SURREAL ADVENTURES FROM THE SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pompous, thin skinned, fucking idiots

A thick carpet of snow soon covered the ground outside the airport and turned to ice. The snowploughs worked hectically to clear the runways, but most departures were delayed or cancelled. My flight to Orsinia was one of them. Ed’s jet was my last hope.

- Do you really know Leonard Ellison? –I asked Ed-
- Sure. We play golf sometimes. –he answered, playing down the importance of my question-

Small world, eh? I couldn’t believe my luck! I had to bring the dough back to Dumbass Industries and drag that Big Shot to the theatre gala. Ed didn’t know that yet, but he was going to help me.

- What kind of business are you doing with him? –he asked, very curious-
- He is the most important benefactor of Dumbass Industries. We’re opening the new theatre in two weeks. There will be a cocktail party and the Parisian Ballet will be performing a late night show. The box office revenue will be entirely donated to rare illnesses research programmes…
- I know, Leni. I’ve been invited too. –he said, interrupting me-. Sorry, go on.

Yes, Ed was a rich businessman and a plutocrat; he probably was at the top of the list, right after the King of Sandwich.

- The funny thing is somebody forgot to invite Leonard Ellison to the opening ceremony. He’s pissed off because they’ve put him in the waiting list and he decided to withdraw the funds that his corporation had agreed to give us to implement our community services projects.
- Whoa!!! What a blunder!
–he exclaimed, shaking his head in disapproval-
- Yeah, Leonard Ellison took it to heart and didn’t accept Big Cheese’s apologies on the phone, so he decided to delegate this task to me and told me to make sure that Leonard Ellison accepts the best seats in the theatre, come hell or high water.
- Well, I hope that chicken boss of yours appreciates what you’re doing for him. And I hope you succeed.
- I hope so too. He said he would sack me if I didn’t
–I said, looking down-.
- Sack you??? What will he do without you? Nah, he won’t sack you. –he said, shaking his head-.
- Oh yes, he will. –I said, pretending to cry- Or I’ll be demoted from my cabinet position twenty levels down and next week I may be cleaning the bathrooms!

Ed was right. Not in a million years would Big Cheese fire me. I was only putting some pressure on him. Whether he wanted it or not, he was already involved in the plotting. But he was not dumb.

- Hey sweety, I know you’re putting the screws on me, so stop being silly, ok? Now wipe away your crocodile tears and I’ll make a phone call to help you, but only if you stop the sobbing, ok?
- Oooh really?
–I asked, and did as I was told on the spot-.
- Yes. But you have to do something for me.

Gosh, that sounded to me like that old Sandwichian joke about a lovely cutie tiny ant that wanted to cross a deep river in the middle of the jungle and asked Mr Elephant, the gentleman of the wild, to help her.
‘With pleasure’ -he answered, very politely-.
‘Chivalry hasn’t died yet’ –she thought, very happy-
So Miss Ant jumped on Mr. Elephant’s back and they crossed the river together, majestically. Mr. Elephant lowered his head and trunk so that Miss Ant could climb down safe and sound to the ground.
‘Thank you very much’ –she said, waving goodbye-
‘None of that: put your knickers down’. –said Mr. Elephant-

Life is hard in the urban jungle too and nothing in life is free.

- What is it you want me to do for you? –I asked, expecting the elephant answer-
- I received my invitation for the opening gala.
- Yes, you told me. And?
- Are you attending on your own or you already have a partner?
- I’ll go with you!
–I answered hastily-

Actually, I would have done everything he’d ask me to do. EVERYTHING.

- What makes you think I want to go with you, silly? I was just asking.

Jeez, that was so embarrassing. He turned back immediately, dialed a number on his cellphone and walked away.

- Leo, Ed Davis here.

This was all I coud hear of the conversation. I knew very well it was neither Da Vinci nor di Caprio on the other side. Not even Cohen. But the very same Leonard Ellison the Great!

I had a look outside. It was heavy snowing. When Ed came back he just said:

- That’s settled. Let’s go to my place. Now.
- What? I need to fly to Orsinia.
- Leni, the airport will be closed in a few minutes and the roads are freezing. If we don’t hurry, we’ll be trapped in the snow storm.

I wrapped my warm scarf around my head and neck as a turban, just letting my eyes show. Then I put my gloves on, dragged my trolley and followed him to the parking lot. This time he had brought his Range Rover, one of the cars he drove when he travelled incognito.

