Tears of a Clown

Madeline walks behind the strip mall, past the dumpsters, to hide from a client who turned her in for illegal activity at her low-income housing complex.

“Madwoman!” a male voice calls out.

“Who called me?” a terrified Madeline asks.

A slender, young, dirty-blonde male wearing shades, a hoodie, and ripped blue jeans walks up to Madeline.

“I am Brandon Dixon. I own Brandon’s Imbecile Machines in Kankakee. I hear you are a clown.”

“Ummm, yeah…”

Madeline shakes even more.

“I am one too. I would like to try out for your touring Vaudeville act.”

“Maybe I can use an understudy.”

“You bet. Call me.”

The two shake hands and part ways. Madeline heads back to work, Brandon home.

“Hi, is this Wally Green?”

“Speaking.”

“This is Madeline Topolla-Teirant. I need to order a case of some half-ply toilet paper. That’s the kind that breaks off one square at a time right? I need some really cheap supplies for our community centers here at our low income complexes and I am not going to pay a lot. Ohh, hold on I have a beep.”

Madeline switches calls.

“Robbie?”

“Hey babe. Moronic Half-Assets has a gig coming up tomorrow in Gary, Indiana. I was totally thinkin’ I would rock the joint as Roy Orbinson.”

“You’re just an Elvis impersonator and not a very good one,” Madeline insults Robbie.

“Well honey, I can also pull off a crazy cool Mike Mesmith.”

“Get outta here with that.”

“Peter Tork? “Johnny Cash?”

“NO!”

Madeline slams down the phone.

“Riiiiiing!”

“Yes.”

“This is Wally. You wanted to order toilet paper?”

Madeline sighs…

The next afternoon, a Wally Green’s truck shows up to the low income housing complex where Madeline works.

“Beep beep beep beep.” The truck backs in.

“A whole case of half-ply toilet paper, just like you ordered. Just sign here on the sticker.”

Madeline scrawls her name.

“Here you go!”

“Ouch!”

“Whoopsie!” says the driver.

“You dropped the box on my foot. I think you broke it!”

Madeline drives over to the nearest 30 Second Clinic.

“It’s a bit bruised but you will be fine. Just ice it for two days while you are at home. You can go back to work now.”

“But doctor?”

“Your thirty seconds are up. We have other patients out there in the waiting room. Our medical office assistant will walk you out and take your copay.”

An angry Madeline begrudgingly pays her bill and heads home. There is no way she can make the gig tonight.

Madeline gets on her mobile phone.

“Hey Brandon, this is Madeline. I know this is short notice. I have a clown gig tonight I cannot make. You see I broke—“

“I’ll do it!” Brandon says with a smirk only he can see on his face, as he is looking at himself in the mirror.

“Gary, Indiana. Lapolla Theater.”

“Oh, I will be there, makeup and all.”

“I knew I could count on you.”

“Thanks.”

Madeline hangs up her phone and takes a nap.

Hours pass and Madeline thinks about how happy she is that she has another clown. Deep down inside she really does not want to do that gig in Gary. She falls asleep while thinking up a scheme to get out of paying Brandon.

A series of dings wakes a sound asleep Madeline.

From: Konrad

“I did not know you were sending us a juggalo. The crowds booed us! What were you thinking, Mad?”

From: Robbie

“Man this clown is weird and he looks funny. He reminds me of people my father hung out with. He keeps asking me to buy him Faygo. Our gig sucked because of him, not because of me. Just saying.”

A series of photos came in of Brandon, Konrad and Robbie on stage.

Needless to say, Madeline was up all night, and it was not because of her foot hurting.

CRASS Cubicle Contest

“You are number one!” Team Leader Sybil Kibble tells new part-time Collections Representative, Robbie Hurlbutt.

“I know,” Robbie smirks.

“No, I mean you made the top of our production metrics. Good job, keep doubling down on debtors and you will do well here at CRASS.”

Robbie flashes a thumbs up to Sybil and swings back around to his cubicle.

“Ding.” Everybody gets the same email.

From: “Mack. E. Avelli” [bigmack@crass-llc.con]

To: “CRASS Corporate Listserv” [all-crass-l@crass-llc.con]

Friday, October 25, 2019

Subject: Cubicle Decoration Contest

We here at CRASS care about employee stress. Therefore I, as your polite and tenderhearted Chief Executive Officer, am extending an entire thirty minutes (:30) to participate in the company cubicle contest (CCC). Be creative in decorating your cubicles and have fun! You are not required to use your lunch for this event, but we encourage you because time is money!

The winner will be selected by our very own art director, the lovely and talented Dorian James on Halloween Day.

The prize will be a trophy to display in your office. Have a spooky good time!

Regards,

Mr. Mack E. Avelli

CRASS Chief Executive Officer

The collectors get to work making calls and decorating their cubicles. Robbie Hurlbutt, a local Elvis impersonator best known for an Internet meme featuring a scowling lady unhappy with his nursing home performance, covers his cube with Elvis record covers. Dale Davis covers his walls with ghouls and goblins. Sybil Kibble covers her supervisor cubicle with devil dogs.

It is a cold, windy Halloween day in Kankakee and it is starting to rain. “If you don’t like the weather here in the Midwest, wait five minutes,” Dale jokes to Sybil.

“Eeep!” The email all of CRASS has been waiting for comes in.

“Who changed our notification sound to a wild eep?” Robbie asks.

“That was probably Dorian,” Sybil sighs.

