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Going Green
by April Winters

My wife must be part Parakeet. For two years, she’s repeated the same thing when I get home from work: “So you got a fancy title, Harry - Hazardous Waste Technician. Big whoop! You’re not making much money, so we ain’t getting rich any time soon. Besides, I’m scared one of these days you’re gonna come home glowing in the dark.”

I kept telling Rita there were only two chances of that happening: slim and none. “I’m not an idiot. You gotta be very careful with those dangerous chemicals.”

Unfortunately, no one bothered passing that last little tidbit along to the new hiring manager. That guy she employed was about as coordinated as a newborn calf. Did I mention they made me partner up with him?

I blame Rita. She shouldn’t have thrown that “glowing in the dark” crap out all willy-nilly into the universe. You do that and something’s bound to come tangoing back to kick somebody in the pants.

Life changed for us after the incident at the ACME Nuclear Waste Dispensary. The doc said my hair will grow back – eventually – but my face will never be the same. Rita thinks that might not be such a bad thing.

During hospital visiting hours one night, Rita asked me what I thought about being a party clown when I got back on my feet. “A freakin’ party clown? You mean those guys who go around to kids’ parties and do stupid tricks?”

She clicked her tongue. “Oh it wouldn’t be that bad, Harry. Besides, it’d be like getting a nice raise. I Googled it – do you know those clowns make over eighteen dollars an hour? Plus, the makeup they wear could hide your scars.”

I had to admit the money sounded great. Too bad I hate kids. “They yell and scream, they spill stuff, and some of ‘em stink. “Hell,” I told her, “I already had that. The people I worked with yelled and screamed, they’d spill stuff, and the place didn’t exactly smell like a rose garden. At least there, though, I was surrounded by adults instead of snot-bubbling whiners.”

“Well, Einstein,” she said. “If you’re already used to that, why not make a few more bucks an hour? We still won’t get rich, but you won’t be dealing in toxic waste. Kids spillin’ stuff is a lot less dangerous, don’tcha think? Even projectile vomit wouldn’t land you in the hospital.”

The good news is the settlement covered medical expenses, Klown Kollege, and dinner at Taco Bell. Rita got a kick out of naming my character Glozo the Clown; she’s clever that way. The makeup covers my scars enough not to scare the kids, and our electric bill is down by fifty percent. We don’t need lights after dark anymore, thanks to my greenish glow.

Did I mention I hate it when Rita’s right?