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Sam, I Scam

Written by:

Andrew Shaver

"Bartokomous!" Mr. Gorpley snapped as he stormed out of his office.  "What is the meaning of this?"  He viciously wagged a piece of paper in Balki’s face.

"Oh, I love games!" Balki exclaimed, clapping his hands.  Harriette stood by the elevator, watching the scene and smirking at Gorpley’s expression as Balki continued.  "It’s a bird!  Now it’s my turn!"  He snatched the paper from Gorpley and placed it over half of his own face.  "Guess what I am!"

"Oh, I know what you are," Gorpley hissed.

"Time’s up!" Balki cheered.  "I’m the Mypiot of the Opera!  Now you go!"  He handed the paper back to Gorpley, who took the crumpled mess and shook his head.  He tossed the paper to the floor as Harriette scowled at Sam’s actions.

"Bartokomous, that was the memo you left on my desk this morning!  Where do you get off giving me a memo?"

"Well, Balki was thinking about the mailroom system as he was sorting your Dead File files yesterday.  I think it would be better for everyone if the mail was delivered first to the departments that need their mail right away!"

"It’s a stupid idea!  We have it set up now so the mail gets delivered from the top floor down.  With your insipid system, you’d be going from the fourth floor to the ninth floor to the first floor to the fifteenth floor, and so on.  It would be a waste of your time; time that I am paying for while you test my nerves at this very moment!"

"Oh, well don’t you worry your little po-tah-to head about that!  Just like Superman, I am more powerful than the Locomotion and faster than a receding mullet!  It won’t take me any longer to deliver the mail with the new system!"

"Get this straight, Bartokomous!  There is no ‘new system’, there is only MY system, understand?  Now you do it my way, or you hit the highway!"

Balki gasped excitedly.  "You’re going to send me on a road trip?"

"Yeah," Gorpley snapped, "on a one-way trip to Unemploymentville!  Now get back to work!"  He turned and charged into his office, slamming the door behind him.

Balki stood for a moment, feeling the sting of the harsh rejection.  Harriette made her way over to him.  "Are you alright, baby?"

Balki quickly covered his expression and mustered as much enthusiasm as he could.  "I’m so alright, you’re all left!"  He smacked his thighs then looked up to the ceiling.  "Where do I come up with them?"

Harriette just looked at Balki.  "Baby, I can see through you easier than my nylons with the hole."  Balki looked down at her legs.  "Save it, I’m not wearing them today.  Now, I’m getting a little tired of the way Gorpley talks to you, aren’t you?"

"Well," Balki began quietly, "it would be good if he gave Balki’s system a chance."

"Sugar, I hate to admit this, but Gorpley has a point.  You’ll wear yourself out bouncing around from floor to floor.  I like your idea about prioritizing the mail delivery, but I would suggest coming up with something a little more feasible."

"You mean like Charmin?"

"Not ‘squeezable’, baby; ‘feasible’.  Something that is a little more likely to happen."

"Like a Mypiot woman growing a moustache?"

Harriette shook her head.  "I have got to see this Mypos someday!"  She looked at Balki.  "Now until you come up with some other ideas for the mail delivery, we have to do something to get Gorpley off of your back."  Balki instinctively looked over his shoulder as he took Harriette’s statement literally.  She rolled her eyes.  "To get him to leave you alone."

Balki smiled as he clued in.  "Ohhhh!"

"Let’s think about this for a moment."

"You mean you’d help me, Harriette?"

"Of course I would, baby.  You know I like nothing more than to see Gorpley beaten.  Wait, scratch that – there is one thing I like better, but Lydia’s not here to insult so let’s focus on Gorpley."

"We’re going to take a picture of him?"

"No, baby.  Not ‘focus’ with a camera…"  She looked at his blank expression.  "Yes, we will.  But before that, we need to come up with a plan!"

"Oh, God!" Balki groaned instinctively.

"What??"

Balki paused.  "Sorry, Harriette.  It’s just an automatic reaction to the word ‘plan’."  He leaned in closer.  "Cousin Larry is allllways having plans."

"Mmm-hmm, I can just imagine."

"So what your plan is?"