From: “Dorian James” [dorian@crass-llc.con]

To: “CRASS Corporate Listserv” [all-crass-l@crass-llc.con]

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Subject: Cubicle Decoration Contest Winners and Losers

Sybil: Your design lacks thought and maturity. It is not what we are looking for.

Dale: There is no art development and it basically reads like a rather puerile joke.

Tara: You are obviously a 13 year old drama queen…Grow up little girl.

Mack: Several of us discussed your design and did not like it. Not everyone likes what I make. It is not personal.

Mike: You need to get used to the fact that not everyone is going to like your work and move on.

Robbie: That is the best design I have ever seen. I love Elvis. You are my winner.

R,

Mister Dorian James

Art Director Extraordinaire

Credit Recovery Associates

The staff is upset with valid reason…except for Robbie. He is smiling away, taking calls and collecting his Form 4s from all the bonuses he gets from not accepting less than double what the debtors can afford to pay. Robbie is grinning ear to ear and cannot wait to rub his trophy in to the entire staff after he receives it.

Robbie continues to successfully make one call after another, when he gets a wide-eyed visitor.

“Hey there, fella!” an upright, confident Dorian James chants to Robbie as he is very happy to see him.

“Oh hey man! Thanks for picking me! Better than picking my nose ya know.”

Awkward silence ensues.

“That was a joke, ya know,” Robbie says nervously.

“Oh sweetheart, I am here to present you with your award.”

“Thanks, man!” Robbie says as he accepts his tiny, gold-tinted trophy.

“Oh, thank you honey. Not a problem at ALL! Hey Robbie, what ya doin’ after work? I think ya kinda cute and wanna take my number one man to dinner!”

“Wait, what?” a confused Robbie asks.

“Yeah cutie! I love your Elvis hair and your clothes! Let’s go out and do karaoke or something!”

“No way man. I quit!” An infuriated Robbie storms off the job and out the building.

Dorian feels crushed by the rejection.

“How does it feel to get rejected, huh Dorian?”

“Yeah you little reject! Now start walking in our shoes.” Sybil says to a beleaguered Dorian.

The staff all begin to laugh at Dorian and make their ways home. It is the end of a long, scary, stressful workday.

Happy Halloween!

Beanefits of Being Morons

Doris Krabalsky is bored waiting in her bed for her meal and medication. Who knew staying in the hospital could be so boring? Doris decides to go for a walk to the nice skin cancer patient she met eariler in the day.

“I have the perfect solution for you.”

“Is it the stinky pink drink?” the lady asks?

“No, I drank that for four years.” Doris replies.

“I am not using essential snake oils becuase I am smell-sensitive,” the elderly lady replies.

“Nope.”

Doris’ nurse walks in. “What is going on here? Patients are not supposed to go into other patients’ rooms. You all signed and initialed an agreement when you got here.”

“She was just telling me about a new treatment for my skin cancer.”

“Oh no, selling stuff is strictly prohibited here.”

“I am not selling, I am recommending.”

“Recommending? Only licensed medical providers are allowed to do that here, per your agreement Doris. Now you broke three rules. Three strikes, you are out. I am afraid we will have to release you.”

“Waaaaah! What about my bum knee?” Doris growled.

“Oh, ma’am your pain was not that bad anyway. I will be back shortly with your discharge papers. Are you calling for a ride home or shall we have Security escort you?”

“Hrrmph.”

Five hours later, Leona Krabalsky walks in the room.

“Bustin’ outta here?”

“They are sending me home too soon,” Doris sighs to Leona.

“You say? How so?”

“They told me not to suggest our fine products to other patients.” Doris says to Leona.

“Oh, you should see these magic beans!”

“I have tooted enough, Leona.”

“No Doris, magical beans, not musical.”

The two sisters head out after Doris signs her discharge sheet.

Doris walks into her home and Leona meets her in the den.

Leona opens up a small paper bag and pulls out a handful of dried beans.

“You see, Doris, these are not any beans. They are magic beans.”

“How are they magical?” Doris asks her sister.

“They can make us lettuce.”

The two sisters look each other in the eye and grin.

“By convincing our customers that these beans I bought at the grocery store they have special health benefits which they do not, and persuading them to pay more than they need, we can make a lot of green!” Leona tells an intrigued Doris.

Doris and Leona get busy setting up a Fakebook page. Since Pat Splatt has left town for South Africa and is unreachable, the Krabalsky sisters develop a marketing plan on Utube.

“Since Grammalee did so well advertising their overpriced Autocorrect program before every video, I thought we could make an even longer commercial with even more annoying music and sound effects!” Leona tells Doris.

“Let’s do it. Add a slide whistle, boom clappity music and a vuvuzela.”

“Done,” Leona tells Doris, feeling accomplished.

Emails come in and so does money. Beans go out. As the word gets out, so do more beans.

“Soon we will have to hire a bean counter!” Doris jokes to Leona.

“Ding!”

“Ahhh, we got our first review. Hopefully it will not be our last!” Doris tells a nearby Leona.

“These beans did not work at all. I thought these were magical and I did not feel a thing. I did not see a thing! Not recommended!”

“Ding!”

“I planted these magic beans and my beanstalk did not lead me to find a giant. I want my money back!”

“Ding!”

“I ate these musical beans I did not even toot even once. What a ripoff!”

Doris and Leona log onto Welp to read their reviews and they are even worse. Every customer wants their money back and contacts the duo for a refund.

“What do we do now, Doris?”

“I guess our product is a ‘has-bean’.”