Gary was trying, without success, to get the gooey mess off his shirt and pants. What he did
ONE CLOWN SHORT, page-40
get off was now stuck to his fingers.
"Circus peanuts are orange, and I love all things red, orange, or yellow. You know—fiery
kinds of colors. One of my favorite snacks of all time is a bag of circus peanuts and one of those
cinnamon shakes. Oh, that’s good! Interestingly enough, no one knows why circus peanuts are
orange. I say they were made orange just so that I would love them! But now I doubt that I will
ever be able to face a circus peanut again. This is the most disgusting thing I have seen in a long
Butane Bob had turned white as a sheet. He jumped off the truck and ran out of sight. Soon
they heard him retching his guts out behind the truck.
"Show’s over. Let’s move on to the next truck," Gary shouted in order to disperse the
gathering rubberneckers. "Look around. We’ve got lots more work to do here."
Trucks were slowly but surely making their way out of the parking lot. Cartons were strewn
all about, but they never stayed in one spot for long. The crews were doing a great job of
shuffling the inventory around so that each store got a good mix. Bessie had been uncovered.
Curly cried at the sight of her, his beloved getaway car. She had rusted-out holes in the side big
enough to fit your head through. All the tires were as flat as pancakes. The leather seats were
faded and split. The windshield had a big spiderweb crack in it.
"Wonder if this baby’ll start."
"Curly, I think she’s seen better days. She’ll probably be happiest at the junkyard."
Butane Bob was keeping a safe distance from the rusty old car. Curly was admiring the car
as if he had found a long lost lover, stroking it gently.
"She got me outta many a jam, ya know. But I ain’t got the keys no more. Lost ‘em
somewhere inside that warehouse, and Lord only knows where. So I guess you’re right—she’ll
have to be junked."
Butane Bob thought he saw Curly shed a tear. "Curly, we’ll go get you a new car. As soon
as we get this place cleared out, we’ll get you a car you’ll actually be able to drive. You remember
how to drive, don’t you?"
"It’s been a while, but I think I do. Thanks, Mr. Butane. You’re all right in my book."
A loud commotion was heard coming from the far end of the parking lot. A group of
workers was dancing and singing at the top of their lungs. Butane Bob had finally gotten control
of his stomach and followed Violet and Mandy to see what was going on.
"Costumes! We found about five trucks full of costumes! Come take a look."
"Violet! Run a Halloween ad! There are costumes here in all sizes, from babies to adults.
And look at them!" There are fairies, ballerinas, clowns, lion tamers, witches. You name it, it’s
Violet was busy scribbling a note to herself.
"This is perfect with Halloween a few weeks away, don’t you think?"
"Perfect. And such a simple ad. Buy Halloween costumes at Big Top Supplies. Lots to
"That’ll work. Maybe you should consider a second career as an ad writer, Mandy. I think
you have a knack for it. Hey, any French maid outfits in there? I need a new one."
"Yep, every year I go out on Halloween as a French maid, and no matter who I come home
with, the sex is always great. You should give it a try sometime, Mandy. You need a little
loosening up. When was the last time you had some really great sex?"
"Violet, we have work to do here."
"I knew it. Been a while, huh?"
"You know, maybe if you didn’t hop into bed with every man you meet, you might have that
husband you’re always dreaming of by now. No one buys the cow when they can have the milk
"Well, if that approach works so well, where’s your husband?"
"OK, OK. I hear you, Violet. We can discuss that later. Now let’s get back to work."
Costumes of all kinds were strewn across the parking lot. Some workers were actually
wearing the costumes and dancing around in them. The pink fairies, green hornets, and orange
pumpkins were making them all forget the mission of the day. Curly donned a Frankenstein
outfit, complete with neck bolts, and joined in the festivities.
Out of the corner of her eye, Mandy saw a flash of yellow. The yellow limousine had pulled
into the parking lot. The door flew open before the limo had even come to a stop. Biglar
bounded out of the car and started running toward them, thrashing his arms and screaming.
"I pay you buffoons good money to work, and this is the thanks
I get? Get to work!"
The employees became quiet and slowly started to remove their costumes. Butane Bob came
running, forgetting for the moment that he felt like throwing up again.
"Biglar, Biglar, they were just blowing off a little steam. It’s hot, and we’ve been working
nonstop all morning. Look around. You could actually pull that limousine into the parking lot for
These dedicated employees of yours have made a lot of progress this morning. You need to
"Uh, oh—here come the crocodile tears again," said Gary out of the corner of his mouth
Biglar began to cry. This was becoming such a regular part of the day that no one seemed
moved by it. "I’m supposed to be the leader, aren’t I, Butane Bob?"
"Yes. Yes, you are, and I can’t say that you’ve been doing a very good job lately."
"Oh, Butane Bob, what would I do without you? You are my rock. I don’t know what’s
wrong with me these days. I need to lighten up. But there is so much pressure, so much stress."
As soon as those words passed from Biglar’s lips, a lovely pale pink princess, crown and all,
went flying by on a pool of grease left by one of the trucks. Two fairies followed suit, and then
came a clown, a witch, and the French maid. Black gooey motor oil flew everywhere.
Anyone standing within ten feet became covered in it too.
Biglar began screaming again. "The sale of those costumes could mean the life or death of
this company! Now they’re ruined! That could be the difference meaning a paycheck, food on
the table, gas in the car! What are you clowns thinking?"
Butane Bob attempted to cover Biglar’s mouth with his hand. Biglar shoved him away and
kept right on yelling at the top of his lungs. The grease monkeys sat in a heap trying to stifle
"I’m trying to make this company profitable again. That will never happen with a bunch of
ingrates like you!"
Gary came to Butane Bob’s rescue and grabbed Biglar’s arm. The two of them forced him
backwards into the yellow limousine. All the while he continued to shout. Shoving him into the
back seat and slamming the door was the only thing that could silence his ranting.
The limo sped off.
In the commotion, Mandy realized that she had lost track of Violet.
"Oh God, I hope that’s someone else in the French maid outfit. Violet! Violet!"
Violet slowly emerged out of the pool of grease and slid over toward Mandy.
"Violet, Biglar is furious! If he finds out that was you ruining his costumes, that will be the
end of all of us. They had to drag him back into the limo to get him out of here."
"I told you he sucked down too much helium." "Why do you keep saying that?"
"I was premed in college."
"Really? That doesn’t seem like you."
"Well, that was before I discovered the joys of sex. Once that happened, I had to find a
major that allowed me more free time.
During a sorority initiation I had to suck on helium and try to scare the pledges. I was sick
for a week afterwards. So I’ll bet money that’s his problem."
"You never cease to impress me, Violet. Now go get cleaned up so we can get the rest of
these trucks out of here. I don’t want to have to come back here again tomorrow. One day like
this is enough fun for me. Isn’t it for you?"
Violet wiped a big blob of grease out of her hair, throwing it onto the ground. She wiped
her hands on the already filthy French maid costume.
"Maybe I’ll dress this year as a dirty French maid," she said as she coyly batted her