Almost Clean


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Almost Clean


Basil Becket


They’re making money from your body and your mind as well… you can

see them on the weekends trying to escape from what they sell.

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Chapter 1.

10:00am the agency

The glass and steel doors split open at the last possible moment and let us into the hive.

I have an exquisitely wrapped box under my left arm, and I have George on my right. George is talking shit.

The faster I walk the faster George talks, I’m telling you it’s incredible, I saw it on a doco, imagine a little organ smaller than a pinky, he waves a crooked little finger in Chris’s face and wiggles it, is responsible for turning all our shit br...

Just because George is talking it, doesn’t mean I have to listen to it. I’m getting good at tuning George out. Lately I’ve been getting plenty of practice. This time, for some reason that eludes me I block George’s rant by recalling the only words of advice I ever got from dear old dad.

My father’s voice fills my head, son there are two kinds… no let’s try that again, make his voice is raspier, impatient and forget the ‘son’ bit he was never that fatherly, there are two kinds of people in this world… those that watch the ads… and those that make ‘em…and it doesn’t take a fucking genius to figure out which side has it made.

I wish he were here right now so I could tell him how wrong he was. I’d say you don’t know how wrong you are you old bastard, in the end every one gets screwed, the only difference is we get a bit more foreplay.

I step up onto the up-ramp and George is now impossible to ignore… I mean can you imagine what our shit would be like without it… he doesn’t pause for an answer… that’s right… fucking psychedelic… yep psychedelic shit… OK… OK just think about what you had for breakfast… eggs, toast, strawberries? Well that’s yellow, white and red shit, oh and coffee, or would the coffee just make it all black, ok so forget the coffee and we probably have to cut chocolate too, except for the white stuff. But I mean you could really experiment with this. It’s… it’s… George pauses in astonishment of his own brilliance… an incredible new art form!

As we glide off the top of the ramp he grabs my arm. His grip is serious; this is just between us, OK…?

He hangs on for an answer. I’m thinking about my brand new pair of patent leather shoes in the exquisitely wrapped box under my arm. I close my eyes and take a slow noisy deep breathe in through my nose. George thinks I’m contemplating a life changing decision; I’m anticipating the rich smell of leather. I call almost feel the silky light feeling of virgin patent leather slipping onto my right foot. I smile and this gives George permission to move in close, right, here’s the play, we’re going to set up clinics that remove, his eyes quickly dart cautiously from side to side before he wiggles his pinky in his face again … we’ll make a fortune by transforming shit into whole new experience... we are going to turn shit into strawberry jam.

George, I whisper you’re fucking brilliant, and he get my arm back.

10:00am the president’s office

Paul Frazer, The President of Australia sinks further into his soft black high back chair and drains the last of what people used to call a stiff drink.

It’s certainly not his first for the day and certainly won’t be his last.

This is not the finest hour of a man who was born and bred to be The President of Australia.

As everyone knows Paul Frazer is the result of the most intimate political merger of The Party’s far right and far left.

His carefully chosen parents detested each other, but were convinced that the perfect president would be one who’s DNA embodied The Party’s full political spectrum. The plan worked. When the time was ripe Paul Frazer claimed his birth-right.

It is now two years since he was unanimously chosen to lead The Party. He rode to victory magnifically on the now famous slogan I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT.

It was the perfect Party slogan. It promised everything, it delivered nothing.

Some have called it Australia’s very own version of THE BUCK STOPS HERE.

To think, it was almost going to be I DON’T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT. But advertising legend has it that the writer had just scored an exceptional pair of black patent leather loafers and was feeling unusually optimistic.

So what’s the problem? What’s gone wrong? No body is talking. All he knows is The Party wants him gone. To any ordinary politician this betrayal would be part of their career path. To Paul Frazer it means his family wants him dead.

He pours himself another stiff one. He gulps this one down fast. He decides to do the only sensible thing.

With one slow measured move he slides open his desk draw and reaches in for an old friend. The perfectly weighted cold metal warms to his touch. It feels right. It feels good. He carefully lifts it out of the draw admires the German engineering and brings it up into position. He takes aim then gently squeezes.

First there is a harsh popping sound, then nothing… and then the giant flat screen bursts into life.

He flicks past the lions drinking at an African water hole, dodges more generic Americans throwing chairs at each other, spends a second on the free set of tofu forks, then surges past the fascist talk show host to a rotund wrestler leaping off the top rope, cuts into the world finger-ball championships for a millisecond, then… and then his finger pauses, something stops him pressing on.