"Ok, I just need to put my devious mind to work and come up with something."  Moments later, her eyes lit up.  "Ok, I’ve got it, but we’ll need Larry’s help.  We may even need – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – Lydia to be a part of this, too."

"I’ll go get them!  I’ll be back in a flask!  Up, up and awaaaayyy!" Balki called as he ran off.

***

A short while later, after Harriette explained her plan to Balki, Larry and Lydia, both Larry and Lydia left the area to wait for their cues, while Balki returned to his work and Harriette waited by the elevator.  A few minutes later, just as Harriette expected, Sam returned from his extended lunch hour.

"Bartokomous!" he snapped.  "Have you distributed Wainwright’s memo to all the departments?"

Balki, as instructed by Harriette, didn’t answer.

Unphased, Gorpley stood right in front of Balki.  "I said, have you distributed Wainwright’s memo to all the departments?"

Balki looked up from his work and locked eyes with Gorpley.  A little nervous about trying to be someone he wasn’t, he did his best to stay in the character Harriette told him to be.  He just stared at Gorpley, not saying a word.

"Bartokomous," Gorpley whisped, "if you don’t answer me on the count of three—"

"Uh, Mr. Gorpley," Harriette interrupted, "I wouldn’t provoke him if I were you."

"Well, you’re not me, so stay out of this!"

"Alright, baby, I’m just trying to warn you."

"Warn me?" Gorpley sneered, almost comedically.  "Warn me?  What is there to warn me about?"

She nodded towards Balki.  "I’ve seen that look before.  Trust me, baby, you don’t want to mess with that!"

Gorpley broke out in his familiar mocking laugh.  "Bartokomous?  I don’t want to mess with Bartokomous?"  His tone turned into a self-satisfying sarcasm.  "Gee, thanks for the warning.  I’ll try to watch my step."

"I’m serious.  When he’s got that look on his face, no one’s safe near him.  As a matter of fact, I may be a little too close.  I’ll see you later, baby."  Harriette entered the elevator and closed the door.

Gorpley turned back to Balki, who’s glare remained fixated on Sam.  "Listen, you may be able to scare Harriette with your Myposian menopause, but you’re dealing with Sam Gorpley.  Now, I’m going to ask you one last time—"

Right on cue, Lydia entered from the Archives.  "Hi, Balki."  She walked around the table, feigning confusion over Balki’s failure to return her greeting.  "Balki?"  Lydia leaned in to focus in on Balki’s face.

"Careful, Lydia," Sam quipped facetiously, "Bartokomous is a human volcano.  Just look at him.  Any moment now, I’m expecting him to start bombarding us with sheep wool!"  He cackled again.

"Oh, my god," Lydia said quietly, playing the fear card perfectly.  "He’s got that look in his eyes."

"Oh, not you, too!"

"Sam, I think we’d both better leave before—"

Balki’s head quickly snapped to his left so his eyes locked on Lydia, who screamed and ran for the garage.  Sam looked on in confusion as Balki slowly returned his glare to Gorpley.

"Ok, Bartokomous," Sam began, with a little less force than previously, "enough of the fun and games.  Get back to work."

Larry entered from the garage, with a perplexed look on his face.  "What’s wrong with Lydia?  She just ran past me screaming."

"Ask the Mypiot of the Dead here," Gorpley replied.  "I don’t know what’s gotten into him, but—"

"Wait a second, Gorpley," Larry began cautiously as he slowly approached Balki while staring at his cousin.  "How long has he been like this?"

"What?"

Leaning in closer, Larry dropped his voice.  "Nevermind.  Just get out of here while you can.  He’s got that look."

"Again with the look!  What are you trying to pull here, Appleton?"

"Balki," Larry said quietly to his cousin, meanwhile trying his best not to lose his composure.  "It’s Cousin Larry."

"Oh, give me a break!" Gorpley scoffed through a forced laugh, though his eyes had started to widen a little.

"Talk to me, Balki.  What’s going on, buddy?"

