SURREAL ADVENTURES FROM THE SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Learning how to stop a cold war

I’ve always thought that Big Cheese has been kind of a hyper guy since he was a baby. Most days he is so energetic that everybody except him seems to move in slow motion. But some other days he can be the antithesis of that, often falling into such a pathetic lethargic state that he can only sprawl on his chair and play endless minesweeper games, until his biorrythm clock struggles to cross the zero line.

It was one of these days. When he called me to his office, he looked like he had no more gas in him:

- Q. I’m afraid we have fucked up with Leonard Ellison. –he said-.

“We? Why we? I didn’t do anything!” –I thought to myself-

How come he always thinks he deserves a merit award when something goes right, but he just denies it, whistling in the dark, whining “WE fucked up” when something goes wrong?

Just FYI, Leonard Ellison is the wealthiest man in Orsinia –Sandwich’s rich and powerful neighbour to the north-. He owns a profitable huge corporation, which is Dumbass Industries’ oldest and most important benefactor.

It’s worth mentioning too that the loathsome, obnoxious, thin-skinned, narcissist, egocentrical, arrogant, proud and self-centered Leonard Ellison is a middle-aged Orsinian tycoon, well-known for his haughtiness and irritating mannerisms.

- What’s the problem with Leonard Ellison? –I asked-.
- Due to our sheer incompetence and unbelievable lack of foresight, somebody forgot to send him an invitation for the new theatre opening gala. His assistant called this morning to reserve four seats. Since there are none available, she was told that his name would be added to the waiting list and taken off as cancellations would come in. When Leonard knew this, he freaked out. Not only did he take offence; he also took action immediately: he phoned to tell me he’s cutting the funds allocated to our community services.

I can’t deny I felt some sadistic pleasure when I imagined the scene.

Dumbass Industries’ had sponsored the construction of the first theatre in the capital of the South Sandwich Islands. It was Big Cheese’s most ambitious project. The opening reception would be the event of the year and everybody wanted to be invited, but only the cream of society would. And Leonard Ellison was supposed to be at the top of the list.

- This is gonna be my downfall. He will slaughter me! –he said, tearing out his hair-.
- Hey, pull yourself together! Summon up courage, he won’t slaughter you for that!
- Oh yes he will, we’ve hurt his pride and he will be seeking revenge! I need some cigarettes. And bubble gum too.

He was asking for his pacifiers.

- Don’t overdo it! It was only an unfortunate mistake; we just have to offer him our most sincere apologies; stroke his ego by telling him how happy we are to be his partners in social programmes and compensate him for his “ordeal” by giving him the best seats in the theatre. You just have to give the boot to some b-list celebrities, that’s all! –I said, offering him a stick of chewing gum-.

He stopped some seconds and stared at me. Suddenly, his expression changed and he came up with this brilliant idea:

- Q. You convinced me. Your arguments are perfect. I need you to go to Orsinia, see him and apologize on behalf of the Company; of the Board of Directors; of the Executive Committee, of every single employee.


Gosh, what a skiver! What a shameful coward hiding his head in the sand! That was supposed to be his job, not mine!

- Why don’t you meet him yourself? –I asked-
- He hates me now.
- Why don’t you send the Institutional Relationships Manager? He’s more experienced than me! I’m just a junior chief of staff! Leonard Ellison will kick my ass just because I’m your closest collaborator.
- Wrong assumption, Q. You’re neutral and new in this old company. Everybody likes you and you know how to do these things.

- But Leonard Ellison is not one of the plebs from Dumbass Industries!
- Stop being chicken! I trust you completely.

So summarizing, I wasn’t really going on a pleasure trip, but on a desperate diplomatic mission to Orsinia to save the company’s community services funds and last but not least, to save Big Cheese’s ass. I had nothing to use as a bargaining chip but the four best seats at the theatre opening gala and what was termed "my good offices". So I had to grin and bear it.