Maybe it’s the colour. Burnt reddish brown. Maybe it’s the texture. Dry powdery and weightless. It drifts up in lazy swirls. Hot tongues of it tease and torment. It refuses to settle. Someone who looks like a farmer and someone who could be his son look on. They stand motionless in a landscape that even the flies have abandoned. If great suffering is needed to produce great wisdom, then these two have the potential to trump the greatest philosophers of our time.

Paul doesn’t recognise the actors. Could they be real people?

The younger one crouches down on the balls of his feet and haunches over. He has an old face for such young shoulders. He looks up to his Dad and through clenched teeth and lips that barely move he says I reckon its time to sell the fucking place.

Paul feels an unfamiliar but welcome sensation. The base of his brain begins to glow with an ember of an idea and grows into an unstoppable wonderful wave of relief that surges down through his body. As his head falls back he volunteers all to the healing wave and surfs it right to the edge.

The only question is will he fly or fall.

10:20am the agency

The agency is buzzing. A sound like a growing swarm of bees begins to vibrate the building. The menacing hum is the call for an emergency management meeting. There is no escape. The noise agitates the glass walls, the steel floors, and eventually your insides. I wonder what it’s doing to the little organ that turns my shit brown.

Being head of the creative zone I assume I have to make my usual token appearance, and make my way to the core of the building.

The everyday fear that motivates the hive is in hyper drive. The competition to look the most productive is on.

Worker bees scurry. Frantic note taking personal assistants chase their heads. Urgent corridor discussions erupt. Paper wielding couriers dodge junior account executives screaming instructions into mobile devices. They all put on a pretty good show, especially considering they don’t know what the problem is.

I guess it’s not that hard for these 300 odd ad folk who operate a MASH style business unit for megalomaniacs, psychopaths and their parent corporations.

The difference between the regular army and us is that our incoming wounded arrive bleeding sales, money and power. Account executives combine with creative types and form SWAT teams to either bandaid problems or perform major brand surgery. It depends on what makes the agency the most money.

The core or inner sanctum is a low ceiling softly lit boardroom. Our CEO is already here. He sits at the head of the long dark table with both hands behind his head. His eyes dance as his latest menagerie of egos enter and manoeuvre for position. Not an easy task when the agenda is unknown.

The old but proven optimal seating equation of; the latest rumours, plus perceived agency status, divided by actual client billings, then topped up by potential earnings and multiplied by most recently effective arse licking, is being severely tested.


Let’s save the bullshit for the clients, shall we ladies, The CEO always calls us ladies. I don’t know why. I’ve never asked in case I look stupid.

Anyway right now there are more important things to consider, like how did I end up sitting here right at the front next to George?

Do they give out points for bravery?

What worries me most is I have never seen The CEO act this casual, I’m glad you could all make it because I have a question that needs an answer he rises quickly for a big man and leans forward putting all his weight on his knuckles which I see turn white, I’m so close I can feel his body heat, smell his expensive cologne, see the red rise in his face, the veins in his temples twitch, and feel the power as he barks GUESS... WHO… JUST… LOST… THE… PARTY… ACCOUNT?

The words don’t register. They are suspended in a vacuum. There is no context for their meaning. They simply can’t get traction. ACCOUNT… GUESS... LOST… PARTY …THE… isn’t the brain fabulous, it can identify potentially lethal information, numb its meaning and stall for time while it musters its defences and braces for impact.

We are the agency with The Party account, so if anyone has lost it, it has to be us. As this would be the most incomprehensible monumental fuckup of all time, at least since the Ng ambo incident, it just couldn’t, make that wouldn’t happen… not without a fight to the death.

So if it couldn’t happen, what is happening? I got it. The CEO is bored or paranoid in case it does happen and wants to shake things up. So I sort of shrug and made a goofy face like everyone else who has come to the same conclusion and wait for a punch line like, listen up ladies, do you think we are going to have this account forever?

But when nothing comes, when his lips stay stretched baring his teeth, all I can do is hope… no pray that he is having a nervous breakdown.

Everyone and everything freezes. OK there is another possibility. Maybe I’m having some sort of breakdown? I mean how do you suddenly lose Australia’s largest, most profitable advertising account. How do cope with losing the ultimate political pull that goes with it?

Fuck me, after all I’ve put up with and put into this account. I mean who came up with the political slogan I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT that got Paul Frazer elected in the first place.

What happens now? No one is immune.

In the silence I hear careers crash and burn and the seeds of blame germinating.