Once again, Balki’s head suddenly snapped to his left.  He locked his sight on Larry, then in an instant grabbed his cousin by the blazer lapels and hauled him over the desk, sending mail all over.  Gorpley, surprised by the sudden attack, reeled back a few steps, while Larry pleaded with Balki to release him.  Without a word, Balki seemingly overpowered Larry, but allowed his cousin to do the work to make it look as though Balki threw Larry headfirst into a mail cart.  Balki had to refrain himself from checking on his cousin after Larry’s realistic looking leap into the cart.

Sticking to character, Balki snapped his head to focus on Gorpley, who stood with a mixed look of utter shock and fear on his face.  After Balki took one step towards Gorpley, Sam put his hands up.  "Ok, ok, Bartokomous.  Forget the memo!  Forget sorting the mail today!  Do whatever you want, just do it on another floor!"  Gorpley turned and ran towards the loading docks.

A few moments passed and all became quiet again.  Neither Balki nor Larry moved an inch until they were sure Gorpley was gone.  Then, Balki went to the mail cart and began to awkwardly pull his cousin out by the belt.  "Cousin, are you alright?"

Larry was laughing.  "That was great!  You were amazing, Balki!"  Harriette rushed out of the elevator, while Lydia sneaked in from the garage, both laughing.  "I almost lost it when you looked at me!"

Balki gasped, trying to catch his breath.  "That was some leap into the cart, Cousin!  I almost went in after you to make sure you were ok!"

"I have to admit it, Lydia," Harriette chuckled, "you gave an award-winning performance."

"Thank you, Harriette!"

"’Most Ham Served in One Scene’!"

Lydia frowned with disgust, partially due to her inability to retaliate with a remark.

"Cousin," Balki said, holding his chest.  "What you call it when your heart beats so fast and you have feelings that you don’t know are good or bad?"

"Are you alright?" Larry asked.

"I think so.  Part of me feels bad for scaring Mr. Gorpley..."  Larry, Lydia and Harriette looked on as Balki expressed himself.  "…but part of me—"  He swallowed.  "Part of me feels chills.  Not the kind you get when you stick your head in the freezer for too long—"

Larry, Lydia and Harriette looked at one another, wondering how Balki could know what holding his head in the freezer felt like and what would make him do such a thing.

"—but the kind you get when your girlfriend whispers sheep nothings in your ear and finger-feeds you ding ding machmoud."

"So let me get this straight, baby," Harriette began.  "You liked scaring Mr. Gorpley, but you didn’t like it."

"No, I loved it," he smiled shyly, almost embarrassed to admit it, "I just feel bad that I liked it so much."

"Well, he’ll get over it in a couple of weeks and will go back to talking down to you," Larry joked.  "So enjoy it while you can."

"Larry’s right," Lydia added.  "Before you know it, he’ll be mean and abusive and cranky and unpleasant and tough and…..determined and strong and manly—"  Lydia clutched her chest and gasped.  "My goodness, where did that come from?"  She took a deep breath.  "It’s so warm in here!  Maybe I’ll just go out to get some fresh air."  Lydia fluffed her hair, adjusted her dress and made a beeline for the loading docks.

"I’d better get back to work," Larry chuckled, thinking about Lydia and Gorpley.  "But a word of advice, Balki.  Don’t get used to playing practical jokes on people.  They can be pretty harmful sometimes."

"That’s true, baby," Harriette said, getting into the elevator.  "Especially for you if you pull one on me!"

"Ok, Cousin.  No more practical jokes."  Balki headed over to his work area.  He took a peek at Larry, who already had his head down as he focused on his research.  Balki giggled to himself, then moved over to the counter behind him.

Larry’s phone rang.  "Appleton," he answered after the second ring.

"Hello," the accented voice on the other end began, "do you have King Ferdinand in a can?"  The voice then giggled.

Larry looked over at Balki, who was huddled over the phone with his back to his cousin.  Larry could see Balki’s body tremor from the giggles.  He decided to play along.  "No," he said calmly into the receiver, "but he is coming down the stairs at this very moment."

"What??" the voice cried.  Immediately, Balki dropped the receiver, turned and fell to his knees.  "King Ferdinand!"  He looked around to find the king wasn’t there.  Confused, he peered over to Larry, who was chuckling as he hung up the receiver.

Larry winked and pointed a finger at Balki. "Gotchya!"

THE END