'Ten Minutes Late for Reality' by Lou Morris (c) 1988, 1989, 1991, 2002, 2015. Forty-five:

Forty-five:

   "By the way, if any of you are still wondering who won
the race between Roy's Malibu and Lou's Riviera (driven by a
very large driver) I'm not going to tell you...  But Roy
lost."

                                 - Just an outdated message
from Lou Morris.


   It was exactly eight o'clock.  At least that's what Roy
Bluehaul's digital watch read.
   From his position in the control booth, Roy was surveyor
of the entirety of the Generic Corporation's Death Arena.  
Every few seconds, he would glance out the right window to
check the steps leading from the entrance into the main of
the arena.  The middle two windows comprised a rear view of
the seating areas, all facing the large stage, from which,
when the arena was open, many a guest could fancy a look at
parrots, dogs, cats and other seemingly untamable animals
perform death defying feats--like talking, rolling over and
meowing for catnip.
   Now, however, the only thing, or rather person on the
stage was a man who recently changed his name and, even more
recently, lost his beloved checkbook:  Your Name Here.
   Now wearing his Doug the Clown costume, which included
oversized sleeves and puffy red gloves, Roy fumbled a bit
with the control switches before finding the knob for the
loudspeaker system.  He leaned over and spoke into the
microphone before him, "Hello.  I've been waiting for you,
Your Name Here."  His voice echoed throughout the entire
arena as well as the entire amusement park.  Apparently, he
flipped the wrong switch.
   In the near darkness, Your Name Here stumbled into a
microphone standing in the middle of the stage.  "And I've
been waiting for you," was the reply.
   Roy pushed an invitingly large red button.  He spoke into
the mike once again, "Rpptagwal ing raat--"  He kicked the
panel--twice, got really frustrated, and finally turned some
small silver dial all the way to the right.  That should do
it, he thought.  He cleared his throat into the mike, to test
it out.
   "AHEM!!!"
   Both Roy and Your Name Here were thrown to the floor,
hands clasped about their more than slightly ringing ears.
   "Sorry," Roy whispered after he picked himself off the
floor and turned down the volume dial.
   "Did you bring the checkbook?" Your Name Here asked.
   "Yup.  Did you bring the ten grand?"
   Your Name Here held up a black briefcase and opened it to
reveal...  Roy couldn't tell--the shadows on the stage
prevented him from getting a good look at the loot.
   Roy flipped a switch and attempted to direct a spotlight
onto Your Name Here, still holding his briefcase, in the
middle of the dark stage.  What Roy did, however, was to
direct the brunt of the beam straight into the control booth,
revealing to all who cared to look, his exact identity.
   Roy had worn his Doug the Clown costume so he could
remain blended with the equally costumed crowd as he made his
getaway with the money.  Now that his cover was blown, his
costume stood out like lime green nail polish on a sore
thumb.  "Oops."
   "Oops is right, Roy!  I should've known it was you!  All
through school, you were the master pickpocket--or so you
bragged--but now I've got you!  Get him boys!"  With a wave
of his hand, Your Name Here sent about ten previously hidden
security guards running towards the control booth.
   Roy, being the coward that he is, ran like hell in an
attempt to rid himself of those undesired pests.
   The security guards that Your Name Here had hired ran
like hell in an attempt to catch up with the little thief
that stole their boss's checkbook.  Their theory was this:  
without the checkbook, he can't pay us; we make sure he gets
his checkbook back!
   Your Name Here tossed the empty briefcase away and ran
like hell for two reasons.  First, he wanted to get his
checkbook back.  Most importantly, however, he wanted to get
his checkbook back first--so he wouldn't have to pay the
guards for the return of his checkbook.