God hires an advertising agency and all hell breaks loose. That’s the novel’s concept. Here’s a short chapter…
Vernon stood before the picture window in his office over looking Los Angeles. The sky outside was a bluish, purple preparing for night. His eyes glossed over the familiar panorama. The same few long palm trees blew this way and that against the Santa Ana winds. In silhouette, they resembled the trees Vernon drew as a boy with a magic marker: A black line with seven or eight smaller ones exploding from the tip. He’d paint the coconuts last, just circles under the lines.
Vernon picked up one of his numerous award statues from the cabinet beneath the window. It wasn’t his coveted Slippy but rather a humanitarian prize the agency won doing a campaign for the YMCA. The mayor had made a big deal of the project, honoring CN&W at an enormous party thrown at the tony Santa Monica Airport. The following day two favorable stories ran in the papers. The commercials would later garner the agency a slew of industry awards for creative achievement, including the one in his hand.
Of course, Vernon couldn’t have cared less about the YMCA of Santa Monica. They’d done the pro-bono to appease the city (their snazzy new office required many hard-to-get permits) and they did the work to win awards. Mission accomplished. Twice.
Once upon a long time ago, Vernon may have wondered if the agency’s self-serving policies were ethical. Not anymore. Hell, even Barry –a big liberal- looked at pro-bono as merely a mine for awards. For a creative boutique like theirs, winning accolades meant almost as much as selling a client’s product.
Vernon dropped the statue, upsetting the others, breaking some. Bric-a-brac rolled and fell onto the floor, joining the fallen portrait of his wife, its glass already cracked. Unfazed, Vernon left the mess.
For in his other hand Vernon held a sizable tumbler of scotch, of which he now took a sip. Then another. He regarded the debris below: A slew of broken awards and a busted marriage.
Three loud raps interrupted his reverie. Keys jangling, the nightly cleaning lady entered his office. She seemed surprised to see the important executive standing in the gloaming, alone.
“I’m so sorry. Am I disturbing you? I can come back.”
“No, not at all.” Vernon replied. “Come on in. It’s kind of dirty in here.”
The cleaning lady smirked, and headed toward him. As she approached, Vernon got a better look at her. And it was an eyeful. Her outfit was more French maid than union local. In addition, she was very made up for the late shift. Her lipstick shined.
“So, where do you want me to start working?”
“Well,” Vernon swallowed, “I know my knob could use polishing.”
“You’re the boss, honey.” Dropping her props (a mop and bucket), the prostitute knelt down before him. Slowly, she began loosening Vernon’s belt.
Vernon held up his drink, offering a toast to no one in particular. “Here’s to goodness in all its forms,” he said. “Oh, yeah.”