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

11.8.16

The Flight, Part One.

Rated R: adult themes, strong language, threats of violence, extreme sexism, etc. etc. In other words, a perfectly normal conversation between mature adults in the pre-'You Can't Say That!' era.

ON AN AEROPLANE SOMEWHERE. IT IS LATE AT NIGHT, POSSIBLY EVEN EARLY IN THE MORNING. THE BLACKNESS OUT THE WINDOW GIVES NO CLUE.

WAYNE AND TRENT - OF ADVERTISING AGENCY BLAKE, BROWNING, BURNS - ARE IN ADJOINING SEATS FLYING TO A FAR DISTANT LOCATION WHERE THEY ARE TO PRESENT A NEW BUSINESS PITCH TO A MAJOR CORPORATION WHICH PRODUCES HIGHLY SECRET SOFTWARE USED BY INTERNATIONAL GAMBLING INTELLIGENCE PROVIDERS FOR THE HORSERACING INDUSTRY.

WAYNE, 41, IS AGENCY MANAGING DIRECTOR AND HAS SEEN IT ALL. HE KNOWS THE TRICKS AND CAN PICK BULLSHIT AT A HUNDRED YARDS. HE HAS BEEN AROUND LONG ENOUGH TO KNOW THAT THE ENTIRE ADVERTISING INDUSTRY IS A GAME PEOPLE INDULGE THEMSELVES IN TO PREVENT BOREDOM. WAYNE IS SEMICOMATOSE AFTER SEVERAL EXTREMELY ENJOYABLE SINGLE MALTS.

TRENT, 28, IS A TRIGGER-HAPPY ACCOUNT MANAGER AT B, B, B AND IS ON THE WAY UP. HE IS VERY CLIENT-FRIENDLY, VERY AMBITIOUS, AND NOT ALL THAT CLEVER. TRENT IS WIDE AWAKE.

TRENT (TAPS WAYNE ON THE ARM): Wayne, what exactly do you really think about the presentation, in your heart of hearts? Do you think we can improve it? I think maybe there are some parts of it that could be even better. I want to get the 'wow!' factor into it. Do you think should we run through it again right now? (HE STARTS TO REACH INTO THE OVERHEAD LOCKER FOR HIS BRIEFCASE)

WAYNE (OPENS HIS EYES SLIGHTLY): Trent, do you realise what time it is? And what time zone we're in?

TRENT: No, Wayne, I always lose track of time when I'm flying.

WAYNE: You haven't flown enough then. Plus, we can improve the presentation by forgetting about it for half an hour while I get some sleep.

TRENT (IGNORES HIM): Do you think it's punchy enough? Don't forget International Equestrialage is going straight into another pitch afterwards. They need to have ours engraved on their memories. We need to go out with a real bang. Do you reckon it's big enough, exciting enough ...

WAYNE (EYES CLOSED AGAIN): Yeah.

TRENT: Are you sure, Wayne?

WAYNE (BEING VERY PATIENT, THE SINGLE MALTS ARE KICKING IN): Yeah.

TRENT: What about the graphics?

WAYNE (MAYBE GETTING A TOUCH IRRITABLE): What about the graphics, Trent?

TRENT: Can we make them work any harder? Let's just have another look while we've got time.

WAYNE (EYES FULLY OPEN NOW): I was already dreaming about graphics - very nice graphics - without wanting to actually look at yours for the thousandth time, Trent.

TRENT (STILL DOESN'T GET THE HINT): I really think it's a great opportunity for the agency, Wayne. Accounts like this don't fall out of the sky.

THE PLANE HITS TURBULENCE

WAYNE (JOLTED OUT OF NEAR SLUMBER): Jesus! I know they don't fall out of the sky, Trent. I ought to, I've been in the business for twenty years.

PAUSE - MORE TURBULENCE; 'FASTEN SEATBELT' SIGN COMES ON

But I think we're about to fall out of the fuckin' sky though Trent, so will you do me a favour and just shut up about the friggin' presentation for ten minutes while I try and get some rest before we either land or crash?

Either way I'll need my strength, either for climbing out of the burning wreckage, or else for coping with a three hour presentation consisting of some totally boring marketing executive delivering yet another mundane marketing plan, several media executives discussing television ratings in regional areas of outback Queensland and a hundred completely unintelligible flow charts on PowerPoint.

Come to think of it, I think I'd prefer the first option quite frankly. (CALLS TO AIR STEWARDESS WHO IS PASSING)

Hostess, would you ask the pilot to crash this plane immediately. But before you do that, bring me another single malt. Life's too short to drink blended whisky.

HOSTESS (HAS A SENSE OF HUMOUR, UNLIKE WAYNE RIGHT NOW): Certainly sir, another Macallan coming up. And don't call me hostess. I'm an air stewardess or a cabin attendant. The choice is yours. However, I don’t think the pilot will accede to your request to crash the plane. It's just had its annual service. (SHE MOVES TOWARDS THE GALLEY)

WAYNE (TURNS TO TRENT; MANAGES A GRIM CHUCKLE THAT SOUNDS MORE LIKE A HACKING COUGH): Did you hear that Trent? Did you hear that? With a sense of humour like that she should be in advertising, not spending her life handing out mind-numbing alcoholic substances at 30,000 feet to jaded executives!

TRENT (SUDDENLY SYMPATHETIC WITH WAYNE): You totally need a holiday Wayne. Why don't you take this weekend off?

WAYNE: What's a weekend?

TO BE CONTINUED

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