Happy Nights
Joanne Faries

Tyrone clocked in at 11 pm on a rainy Thursday night. He’d spent two years in marshmallow goo, five years in sprinkles, and five years in fudge. Tyrone’s perfect attendance, his willingness to work hard, and calm decision-making  (even on the day the semi-sweet chocolate vat approached overflow and he had the sixth sense to click off the machine at the last fateful second) all added up to a promotion. Radiating responsibility, he was assigned late nights for the super secret formula room. Cherry Cordial Delight was the exalted top seller for the Happy Tongue Topping Company.   

As the sole third shift employee for over a year, Tyrone had time to bring a narrow hose to siphon teensy amounts of private label brandy. Discreet, he left no traces of his handiwork. Bottles of cherry cordial topping awaited the shipping department every morning. Production quotas were met.  

The daily heist was perfect until Tyrone clocked out Friday morning and was met at the door by Mr. Happy, the owner; Vladimir, the chief chemist; and Dwayne, the security guard. Mr. Happy spoke, “Pat him down thoroughly.”  

Tyrone’s shoulders slumped as Dwayne clapped his body, popping the balloons hidden in his pants and causing liquid to ooze out, down his leg and onto the floor. Mr. Happy gestured toward Vladimir who bent to swipe a puddle with his forefinger. With an exaggerated slurp, he said, “Get out the snifters. We’ll toast Tyrone’s last day.”  

First published:May, 2009
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