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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1995005-Tables-Turned
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Adult · #1995005
Continued from "Directing Debacle," a fool tries to change her luck
Penny was fed up. Ever since the trio's debut at Frosty's retirement performance she had been the primary recipient of the various messings, slaps and pranks that her clown troupe produced. It was all Tara's fault! Sure, she always designed the skits to be fair and equal towards all of them, but she had a way of setting things up such that any miscues or fumblings would end up all over poor Penny. She could hardly blame George for his clumsy misdeeds, he was always so apologetic and sincere; she knew who the true culprit was. Trixi would always be the one standing off to the side giggling at her expense. Well, it's time for a taste of her own medicine! She got to the circus early one morning and intercepted Lynn before she could make her way to her office.

"Lynn, I was hoping we could talk about trying something a little different in our skits," said Penny.

"Oh, but things have been going so well! You three are quite popular you know," replied Lynn with a bit of a smirk. Penny was a natural stooge, her current role was pretty much perfect for her.

"I don't mean anything drastic, I was just thinking that Tara could use a little reeling-in. She gets a bit out of control when she's left unchecked for too long," explained Penny. She was understating it slightly. Tara actually turns into a whirlwind of of chaos when left to her own devices!

"Lets discuss this in my office," said Lynn, gesturing to her door.

"It's just that I'm always the one getting messy and... oh!" Penny started, but was interrupted by a sudden noise directly above her. She looked up just in time to get a great big gloopy face-full of slime; the door had been booby-trapped! She made a slight whimper as the slime continued to pour down from above, coating her in the thick green mixture.

Lynn was unable to keep the smile off her face, unbeknownst to the fully covered Penny. Trixi had been trying to pull a prank on her every day since being hired, this was just another one in the long line of near misses. Perhaps it was time to knock her down a peg. This was her circus, after all. Handing her hapless heroine a hand-towel, she said sympathetically, "Oh, you poor thing! I think she was gunning for me with that one, how noble of you to take the slimey-bullet for me. She's gone too far, we'll simply have to get her back!" They both conspired and tossed ideas back and forth before finally settling on a plan.

********

Tara showed up at the circus at her usual time, but was surprised to find Penny's car already in the lot. That was unusual, Penny typically waited until the last moment to show up. Maybe she was starting to get more eager for their performances? Regardless, she went to the makeup area and started to get into character. She got into her usual eye-catching clashing outfit and started to apply her typical minimalist whiteface style makeup. Arched black eyebrows with a small smattering of blush high on her cheeks and a tiny red mouth drawn over her lips... but she couldn't find her little red button nose anywhere! Had she misplaced it? The only one that she could find was the overlarge one that Penny typically wore... had she taken her nose? Oh well, she might as well use this one, seeing that it's the only one here. She glued it on and eyed herself critically in the mirror. It didn't look quite right... the big nose was somewhat overpowering her usual features. Frowning, she expanded the red makeup around her lips, making it more bulbous than she typically did. There, that would have to do for now. Hopefully she'll find her nose before their next performance!

Trixi skipped her way to the ring to find it set up in a way that she wasn't expecting. The props that she wanted to use for a construction gag that she wrote were nowhere to be found, instead there seemed to be some sort of bakery skit being assembled by George under the direction of Lynn, who were both in turn being watched by a pretty girl in an eye-catching polka-dot dress sitting alone in the front row. Trixi approached Lynn to find out what was happening, "Hiya boss lady! This isn't exactly the setup I envisioned!"

Lynn turned to her head clown and regarded her with a wry smile. "No, it isn't. This was actually a skit that Penny came up with," she gestured to the unrecognizingly beautified Penny who was giving them a friendly wave. Now that Trixi got a better look at her, she was a bit more obviously dressed and made-up as an audience plant; her dramatic stage makeup would look rather ridiculous when sitting next to the casual circus attendee. "The gist of the gag is that you and George are in a panic about the circus having run out of snacks for the concessions stand, so you decide to conscript an audience member to help you bake some sweets!"

"Oooh, I see! And in the process we "accidentally" make a mess out of the poor girl. Wow, great idea Penny!" exclaimed Trixi, clearly impressed with her friends newfound clownish enthusiasm.

Lynn grinned devilishly to herself as Trixi eagerly bought the premise. "Well, why don't you three give a try? George looks like he's ready and Penny is already in character. Just go up to her and get it started!" said Lynn, as she slid into the background.

"Okay, sounds like fun!" said Trixi, walking over to wear Penny was seated. As she walked she took in the scene that Penny had designed. While she didn't know the exact script, she was confident that her clowning instincts wouldn't steer her wrong. A quick glance told her that Penny had prepared to be covered in powdery cake mix, doused with runny cake batter and to top it all off there were a couple of very large pies hiding behind a prop oven. The only thing that puzzled her was the oven itself. Was it just there to hide the pies? Oh well, she was sure to figured it out; this skit looked to be great fun! "Hmmmmmm... who here looks like a baker..." she wondered aloud, scanning the imaginary audience before making eye contact with the prim and prissy-looking Penny. "Aha! You look like you'd make a mean cake!" Trixi stepped forward and yanked Penny to her feet causing her to stumble forward slightly.

"Ummm... okay, I guess I can try to help you out," said Penny sheepishly, "But I have to warn you, I tend to make a bit of a mess in the kitchen."

