Monday, December 13, 2004

Realiticomm Episode One December 13, 2004

Moxie: My name is Maria Xenia Eleftheriadis, the sort of new (five months) Director of Corporate Communications here at MegaloCorp. My friends call me Moxie. My enemies (I can’t imagine why I would have any) call me “Bitch.” My ex-husband refers to me as “that one” and “The Litigant,” although our divorce was pretty straightforward and uncontested, not at all complicated by children or property or really anything. It was his idea we call it quits, and seeing I wasn’t getting any fulfillment out of the relationship I didn’t argue the point. My mother cried for a week. “You had such a beautiful wedding,” she said. There wasn’t much to divide, and I let him have it all. I think he was seeing someone and that’s why he left (he denies it), because he had someone to leave for. I didn’t. But he doesn’t have a job, or a future, and I do.

I’ve been told I look a little bit like Sarah Jessica Parker, but I’m not as tall. I’m the only Greek woman with blue eyes. I work out. I look pretty good. I go to Curves and I get electrolysis. I’m all-natural, although I streak my hair from time to time. Doesn’t everybody?

I came to Megalo from a stint at a PR agency that specialized in crisis communications. I worked too hard and too many hours for clients that didn’t deserve to be let off the hook for the heinous things they had done to their customers, to their shareholders, to the environment, to the community or to mankind. In fact, we made these dirt bags look like saints. I won some great awards, got some big raises, developed ulcers and nearly had a nervous breakdown. Depends who you ask. My ex-husband says I wasn’t there for him during this “difficult time.” He wasn’t there for me, either.

On paper I work for William F. Morrissey, Esq., the corporate secretary, general counsel and vice president for corporate affairs. Mr. Morrissey was supposed to interview me for my final interview when I was thinking about coming to this job. He actually left me a voicemail. Once. That was more than five months ago and I have not heard from him, nor seen him since. I’m told various reasons why I don’t see him at work, like he is doing some trial work for the company, is on loan to the Bush Administration, is at Betty Ford, but I have no clue.

Fortunately, I have access to Tad Offal, our CEO. He calls me when he needs something. He calls me when he wants something. He calls me when he doesn’t like his coverage in the press. He calls me when he doesn’t like his photo in the newsletter.

He’s an okay boss, I guess. He treats me with respect, I think. He listens to what I have to say, sometimes, if there are no lawyers around. I think he just likes to listen to me because he likes the sound of my sultry, seductive voice. That’s an acceptable reason for me.

My background is in PR and corporate communications. I thought MegaloCorp was a huge break for me. A big raise. Big staff, sort of. A first class operation. I’m still getting over the fact that this job is hardly what I thought it would be. Or maybe I’m not what they thought I would be.

[Phone rings. It’s Moxie’s cell phone which has an OutKast ‘Hey Ya’ ring tone.]

Lou Fumare (MegaloCorp HQ building manager): Moxie, it’s me.

Moxie: Who is this?

Lou: It’s me. Lou.

Moxie: Lou who?

Lou: Me. Lou Fumare.

Moxie: Oh. Why are you calling on my personal cell phone?

Lou: Excuuuuse me?

Moxie: I’m sitting at my desk, Lou. How hard would it be for you to call me on my office line, which, as we both know, you have on your speed dial? Am I not good enough for your speed dial? Are you afraid somebody might find out about your crush on me?

Lou: Maybe I like talking with you without the company snoops listening in.

Moxie: It’s cold up here. Can you crank up the heat?

Lou: Sure. Whatever you want, Moxie. Whatever. You name it. I’m there for you.

Moxie: Come on, Lou. I’ve got work to do. I presume you do, too.

Lou: I thought you would want to know about this, and owing to my discretion about such sensitive matters, I’m perfectly willing to keep this private between the two of us, if you know what I mean

Moxie: Hello.

Lou: Yeah. Hello.

Moxie: Lou, will you tell me what’s going on.