- Why are we going to your place, Ed? –I asked-
- Given that you won’t be able to fly to Orsinia… I’m kidnapping you for a couple of days.
- Oh. It’s a good thing. It will be my second time kidnapped. Now I definitely know I will be queuing at the unemployment office on Monday.
- No you won’t, silly.
- How do you know?
- Leonard Ellison gave me his word of honor that he will send back the community services funds to your company.
- Will he attend the theatre gala?
- Send the invitation by e-mail to his Head of Cabinet and he will reply immediately. There’s no need to travel to Orsinia. But don’t tell your Big Cheese. Just pretend you’ve flown before it started snowing and stay with me, ok?
- With what purpose?
- Just because there’s a pending issue that we must solve, Leni. I can’t forget your sad eyes when we last met at Kynkybooks, after you visited the copyreader to show him your story. I need to make peace with you. So please, stay with me. How does that grab you?

I couldn’t forget that day either. This unworldly man really knew how to leave me speechless. I was not sure this was the expected outcome of my efforts, but how could I possibly say no?

- Ok Ed. I’ll stay with you.
- Excellent.

Before I even realised it, we were in his mansion. I hadn’t been there since last summer but things hadn’t changed a bit: the same ghost driver opening the car door; the same Romanian ghost butler giving me a warm welcome; the same Burdish ancestor shouting at me from the painting hanging on the wall of the corridor; the same angelic voices of his two dead wives and four dead children whispering “goodnight Leni” from the cellar.

We entered his studio and sat on the sofa. I opened my laptop and started writing that e-mail to my colleague at Leonard Ellison’s office, under Ed’s watchful eye.

“Dear Mr. Ashton,

Words cannot express how deeply sorry and embarrassed we are for the inconvenience that we have caused to Mr. Ellison, due to a very unfortunate and completely involuntary mistake. This is especially saddening because of the tight bonds of union existing between both companies.

We are committed to the Ellison Corporation, our valued partner, in so many projects undertaken together in the South Sandwich Islands, and are taking immediate corrective steps to regain your confidence in us.

Once again, we would like to extend our invitation to Mr Ellison to attend the inaugural ceremony and luncheon that will be held at the new Theatre of Grytviken on the 8th February.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Yours sincerely,

Leni Qinan
Head of Cabinet
Dumbass Industries plc.
Grytviken (South Sandwich Islands)


- Does it sound ok to you? –I asked-
- It sounds great to me, honey. Come on, send it. Ashton is waiting for your e-mail. -he said-

Ed prepared a delicious beverage with hot brandy, lemon and sugar and handed me a cup as I waited nervously for the answer, with my laptop on my thighs.

- Here's a ration of pirate’s grog to calm down a bit –he said, offering a mug of drink-

I took it and drank. He sat beside me, lifted his hand to my face and stroke my cheek, whispering:

- Everything will be ok, sweety.

A few minutes later, my inbox flashed and I eagerly opened the incoming message.

Dear Ms Qinan,


Mr Ellison regrets that he will be unable to attend due to absence from the city on that date and wishes Dumbass Industries every success on the event celebration.

Yours sincerely,
Peter Ashton
Head of Cabinet
Ellison Corporation


Here you have the living proof that those who call the shots never die at war action. They have their pawns to do that dirty work for them and wash their hands clean of the ‘not so nice stuff’.

Leonard Ellison could have excused himself saying he was unable to attend because he had to scrub his bath tiles instead. That would have sounded truer to me. And Big Cheese would certainly jump for joy upon arrival of the desired funds to the company’s bank account.

I closed my laptop and finished the drink.
What a pair of pompous, thin skinned, fucking idiots.



14 comments:

INNER VOICES said...

ive been reading!!! i just havent been able to get my head above water quite yet!!! LLLLLLOOOVING YOUR WRITING as usual!!!

Leni Qinan said...

WOW! Zack, i'm so glad to see that you're alive and kicking!!!

I really worried about you, after 3 days trying to log into your blog and getting the message 'you havent' been invited to this blog'

I knew what happened from Megan, and I've just seen that you're back in the blogsphere. THAT'S COOL!!!

Gonna read your last post right now!!!

Grass said...

