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Corporate Jungle (Chapter 2) The Invisible Man

February 19, 2011

                                      CORPORATE JUNGLE

                                            A Novella

                                                      By

                                                Yoly Solis 

             A skyscraper juts through the clouds like a spear.
             “R.D.S. INDUSTRIES” adorns its cold, architectural facade. 
 
             Inside the building sits a massive, glass-encased conference
             room stuffed with executives. From afar, they all look alike.
 
             Upon closer inspection…corporate intensity, stress thick
             enough to slice through. The suits are agitated, stress
             mars clean-shaven features; veins pop above starched
             collars.
 
             J.B. DREYFUSS, CEO, chairs the meeting. If he weren’t
             a CEO, he’d be a mob boss, perhaps a ruthless dictator–a
             powerful, intimidating figure.
 
             The suits are terrified of this man.
 
             Except for thirty-something, excruciatingly handsome Horatio
             Samson. He pokes his smart phone. A closer look…
 
             He’s texting: “Baby, can’t wait till tonight.”
 
             Janice Johnson sits next to Horatio–The wide smile on
             her lips says it all–she doesn’t belong there. Erect
             posture, alert…she’d be pretty if she weren’t
             so…corporate.
 
             She’s in awe of being included with the power suits,
             diligently writes notes.
 
             Next to J.B. sits Brad…he nods in agreement to
             anything J.B. says–the all-too-familiar corporate kiss-ass.
 
                                      J.B.
                           Horatio, Brad tells me the
                           share transfer hasn’t come
                           through yet.
 
             Horatio grins at his phone’s screen. Janice nudges him.
 
                                      HORATIO
                           Huh?
 
                                      J.B.
                           The share transfer?
 
             The room turns to stare at Horatio.
 
                                      HORATIO
                           Yeah, uh…
 
                                      JANICE
                           Mr. Samson Sr. is coming by
                           the office this afternoon.
 
                                      HORATIO
                           Today?

                                      J.B.
                           Keep him away from the fish tank. My fish
                           aren’t sushi.  
 
                                      JANICE
                           Yes, sir…of course. Who can forget that lunch.

             Collective groan.
 
             Brad, corporate kiss-ass, snorts a chuckle. Horatio flashes
             him a look…
 
                                      HORATIO
                                (stands)
                           J.B. I’m running late for a
                           meeting–
 
                                      J.B.
                           Sit. We’re almost done.
 
             Horatio hesitates, plops back in his seat.
 
                                      J.B.
                           The loss of McGregor is a huge
                           blow. A moment of silence,
                           everyone.
 
             The suits bow their heads.
             Underneath the conference table, Horatio pokes his
             phone’s screen.
 
                                      J.B.
                           There’s the matter of his
                           territory and a major deal
                           still pending. Only the most
                           competent, astute executive can
                           close this deal.
 
             The suits share nervous glances, look away–no one
             volunteers.
 
                                      J.B.
                           Only one man can take on this
                           challenge…
 
             The suits silently pray not to be picked…
 
                                      J.B.
                           Horatio Samson.
 
             Horatio grins at the phone’s screen: “Come n get it, baby!
             Don’t forget the rubber bands.”

             Horatio looks confused, mouths: Rubberbands?             

             The room breaks out in applause, relieved the choice isn’t
             one of them…
 
             Janice jumps out of her seat…a standing ovation.

             Horatio tears his eyes off the screen and… huh?
 
                                     HORATIO
                           Uh, what?
 
                                      J.B.
                           Brad will take over your
                           responsibilities in your
                           absence. Make McGregor proud,
                           my boy.
 
             Applause!
 
                                      HORATIO
                           I–
 
                                      J.B.
                           Janice, I invited you to join
                           us today because you’re going
                           with Horatio to close this deal.
 
             Grin, grin…
 
                                      JANICE
                           Me? Really?
 
                                      J.B.
                           Translator budgets have been
                           cut. I understand you…HABLA.
 
                                      JANICE
                           Si, Señor.
 
                                      HORATIO
                           J.B., look, I can’t–
 
                                      J.B.
                           Everyone…back to work.
 
             The suits run out out of there as if the building were on
             fire.
 
             Horatio’s jaw percolates. He stands, storms out.
 
                                      JANICE
                           Thank you for the opportunity,
                           J.B. We’ll close the deal.
                           Finish what Mr. McGregor
                           started.
 
                                      J.B.
                           I expect nothing less, young
                           lady.
 
             She races after Horatio.

             J.B. and Brad stay put…
 
                                      BRAD
                           That was smooth, J.B.
 
                                      J.B.
                           Don’t screw this up.
 
                                      BRAD
                                (smug)
                           Don’t I always come through,
                           boss?
    
                                              **                             
             Inside a massive corner office, an expansive city view
             highlights the high-end furniture.
 
             Horatio sits at his desk, frustration clouds his face.
 
             Janice paces…
 
                                      JANICE
                           This is a wonderful
                           opportunity, Horatio.
 
                                      HORATIO
                           Do you know how humid it gets
                           down there? Reeks havoc with my
                           endorphins.
 
                                      JANICE
                           Horatio–
 
             Sheila, Janice’s cubicle neighbor, pops her head
             through the door…
 
                                      SHEILA
                           Your Dad’s here, Horatio…
                                (whispers)
                           And uh, he’s trying
                           something…new–
 
                                      JANICE
                           Oh, no…
 
             Janice races out…Horatio follows. Out into…
 
             A sea of cubicles.
 
             A black hat smothers a mop of gray hair…pops up over
             cubicle dividers, disappears…pops up…disappears…the
             old man moves fast…over dividers, disappears again.
             Janice points to the last sighting…

                                      JANICE
                           There!
 