Only the very brave or the very stupid risk fleeting eye contact, desperately checking and seeking new alliances. I swear I smell the fear rising. If you don’t know, boardroom fear smells just like vomit. Shit… it’s my vomit.

The CEO, the wolf I’ve worked long and hard to keep from my door is ready to pounce. All that’s missing is the drool. The first one to make a sound, raise an eyebrow, nervously twitch or catch his eye is well and truly fucked. He leans even further forward. For fuck’s sake come on, someone cough, someone creak, someone cry.

I sense that George has stopped breathing. Smart move. I stop too.

I spot a scratch on the dark wood table and focus on it. I try not to blink, and count one, two, slower… three… four… five… six… seven… eight… nine… oh god, my eyes start to water, there is something in my throat. I have to clear it. It’s over. A shadow grows and looms across the table, why me? I look up expecting the wolf to tear at my throat. What I see confirms that the horror is just beginning. A blur in the shape of Eckstein our Chief Financial Officer runs to the door, one hand clamped over his mouth.

11:00am the beach

It looks and feels like just another ordinary day in paradise for Barry.

Barry is 60, but looks 45. This is what some of the girls on the beach tell him, and why should he argue.

Barry is in a place where he doesn’t need to argue with anyone anymore.

When he isn’t swimming he sits on the beach looking out to sea. Browning girls in brief swimsuits and their surfing boyfriends form a ragged circle round him on the sand.

Sometimes they ask him things, because it feels like he knows stuff man. And depending on his mood, he might answer. But mostly he just lays back looks out to sea and lets the waves do his talking.

Have you ever wondered why in times of stress and loss you are comforted when look out to sea? Barry knows.

People find a curious mix of bravado and idiocy in Barry’s story. He worked for more than 20 years in the auto-licensing department and then he just quit.

He quit the day before he was to be promoted to the ratified air of level 31. Which amongst other privileges entitled him to one extra milk arrowroot biscuit at morning tea.

On the same day Barry also quit his wife and possessions, and headed straight for the beach where he has been for the past four or so years.

He has never been happier or healthier. He eats only when he is hungry. He works only when he needs to.

He may look like a bum, but he is no one’s slave.

He loves the ocean. He knows it’s where we come from. He knows it’s what we’re made of. He knows its healing power. And he knows how to harness it.

12:43pm Lunch

Chris is doing Japanese in a very private room with a head-hunter when his mobile beckons, ‘Doo… do do…Doo…do… do…do, doo… do do…Doo…do… do…do, ’ the glimmer sisters sing, and never was a ring tone so prophetic, Chris Stevens …yes………excuse me………………………….. Who is this again?……..……………………yes……………………………………………………of course………………………………………………………..…sorry, could you repeat that, little noisy in here I don’t think I got that last thing………………………….…ah ha, sure…….……thankyou… sir. He repeats the time and date in his head till he has it memorized. Then he asks the head-hunter if she has ever heard of an after shave called Brutale.

2:00pm mario’s

The new girl manning the counter at Mario’s Beach Café checks out the spritely elderly male, as he takes what she guesses is his usual seat

Grey hair, wiry body, blue eyes, no shoes, no money.

The radio behind declares, It’s right on twelve thirty...he...he...he…ha ha ha, she throws her apron over it to muffle the next episode of sport, economic and environment crises, sport, land, sea, and air fatalities, sport, weather, celebrity spotting, and sport.

She has been warned not to change the station. Golden Oldies is Mario’s favourite.


Mario emerges from the kitchen wiping his hands on his dirty apron like a cliché greasy spoon cook. He is not happy, and seeing Barry doesn’t change his mood Uh... he grunts to the girl, get him a salad.

Barry makes a flat smile and gives her a nod.

Mario’s eyes follow her arse into the kitchen then go back to Barry, her name’s Jennifer, does marketing at uni.

Marketing, mouths Barry.

Yeah ma-ar-ke-ting says Mario labouring every syllable and then ups the viciousness by adding, toooo g-eet a re-aal fuc-king joooob!

It’s like sea spray off Barry’s bronzed skin I think I know some one in marketing, replies Barry.

Well fuck me, says Mario, aren’t you full of surprises.

Jennifer carries out Barry’s salad. She leans into him to put it down. She smells the sea. She can almost taste the salt on his skin. His eyes are bluer than she thought, and he’s not really old, he’s well seasoned…COME TO THE HOTEL CALIFORNIA, blasts in from Mario’s direction.

