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Published April 21, 2012 More Info »
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photo by Dan Ancona
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Published April 21, 2012
INT. BOARD ROOM - DAY CEO is smooth and immaculate, with a perfect haircut and the sharpest suit and tie in the room. AJ is dressed like a professor, in a tweed jacket complete with elbow patches. BJ is the sole woman in the group, dressed in sharp business attire and no-nonsense, lawyer-like glasses. CJ is a smarmy sycophant, his attire painfully striving to copy CEO’s style. DJ is the sloppiest dresser, and slow-witted to boot. CEO leads the meeting from the front of the conference table with a large flatscreen presentation behind him and his subordinates seated in front of him. CEO Let’s get started, everybody. As always, please make sure your phones are on and your most obnoxious ring tone is selected. Everyone takes a moment to fiddle with their mobile phones while CEO queues up the presentation on the flatscreen. A chorus of annoying sound effects and snippets of pop songs chirps around the table. The presentation is a depressingly generic PowerPoint presentation. The first slide shows the agenda: 1. Housekeeping, 2. Current Projects, 3. New Campaign. A pop-up banner suddenly obscures the bullet points: DO YOU WANT TO REFINANCE YOUR HOME? CEO (CONT’D) First things first: housekeeping! CEO advances to the Housekeeping slide, which is almost immediately obscured by a pop-up reading: BUY A NEW LAPTOP FOR JUST PENNIES! CEO (CONT’D) Last year was very profitable for us, and CJ is here to talk bonuses. CJ For those interested in participating in the employee stock program, all you have to do is divulge your mother’s maiden name, Social Security Number, and transfer a small brokerage commission to an offshore account. CEO Thank you, CJ. Don’t forget the corporate retreat is coming up in Aspen. I’m looking forward to skiing with you, enjoying some good wine, and listening to a brief yet informative presentation on how you can have your very own time share. Scattered applause. CEO advances to the Current Projects slide, which is soon covered by a pop-up proclaiming: DO YOU WANT TO MAKE $117K A YEAR WORKING FROM HOME? CEO Right. The new male impotency campaign is about to launch. Where are we at? BJ? BJ stands and frowns. BJ Once again, I must protest that nickname. We’re about ready to launch the penis pill email, but we’re not sure if the sugar pills are going to be available to ship. CEO So what? Once we have their money, these people are dead to us. Sometimes literally. We’re not drug dealers, people. Drug dealers sell actual products. CJ leans forward smugly. CJ You know, if we wanted to target people with small penises, we should just send it to ... CEO cuts him off sternly, then points at a sign on the wall that reads NO MORE RACIST JOKES. CJ shoulders sag sadly. CJ (CONT’D) Awww, nitz. DJ pats CJ on the back sympathetically. BJ Here’s our headline. BJ takes the clicker from CEO and brings up a slide of text that reads: LAST LONGER IN THE BEDROOM WITH OUR NEW SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGH. CEO (critically) Hmmm ... it’s all right, but it sounds like it was written by someone who actually speaks English. Copy! Where’s AJ? AJ raises a pipe in acknowledgement. AJ My pen and my prose are always at your beck and call, my captain. CEO Punch this up, AJ. Make it sing. AJ stands and paces in front of the screen, contemplating the text. BJ shifts nervously. AJ (theatrically) You want you can have sexy long time for … CEO Stop. Make it sound like it was translated from Russian. AJ glances up at the ceiling in thought. AJ Ahh. For wanting to have sex long, must to use amazing science miracle. CEO Brilliant! Golf claps around the table. BJ grudgingly joins in the applause, acknowledging the obvious improvement. AJ (modestly) You all pay undue honor to this humble scribe. CEO Right, pull the trigger, BJ. Next, new projects. We need fresh ideas, people. Take DJ, here. CEO points at DJ, who is struggling to figure out his tie clip and is startled by the sudden attention. CEO (CONT’D) DJ has amassed half a million followers on Facebook and Twitter, simply by