             They race to the back of a corner cubicle…
 
             Nope. He’s gone…
 
             Horatio’s Mom, Gloria Samson, a woman of style, Chanel devotee,
             oozes class, charm…she rounds the corner.
 
                                      GLORIA SAMSON
                                (to Horatio)
                           Oh, hello, Darling, so nice to
                           see you.
 
             Kiss, kiss.
 
                                      HORATIO
                           Mom, did Dad take his
                           medication today?
 
                                      GLORIA SAMSON
                           Of course, dear…
                                (whispers)
                           We’re going through an
                           Invisible Man phase.
 
                                      JANICE
                           Invisible?
 
             Out of nowhere…Donald Samson, former Chairman of
             the Board of R.D.S. Industries appears, stands stone-
             still…underneath his black hat, white mummy-tape conceals
             his face, white gloves disguise his hands–his eyes look
             wildly about.
 
             Janice gasps.
 
                                      GLORIA SAMSON
                                (to Janice)
                           You shouldn’t stare, dear. He’s
                           invisible.
 
             Janice nods, but can’t quite tear her eyes away…
 
                                      HORATIO
                           Hi, Dad.
 
                                      DONALD SAMSON
                           Who are you? And why can you
                           see me? Do you have superpowers?
 
                                      HORATIO
                           You’re all taped up.

                                      DONALD SAMSON
                           Damn!
 
             He races off…Janice’s eyes follow his trail of
             terror…black hat pops up over cubicle maze, disappears,
             pops up again…
 
             Cubicle inhabitants gawk.
 
             A female…SQUEAL!
 
             Another female…SQUEAL!
 
             And a male…HOLY CRAP!
 
                                
                                       **

 
             Later, in Horatio’s office…

 
             Janice hands Gloria Samson a cup of tea. Horatio sits at
             his desk.
 
                                      GLORIA SAMSON
                           The doctors say your father has
                           been under a lot of stress and
                           he’s acting out those
                           frustrations. He’s doing very
                           well, darling.
 
             They turn, spot Samson Sr. rip off his suit jacket, his
             hat…
 
                                      GLORIA SAMSON
                           See?
 
                                      HORATIO
                           Oh, okay…I guess that’s good
                           isn’t it?
 
                                      JANICE
                           Yes…good.
 
             Janice can’t take her eyes off of the Invisible Man.
 
                                      GLORIA SAMSON
                           Well, we won’t keep you,
                           darling…I just wanted to drop
                           off the paperwork from the
                           attorney’s office…
 
             She pulls out a file folder, hands it to Horatio.

                                      GLORIA SAMSON
                           Your father is so proud of you,
                           dear. No one better than you to
                           take over his legacy.
 
                                      HORATIO
                           Yeah, just when the share
                           prices took a nose dive.
 
                                      GLORIA SAMSON
                           I’m sure the shares will bounce
                           right back up, darling. They
                           always do.
 
                                      HORATIO
                           I wish I could tell Dad about
                           J.B.– he’s running this
                           company into the ground.
 
             Samson Sr. unzips…tears off his pants…stands in his
             boxers…begins to unravel face-tape.
 
             Janice is the only one who spots him. Her jaw drops.
 
                                      HORATIO
                           Can you believe that not only
                           did J.B. cut my expense
                           account, he’s sending me to
                           Latin America.
 
                                      GLORIA SAMSON
                           Oh, I love the mountains of
                           Chile this time of year. Your
                           father and I would ski all day,
                           romance all night…
                                (sigh)
                           And now that he’s in this
                           Invisible Man phase, well, our
                           love life is… very
                           interesting. Perhaps a bit
                           scary…
 
                                      HORATIO
                           He’s sending me to CocoLoco.
 
                                      GLORIA SAMSON
                           Oh…well, I’m sure there’s
                           good reason for you to go,
                           darling. J.B. wouldn’t just
                           send you on a whim. Your father
                           had complete faith in him;
                           otherwise he wouldn’t have
                           appointed him as CEO.

                                (stands)
                           Besides,darling, you’re one of
                           the largest single shareholders
                           of the company now. Once the
                           share prices bounce back, you
                           can do whatever you like.
 
             Janice still gawks at Samson Sr…
 
             Tape unravels…his face free…he tears off his
             gloves…his shoes…his socks…his…
 
                                      GLORIA SAMSON
                                (to husband without
                                 looking)
                           Let’s go, darling, we’re
                           meeting the Armstrongs for
                           lunch…
 
             Gloria Samson struts out the door, followed by Horatio…
 
             Donald Samson Sr. stands in all his buck naked glory, he
             blocks Janice’s exit…
 
             Janice’s eyes pop out of her head–she looks away…about
             to go into convulsions…
 
             He inches closer, his breath sprays her face…
 
             He sticks out his tongue…wags it a la Gene Simmons…
 
                                      JANICE
                                (terrified whisper)
                           Ho…Horatio?
 
             He scoots aside…a gallant bow…she spots his sagging,
             AARP butt cheeks…CRINGE!
 
             Trembling, she steals away…disappears.
 
             A mischievous grin crosses his lips…
 
                                      GLORIA SAMSON 
                           Darling, please tape yourself
                           up–we’ll be late for our lunch
                           reservation.
 
             Samson shrugs, reaches for Invisible Man gear.

            To be continued…

*No part of this novella may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems without permission in writing from the author.    
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Cindy Saldivar Slensker permalink
    February 19, 2011 9:20 pm

    hehe… That sounds like my abuelita… LOL

    • MEXICAN HEART...ATTACK! permalink*
      February 20, 2011 5:45 pm

      I love your abuelita, Cindy! Thanks for reading, amigita!
      E:

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