"When Lulu showed up for work on Monday, Louis was in a foul mood. He walked her
down to this office and said, ‘Get to work.'
That was it. The office suited me just fine. It's hidden away and off the beaten track. Perfect
for keeping the illusion going. I had Ronnie start the rumor that if you were called to Lulu's
office you would be fired in order to keep everyone away. That fat suit is hot! Even with the
wonderful cooling vest that we sell thousands of each year, the suit is still hot. Trust me. Five
times a day, I would have to get undressed to cool off. Plus, I had to keep the helium deliveries a
"Helium?" They shouted out in unison.
"Now, I thought all of you were smarter than that. A few hours ago I was Lulu—remember,
with the voice so high and irritating that you all wore earplugs? So quickly you forget. I was
sucking down helium every chance I could get. Initially we had a problem filling the balloons
and having them stay inflated for any length of time. We were so excited when we read Mandy's
new training material on balloons. We ordered the long-lasting variety, and they solved all our
problems. So thank you for that, Mandy.
"Louis was getting crankier than ever as Lulu met with him. It seems he had been crafting
the sale to Three Ring for quite some time—long before Lulu appeared. He had been ignoring
my telegrams and calls, hoping he could sign on the dotted line before I returned. He had to put
it on hold when she showed up. But when Biglar didn't materialize in a month like he had said,
things were put into full gear. The dollar signs kept flashing in his eyes, the greedy jerk.
"The dollar signs weren't the only thing in Louis's mind. Larry Adams is his brother-in-law.
He put him on the payroll to help infiltrate the rank and file. He always had it in the back of his
mind that I would try to trick him. He truly believed he had a foolproof plan to steal the
company from me."
"He's a creep, that Larry," injected Mandy.
"He's a creep all right. His job was to find ways to spend the company's money as recklessly
as possible. The list is long—pink walls and cotton candy machines, rounding up of expense
reports, and the three o'clock break, just to name a few. Ah yes, I was not the creator of the three
o'clock break, sad to say. It was just easy for me to go along with it, since I was dressed in a fat
suit after all. Lulu had to fire him after check stubs were found in the trash that listed
reimbursement for his mortgage, car payment and electric bills from company funds."
"What's the deal with Gertrude?" Gary had been wondering about her ever since he saw her
holding hands with Larry as they sat together on the stage.
"Gertrude has an interesting story. She's the holiday girl and Larry's long-time lover. She
made every day a holiday, and, from what I understand, she also did that in the bedroom."
"She would dress up as Cupid or St. Patrick or Uncle Sam, for all I know, and Larry
couldn't get enough of it. He was hooked.
So when the sales manager prior to Mandy wanted to fire her, Larry was af raid of being
exposed. There was excellent reason to fire her. Her job was sales documentation. She had never
graduated f rom the eighth grade. Gertrude couldn't spell, let alone put a complete sentence
together. Larry finally had to give in to the manager and let her go. But before he did, he drew up
an agreement where Gertrude could continue to decorate her cube for as long as she lived. She
loved the holidays, so that was perfectly fine with her. It helped soften the blow to his beloved
Gertrude. That part was really for Larry. I overheard them once doing it in the New Year's
champagne glass.
"Larry was starting to feel a little strapped between his wife and his mistress. He was
getting away with having the company keep ole Gertie in rent, gas, and expensive vacations, so
he felt perfectly justified in having Big Top keep his wife out of his hair while he was at it. Larry
was sloppy, however. He had been submitting all his personal expenses to Bozo to pay—
mortgage payments, cell phones, groceries. And Bozo cut the check. Larry, however, had a bad
habit of throwing the check stub in the garbage while still in the office.
"I asked him to take the job which is now Mandy's and he refused. I conf ronted him with
the check stubs and fired him before he had a chance to argue with me. I called Louis and told
him what I had done. He thanked me for looking out for the best interest of the company. I
wanted to punch the scummy liar.
"At Larry's urging, Louis put Gertrude on the board of directors. She was appointed
secretary. Oh, love is blind. So when Louis asked Larry to write the merger announcement, he, in
true Larry fashion, delegated the job to Gertrude. I can hear him now. ‘Do a good job, Gertie.
Soon we will be sailing on our yacht in the Mediterranean, making love, getting a tan, and
hobnobbing with the rich and famous.'
"Lulu had to fire him for a few more reasons. I knew that Bozo was doing exactly what
Larry told him to do. And Bozo was being paid handsomely to do it. Too bad he didn't live to
enjoy some of that money. He was the victim of another stupid scheme to deplete the company
bank account. I understand his parents are on an around-the-world cruise as we speak. And I
hope that they're having the time of their lives. They had no idea what their son was up to.
"Louis came down to Lulu's office on the day Dimple Vanderdoober arrived. He informed
her that, due to the merger, her job had been eliminated. He had not heard from me since the
telegram announcing that Lulu was coming. He thought he was in the clear again. He obviously
thought wrong.
"I put Ronnie on high alert, packed my things, and left. He filled me in on the new
performance appraisal system. I knew a revolt of some kind was imminent. The day of the
picketing, I joined in and blended in with the crowd. The talk was so juicy that day. They were
just on fire. They were mad—so mad. That's how I got the party announcement. I hadn't been
able to break into the company systems, but it was certainly not for lack of trying. Brilliant
move, Mandy. Cookies and a party invitation. They couldn't resist. They'd gotten hooked on that
afternoon sugar fix after all these years.
"That brings us to here, today. Do you have any questions?"
Violet asked, "Who was always going through the trash?"
"That was Ronnie. He'd deliver the mail and fish a couple things out of the trash can when
no one was looking. We got a lot of good stuff out of the boardroom. Lots of good evidence,
which is now in the hands of my attorney."
Biglar looked down at his watch. It was after nine p.m. "Well, it's been a long day. We're all
exhausted. Go home, get some rest, and be back here at eight o'clock tomorrow morning, when
the real fun will begin!"
Butane Bob whispered to the others,
"Aah, Biglar's back."
Right on time, the group gathered in Biglar's office the next morning.
"Good morning, everyone!" Biglar was quite upbeat.
Mandy and Violet had stayed in the office the last evening, talking over the events of the
day until almost midnight. The bags under their eyes certainly weren't lost on Biglar.
"We have a long, hard road ahead of us. There will be long hours and long days. It's
important, however, that we all take care of ourselves, eat well, and get plenty of rest. Being sick
is not going to help. Do I make myself clear, Mandy and Violet?"
"Yes, sir. Perfectly clear."
"Let's get going, and let the fun begin! I made a list of some things we need to do
immediately to reduce our expenses. I want all of you to add your thoughts and ideas. We need a
place to start. Here's what I came up with.