After a hard negotiation on the phone, Big Cheese arranged personally my meeting with Leonard Ellison. He deigned to meet me the day after.

- Now leave ASAP and come back with good news, or you’re sacked.

That joke wasn’t fun at all, but Big Cheese isn’t a funny guy at all: when he's at the office and going full blast, we're all worn out by his energy. I followed his instructions and booked online a return air ticket on the first flight to Orsinia.

The weather was terribly cold in Sandwich. When I left Dumbass’ premises, a strong snow storm was hitting the island. The weather forecast hadn’t warned about it, so it was a funny surprise for everybody.

Giant snowflakes danced quietly their way to the ground. I watched them float in the air, mesmerised. The trees looked like white lace and the cars seemed big cakes topped with icing sugar.

I decided to put warm clothes in my luggage. I’m unable to take just the bare essentials, so I packed my suitcase to explosive capacity with everything necessary to be warm in the event of unexpected glaciations and drove my way to Mount Pleasant, South Sandwich International airport.

I parked near the elevator entrance door, right when it was closing. I had the feeling of having seen a familiar face. I pressed the elevator button, and when the door opened, guess who was inside.

He was staring at me, carrying a big trolley and a metal briefcase. I gave a start. I hadn’t seen him since our unfortunate Christmas lunch at my place, but the world is so small in Sandwich that you often come across people whom you love or hate most. I turned back to take another elevator, but it was too late: he caught me.

- Don’t pretend you didn’t see me. –said Ed-
- Don’t pretend to be the boogie man who caught me when I was mourning like the crows –I said, a bit upset-

We stopped arguing and tried to calm down. As we left the elevator, he said:

- May I ask you …where are you going?
- I’m flying to Orsinia for work. Just a couple of days, I hope.
- Excellent. I’m flying to Orsinia too.
- Oh really? I’m leaving on the 17.30 flight. Don’t tell me you’re booked in that flight too.
- I don’t think so. I’m flying my private jet. I would offer you a seat but I have recently decided not to travel with silly, childish and stubborn little Sandwichian ladies again.
–he smirked-

I deliberately ignored his comment and asked:

- Ooooh, do you have a private jet, Ed?
- Yes. I know you think I’m ready for the glue factory, but I’m still young and I like these toys. Like my motorbike. I’ll feel the riding virus as soon as the good weather comes.
- Hey! You’re not ready for the glue factory yet. And… I do like these toys too! Won’t you show it to me?
- I’m not sure.
- Please…
- Only if you ask nicely.
- Please…
- I don’t think so.
- Oh, please…
- Jeez, you brought everything but the kitchen sink!
–he said, pointing at my big trolley and bag- If you get on my jet with your luggage we will fall into the sea!
- Oh Ed, please please…
- Only if you tell me what city in Orsinia are you going to and what are you doing there.
- I’m going to Madhattan. Big Cheese got in trouble with a businessman who lives there. I need to see him and try to settle their differences.
- Who is it?
- Leonard Ellison.
- Leonard Ellison! I know him well. We've done some business together. We’re good friends.

I couldn’t believe my luck. I bet you can imagine what kind of contingency plan my cunning mind was already devising.

20 comments:

rebecca said...

Boy, that one just fell right into her lap! And the story thickens..... oh, the twists and turns this might take....
Hmpf! And Big Cheese...que cobarde!

((abrazos))

Crabtree said...

Leni,(*mon p'tit clin d'œil*)

C'est en découvrant Mona lisa que Léonard devin ? si !

Petit message passé inaperçu !
( Je te souhaite une superbe année pleine de tendresse de joie et d'AMOUR ;) )

(* Des tas et des tas de p'tits bisous*)

Megan said...

Hey Leni. Can't wait to see where this is taking us! Madhattan, eh?

;)

Leni Qinan said...

Sorry for being late, dear readerships and commenters.

I'm fighting a strong flu now, but I promise to be back alive and kicking in a couple of days!

rebecca said...

Get well quick Leni and get lots of rest!!

