Another excerpt and a another author to check out. Here’s a little piece of stockholm, a romantic comedy in an unfree society. I’ll be posting an interview with Kian Kaul, the book’s author, in just a couple of minutes.
I was visited in my office by an outside lawyer, who explained the situation in a rehearsed voice, hurrying through long passages with short exhalations of breath; the reality show currently filming in our office was a cross-branding-promotion for Camp San Andreas, in the form of a new campaign to be directed by Jonathon. The format itself was also a backdoor pilot for a possible cable mid-season replacement show, working title, “Office Politics“.Each prospective season the show would film in a different, real-life, workplace where employees would compete against each other for their current positions while working on projects for an appropriate corporate sponsor. I signed my contract, promising me six paid weeks through filming, two days for pickups and a compensation package upon completion.
“What’s Force Majeure?”
“It essentially means an unforeseeable, unavoidable disaster. Or an ‘Act of God’, if you will. Sign at the tabs.”
I hovered my pen over the line at the bottom. The lawyer narrowed his eyes and fingered his smartphone. “Sign at the indicated points, please.”
“Did you know that dotted lines were actually made up of tiny print, so infinitesimal it appears as a slightly broken line to the naked eye?”
“Hey, I’m the crazy guy, right?” I slashed an ‘X’ along the line.
“You may believe that’s not a legally acceptable signature but it, in fact, is. I can initial it later, at my convenience.” He tugged the contract away from me.
“Hey, what about my copâ€””
“Copies will be provided.” He slammed the door behind him.
On my way to the big kitchen Karen suddenly stood up from where she must have been leaning, appearing relaxed, at some assistant’s cube. I noticed two camera operators closing in, triangulating a completely spontaneous conversation with completely spontaneous over-the-shoulder coverage. Karen stepped toward me and then waited in place, looking at me but not speaking. In my peripheral vision I saw the operator on my right wave a hand. She suddenly activated, a brightness and clarity appearing in her eyes and cheeks.
“Carver, hey. What’s the haps?”
“You know, Hapsburg dynastic inbreeding, treachery and whatnot.” I looked around to see the small crowd of plebs who’d formed to watch the cameras watching us.
Karen just nodded, her pre-selected reaction regardless of what I’d said. “Yeah, totes. Hey, can I bend your ear for a few, in mine?”
“My office.” Flatly.
Neither of us moved. The light mounted on the camera framing me went out. The operators lowered and relaxed their stances.
“Why didn’t you go?”
“I thought you were leading the conversation. I didn’t want to upstage you.”
“Right. Well, I thought I was indicating for you to follow me.”
“You didn’t move, though.”
“It’s alright, they can probably just cut straight to inside my office.”
“Are we going into your office now?”
Karen twisted her upper torso and called out to someone further in the cube farm. “When’s lunch?” She turned back, looking past me.
A man’s voice drifted forward, “Half. You got time.”
“We need to pow-wow for a mo.”
“I didn’t really get any of that.”
“Yeah, so we’re kind of wondering why you haven’t congratulated Jonathon on the H&S campaign. I mean, it’s been long enough.”
“I did. At the party. You were at least three feet away, wearing a low-cut two-piece top and distressed jeans with sequins going up theâ€””
“No, that doesn’t mean shit to anyone. I mean why haven’t you been posting about Jonathon on your profile? Everyone else here is. How do you expect anyone to know you supposedly said something to him at a nightclub?”
“Well, I did congratulate him soâ€¦”
“No, you didn’t. You might wanna read your contract through again. You’re required to mention Jonathon three times a week through the end of shooting. He’s our crea-ti-ve dir-ect-or, mmmkay?”