by Andrew Miller TBW Smith Jones Wallace Broadbent and Ndimande is an agency in crisis. Their ‘basket of boutique services’ strategy has bombed. Only a massive new project can keep the doors open – all eyes are now on the corporate tent at Mangaung. Far in the background, an emergency replacement executive PA with decades of experience makes important decisions. Interns rise, board members take unexpected steps and things begin to change…
Mama E faces the facts of her life, considers the truth about advertising and begins to reassess how it all went wrong…
The Gate Keeper (Chapter 12: In which Mama E thinks)
Mama E parked her silver Daihatsu Sirion in the empty parking garage and snorted deeply, the taste of drain cleaner slipping terribly down her seventy year old throat. She was, she knew, far too old to be indulging like this. Now she had a terminal headache and an olfactory system that would be completely contaminated for days. Still, it had been fun – there was no doubt about that. And she was particularly proud of her restraint when it came to the table dancing. Maybe old age did bring a modicum of wisdom after all.
She walked gingerly through the creative commons to her desk. At 8:00 am on a Saturday the place was bizarrely quiet. Later, she knew, the slaves would start to dribble in and click, but now it was eerily empty, like a post apocalyptic chicken farm.
She turned on the filter coffee, flopped down at her desk and wondered why she had come in. She had given Gerald some pretext about fetching files but the truth was she couldn’t sleep, or be in the house, or even think about breakfast. She was, she admitted, almost possessed by the need to come in and sit at her desk, where she now was, thinking about why such a thing should be as true as it was. She snorted again, winced and swallowed, and chased it with some filter. Something was most definitely wrong. She just needed to figure out what it was.
The thing with Tim Broadbent was ever present, but she knew – as she was sure he did too – that she had come too far with Gerald to risk throwing it all away, again. The vibes would have to just stay where they were, lingering and tantalising, up in the air.