Lou: I got your Christmas present to yourself down here. I thought I’d call you so you could come and get it yourself, you know, so I don’t have to send Ian Collins to your door. I know his tattoos repulse you.

Moxie: They do.

Lou: He’s got a new one.

Moxie: I can only imagine.

Lou: Want me to tell you where?

Moxie: Lou, stop. Stop this now.

Lou: Okay, so you coming down here?

Moxie: I don’t have the first clue about what this is about.

Lou: I think you do. I got a package here. It’s addressed to you.

Moxie: So, I get lots of packages. So what.

Lou: Not from Pleasure Sensations of Canoga Park California.

Moxie: What?

Lou: Contents, 144 three-packs of “SensXtreme” condoms. Moxie, you planning a big party I wasn’t invited to?

Pause.

Lou: You there?

Pause.

Lou: You don’t want me to have Vinny look into this, do you. Those boneheads in Internal Audit are always looking for a wrong tree to bark up. They’d have a field day with this. Keep ‘em busy for a whole week.

Moxie: Are you threatening me?

Lou: No, I just…

Moxie: Good. You have your Sid Vicious, or Johnny Rotten or whatever his name is, bring this box up with the rest of the mail for Corporate Communications, and deliver it to Smidgen like he does every morning.

Lou: OK, but…

Moxie: If I ever hear you say a word about this to anybody, you’re in big trouble, you understand me?

Lou: Hey, don’t…

Moxie: And Lou, don’t ever, ever call me on my personal cell phone again.

Moxie hangs up.

Lou hangs up.

Lou, shouting out into the office: Hey, Mitch, we got complaints about the temperature in Corporate Communications. They say they got no heat. So turn it all the way up in there, will yah?

*****

Moxie puts on her full-length sweater, and heads out of her office to get herself a cup of coffee. The pot is next to Smidgen’s desk. Sarah Michelle Jennings is too cute for her own good. Men flock to her. She sits at the front desk for corporate communications. She is 20, just five feet tall, if that. She is reading a Cosmo. Moxie sips the coffee and spits it out into the wastebasket.

Moxie: Igggh.

Smidgen: Something wrong with the coffee, Mox?

Moxie: I’ll say. You try it?

Smidgen: No. Are you crazy?

Moxie: It’s cold.

Smidgen: I wouldn’t know. Do you like my nails?

Moxie: Yeah, they’re great. I’m going to dump this pot out and make a fresh pot. Who usually makes it?

Smidgen: Sid’s usually the first one in. He’s at that meeting with Genevieve on the holiday baskets. You know, Mox, I could help you do something about your nails.

Moxie: What’s wrong with my nails?

Smidgen: Nothing. If you like that sort of thing.

*****

Moxie: Nothing beats a stupid idea to just kill my holiday spirit. My "friends" in HR have launched another one of their great ideas for community relations, sold the idea to the front office, and assigned Corporate Communications to run with it.

This year we will be collecting gift baskets and distributing them to the homeless. The gift “baskets” are actually blue plastic bags with yellow “happy faces”

The “goodies” we collected through a series of deals that I seriously question, strong-arm threats to late-bill-paying customers and deadbeat vendors will fill a basket, of that there is no doubt.

So CorpComm is in charge of this fiasco, but I assigned Genevieve (that’s pronounced “Jenn-uh-vee-EV”) D’Ecolletage, my Special Events Coordinator, to the task of running the committee, gathering the donations and distributing the material. This may have been a mistake.

Genevieve has her degree in parks and recreation management. She is anal about details. Over organized and works too hard making sure everything is precisely so. She has what you would call an “ample figure.” She’s ample everywhere. She could use a few workouts. Her clothes are so tight that they give me a little too much information about her body. And her perfume arrives 10 minutes before she does. She told me that she wants to wear an ankle bracelet but doesn’t know the significance of which ankle to wear it on. Someone told her that if you wear an ankle on your left ankle you are a cheap whore and the right ankle means you are expensive. She’s trying to verify that. I was unable to help.