3:00am the president’s office

As a career politician Paul Frazer isn’t big on original thinking. The envelope that held his success was signed and sealed and delivered by The Party. There was no need to push it.

His was the business of consensus. Of following poll results, and chasing ratings.

However, now that his fate has been cast into the shadows, his one creative thought has become a sanctuary from a future without status and friends.

Over the last 5 hours he has examined his idea from every angle. He checked and rechecked every facet. Searching for cracks, hairline fractures, any flaw that could rob it of its brilliance.

And after polishing, and polishing some more, this gem of a solution is shining in his head like a perfectly cut twenty-two carat diamond.

3:00pm the beach

Jennifer holds her shoes in one hand and shields her eyes with the other. It’s been a long time since she has felt the sand between her toes.

She is still in her working clothes, and hopes the warm sea breeze blows away the whiff of burger.

She doesn’t know exactly what to say and how to say it when she finds him, and she doesn’t care. Jennifer is tired of thinking through every move and consequence. She decides to give him the awkward responsibility.

Barry is easy to spot. He is sitting upright surrounded by a laid back entourage of baking bodies. She negotiates her way over and around them until she looks down on his thick silver hair, Hi I’ve been looking for you.

He doesn’t look up. He simply pats the sand next to him like he was expecting her. Jennifer accepts his offer and sits I was right she thinks he can handle anything.

She tests the water so what’s with the possie?

Barry gives a little shrug they just hang around.


I suppose.

That popular eh?

Jennifer gets a self-depreciating smile. He made it so easy to wade into his world of surf, sun sand and SPF 55. 

All that was missing was a radio playing good vibrations.

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Chapter 2.

11:00am the appointment

My role in the ad business is to inspire confidence. I do this by appearing creative and responsible at the same time.

What I say is part of it. How I look is all of it. For run of the mill clients I dress casually but wear an excruciatingly expensive watch. It says that I have successfully sold out, and reminds them that my time is not cheap.

I have a simple dress rule, the bigger the client the more severe the uniform. The more power people have, the more they like to see the world in black and white.

So when I play with the big people I dress in dark razor sharp tailored suits, the crispest whitest dress shirts, and absolutely no tie. This expresses the extent of my freedom as a creative person within corporate guidelines.

I’m slipping on the best part of this uniform, my patent leather loafers, when the phone rings.

Hello Chris Stevens.

Hi it’s Barry, how are you Cuz?

I haven’t heard from my cousin Barry in over two years. I mean how do you call the beach? To me Barry’s voice always has a twang of freedom.

Barry good to hear from you, how you been…good, good, yeah I’m good, yeah they’re good… that’s good…yeah sure good… ok good I’ll see you there.

Barry is good. He wants to introduce me to someone else who is also good. He has invited me to meet her at an art gallery opening. Apparently she has an artist friend who is very good.

I scrawl down the date and address and hurry down to a waiting auto.

Yes I am a little nervous. I follow the instructions I was given over the phone to the letter. I called in sick, didn’t tell anyone where I’m going, and I bought a bottle of rather inexpensive Brutale cologne that I splashed on as directed before our meeting. Perhaps he has allergies to other colognes.

As the auto door closes the mandatory instrumental easy music switches on. The Green Green Grass of Home is followed by A Whole Lota Love as we cruise by blocks of Mc Liquors, Mc Churches’, Mc Coffee’s, Mc Ali’s and Mc Whore’s.

I first met the man I helped make President when the agency presented campaign concepts to The Party election committee. The selection criterion was simple and savage. If over 16 on the committee of 20 pressed a green buzzer, then that concept would be put in for further testing. Of course the buzzer signals were scrambled. No one would ever know how anyone voted, so none of the committee could be held accountable.

Our future President sat there like an ice statue, a politician’s smile frozen on his face.

It wasn’t the worst presentation I have ever been involved with but it was damn close. The worst I remember was a full creative pitch to the Government Transport Authority.

Instead of the usual boardroom presentation layout, this audience numbering around 25 decided to sit in a circle. Maybe they had an aversion to sitting in rows. Maybe it reminded them of riding on one of their buses or trains.


Anyway the result of this seating arrangement was that depending on how close I stood to the centre, my back was always going to be to 10 or 15 of them.

This meant of course that I had no choice but to constantly keep moving, either on the perimeter or turning on the spot. So round and round and round I went. George would hand me the metre size visuals and I would make a point then repeat that point in a different way to the people behind me so I wouldn’t bore the ones who has just heard it.

