and twist. I am not going to let her get the best of me. I have a job! I have a job! I'm calling
Burger Boy, and then, let the party begin!"
Mandy arrived early on Monday morning. She was too nervous to even attempt to eat
breakfast. She parked her car in a far corner of the vast, empty parking lot. A little exercise
would help calm her nerves.
It had been surprisingly difficult to turn in her resignation at Burger Boy. At thirty-two, she
was the oldest person working there. All the kids looked up to her, and in a funny kind of way
she was sad to leave them. She was the mother hen and they her flock. She decided to keep her
uniform as a reminder that she was never too good to do even the most menial of tasks. Or
maybe she would wrap it up and give it to her mother as a birthday present. That would score
her some brownie points, now wouldn't it! She would have it dry-cleaned and then pack it in
mothballs so it wouldn't transfer that disgusting smell to anything else in her closet.
It was time for Mandy to have a real job again, if that was what Big Top Supplies was going
to be. She had her doubts but had made her choice, and she certainly couldn't refuse the
paycheck. In the same way she took to flipping hamburgers, Mandy would give it her all.
As she approached the front door on Monday morning, Mandy could hear someone
"Gimme an M!
"Gimme an A!
"Gimme an N!
"Gimme a D!
"Gimme a Y!
"What's it spell? MANDY! Yeah!"
Her stomach began to sink, and if there had been anything in it, she would have thrown up
right then and there. As she came around the corner Mandy could see pink and purple pompoms
flashing wildly about.
"Way to go, Mandy, way to go!"
Clap, clap.
"Way to go, Mandy, way to go!"
Clap, clap.
"Are you Mandy?" A very excited young woman in a cheerleading skirt and sweater bearing
the letters BT came rushing toward her.
"Yes, I'm Mandy Maloney."
"Yeah! You're here! Welcome to Big Top." The pompoms never stopped shaking and her
pigtails were in constant motion. The woman did a cartwheel in the grass followed by two back
"Welcome! My name is Tiffany, and I am the official Big Top welcoming committee."
"Well, thank you, Tiffany. I am . . . overwhelmed by your energetic spirit." Actually Mandy
was shocked by the spectacle, but Tiffany seemed to be enjoying this responsibility. And she
wasn't even breathing heavily, after all that.
"I love my job. I love spreading good cheer. That's why I'm the Big Top cheerleader." With
pompoms still shaking, she said, "C'mon Mandy. Come with me."
Mandy followed the bright and chipper Tiffany to the front door. Abruptly, Tiffany stopped
and turned to hold the pompoms over Mandy's face. They started to shake, tickling Mandy's
nose. Tiffany started to cheer.