Trixi dragged Penny along over to the baking setup and placated her with a wide grin, "Don't you worry about that, we'll be sure to keep you out of trouble!" Out of the corner of her eye she spied that George had started to climb a ladder to grab a precariously placed overflowing bag of cake mix that was on top of a rickety shelf. Sensing the opportunity for the first gag, she told Penny, "Quickly now, grab that ladder! George is looking a little unsteady up there." Penny ran forward to help keep George steady, but the the shoddily put-together shelf still didn't look very stable to Trixi, so she ran to the far side and braced the structure to keep it from falling over. She could see exactly where this gag was heading: George would grab the big and throw it over his shoulder, causing a bunch of the powdery mix to come flying out of the bag and land directly on Penny's head. What she wasn't expecting was the subtle shove forward that Penny gave George's ladder right as he was reaching for the bag, causing the unsteady top shelf to fall on Trixi's side. The middle shelf held fast which in turn caused the upper shelf to make a makeshift ramp that the giant bag of cake mix subsequently slid down, landing directly on top of Trixi's unsuspecting head.

"Oops! Sorry about that, looks like this shelf has seen better days," giggled Penny, who was thoroughly enjoying seeing Trixi's head disappear into the bag.

Trixi, not one to waste an opportunity for a joke, let loose a huge, exaggerated sneeze, sending a great puff of powder exploding out the bottom of the bag. She gingerly plucked the bag off her head to reveal that she had been entirely covered with the pale powder, and she said, "It's okay, accidents happen. Hopefully we still have enough to make a cake!" She walked over to the table and dumped the remaining amount of the mix into the over-sized mixing bowl that was sitting on the table. George walked up behind her and splashed in an equally small amount of water and began vigorously mixing it together with a comically over-sized spatula that he held in both hands. "You're mixing it too roughly, the bowl is bouncing around everywhere!" Trixi grabbed one side of the shaking bowl and gestured for Penny to get the other. She was sure that Penny was about to get it now, George looked like he was ready to make a real mess of things.

As both women held the bowl steady, George bent down and grabbed a large bucket full of pre-mixed cake batter that had been sitting out of sight. He dumped the contents right into the bowl, nearly overfilling it with the slimey stuff then went right back to mixing. Penny sighed in mock boredom, apparently totally uncaring and oblivious to the messy fate that would result from one errant flick of George's wrist. As the swirling batter came closer and closer to coating Penny's fingertips with the stuff, the powder-covered face of Trixi started to lean forward in anticipation. Just as it seemed like the batter was about to slosh up and over on to Penny, she pulled the bowl towards her slightly, dodging the mess. The slight jerk startled George, however, and he compensated by pulling the spatula back with a bit more force than he intended. Unfortunately for Trixi, this resulted in a minor tidal-wave of cake batter that caught her straight in the face, giving her a further slimey accent to her already-powdered visage.

It was at this point that Trixi was sensing that something funny was going on. She made a theatrical display of wiping the goop off her face and was met with a bit of a surprise: George was nowhere to be seen, and Penny was standing directly in front of her with a knowing grin on her face! "Where did George disappear to?" wondered Trixi. Penny's eyes briefly flashed above Trixi and her grin widened as she gave her a little wink. Following her gaze, Trixi tilted her head back to look up and began, "Wha... mppfffff!!" She barely got a syllable out before George dumped the rest of the cake batter on her face from his new position atop the ladder.

As the cake batter slid down Trixi's face, she couldn't help but feel impressed by Penny's assertiveness and ingenuity. She never would have thought that Penny would be capable of writing a revenge gag like this, she had always thought of her friend as a gentle and serious person. She must have really been getting on her nerves these past few weeks, subjecting her to all sorts clownish humiliation. Trixi decided to make it up to her in her own unique way by offering her a show of solidarity. Walking over to oven, she grabbed one of the two gigantic pies and stood threateningly in front of Penny.

Breaking character, Penny worriedly said, "Hey, there's more to the skit. You're not supposed to throw that at me, that pie is for you!"

"Really, Penny, I insist!" said Trixi, with a bit of a sparkle in her eye, "This pie is for you!"

Penny prepared to dodge the incoming projectile, tensing her body and waiting for Trixi to throw. She had a brief moment of panic when she slipped as Trixi brought her arm back in a wide arc. There was no way to dodge with her poor footing! She braced for the inevitable impact, closing her eyes tight. Trixi's trademark giggle was followed up by a loud splat, but Penny didn't feel a thing! Had she missed her? She cautiously opened one eye to the sight of Trixi standing proudly in front of her, hands on hips and her pie covering her own face. She had pied herself! "That was for me?"

"Exactly!" said Trixi, her wide grin just barely visible through the cream. "I had a feeling that you were getting frustrated from being the butt of all our jokes, so this is how I thought I'd apologize!"

There was one more heaping cream pie left and Penny was stricken with inspiration. She grabbed it and walked back to the still-smiling Trixi. "In that case, this pie is for you!" With that, she cocked her arm back in the same ridiculous fashion that Trixi had done just moments before and...pied Trixi once again! The pie slid down down her disbelieving face to reveal that her mouth had fallen open into a shocked "O" expression.

Trixi had been completely convinced that Penny was going to return the gesture, instead she had doubled down! Not upset in the slightest about the unexpected trickery, she pulled her friend in for a messy hug. "Wow, you're a bit of a slow learner, but you're really starting to get the hang of this clowning thing!" teased Trixi, "Maybe you can help me with this prank I've been trying to pull."

"Is it on Lynn? That bucket of slime you left above her door fell on me this morning and started this whole series of events. I think I know of a pretty good way to get her, though..."

The two clown ladies conspired together in a giggly fashion as George looked on, oblivious to their machinations. As far as he was concerned it had been another successful day clowning about! Unfortunately, the ring was looking like a complete mess, and his coworkers appeared to be in no hurry to help clean up. Sighing to himself, he went to go grab the cleaning supplies to finish up for the day.

To be continued...
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