She also has Noreen Nesbit working with her. Noreen works in fulfillment (her identical-twin husband works in Risk management). Noreen and Nelson are always so excited to be doing anything and everything. They look like matching draperies when you see them together. She’s so excited to be on the Community Relations “Holiday Gift Basket” Committee. But she drives me up a wall. Noreen is really deep into the holiday spirit, too. She’s got candy-cane earrings that blink, a snowman pin that plays “Frosty the Snowman” over and over, a necklace with little sleigh bells that jingle wherever she goes. Kind of like having my cat around the office. Her Christmas Sweater has little wrapped gift packages all over it, and all that stuff drives me nuts, too. Give it a rest, Noreen, you know what I mean?

I stuck Sid Hoedecker on the committee, too, just to get him out of Atlee’s hair. Atlee owes me, again.

Also on the committee is Abelia Bonnet, who is a clerk for some department. She likes to be called Bea and thinks “Bea Bonnet” is such a cute name. She is usually offered up for such time-intensive and wasteful tasks because she serves no other useful purpose at whatever place she works doing whatever it is she’s supposed to do. Except projects like this. Then she shines.

Noreen: I’m just so proud to be here, Genevieve. Thank you for selecting me from all the many worthy people here at MegaloCorp.”

Genevieve: I have an Excel spreadsheet for all of you. It shows the projected 400 baskets. We currently have donations from various sources of up to 300 items, but not every basket will have exactly the same items. Right now, I’m projecting that we have a requirement to deliver the 400 baskets to Red Kettle Charities on December 20, so we have to get this all done by then.

We currently do not have any donations of 400 items, so we’ll have to try and divide up these items evenly between the 400 baskets. The first item on your list is the 300 Downy April Fresh samples, followed by the Abbott Labratories Sof/Pro soft contact lenses cleaning solution sample bottles.

Noreen: Genevieve, is that Giorgio you are wearing? Oh, I just love Giorgio. It really fills up a room, doesn’t it?

Genevieve: It’s Obsession.

Noreen: I agree. I’m obsessed with that smell, too.

Genevieve: No, the perfume. It’s Obsession.

Noreen: “I know what you mean about perfume. You can become obsessed with it.”

Genevieve: We have 275 samples of Improve, the dog food supplement for itchy skin. We have 250 American flag pins.”

Bea: That’s nice.

Noreen: Oh, I like these. They have John Kerry’s face on them. Who’s the other fellow?

Genevieve: John Edwards. We have 300 coupons for a trial six-pack for Viagra. 220 sample capsules of bee pollen.

Sid: Bee pollen?

Noreen: That’s supposed to be good for you, I read. I saw it in that Organic Gardening magazine. Bee pollen. And something about manure, something like that.

Sid: Mix them together, the Viagra and the bee pollen. I like that idea. Stiffen the stinger.

Genevieve: [shoots a withering glance at Sid which shuts him up for the moment] We have some other items coming from some other suppliers. Here’s a notice that we have some items on order. Here’s a list of items coming from TSR Associates.. Let’s see, 50 hair brushes large, 38 hair brushes, small; 112 sets of hairclips; 200 cards of 100 hairclips. 58 Power Ranger hair clips; 62 Sailor Moon hairclips; 38 Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtle hairclips and 13 My Little Pony hairclips. So there’s these. And then we have 175 “Shopping with Mary Kate and Ashley” coloring books; and 58 boxes of “Yo! Mo Math with Moesha” flash cards.

Bea: That’s nice.

Genevieve: We have 112 “Stamp out Colorectal Cancer” coffee mugs. You pour in a hot liquid and the cancer goes away. 300 Sporanox post-it note pads; 275 Oxycontin ball point pens; and 189 Vaniga Eflorrnithine Cream refrigerator magnets. And 600 tongue depressors.