I did try to slow down but the increased eye contact was unbearable and it meant I had to talk v-e-r-y ssslllooowwllyyy. Ten minutes into the pitch and I was communicating like alphabet soup. George was holding back on the posters so I just ripped them out of his hands. I figured everything would be ok if I just kept moving, so I kept going round and round and round.

They stared in terror as I slurred swayed and staggered around in my circular stupor. By now I had one foot planted in the centre and was lurching around and around on the other while still proudly holding up a visual of their next ad. That is till I lurched forward instead of around and threw up on one our brilliant public servants.

We didn’t win the account, but my job was safe. I saved The CEO from presenting.

We are here. A security man in a grey jumpsuit opens the auto door and ushers me through what looks like the back entrance to the Presidents Palace, and into a holding room.

There’s a couch, some dog-eared magazines, and up on a pedestal there is the biggest emerald green bottle of Brutale I’ve ever seen. A gold nameplate hangs around its long neck from a gold chain. The engraved words read, ‘To President Paul Frazer from your friends in Nag ambo.’

Ah yes the Nag ambo incident.

The door opens on the opposite side of the room. Another tough man in a grey jumpsuit walks in and straight up to me. I think he wants to shake hands but he ignores my outstretched arm. Instead he moves in close, too close.

I move back. He moves with me. My legs feel the back of the couch. He keeps coming. Does he want a hug? I bend back, and he bends with me. His head is in my neck. I’m about to fall backwards. He takes two huge sniffs. I squeeze my eyes and lips together and wait for a big sloppy tongue in my ear, or worse, and then…I feel him move away. I’m still a jailhouse virgin, but for how long? I open my eyes and freeze in a classic limbo stance as he points expressionless towards a door.

Paul Frazer is thinner, greyer, Chrissssss, he takes my hand in both of his, sooo gooood to see you again.

Thankyou sir.

Call me Paaaaaul.

Then his smile disappears he narrows his eyes and he delivers a seriously compassionate, I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT, he holds the sincerity for a second longer then breaks it with a ha ha ha!

The guy is a master. In a few seconds he has gone from President to Paul, recognised my talent, and set the insider tone of the meeting.

Sit, he gestures to one of the black leather chairs arranged around a low table, coffee is on the way.

Thanks, I take a risk and drop the ‘sir.’

First let me say I’m so sorry about your agency. But you know The Party, I tried to save you the account but my hands were tied, you deserved better, you did great work.

Should I spoil this super-glue bonding session by telling my new bestest friend in the whole wide world that I didn’t believe he lifted a finger on the agency’s behalf.

Why should he care about saving 200 employees their jobs?

Before I chicken out, a clattering sort of clanging noise intrudes from the back of the room. A bent old woman has a jittery juggernaut aimed in our direction. My pal ‘Paul’ sits back and acts patient. I follow his lead and the silver service stutters and stammers its way towards us.

‘Paul’ and I exchange sympathetic smiles and a wince as she pushes bravely over Persian Rug Ridge. Then exhale a sighs of relief through pursed lips as she hangs on for dear life to avoid a rollover through the treacherous Sheepskin Chicane.

She reaches us at last. Her stainless trolley throws final spasm and settles.

I think the show is over, but then this is no ordinary tea lady.

Before our very eyes, she transforms into a master magician. From an impossibly great height she proceeds to pour the 2 longest cups of coffee ever. The bubbling goes on and on and straight to my bladder. How did she do that? Why did she do that? How do you tell a President, I mean ‘Paul’ that you need to take a piss NOW?

Either this is another test, or she must really hate the President.

As the milky white slops from the saucers spill onto the table she gently asks did you luvs want a bickie? Then to a chorus of, ‘Noooo, noooo, noooo,’ she begins her great trek back.

Chris, he lowers his voice, first I have to tell you that now he hesitates and swallows I don’t know how much time I have left as President.

The words, the sentiment, and the timing are too perfect. This is the ultimate politician. I nod a regretful ‘I know.’

Yes I suppose everyone knows by now. And you must be wondering why I asked you here. But before I begin I have to make sure that everything we talk about within these four walls will stay within these four walls.

I count the walls just to be sure, and nod a ‘No problem.’

The truth is, I don’t know where to start.

Again I nod my understanding. I mean this guy’s world I doubt anyone would know what the truth is, never mind where it begins or ends.

Chris I think you are a terrific ad guy, a real salesman, you know how to talk to people how to move them, umm… how to foster certain feelings and attitudes. It’s a real gift and that’s why I've called you here.

