the fifteenth character chapter 5


The Fifteenth Character

Sally waits quietly with the other workers. She looks at Mr Parry’s Jobs for Today list and counts the names.

There are twenty-nine names on the list today. Fifteen people are helpers. They wear green trousers and yellow shirts and help the visitors. Fourteen people are characters and wear costumes.

‘Wait a minute,’ thinks Sally. ‘There are fourteen characters on the list. But there are fifteen characters here!’

She reads the list again, very, very carefully. ‘Edward Elephant — yes, he’s here. Connie Cat — that’s me. Cowboy Joe — that’s William. Photo Phil — yes, he’s here. Big Apple — yes. Sir Laugh-a-Lot and Lady Love-a-Little… Wait a minute, Charlie Clown isn’t on the list — but Charlie’s here in this room!’

‘Excuse me, Mr Parry,’ says Sally. ‘There are fourteen characters on your list, but there are fifteen in the room now. Charlie Clown isn’t on the list, but he’s here.’

Mr Parry reads the list and counts the characters. ‘You’re right, Sally,’ he says.

‘Take off your heads!’ Mr Parry says to the characters.

They take off their heads.

Charlie Clown is a woman.

‘Why are you wearing that costume?’ asks Mr Parry.

The woman begins to run away, but William stops her.

The police take off her costume — and find a big pocket.

In it they find Zapp’s CD. The singer smiles again.

It is Saturday night. Sally and William are in London because they are going to Zapp’s concert. There are lots of excited people and TV photographers outside the hall. Everybody wants to hear Zapp’s new song.

‘Where are your tickets?’ says the man at the door to Sally.

‘We haven’t got any tickets,’ says Sally. The man begins to look angry. Sally smiles and takes something out of her pocket. ‘Is this invitation OK? It’s from Zapp.’


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