((abrazos))

Crabtree said...

Tu es toute excusée !!
J'en sort justement,et une carabinée ! :{

Buen restablecimiento, (*petit bisou*)

Anonymous said...

This is very sophisticated. I ´ve liked it.

Hope you feel better.

A hug, LeTi.

Leni Qinan said...

Hi again everybody and thank you very much for your best wishes for a quick recovery.

I’m not sure yet, but I think I survived the flu today. Or maybe I resurrected, LOL.

You can read your backsies commentsies below. ;)

Leni Qinan said...

Dear Rebecca,

You know what bosses are like sometimes… Big Cheese is not so chicken in real life. He’s rather extreme –excellent qualities and horrible flaws-. Actually, he’s very fair but too demanding and quite impossible.

And yes, we had horrible problems with that theatre opening and I had to do some diplomatic suicide missions to save his ass, lol.

Such is the life of an office worker. :)

((abrazos))

Leni Qinan said...

Bonjour Crabtree!

Je vous souhaite une très très bonne année aussi ! Santé, bonheur, succès et toujours AMOUR ! (Et la crise ? C’est quoi la crise ?)

Oh, votre petit message n’a pas passé inaperçu : je suis convaincue que Léonard et Mona Lisa dansent toutes les nuits sur les quais de la Seine quand Le Louvre ferme ses portes. :)

(*p’tits bisous et câlins*)

Leni Qinan said...

Hey Megan!

Yeah, Madhattan ;)
I bet you don’t know where Orsinia is, LOL.

Btw, your new icon is cool. Looks like an angel. :)

Leni Qinan said...

Dear Anon,

Something tells me that you’re sending your comment from near the bay where you sail sometimes. I’ve got your number, hahaha.

All the sophistication comes from Ed’s jet –I’m just an average middle-class worker girl-. The only peculiar thing about me is that strange things happen sometimes in my life. :) This is what makes it more exciting.

Big hug.

Grass said...

I can guess what your plans are..hehehe Better use Ed to Big Cheese's company's advantage sis..Geez, was that Big Cheese's picture? LOL He reminds me of ostriches during panic attacks...

Hhmmm, why does Ed have to be around wherever you are? That is strange. Maybe he really is destined to be your partner for life... :p


xxxx

Grass said...

Oh you got sick! I'm glad you're back here. :-)

Homo Escapeons said...

Des tas et des tas of twists and turns is right?
A marvelous insight into the EGOdynamics of the biz.

I especially enjoyed your accompanying photos..really cool.

Leni Qinan said...

Hey sis! Long time no see! Happy New Year! I hope you had a nice Xmas holidays and everything is well with you+Gugu ;)

I must admit my plans are not very sophisticated, but that was a real emergency!

That’s not Big Cheese’s pic, lol, but it pictures perfectly well his attitude (chicken, or as you exactly said: an ostrich during a panick attack).

I still don’t know why Ed is around me. Maybe because Sandwich is a very small place. You don’t think he’s tracing me, do you? LOL.
XXX.

PS.- Yeah, I got quite sick, and I’m still recovering. The company doc gave me some vitamins and ginseng vials to take. I hope I’ll be myself full blaze very soon, ;)

Leni Qinan said...

Hi H-E!

La vie comme elle tourne!

You can change your pic as much as you want; I got your number, lol. (And this one is cool too, as usual).

Yeah, welcome to the egocentric world of tycoons, businessmen and other kinds of impossible people. This is my day work and my regular background: the urban jungle.

I’m glad to know you liked the photos. Some of them were very hard to find, lol

Take care and namaste!

Dick said...

Haha, yes I know how bosses are, sometimes you wish to be sacked.
Great story and "pictures".

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Dick!

Hm... I'd rather have them sacked instead, lol!
Thanks for your comment on the pics, coming from you I feel really flattered (but you know, i only choosed them, I didnt do them)

Take care!

Dick said...

Yes I know but the choice is excellent.