Thank you.

This is the first time I’ve done anything like this and I know I can ramble on at times so just do me a favour and humour an old man who thinks the whole world smells like Brutale. Will you do that?

What am I going to say? I give him another empathy-loaded nod.

First let me tell you something you already know. Something that everyone with a brain who bothers to get out of bed in the morning knows, he looks down as he stirs his coffee, then looks up, this country is fucked… and with a certain smugness adds it’s only going to get worse.

This is crazy talk for a politician. The Party expends so much energy and wealth keeping up appearances that this admission from a President is heresy 101. Is he trying to impress me with brutal honesty? Or has he really lost it? Is this why The Party is ditching him?

He sits back puts his hands behind his head and watches me. He’s waiting for me to react. I don’t. The first thing you learn in the ad business is to make silence is your friend. Make your sales pitch and shut-the-fuck-up, especially when presenting an excruciatingly expensive campaign budget.

You have delivered your best sales pitch my mentor Craig Douglas used to say anything more you add, even clearing your throat, will undo what you just did.

So you wait, you endure and you put the client under pressure to react first.

I have seen amateur account service people blow it big time by loosing their nerve and cutting a price even before the client has said a word. These people have very short careers. Management crucifies them because they lose money, creative people hate them because they reduce production budgets and this directly affects the quality of catering.

The President blinks.

Don’t think I don’t care about the unemployed, the homeless, the crime victims, the mentally ill, the addicts, the abused or the queues of sick, and hungry. There’s just nothing I, or anyone can do about it. And no there is no reason for me to pretend… sugar?

No thanks.

It’s the way of the world. Every generation sinks to new lows for more profit. Corporations are dedicated to it. All governments can do is create the illusion of legitimacy and order and hope. But you already know this don’t you Chris? It’s like my head economist explains, he makes a vicious little descending spiral with his finger, those who find a way to surf the downward spiral will always do well.

I sip my coffee to break eye contact.

The Party has money problems. The middle class has been taxed to near extinction, so they are desperate for another cash cow. Who are they going to turn to? The corporations are untouchable that leaves the millions of mindless consumers. No joy there I’m sorry, all of them are born into debt. And please don’t think this is all about me conveniently developing a social conscience because I’m being removed from office. No, I’ve come to terms with my situation… and this brings me to why you are here.

His honesty speech has set the scene, but if there is no hope, and no future, what’s next? Is all this a verbal suicide note? Am I part of a plan to off himself, has he poisoned his coffee? Has he poisoned my coffee? Is he taking the guy who wrote his winning slogan with him?

I’ll be blunt Chris. I am not happy with the way I’m being treated by The Party, so I’ve… been planning… and there is no other way of saying this… my revenge.

Fuck what a relief. I can’t help but slump into the chair.

Would you like a real drink?

He reads my face and makes for the liquor cabinet.

To a lawyer an adman or a hit man, the word ‘revenge’ is one the sweetest in the English language. But going for The Party is pure insanity. Even when the agency lost The Party account we didn’t dare make the slightest complaint. Instead we sent every The Party member a Mc Whore gift certificate, their wives Mc Flowers and their mistresses Mc Gucci gift vouchers.

I do my best to look relaxed as he hands me two fingers of whisky, what are you thinking, that I’ve finally cracked under the pressure? Don’t kid yourself. I’m the same tough son of a bitch that got elected a couple of years ago, I just have a new agenda… ok?

OK OK OK, I nod nod nod .

You see Chris… he leans forward, his eyes dart round the office and back, …I have… an idea.

Did I ever give you the impression that I’m a calm and capable person? It’s a compete lie. All I can do is not to make any sudden moves. This pissed off megalomaniac could turn on me at any moment. One word from him, and the man with the big sniff will burst in shoot first and not bother to ask any questions later.

I need you to do something for me Chris, here it comes, Chris… I want you to write me a musical.

I don’t feel the whisky going down.

I’m partial to the old masters like Weber, but that’s my taste, of course you can choose any style you want, I don’t want to cramp your… creativity.

I hear a voice croak Thanks, could it be mine?

He takes a quick look at his watch, damn, we’ll have to leave it there. See you here the same time next week?

My head nodded.

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Chapter 10.

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Chapter 11.

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Chapter 12.

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Chapter 13.

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Chapter 14.

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Chapter 15.

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Chapter 16.

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Chapter 17.

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Chapter 18.

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Chapter 19.

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Chapter 20.

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Chapter 21.

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