The River

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Wealth Bondage hires a speech writer

(a riff on the good cop, bad cop dynamic of Wealth Bondage players Smoky Joe and Captain Blowtorch.)

Smoky Joe: Has he been softened up?

Captain Blowtorch: Yeah, had him under flourescent lights 40 hours a week, sittin in bumper-to-bumper another eight. Gray cube. Standard, really, but usually effective.

SJ: Ok...(affecting the royal page voice) bring in the prisoner. (In comes Bruce, moving stiffly in the unaccustomed three-piece suit, but trying to be nonchalant.)

Ah, Bruce, is it? Hello, welcome to WB Industries. Smoky Joe.

Bruce: Hi. (shakes Joe's extended hand). Nice to meet you. Hey, this is a nice place. Was that Italian marble in the lobby? How do you get these chairs to roll with such plush carpet?

SJ: Heh, heh. We manage. So, Bruce, I guess you know that you were head-hunted. Cigar?

Bruce: Uh..sure.

(Smoky Joe hands Bruce an expensive cigar, whips out gold-plated zippo with embossed "WB" logo, fires his up, hands lighter to Bruce. Bruce lights his cigar, starts to hand lighter back to Joe, who waves it away.)

SJ: Keep it.

Bruce: (after coughing uncontrollably for several minutes). uh, yeah, head-hunted. You need a speech writer.

SJ: Ahem...yeah, our company is spreading rapidly across the globe, but there are a lot of fires that need to be put out, in a variety of creative ways. Legally, I've got it covered...

Bruce: Really? I keep hearing rumors of ethics violations. I think even the Wall Street Journal has mentioned it. With so much heat right now, I was surprised you were hiring.

SJ: (cell phone rings) Sorry....yeah? yeah, I know. Okay. Yeah...Bruce, I have an emergency. I'll be back, but I want you to meet our head of HR, Captain Blowtorch.

(SJ takes leave, shooting Bruce a wink and a thumbs up. In comes Blowtorch)

Capt. (slips behind desk): So...ahem...(looking critically at papers) you think you're WB material?

Bruce: Uh...Joe hasn't really gotten into the particulars...but I guess that's what we're here to find out.

Capt.: You think so? What do you think you're going to find out? Who sent you here?

Bruce: You called me.

Capt.: Who called you?

Bruce: Somebody named Phil something.

Capt.: I don't know any Phil. What do you really want?

Bruce: Just to...just...an opportunity.

Capt.: To do what? To further your liberal agenda?

Bruce: What?

Capt.: Are you or have you ever been a liberal?

Bruce: I'm a speech writer! what is this all about?

Capt.: You're the speech writer. You tell me.

Bruce: I'm just looking for a better job.

Capt.: Do you think a better job would be undermining our corporate goals?

Bruce: What!? Why would I do that?

Capt.: If you're in a situation where you see someone breaking the law, tell me how you would handle it.

Bruce: If it was minor, I'd let it slide. If it was major, I'd complain to my cube neighbor.

Capt.: Would you publicize your objections?

Bruce: (shit, do they know about my blog?) No, just, you know, bitch a little at lunch and stuff.

Capt.: So you wouldn't join in the fun?

Bruce: What fun?

Capt.: Do you listen to Rush Limbaugh?

Bruce: uh..yeah, I have before.

Capt.: And....?

Bruce: And?

Capt.: He's the only member of the liberal media who tells it like it is. Him and Fox.

Bruce: Uh huh.(jesus, they better pay really well).

Capt.: Why do you hate corporate America?

Bruce: Huh?

Capt.: Just tell me.

Bruce: I don't.

Capt.: (cracking knuckles) It's best if you just admit it.

Bruce: Because of assholes like you! (knocking over potted plant, kicking chair over, flinging papers at Blowtorch, who sits impassively) There's no limit to what you'll do. It's horrifying! What gives you the right? Why won't you leave me in peace?

Capt.: (shuffling papers) Calm down, Bruce. I think I know all I need to know now. (he leaves Bruce standing amidst the wreckage. Bruce finally uprights his chair and sits. After a few minutes, Joe returns.)

SJ: Hey Bruce. Sorry about that. That Capt. Blowtorch...huh? Don't worry, our compensation packages blow away your current employer's.

Bruce: (staring at now unlit cigar remarkably still in his hand as if he were about to enjoy a leisurely puff. For the first time notices gold and red label, the texture of the tobacco leaves) You're going to hire me, huh?

SJ: Yep. Listen, It's going to be fine. I'll show you the ropes. You'll meet Limbaugh. He's hilarious. You're really going to like it here. With my connections and your wordsmithing, we can do anything.

Bruce: (looks up): That's what I'm afraid of.

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