December 27, 2015
I opted for a jumpsuit and a pair of silver flats. One of the best things about working in New York was being able to roll in at ten, giving you time to work out without getting up at some crazy hour, to squeeze in some extra sleep if you have been out. Everyone eats late and going to bed before midnight is pretty rare.
Andre was in the kitchen reading the paper.
“What’s up player?” I said.
“Hey girl. Sweet getup.”
“Oh. Thanks. These old rags. What’s news?”
“Just reading how the world is about to turn on the 1%. Income inequality and all that. Better watch out, with that new business of yours, you’ll be one of them soon.”
“Yeah right. I’m actually gonna talk to Vince today.”
“About the split time?”
“Yeah. I mean, he’d get just as much from me, but only have to pay for three days. Every other office in this city does it. We are so behind.”
“Good luck with that.”
“Any news with you?”
” I got myself a hot date tonight. Going to a little off Broadway show – getting myself a bit of culture.”
“Classy lad, who’s the lucky fella?”
“Friend of a friend met him at a show the other night. Get this – he doesn’t even use any social media at all!”
“Wowza. Must make the stalking hard?”
“I know! I can’t believe it. I mean, he is on Facebook but there is nothing on it.”
“You’re going to have to get to know him the old school way.”
Andre rolled his eyes, I grabbed a water from the fridge and waved, making him promise to give me a full report and creep a couple of sly photos of him when he wasn’t looking.
I could see Vince in his glass enclosure, face close up to the screen, probably trolling Variety for people he knew or perceived to be in the realm of sleeping with, comparing himself to their current spouse, comparing his current girl to them. It obviously wasn’t too important, when I knocked on the glass he looked up and waved me right in, quickly making a few clicks to hide whatever he was looking at.
“Hey,” he said, “Just the girl I need to see. How’s everything?”
“Great. Kicking along. Thought it would be good to catch up on a few things.”
“Absolutely. Emma, I know you have been keen to work with Darnell and I’d like to bring you in right away.”
“Yeah. We actually have a few issues, we were about to kick off production on a bunch of videos, but now we are stuck in an argument with Vice over budgets and billings. I need your touch on this.”
“Ok. What happened? It’s a pretty simple project right?”
“Well, Katie – she sent the wrong numbers to the wrong people, now they are up in arms about billings and costs, you know how it….”
“Of course! She fucked it up and you want me to fix it. Are you being serious with me right now? This is ridiculous. What did you expect was going to happen?”
He smiled to try and diffuse me. This whole scenario was so predictable, I could feel myself trembling on the inside, sometimes I wish I could growl, scratch and crush things into going my way. I watched a smile start to creep onto his face as he tried to diffuse the situation. Words that were trying to escape out my mouth had to be crushed down deep and restrained. I wanted to go green and blow up like a female version of the hulk, his petrified face as my huge arms fly up in the air, massive green boobs rip through my shirt – veins popping everywhere as my shriek brings his stupid glass walls crashing down around him.
“Emma. Come on, you wanted to work on this from the beginning.” He said.
I take a long breath. Chew on the inside of my lip a little.
“Yeah, I did. And you gave it to her instead.”
“How can I make it up to you?”
I needed to play this one right.
“First. I want to bring in my own team, stick Katie on something else – where she can’t do any more damage. And you know this little events startup I’ve been working on?”
“Yeah, I was wondering where my invite was for that party, it had some pretty impressive write ups,” he said, “How do you think I look when they ask me why I wasn’t there, when one of my people organized the thing?”
“Sorry, it was private – you know I would have invited you if I could. Anyway, I was thinking I could drop back to three days a week, I’d probably still get the same amount of work done, but it’d give me the time to really explore it, to get it going. And of course you’ll be invited to the events.” I throw in a go lucky smile and a head tilt that I hoped diffused the scenario a little.
His legs were spread wide so one leg hung round the side of his desk, the exposed skin between his loafers and suit pants seemed excessive, but you couldn’t fault the look. White linen shirt, blue pants, brown belt and shoes, straight out of GQ. Expensive cookie cutter fashion made me sick, there was no life in it. The cost of a ticket to the fair. Nineteen year old kids in Brooklyn had style, skipping the subway to save a couple bucks but wearing clothes that popped and felt like an extension of a real attitude. An image of Vince trying on drop crotch leather jogging pants in some Paris store flicked into my head, him looked in the mirror debating if he could pull them off.
“Look Em… We are totally open to empowering mothers and other scenarios.” There were no working mothers in this office. “But it’s not really something we have done for our… up and coming stars.” He said.
“It’s pretty common though right? Most offices do it. You know I’ll still be on top of it all.”
“Of course. But I’m just not sure we want half of you. You know? I pulled you in to work on our most important artist. I’d get distracted if I was trying to run two different things. Let’s be real.”
“Come on Vince, it’s just a small web business, it might not even fly and I’ll be back. I feel I just want to give it a crack, but I don’t want to leave what we are doing here, I don’t want to leave the team.”
I was letting him screw with me because he could, he wanted to take the power back, teasing that he could replace me.
“Hey. I’m not saying you can’t pursue it,” he said, “In fact I’d love to help out anyway I can. You know I have a bunch of contacts. I just want you focused here. Keep punching at it when you can. Hell, I don’t even care if you take a few minutes during the day to answer a few emails, take some calls in a meeting room. I’m not that anal. That’s not me. But I can’t say it’s cool for you to work half a week, everyone will want to do it. Maybe I should start doing it. My golf game could use the extra attention. Why don’t we grab lunch later this week and we can talk about anything I can do to help you get things going?”
I felt diminished, but resolved to stand up to him.
“Look, I know how important this project is to us, the last thing we want is someone from Vice in the ear of Darnell’s people, telling them we are taking some huge cut of the brand endorsement or something. They get pissed off, and we start the whole deal on a sour note. First chance he gets, he bounces.”
“Ok, I know. Look, I’ll reassign Katie..”
“One day a week. On a trial basis. And you have to keep it on the low down. Just say it’s a special project for now. I don’t want everyone to be doing this shit. We just refitted this whole place, now everyone wants to ‘work from home’?”
The fact that I could see his point made me madder, rage feels better blind than rationalized, but I was happy with how things ended up. I could have done the sisterly thing and kept Katie on board. Nah. Screw her. This was a free lesson. There are many ways to open doors but you need to be able to deliver once you get in.
“OK deal.” I slapped a smile on and sat upright.
“Good, we have his people and the agency folk coming in later on. I’ll have everything sent to you. And guess what big sis?” He smiled, “You have to tell Katie she is off the project.”