pretending to be a slutty girl with scantily clad profile pictures. The slide advances to show DJ’s Twitter page, a picture of a hot girl and a stream of vapid quotes. DJ grins proudly. CJ Aww, man! You are DirtyGurlLuvsU? CEO Learn from DJ, people. We need to embrace new media. We can’t stand still. What’s our motto? The room takes a collective breath and chants together: ALL Alwaysbespamming, alwaysbespamming, alwaysbespamming ... CEO cuts them off, annoyed. He points at the screen. CEO All right, all right, that’s enough. DJ, walk us through this. What’s our next step? DJ’s expression goes blank. DJ Next ... step? CEO turns to look at him. CEO Yes. How do we monetize this? DJ (squirming) Mono ... ties? CEO (loudly and slowly) How do we make money now? What was your plan for all these followers? DJ stares helplessly for a moment, then grins idiotically. DJ I have half a million followers! CJ has his mobile phone out and stabs the touchscreen. CJ One less now ... CJ’s phone beeps and a second later DJ’s phone beeps in response. CEO bangs the table. CEO Damn it, people! That’s what’s wrong with this company. We’ve become complacent! DJ looks at his phone, frowns and hammers out a text message. DJ (typing out loud) D-I-C-K ... send. DJ finishes typing and CJ’s phone beeps in response. CJ looks at his screen, scowls, and types back. CJ No, you are the dick ... CEO (preening) You know, back when I invented the Nigerian email scam ... Groans all around the table. BJ Oh, thank God, we haven’t heard this story in nearly two hours ... CEO paces over to stare at a portrait of the company’s founder, his arms clasped behind his back. CEO … we didn’t have the resources you people have today. Sam Samuelson Spamley the 7th started this company from nothing, working out of his parents’ three-story guest house, with an army of Eastern European programmers whose sweatshop wages he had to pay out of his own allowance. Everyone hangs their head, humbled. DJ Now I feel shame. CEO Today we’re a Fortune 500 company with headquarters in Manhattan, and that army of programmers is made up of college students who work for free because they’re bored. CJ How would they even find a job in this economy? AJ I know I couldn’t. CEO What would Sam Spamley say if he could see us today? Would he be proud? That’s what drives me every day. I want to make Sam proud. I want to sell people things they don’t need, or that don’t even exist. I want to take back the jobs that the Chinese took away from us, after we stole their idea in the first place. Start with the fundamentals. What sells products? CJ Sex! BJ Fear! AJ Fear of sex! CEO Save it for the therapist, AJ. Problems. Problems sell products. CJ (halfheartedly) I was just about to say problems. CEO Do you hate your job? Buy our audio tapes. Do you hate your body? Buy our diet plan. Do you hate your small - multi-ethnic - penis? (he glares at CJ) Buy our pills. CJ whistles innocently. DJ has an idea so intense it almost knocks him out of his chair. He raises his hand, straining for the sky like a schoolchild. CEO frowns at him, condescending. CEO (CONT’D) Yes, DJ? DJ (blurting) Do you hate receiving spam? The room goes dead silent. Everyone stares at DJ, then turns to see what CEO’s reaction will be. CEO (cautiously) Go on ... DJ Buy our service! Everyone shifts in their seats. DJ grasps for the words. DJ (CONT’D) For the low price of 19.99 a month, our privacy experts guarantee that you will receive less spam! BJ points her pen at DJ, amazed. BJ Because we take them off our mailing list ... DJ taps his nose and points at BJ, nodding furiously. Everyone sits up straighter, paying attention. CEO And ... DJ Get one month free for every friend you refer! AJ So we can spam the hell out of them until they join too! CEO What’s more ... DJ If you are not completely satisfied, we will refund 100% of your first month’s fee! CJ Because if they unsubscribe, we blow their inbox UP until they rejoin! CEO (excited) Take it home, DJ! DJ Act now, this is a limited time offer! CEO (ecstatic) You’ve done it! Everyone bursts into cheers and leaps out of their chairs. BJ tackles DJ and kisses him. AJ and CJ pump their fists in the air and chant together: AJ & CJ U-S-A! U-S-A! CEO smiles beatifically. CEO God I love this job.