Mo was enthusiastically powdering a rainbow fisftul of random Anti-Ds with a huge wooden meat tenderising mallet, showing zero regard for the pricey veneer of the Arcadia Trust boardroom table.
All dry rubber gums, the loose unit matriarch was muttering to herself about MTV’s Richard Wilkins, a Penrith leather bar and a full chest tatt of an eagle exploding out of a Confederate flag in an unhinged rasp.
The rest of the Trust shifted uneasily in their seats, awaiting the recommencement of -
Snapping to attention with pinned yellow eyes, Mo expertly collected the gritty stack of powders into a fat, neat rail with the lean edge of her palm, then bulldozed the lot into her sloshing tumbler of chards. She smashed the bitter cocktail in two gulps, licked the side of her hand, coughed up a radioactive wad of phlegm and addressed the room.
More specifically, she addressed Hume and his sidekick, Berd, who was presently attempting to will himself incorporeal.
“Alright, little man. Dazzle us. Seriously,” she glowered, exhaling a toxic blast of dry white fumes.
Hume stepped into the scorching blank glare of the overhead, quickly popping an unbecoming flop sweat. He thwapped a transparency down on its mirrored eye and ducked out of the beam. His customary hollow get up and go executive pluck had been efficiently skewered by Mo’s cruel, scrote-withering misanthropy.
“Well, first things first,” he wavered, gesturing at the jargon-choked dossier projected on a roll-away whiteboard. “You’ll all be chuffed to know that Berd has just rattled off a facsimile ordering those gritty Saffa thugs in Paraguay Unit to sort out our rogue President matter as a matter of some urgency…”
“Jolly good,” snivelled Sancrox. “That bleeder’s a liability and bloody a half. Why we haven’t sanctioned him like the last idiot is bey-”
“A liability with an 85% approval rating amongst the plebs, father,” interrupted a smouldering Daisy, who was thickening her on-trend monobrow in preparation for her guest appearance on Vidiot. She had her smoky eye on that dish Eden Gaha, now that her recent ex Michael Tunn’s afternoon telly star had imploded.
Berd visibly deflated.
“85%!” repeated Caleb, tittering. “Simply diddly de-delicious! Scwumptious like a wedge of yummy bwue vein with a cwisp quiffy-quaff of South Aussie wiesling! You can wun but you can’t hide, Boonie old boy! Hee tee hee!”
“Get on with it,” Mo seethed. She’d given up on the pretence of drinking vessels and was guzzling straight from her fourth - fifth? - bottle.
The Trust trained their collective haughty gaze on Hume, who gathered up the battered manila folder marked “Harvest Media Plan - FINAL 2/6/93”, extracted a thick pile of transparencies and set them beside the projector. Berd assumed the all important role of slide replacement technician, a considerable step down from ordering a white supremacist black ops wetworks teams around via fax just twenty minutes prior.
“Well, quite,” Hume stammered, popping an unassisted sweat this time. “To the impending business of The Harvest, which, as we’re very much aware, is all systems go for kick off this Friday evening, the third… um, Berd?”
Berd placed the first slide, a hand drawn spreadsheet festooned with a sludgy rainbow of hasty highlighter revisions. It was ominously labelled
1. The Final Three Days - Schedule
Beneath that, Hume had ruled up a broken grid and scrawled, in tremulous uppercase, the last vestiges of the event’s media schedule and communications plan, a barely comprehensible smear of laundry marker and fat fisted deadline panic.
“Well, that one obviously didn’t quite make the journey intact… Berd, could you please, for the love of Christ, move to slide -”
“Hume, you miserable half-a-cunt,” Mo, wielding her spent wine bottle by the throat, cudgel-like, slurred. “Must I remind you of the profoundly deep, utterly depressing catalogue of misadventures and fuck ups with which you have inundated this organisation? Do you, for example, remember the hot ACA mic upon which, mid rhetorical rim job, you, and I’m quoting you ver-fucking-batim here, told esteemed human rights advocate Dr Shepp Montpellier that ‘the homeless will have an update on the Trust’s position on those minor asbestos issues at their shelter during the next financial year’? Or, perhaps, you remember the storm of voddy and blue curacao based vomit with which you coated the interior of the Qintex bizjet just as Mr Skase was finalising those very important deeds for us? Or, during that same flight, your poleaxed sermon on birth control - to dearest Pixie herself - which, and fucking correct me if I’m wrong please, involved the immortal phrase ‘just crack her up the blurter for a negative result’?”
The overhead projector’s fan roared as Mo paused, the temperature in the boardroom spiking under the gaze of the cycloptic office equipment’s oppressive gaze.
Mo stabbed a bottle opener into the throat of chards bottle sis, wrenched the cork with a savage jerk, knocked back a third in a prolonged swallow and continued:
“Or need I remind you of the time you royally fucked up and booked Sancrox an appearance on the pilot for ‘John Blackman’s Aussie Celebrity Hobo Fights’, and not John Michael Howson’s fluffy Ray Martin Hollywood gossip midday chinwank like any half competent owner of the requisite functional complement of chromosomes required for baseline human sentience? Or perhaps you recall when you thoroughly screwed our collective public relations pooch and had our Trust Children’s Appeal charity t-shirts screen printed by the only fucking merchandising business in the southern hemisphere co-owned by tawdry Pommy smut peddlers Paul fucking RAZZLE fucking ESCORT Raymond fucking MEN ONLY Publications? Need I fucking go on, Hume? Because I fucking can and I fucking will.”
Mo took another kamikaze swig. Berd took the opportunity to shut off the projector, plunging the board room into ominous gloom.
All assembled were frozen, on tenterhooks, awaiting the inevitable, calamitous shockwave of the other shoe dropping.
Sizing up her ruined Communications Director, Mo zeroed in for the final salvo of her remorseless, deeply satisfying bout of flaying.
“Now, Hume. The Trust board acknowledge the longstanding and impermeable agreement under which we have agreed to engage your dubious services. It pains me to admit we must honour our compact. Nonetheless, I hope and fervently pray that you’re receiving this particular broadcast loud and fucking clear, you chinless jizz mopping invertebrate nonfuckingentity. For the sake of what’s left of my fucking busted flapped sanity I need you, Hume, to guarantee to me that this event will some-fucking-how represent an historic, gala example of the very first non-blistered-arse-fisting you’ve delivered this organisation in your entire, woeful fucking tenure. Consider the fragile precipice upon which the Trust presently teeters, Hume, spare me the juvenile big boy executive dress ups and fucking give it to me straight: is the fucking crucial infrastructure in place?”
Mo levelled a lacquered talon at Hume, who managed a neutered squawk:
“Yes, Mo. Yes it is.”
No, it really wasn’t.
“Do not fuck this up, you grovelling subhuman fuckface.”
Mo regarded Hume with poisonous contempt, then blanked on him entirely.
“Right, I want to go through the run sheets, from the top. Start with Tank. Caleb, Daisy - I believe you have an appearance to attend to? Before you leave, one of you please be a dear and fetch mummy’s Esky-”