"No need to be nervous. Please keep calm. We will get through this, one way or the other.
Please trust me on that."
The group left the office with Mandy walking behind Gary and Violet, who were still as
mad as hornets. Gary suddenly stopped dead in his tracks.
"What does that mean—no one has seen Biglar Topler in years?"
He stared straight into Mandy's eyes as if she was hiding that information from him also.
"Honestly, I don't know. Swear to God, Gary, I don't know. But it explains why we need
straightjackets to work here. It's very bizarre, if you ask me."
"You really don't know anything about that? Are you sure?" said Violet, who was also
staring her down.
"OK. I'll come clean. I knew about the merger. Lulu told me when I went to her office
yesterday. She swore me to secrecy. I chose to let you think I had been fired, as the story goes.
But I swear on a stack of bibles, that's the only thing she told me. Cross my heart and hope to
"I didn't know you went to Lulu's office. Why should we believe you now?" Violet was still
the skeptic.
"Well, what if I told you that Lulu's office is Ronnie's secret hiding place and I think the
two of them are doing it."
Both mouths fell wide open and their staring eyes got even bigger. They started to crack the
small semblance of a smile.
"Ooooo, gross."
"That's what I thought."
"And what if I told you that Paul Brown has a degree from a matchbook correspondence
course? No Ivy League education—he's just a snot. Satisfied now?"
Just then her phone rang. "I am not answering it. I am not. Please don't let me answer it.
Please stop me. Please." She opened the cell phone. "Hi, Mom."
The two doubters broke into uncontrollable laughter. They finally realized that Mandy was a
true-blue friend, through and through.
"Good morning, Violet. My name is Lisa Peeples. I am the environmental director at Three
Violet was not in the mood for an interruption at the moment, especially by someone from
Three Ring. Their people were swamping all of them with meetings, conference calls, and
repetitive tasks. She was sick of it.
"What can I do for you? As if I didn't have enough to do already." Her voice had a sharp
edge to it.
"You have been nominated to work on the recycling committee. Three Ring has a very
extensive environmentally friendly program for recycling all kinds of things we use every day in
the workplace. We use only recycled paper, toners, napkins, and coffee cups and sleeves, all the
way down to the pop bottles we drink from. We are very green."
"What's a pop bottle?"
"You know. Soda pop. It's what we call it in the Midwest instead of soda."
"Well, that's a new one for me. Pop, huh?"
"Now that Big Top is part of Three Ring, we need to get you on board with our green
program as soon as possible. It's so exciting for me to involve more people in saving our world."
This woman was entirely too chipper for Violet's current frame of mind
"Who nominated me? I need to go kill whoever it was."
"It's not so bad. Just think of the contribution you will be making to save the environment
so it will be there for your children and grandchildren to enjoy."
"Well, if I keep getting more work piled on top of me, I'll never have a chance to find a man
to have those children with."
"Paul Brown is also on the committee, and I'm scheduling a meeting for tomorrow at three."
"Paul Brown? You have got to be kidding." Violet was deflated at hearing his name. "Do
you have your dictionary?"
"Oh, I don't need that silly dictionary. He speaks pig latin."
"Pig latin? Really? Why does he do that?"
"Because he can. All of you idiots fell for it all these years. The people are really dumb here
at Big Top. No wonder you couldn't stay in business."
Violet was almost at her limit in the conversation. "So how did you figure out it was pig
"At first I thought it was so incredibly sexy, like being in bed with some romantic foreigner.
The sex was really hot! But then I began to wonder what he was saying. I kept a notepad by the
bed and wrote down words here and there during the off moments."
"You slept with him?" She had stopped listening after Lisa said the words "sex" and "hot."
"Didn't you? I've heard that you like to get around."
"My morals may not be the highest, but I do have some rules when it comes to sex. One of
which is never sleep with someone at work. Too messy. Plus I always thought that he and Gail
had something going. You never see one without the other and they're both in on the pig latin
thing. But not everyone follows the same high standards, do they Lisa?"
"I don't consider this work, so I'm not mixing business with pleasure. And for your own
information, Gail is gay. Maybe you should try something at work for a change. It could prove
to be exciting. And since you'll all be gone from here soon enough, there'll be no mess, will
there? I'll see you tomorrow at three, Violet. Nice meeting you." She turned on her heels and
marched out.
Once Lisa Peeples was out of earshot, Violet said, "What a whore. Even I wouldn't stoop
so low as to sleep with better-than-thou Paul Brown." She ran straight over to Mandy's office to
tell her the dirt.
"Three Ring has some stupid environmental program we have to adopt. We have to recycle
the coffee cup sleeves. Who would have nominated me to do that? And I have to work with that
creep Paul Brown. And this woman slept with him just so she could figure out what he was
saying! And guess what? Gail is gay! Can you believe it?"
Mandy couldn't control her laughter. She had never seen Violet as wired up as this. "What
is the world coming to?"
During the meeting the next day, Violet was amazed at Paul Brown's ability to speak plain
English. She could understand every word for a change. No translation dictionary was
necessary, even though she had brought hers along, just in case.
"I have to return to Three Ring, so I trust that I've prepared you both well enough to conduct
this meeting without screwing it up. I know I can trust Paul," as she batted her eyelashes. "I'm
not so sure about you though, Violet."
"We won't let you down, Lisa. Violet and I will come through with flying colors."
The following day, the entire corporate office gathered in the auditorium for the "green
meeting," as it was called. They all thought they were getting a pay raise. The color green's
meaning of environmentalism was the furthest thing from their minds.