ADVERTISING AGENCY BLAKE, BROWNING, BURNS HAS BROUGHT IN ADMAN CLYDE P. ULSTER TO LAND A PRESTIGIOUS RETAIL CLIENT. AMIDST A GALA PRESENTATION IN THE BOARDROOM CATERED BY VETERAN TEALADY JUNE, CLYDE SHOCKS THE ASSEMBLED STAFF BY ANNOUNCING RETAIL PAWNBROKER CRIME CONVERTERS AS THE NEW CLIENT. CLYDE HAS INVITED THE ENTIRE STAFF TO ATTEND A MEETING AT THE CLIENT'S FRANKSTON HQ THE FOLLOWING WEEK. THE ONLY STAFF MEMBER UNABLE TO ATTEND IS JUNE, WHO APPEARS TO BE THE MOST PRODUCTIVE MEMBER OF THE AGENCY.
A COLD, BLEAK MELBOURNE MORNING IN LATE WINTER DAWNS. AMONG THE THOUSANDS OF TRADIE UTES PROCEEDING SOUTH ON THE NEPEAN HIGHWAY IS A CONVOY OF EUROPEAN LUXO-BARGES; SLEEK SILVER AND BLACK MACHINES DESIGNED TO DO 250 K/MH BUT CRUELLY DESTINED NEVER TO BREAK 110. HOWEVER, THIS PARTICULAR MORNING THEY ARE SULKILY CRAWLING ALONG AT 40K/MH DUE TO ROADWORKS ON EASTLINK AND AN ACCIDENT AT SOUTH ROAD.
DECLAN: Fucking traffic. And why do we always get clients who have their headquarters in places like Blackburn South, Ringwood, Vermont and now fucking Frankston.
JESS: Is that a statement or a question, Deccy? And cut the language. I haven't eaten breakfast yet.
DECLAN: You'll eat like a king in Frankston, Jess. If Clyde lets us out of Crime Converters for a pleasant walk around Playne Street.
JESS: What time are we meeting?
DECLAN: Nine o'clock. If we can get through this traffic, we'll have time to stop for a takeaway cappucino and a donut from the Seven Eleven in Seaford.
JESS(GRIMACES): I might pass. But you go ahead.
NINE A.M: AGENCY PERSONNEL ARE CROWDED INTO THE MEZZANINE BOARDROOM OVERLOOKING THE SHOPFLOOR OF A CRIME CONVERTERS MEGASTORE, SITUATED IN FRANKSTON'S MAIN STREET NEAR THE MONEY-LENDING SHOPFRONTS (BANKS WON'T LISTEN? WE WILL!), THE ALL-NIGHT X-RATED BOOKSHOPS, AND THE CENTRELINK OFFICE.
MR CLIFFORD KLOPPERS, THE MANAGING DIRECTOR, IS ADDRESSING THE AGENCY PERSONNEL. CLYDE SITS NEXT TO HIM.
CLIFFORD: Gentlemen, welcome to the world's most advanced retail model. And ladies, of course. (HE REALISES THE PARTY INCLUDES SEVERAL NON-MALES)
DECLAN: Ah, what makes it that, Mr Kloppers, exactly? The most advanced model, I mean.
CLIFFORD: Call me Clifford, Declan. Hell, call me Cliff! Crime Converters has developed a new age retail system that allows us to completely eliminate one entire level of personnel and thereby create the opportunity to produce a far higher ROI ...
CLYDE (INTERRUPTING): That's return on investment for those in creative.
CLIFFORD: ... thanks Clyde; a far higher return on investment than any other retail model existent in the current business environment.
We have no buyers. At all. None.
(BUYERS IS THE TRADE TERM FOR THE IN-HOUSE PURCHASING OFFICERS WHO OBTAIN STOCK FOR RETAILERS)
SOPHIE: Then how do you obtain your stock, Mr Kl ... Cliff?
CLIFFORD GETS UP FROM HIS CHAIR AND DANCES OVER TO THE FULL-LENGTH GLASS WINDOW THAT OVERLOOKS THE SHOP FLOOR. HE POINTS DOWN TO A SECTION, ENCLOSED AT GROUND LEVEL BUT VISIBLE TO THOSE IN THE ELEVATED BOARDROOM AND TURNS BACK TO SOPHIE AND THE OTHERS.
THEY GAZE DOWN AT THE SHOPFLOOR. ALMOST BY MAGIC, BUT PROBABLY SOMETHING MORE LIKE COINCIDENCE OR SHEER FREQUENCY OF OCCURRENCE, THE EXTERIOR DOOR OPENS SLOWLY, REVEALING SOMEONE'S SHOE AND A SHAFT OF MORNING SUNSHINE. THE FOOT IS FOLLOWED BY ITS OWNER, A YOUNGISH BUT HAGGARD-LOOKING MAN WITH A PINCHED, TIRED, SUNKEN, SALLOW FACE TOPPED BY A JIM BEAM BASEBALL CAP. HE IS WEARING A TOO-LARGE HOLDEN DEALER TEAM TRACK JACKET. ADIDAS TRACK PANTS DRAG OVER HIS FILTHY RUNNING SHOES. THE MAN IS CARRYING, AND TRYING NOT TO DROP, TWO VERY LARGE L.E.D. TELEVISIONS, HENCE THE NEED TO PUSH OPEN THE DOOR WITH HIS FOOT.
CLIFFORD (WITH A FLOURISH): See? The world's very first outsourced retail store buying department!