Oh gosh, I nearly off my chair laughing (again!).. i told my office mate about the ant and elephant story and she did fall off her rickety chair.. hahahaha

Hmmm, it seems like things will be okay between you and Ed again.. it was really chivalrous of him to save you from the mess.. and I do like the kidnapping part.. very romantic..

Ya know, I do the same thing with Abner all the time.. I guess that's one thing we have in common, making our partners guilty to get what we want.. hehehe

And like Ed, Abner is smart enough to know what I'm doing too. LOL

xxxx

Skeeter said...

Wow! I thought things like this only happened here in the empire of the Evil Corporation. Ants, elephants and thin skinned idiots ... you know, a problem all over the world.

Best wishes,

Skeeter

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Grassy!

You didn’t know the joke about the ant and the elephant? It’s very popular here in Sandwich, lol, see you can’t even trust well mannered elephants in this world, hahaha.

Things okay between Ed and me? You think? They’re not yet fixed, darling. He never gave me anything for Xmas and I almost went to jail to find him a present! I think were quite uneven, and he still thinks I’m throwing fits! How funny is it??? (this is like the never ending story, LOL).

Big hug.

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Skeeter!

I’m also convinced that the Evil Corporation and Dumbass Industries plc. belong to the same group of companies who hire, among others, elephants and thin skinned idiots who are able to stupid cruel things just for the sake of their own ego.

And yes, you’re very right: this happens all over the world, even in the South Sandwich Islands :)

Luckily, there are also some normal people working there –like you and me, hehehe-.

Take care!

Crabtree said...

Ils ont bien raison !
The fable is funny, and when I reread it, I imagined the inverse ...One girl elephant crossing a river on the back of Mr Ants:} (as one always has need of a smaller one than be! The jungle law is so cruel.)

"Dans tous les châteaux en Espagne de sa jeunesse, il s'était dit qu'aucune dame comme il faut ne daignerait lui parler" [Stendhal]

Ed is a "coquin" one! Was there eel under rock ?

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Crabtree!

Your feminist fable of the Mr Elephant jumping on Miss Ant to cross the river made me laugh!

The jungle law is cruel and very unfair -and your fantasy would be as politically incorrect as my joke, LOL-

The verse from Stendhal would perfectly picture my idea of Miss Ant, hahaha

Ed is very 'coquin', Crabtree, he doesnt miss a chance to... you know what, lol.

(*bisous câlins*)

max said...

Hiya Leni!
I've been out for a while, I know, but I'm back.
Your Ant+Elephant joke nearly made me fall off my chair laughing! This is what some call commerce, hahaha.
No, seriously, I agree with Crabtree: Ed is a smartass. I see you ending up like Miss Ant, LOL.

Big kiss.

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Max!

Man, I thought you had been abducted by the aliens, LOL.

What do you mean, Max? Putting my knickers down? Too late, I've done it before!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Leni, you’ve been so elegant at the Anonymous "caballeros andantes" issue.
The very best for you.
j

Leni Qinan said...

Dear J,

First and foremost: Welcome to the blog! Make yourself at home and I hope it's your first of many visits.

I presume you're talking about Ro's blog, right? (www.delunasylocuras.blogspot.com).

Yeah I love the stories about knight errants and Prince Charmings. Even if they're virtual.
At Ro's blog I found it so... romantic. (*sigh*)

All the best for you too. ;))

Anonymous said...

Thank you once more Leni, for your kindness and welcome.
You're obviously right about Ro’s blog.
If you like stories about knights, dare to find the one of the “Magriços” (12 Portuguese medieval knights … in England defending the honor of 12 English noble Ladies). The name came from Álvaro Gonçalves Coutinho, who was a very strange and thin, efficient at war, medieval knight. “Magriços” means, very thin guys.
It’s a very simple forgotten story, nowadays very badly linked with football. Anyway I do like it.
Once more, all the best for you.
j

Leni Qinan said...

Dear J,

Welcome again -it seems you and i are the only ones who are awake so late in the blogsphere tonight, ;)-

Thanks for your reference to "Magriços" -the story sounds very sweet and you can bet I will search in the net for it-.

Ah... medieval chivalry and honor... sounds so inspirational to me. And so international too (12 Portuguese medieval nights defending the honor of 12 English noble Ladies. Lucky ladies!). Definitely, much better than football, hahah. ;)

Take care J, and we'll continue talking about knights and medieval stories, I'm sure.