Noreen: You can make some wonderful craft projects with tongue depressors and popsicle sticks.

Bea: That’s nice.

Noreen: I made a big Christmas Village once out of popsicle sticks, toothpicks , confectioners sugar and sugar cubes.

Sid: I once made a giant X-rated cookie out of two big Hershey kisses. That was before my wife stopped talking to me.

Bea: That must have been nice.

Sid: Do we have any food coming?

Genevieve: We have a bag with approximately 300 little packages of breath mintys from Helmsely Hotels. We have 144 camouflage gauze bandages; 250 towel-paper-cleansing-wets. I guess that’s the government term for wash-n-dry. We have 100 sample size packets of Molly McButter artificial butter flavoring. We have 144 packages of Pleasure Sensations SensXtreme prophylactics.

Bea: That’s nice.

*****

Penny: Hey, Smidge.

Smidgen: What?

Penny: I got a coupon on the Internet for a free bottle of Sierra Mist.

Smidgen: Totally bonus! E-mail it to me.

Penny: What are you doing?

Smidgen: Checking my horoscope.

Penny: What’s it say?

Smidge: Mine? It says “Stand by for some big-time changes in a close personal relationship today. You hold a deep secret inside you, which will bubble to the surface today. You may not realize it when it reveals itself, but you will be called upon to acknowledge this secret in front of somebody who means something to you. This revelation will have a profound impact on your relationship.”

Penny: Whoa. What’s that mean.

Smidgen: Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Penny: Some secret that will be revealed. Sounds so mysterious. I wonder who the “somebody” is.

Smidgen: I don’t have a clue. Guess we'll have to see who walks in the door.

Penny: What’s mine say?

Smidgen: You are a Virgo, right?

Penny: Right.

Smidgen: 'To you on this day, everything, every person, every dream and every conscious thought shall be a vessel full of delight. Taste each as they are presented to you, like a multi-course gourmet meal, and savor each morsel. But do not over indulge. Even the most vile fermentation can get you high. Judge like a monarch and select the choicest, most pure from among all that is before you.”

Penny: What’s that mean?

Smidgen: It means you’re going to meet some guy on a cruise ship that has a buffet.

Penny: Don’t look, but here comes your Prince Charming now.

Smidgen: Hi, Ian.

Ian: ‘Ow we doin, girls?. G’free boxeses a’day. Please sign ‘ere.

Smidgen: Ian, you never had me sign for anything before.

Ian: Well, is juss this one, actually. The one from Pleasure Sensations. Lou wants a signature for ‘is one.

Smidgen: Pleasure Sensations?

Ian: Yeah. Canoga Park, California.

Smidgen: What?

Ian: Contents, 144 three-packs of SensiXtreme condums. Sign ‘ere.

Smidgen: It’s for Moxie?

Ian: Yeah.

Smidgen: Is that a new tattoo?

Ian: The Queen? Yeah. I fig’rd get ‘er before she’s dead.

Smidgen: Why did Lou want somebody to sign for these? Is he trying to embarrass somebody?

Ian: Lou. ‘E’s a merchant banker.

Smidgen: A what?

Ian: A wanker.

Moxie: What’s this? Who’s a wanker?

Ian: [Smiles, revealing very bad teeth.]

Smidgen: Lou wanted a signature for this box of condoms.

Moxie: So this is Lou’s wet dream. Ian, be a good lad and tell Lou that I inventoried this box and we came up six short. Tell him I’m calling Vin Decatur and launching an investigation into internal pilfering.

Ian: You got orchestras!

Moxie: What?

Smidgen: What?

Penny: What?

Ian: Orchestras. Means “orchestras halls”, which rhymes with balls.

Moxie: Smidgen, please get Clifton Homestead on the phone.

Penny: All those tattoos. He’s kind of creepy. Where’s he from?

Smidge: Liverpool. That’s in England. It’s where the Beatles came from. You know, the band Paul McCartney used to sing with.


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