They got as comfortable as they could in their appointed seats and waited for what was to
unfold. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
Biglar settled back into his chair and took a deep breath. "I might as well start at the
beginning. About five years ago I decided to take a little vacation. The business was doing well
and I had plenty of money in the bank, but it wasn't enough for me. I felt like I needed a change
of scenery—to refresh myself, clear the cobwebs. So I threw a dart at the map and it landed
smack-dab in the center of Africa.
Then I called the travel agent to book an African safari. I thought it would be perfect to get
in touch with what the circus was all about, in the birthplace of its finest animals.
"Louis Everly was my friend. We were roommates in college. He served on the board of
directors for several years. My mother, God rest her soul, who was the founder of this company,
adored him. He was like a son to her. I felt like second fiddle whenever he was around. He was
a wonderful friend, though. Or so I thought.
"The day before I left, I said, ‘Louis, I'm going on a safari in Africa for a month. Look after
things while I'm gone.' He said, ‘It will be my pleasure, Biglar. Have a wonderful trip.' We
shook hands, and off I went on my adventure.
"The minute I stepped off the plane in Johannesburg, I was transformed. After my first ride
in an open-air Jeep through Kruger National Park, my transformation was complete. Nature at its
finest. I felt I had found the meaning of my life. As I traveled around this beautiful place, I felt
the urge to use my good fortune to make a difference in other people's lives.
"While on the safari, I met a doctor and his wife—Bill and Bebe. We became good friends
and we called ourselves Bill, Bebe, and Biglar, the B trio. Bebe came up with that name, ‘B
Trio.' She's a gem, that Bebe! Bill was always struck by the poverty and need for health care that
we saw when we visited villages. Bebe was always interested in the schools that we saw. I was
always interested in the animals—the lions, elephants, rhinos. One day we were sitting at camp,
telling stories, and the light bulb suddenly went on!"
Mandy looked over at the others. They were all hanging on his every word, as was she.
Where could this possibly be going that would lead him to undressing in a parking lot in front of
a thousand people?
"The light bulb! We would put together a small traveling circus. We would go into remote
villages bringing medical care. The circus would entertain the people until they could be seen by
the doctor. We could distribute basic personal hygiene kits, give vaccinations, bring supplies for
the local schools, and give a reason for the kids to laugh and not cry about a visit to the doctor. It
was perfect.
"I called up Louis and had him send what I needed. We had a tent, clown costumes, a
juggler, a trapeze artist, and even a cotton candy machine. Oh, did the kids love the cotton
candy! The doc, Bill, wasn't so crazy about it, due to its lack of nutritional value, so I scaled
down the portions. But oh, did they love it!"
Biglar paused for a moment while he recalled a fond memory. "Where were we? Oh well. I
never felt as good about my life as I did during those years. I learned a valuable lesson. We're
obligated as human beings to take care of others in whatever way we can. It means treating other
people with respect and dignity, no matter what. Everyone on this planet has something valuable
to contribute to this world.
"Excuse me, I digress. I know you're thinking that I was off doing good deeds and had
completely abandoned my responsibility of running this company. Not true. Not true at all. I
called Louis every other day. When I would return to the city, he would fax me sales figures and
copies of advertising. A couple years ago he stopped taking my calls and sending me faxes. I
trusted him so completely that I didn't believe I had any reason to worry.
"One day I was relaxing alongside Victoria Falls, enjoying a glass of wine. There's some very
fine wine in Africa, believe it or not.
"Someone said, ‘Mr. Biglar, a telegram for you, sir.' I will never forget that telegram as long
as I live. It was from Ronnie."
"Ronnie?" Mandy blurted out. "I thought he was having an affair with Lulu."
The jaws of the other three in the room could have been scraped from the floor. Biglar
couldn't help but chuckle. "You're getting ahead of yourself now, Mandy. Just hang on.
"The telegram read:
Come Back. Stop. Out of control. Stop.
Stealing hard earned money. Stop. Ronnie.
"Ronnie has been employed by my family for thirty years. He was our butler. After my
parents were gone, I felt I really didn't need a butler for myself. He was getting close to
retirement and didn't want to work as hard, so I got him a job delivering the mail here. I knew
that Ronnie was completely trustworthy and, in fact, quite wealthy. My mother made sure of
that. He received Big Top stock options every year as his bonus. I was still very confused as to
why Louis appeared to be betraying me.
"I called the doctor. I paid my performers for a year in advance. I kissed Bebe on the
cheek—and what a bittersweet kiss it was—and said good-bye to the B Trio Circus."
Tears welled up in his eyes.
"On a sixteen hour plane ride I had plenty of time to think. That's where I created Lulu.
And a splendid creation she was at that! I knew Louis wasn't stupid, so I had to make sure that I
crossed all the t's and dotted all the i's. Ronnie stocked my home with food, wine, and supplies
for a month so that we could plan our attack without being disturbed. I knew that if I walked
right in and con- fronted Louis right off the bat, I would never find out the truth. I knew him too
"Once I arrived home, we worked day and night for three weeks straight perfecting her
dress and her voice."
"Well, you certainly didn't take the time to consult Women's Wear Daily. Lulu was never
going to make it to the cover of Vogue."—this coming from Butane Bob, Mr. fashion plate
"No, we didn't, but you wouldn't believe how hard it is to find attractive clothing for largesize women."
Mandy and Violet began to laugh. "But why did you settle for those red prison stripes?
Didn't you know that horizontal stripes make a woman look even larger?"
"You didn't like that outfit? Ronnie and I both liked it the best. I felt very feminine in it.
"Anyway, when the time came, we had to get Lulu hired. I had made many good friends
during my years in Africa. So I called one of them up and said, ‘Please send a telegram to Mr.
Louis Everly at Big Top Supplies.' The telegram read:
Lulu Tubman will be reporting for work on Monday. Stop. Executive Vice President
Entertainment and Food Sales. Stop. Package arriving w/salary info tomorrow. Stop.
Reports directly to me. Stop.
Will update me daily from now on. Stop. Returning to states next month. Stop. Your friend
Biglar. Stop.