God hires an advertising agency and all hell breaks loose. That’s the novel’s concept. Here’s a short chapter…

Chapter Seven

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.”

The Happy Soul Industry on Amazon

5 Responses to “The Happy Soul Industry”

  1. Steff
    Just read the blog. Advertising as religion. I see from whence the idea for your book arose. It now seems such a logical extension. I agree. USP is not enough. I have always believed that people make all decisions based on emotion then rationalize their decisions after the fact with logic. That being true, belief and inspiration, and I would add feeling, are critical components. I use to talk about learning about a clients product required immersing oneself in their culture. Drinking the Kool-aid so to speak. It is like learning a new religion each time. It’s hard to thrive if you’re a non-believer. Our industry ne the world needs hope and inspiration. This is obviously why we had the historic results we have had in this last election. Advertising has played a big role in regenerating hope and change in this country. It would be nice if we believe it too. I think your book is a step in that direction. It has already helped change my perception of what we do, and what we can do. Thank you.

  2. Jenni said

    Now that the Republican Party is abandoning God, he definately needs an ad agency. See article “Giving Up on God”


  3. tjay said


    Here’s something you haven’t blogged about — at least, not since I’ve been following. If you’ve already addressed this, please point me to the link. Anyway, I am seriously interested in your thoughts about the difference, if any, between the way you feel when writing for a commercial audience (advertising), versus a professional audience, versus an audience that will encounter you as an artist. Do you consider the writing of novels an art form? Assuming you do, I don’t suppose you are any better at keeping these worlds separate than I am. Still, maybe you have a formula. Is your process for writing a novel any different from the creation of an ad? Certainly it is different from a managerial or politically correct communication, but is the process and approach any different when viewed from inside yourself — the writer? Do you get just as caught up with either exercise or does one engage more of you than the other? I ask because so many of us, myself included, perform on many creative levels. Did anybody bother telling you that you needed to choose or have you always been fearless about your place no matter what the arena? I know, tough questions. Believe me, I ask with all due respect.


  4. What a great concept. God would need an advertising agency if he were to fight for attention in today’s world. I can’t wait to read more.

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