26 February 2014
Short Sleeves - Short Temper: Ralph's Rant
Ralph knew there was a problem when the prospective client didn't call back. Six months of intense work on one of the biggest accounts in town -- Revenue over a million but there was a 10 year relationship with another agency. Still, Ralph's ego didn't let him say no when he was approached.
The prospect complained of shitty service over a shitty lunch at his favorite restaurant; a place Ralph detested and thought touristy and pretentious. The prospect told Ralph the 'relationship' had been over for a couple years thanks to a change in 'players' -- Both at his company and at the agency. Ralph looked at the prospect and saw a wounded Gazelle on the Serengeti Plain hobbling along to keep up with the herd.
Ralph's nostrils flared slightly at the sniff of blood as he shoved a fork of rare dry aged rib eye across his capped teeth. All the signs were there but then why hadn't the prospect called back? Ralph called early in the morning and late in the afternoon to avoid the secretary but he only got voice mail.
Late in the afternoon, on the day of the new contract, the prospect called. Ralph knew in an instant. The prospect talked and Ralph, in a fog of anger, depression and confusion, heard little but picked up key phrases "…they really came through" "account manager replaced" "lowered fee" "you're proposal was solid" "appreciate everything…" As Ralph held the phone to his ear, he stopped listening and thought only of what he would say.
"I appreciate that, Tim." Ralph said, "A lotta people worked very hard and very long over here but I can tell you've made your decision and I respect that." Ralph heard Tim stumble along a "thanks" and some at-a-boys and still Ralph didn't know what was going to come out of his mouth next but that was sales. The best never knew what they were going to say. That's why it always sounded so good. So…fresh. And Ralph knew he was one, if not, the very best.
Ralph saw the light in his mind and followed it, "You know what, Tim. How about you come over for dinner this Friday night? My wife's a great cook. Graduate of the Kump school. She's really amazing. I've got a case of Krug we can crack into…" Ralph heard the prospect's breathing over the phone turn anxious. Like he wanted to hang up but Ralph wasn't going to let him. "And, Tim. When we're done with dinner… I'm gonna let you fuck my wife."
The prospect's voice is barely a tremble, "I'm not sure…" He pauses a long beat to let Ralph fill it but Ralph isn't biting. Tim clears his throat, "I, uh. I'm not sure I heard you right." "No, you heard me right, Tim. After dinner at my house... I'm gonna let you fuck my wife…because Tim, that's exactly what you've done to me."
Ralph grits his teeth, purses his lips and slams the phone down. A piece of black plastic flies off the phone and across the office. Ralph watches the bit of phone come to a rest at the feet of a life sized cardboard Batman next to his credenza. Ralph smiles, clasps his hands behind his head and knows, as sure as Batman is standing in his office, that he has the best job in the world.