“Okay, Okay. Can I have your attention, please?”
BT rose, tapping a spoon against the side of his glass. He paused, waiting for his unruly family to settle down. At last, the murmur of conversation died down and all eyes were focused attentively on their patriarch.
“It’s hard to believe that fifteen years ago I was advised to close down…to take what was left and retire. If it wasn’t for all of you, I might have done just that. My dearest friends, words cannot possibly express my sincere gratitude to each and every one of you. Part of the reason I wanted to have this banquet was to show you all my appreciation. That and I have a surprise for you.”
The sea of faces looking back at him had changed over the years. His dearest friends; Tina, Clara, Manny, and GoGo had lost their youthful glow and now wore masks of wizened wrinkles. New kids, fresh and hopeful, had joined the crew filling roles their older counterparts could no longer endure. These youngsters looked up to the “masters” of their craft with quiet reverence and awestruck exuberance. The carnival had grown and expanded. They had even more shows to wow their captive audiences. They could no longer fit in tiny lots and moderate fairgrounds. They commanded a bigger stage and performers came from far and wide in hopes of joining Mystic Magill’s Big Top Carnival. They played to packed houses every evening and all day on the weekends. BT’s company was making money hand over fist and had aspired beyond his wildest dreams. It was time to do more for his family so that they could reap the benefits.
“When I first started up, I had a little more than a grand illusion and a few crazy friends willing to come along for the ride. Now, I have all of you. When I look around and I see how large my family has grown it fills my heart with joy.” BT began, his face beaming with pride.
“Until he has to sign the paychecks and then he cries!” GoGo interjected, pantomiming signing his name and sobbing at the same time.
Everyone, including BT, laughed especially since there was no truth to the gag. BT was well known for his generosity and he paid his “family” higher wages than anyone else in the business. Now that they were doing so well financially, BT even created retirement funds and added other perks. He never begrudged a single penny paid out to those in his employ.
“As I was saying,” BT bellowed playfully. “It is high time I gave back. As you can tell, I’m no spring chicken. Not that I plan on kicking the bucket anytime soon…but I want to make sure you’re all taken care of and who better to run the show than those running the show, right? I am going to start selling shares of the company to those of you who want to keep Mystic Magill’s Big Top Carnival running long after I’ve become worm-food. I’m working out the details with my lawyer and the accountant so when we’ve got it all hammered out, I will let you know. We’ve got to keep planning for the future, right?”
“BT’s right,” insisted Clairvoyant Clara. “My lovely daughter just gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl and I have a feeling she’s got the gift of sight, also. I want her to be able to tell her grandchildren that she was the clairvoyant at Mystic Magill’s Big Top Carnival just like her grandmother before her.
The entire room broke into thunderous applause. BT heart swelled with pride and the feeling was contagious. In the back corner, Maven and his assistants grinned knowingly.