Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

5.11.15

Friday: June the tea lady shuts the agency.

5.30 ON A FRIDAY AFTERNOON. DAVID, THE ADVERTISING AGENCY OWNER, STROLLS INTO THE BOARDROOM, LOOKS AROUND AND SIGHS. HE IS TIRED BUT CONTENT. ANOTHER DIFFICULT WEEK HAS ENDED WITH NO CLIENT DEFECTIONS, NO STAFF TANTRUMS, NO RESIGNATIONS, AND NO FIST-FIGHTS.

WHILE DAVID IS THINKING ABOUT WHETHER TO PLAY GOLF AT THE WEEKEND OR SIMPLY HANG OUT AT HIS DOUBLE-STOREY GEORGIAN IN TOORAK, JUNE THE TEA LADY WADDLES INTO THE BOARDROOM.

JUNE: I'm closing up in twenty minutes, David.

DAVID (THINKS): I own an agency turning over a hundred million a year and the fucking tea lady is kicking me out of my own building.

DAVID (SAYS): That’s fine, June. I'll be out in fifteen.

WHILE DAVID RULES HIS AGENCY WITH AN IRON FIST HE HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN ADVERTISING MAINLY BECAUSE HE HAS FOLLOWED THE GOLDEN RULE: NO MATTER HOW AGGRESSIVE YOU ARE TO CLIENTS, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU ABUSE YOUR ACCOUNT TEAM OR SHOUT AT CREATIVE, YOU NEVER, EVER, EVER DISRESPECT THE TEA LADY. NOBODY DISRESPECTS THE TEA LADY. NOBODY. NOT EVEN CLIENTS.

JUNE: Plus, I'm not in until lunchtime on Monday so you'll have to get your own teas and coffees.

(JUNE IS INVOLVED IN CHARITABLE COMMITTEES AND COMES TO WORK WHEN HER COMMITTEE COMMITMENTS ALLOW HER, WHICH IS NOT OFTEN. SHE IS SIXTY, SHORT AND ROUND, HAS MEDIUM LENGTH DYED BLACK HAIR AND WEARS RETRO CLOTHES WITHOUT KNOWING THEY ARE RETRO.)

DAVID (SIGHS INAUDIBLY): That's fine, June. I'm sure we'll cope. I think.

JUNE: You'll just have to. It's the CWA's annual breakfast and there are 750 coming.

DAVID (JOKING): I hope you're not making tea for them all.

JUNE (WHO DOESN'T GET IRONY): Don't be ridiculous, David. I'm only a tea lady when I'm here. Thank God. That's bad enough.

DAVID (THINKS): I must check out how much we're paying June not to come to work sometimes.

DAVID (SAYS): You're a marvel, June. I don't know how you put up with us.

JUNE WADDLES OUT OF THE BOARDROOM, NOT HAVING ACTUALLY PICKED UP ANY OF THE MANY CUPS LAYING AROUND THE TABLE.

DAVID EXITS THE BOARDROOM, SHUTS THE DOOR, SKIPS DOWN THE STAIRS INTO THE BASEMENT CARPARK, JUMPS INTO HIS BENTLEY ARNAGE AND DRIVES AWAY IN LIGHT EARLY SPRING DRIZZLE. THE WIPERS ACTIVATE SOUNDLESSLY.

DAVID (THINKS): I should have been a fucking United Nations diplomat. (PAUSE) I wonder if they have tea ladies at the UN. (ANOTHER PAUSE) Probably not. They're all socialists there. Tea ladies would be probably be seen as an oppressed minority. (PAUSE) I wonder if I'm oppressing June. She's probably hobbling home in the rain right now.

BACK IN THE AGENCY, JUNE RE-OPENS THE BOARDROOM DOOR, WADDLES OVER TO THE LOCKED CABINET, OPENS IT WITH A KEY, TAKES DOWN A BOTTLE OF DAVID'S SINGLE BATCH TEN-YEAR-OLD MALT, POURS HERSELF A LITTLE INTRODUCTION, TASTES IT, LIKES WHAT SHE TASTES, TOPS UP HER GLASS AND SITS DOWN AT THE TABLE, WITH THE BOTTLE IN EASY REACH.

JUNE: I love my life.

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