“We’ve got to get rid of him.”
Jane pinched the bridge of her nose. The same argument, every day.
“He’s a good lawyer,” she said, “and we can’t get rid of him without getting sued.”
Bob folded his arms behind his back, one hand squeezing the other hand too-firmly. He was looking out his office window. When Jane looked out, she could still see Earth in the distance–or maybe she just thought she did. It had been a speck in the distance for so long. Maybe it was finally out of sight.
“He’s an embarrassment,” said Bob, head tucked into his chest.
“Because he identifies as a clown?”
“Yes,” Bob spat, turning around. His face was red. “I don’t care what that makes me–Leonard is an embarrassment to this firm. No one in the flotilla takes us seriously.”
Jane folded her legs and absently sorted some things on her desk. Bob would cool off sooner or later. Best to let him air it out.
“Are you hearing me, Jan? We need to find a way to get him out of here. No one is going to accept a goddamned clown for a lawyer.”
“Unless they want to win. Nard always wins.”
“Don’t call him Nard. His name’s Leonard.”
“Not since the operation.”
“Oh, Jesus. Listen–he was born with brown hair, a normal nose–”
“‘Normal’ is not–”
“Normal people don’t have big red noses or painted-on smiles or milk-white faces. They don’t wear overly-baggy clothes with pompoms and polka dots, they don’t wear shoes twenty sizes too big. Back on Earth, nobody would–”
“The flotilla left Earth so we could embrace new identities and new ways of thinking without being judged, without being subjugated–”
“I’m not saying we subjugate him,” Bob insisted. “But we have to do something. This firm won’t survive. Leonard–”
“–Leonard isn’t a lawyer. He’s a mascot at best.”
“Nethersole and Lucas have a mime lawyer.”
“Great, then Leonard can work for N and L.”
“Nard would never work with ____. ____ always needs to have the last word. They hate each other.”
“It’s okay for a clown to be prejudiced against a mime, but it’s not okay for a normal guy to be–”
“Prejudiced?” Jane said.
Bob frowned and stared at her hard. He shook his head and left the office. Jane watched the spot where Earth used to be, and sighed.
Today’s three random prompt categories were, “Clown lawyer,” “Paranoia,” and, “In space.”
You just can’t trust clowns. Not even in space.
Especially not in space.