Bobbi on a MissionbyEgmontGrigor2011©
The sound of guitar strumming and tropical scents filled the air as dusk fell when Bobbi Joyce was called to reception on Mamba Island in the South Pacific to take an international call.
"Hi Bobbi a crisis is developing within the company and we need you home urgently to help deal with it."
"Is that you mom?"
"Yes and this is no time for jest."
"I'm used to people identifying themselves before talking to me."
"Even your own mother?"
"Well I guess you are the exception. What's up? You know dad doesn't want me near the agency."
"Your father is home under sedation and the empire is beginning to crumble around our ears."
* * *
Bobbi was on the long haul home, sitting at the window seat next to a woman who smelt of roasted peanuts and BO.
Perhaps one day, Bobbi thought, she would position in be flown in her company chartered aircraft.
According to her mom Pearl, the advertising agency was in its death throes. But her mom was habitually panicking although this did sound rather serious.
The debtors were closing in and her father had been unable to raise additional capital because times are tough.
Bobbi had said times were never so tough that there would not be some lender somewhere who wouldn't lend money at a hiked up interest rate. But that was not the sort of talk her mom had wanted to hear. Alice wanted Bobbi to say she would come home and save Shep Advertising Agency. Shep had been Harry's dog at the time he launched himself into advertising agency when leaving his cozy but boring position as director of advertising for James B. Walton Newspaper Publishing Group, a company that had slid into oblivious as a result of a merger some years ago.
Bobbi smiled thinking that competing advertising agencies loosely called her father's business Shit Advertising Agency. The agency had pulled in its fair share of ad industry awards which seemed to suggest that scurrilous naming was more the result of jealous pique than well-founded professional-standard assessment. Bobbi sniffed and thought it didn't merely suggest the misnaming was scurrilous; it was scurrilous to the core. Jealous bastards and bitches!
The 36-year old recently 'retired' corporate attorney told her mom not to tell her father she was coming home as a White Knight because that would only add to his anxiety. Father and daughter had not shared compatibility ever since some years back Harry had arrived home to find his daughter being screwed by his older brother. Although recognized as a sexual predator, her father expected a sense of sexual propriety of others who were not his target.
The sprawl of Blewitt City (pop 887,000) looked ugly from the air but Bobbi was intimately familiar with her home town and knew even its Downtown was not without charm and its dry climate attracted retirees in large numbers. The city had two of the top fifty-rated golf courses in the country and Bobbi's name was on the honors board at one of them, the Blewitt Country Club, where she'd become junior club champion three years in a row.
As the aircraft circled to approach the east-to-west runway Bobbi saw the metallic blue Magellan Towers where she used to work on the 23rd floor as a partner and manager of the business law department. She'd been one of the partners to oppose the merger with Mason-Beck-Ulmer Law but unfortunately they were a minority and she resigned and was paid out when the merger went through.
Bobbi was travel weary after the long Pacific flight and then a tiresome wait for a connecting flight to Blewitt City. It was a mid-morning touch-down and when in the terminal she called the Rocklands Hotel and asked for Sue Webster.
"Hi Big Tits."
There was a pause and then, "Oh Jesus, Bobbi Joyce is back in town. Halleluiah! How are you darling?"
"I'm neither fat nor pregnant yet. Some of you have all the luck. I was told you were now general manager. Congratulations. Dad's company is in trouble, he's in bed under stress control and mom had called me home to get the agency out of the shit. She has twisted dad's arm to get power-of-attorney. It's best I don't go home."
"Come home and stay with us. Brian won't mind; he calls you the sexiest woman he's ever met, the pig."
Bobbi said, "What about a bed at the hotel, say for six weeks?"
"A small suite at long-term rates plus preferential rates?"
"Sweet as, baby. I'm at the airport waiting for my bags."
"Then when you exit turn to the left and look for one of our limos. I'm sending it now."
"There is no need, a cab is fine."
"Darling who's running this hotel, you or me?"
"Sorry, obviously old Bossy Boots hasn't changed."
"Bossy Boots loves you and will see you soon. I'll book you in for a complimentary working over at the spa. You mom told me you were slumming it up at a resort in Maba Maba south of the Equator. Try not to go to bed until tonight and you'll acclimatize quicker."
The women saw each other and shrieked and flew into each other's arms. They had known each other since starting kindergarten within days of each other.
In her office Sue unwrapped a hand-painted T-shirt for Kitty and a pull-along toy on wheels for Sammy.
"Um Kitty is two and this T-shirt would fit a 7-year old and Sammy is seven and 7-year olds don't pull toys along. You don't know much about kids do you sweetheart?"
"Oh damn. Oh but I do have a brain; swap their gifts, the shirt is asexual."
"Oooh bravo, you always were the smart one."
"And this is for you my best friend."
Excited, hands shaking, Sue unwrapped the box and opened it and breathed, "Omigod."
"It's a smoothly polished jade pendant, not too large for you I hope, set in an 18k gold frame with bale what requires you to buy the chain of your choice. The color is called Imperial Green and is close to saturation with strong translucency, according to what the American craftsman who's gone native on the island explained to me."
"It's gorgeous. It must have cost two thousand bucks."
"No it cost less than half of that but you are worth it darling. Just look at it and shut up."
"It's so beautiful," Sue said, kissing her friend who'd been her bridesmaid nine years earlier.
After settling into her room with a great view out to the mountains, Bobbi called her mom.
"Hi I've just arrived and am staying at the Rocklands Hotel where Sue works."
"Welcome darling, I'm so glad you are here. I have an executive meeting of the bridge club early this evening and can call in on the way home if you wish?"
"Yes do that and we'll order up supper. How's dad."
"He accepts he has to stop worrying and try to remain calm. I told him you were coming home to sort things out and he groaned but said you probably have the brains and the horse-power to restructure the company and get it back into over-drive."
"Well that's something mom. I'm in room 24-25. I look forward to our reunion."
Bobbi answered her door bell and flew into the arms of the tall, dark handsome man.
"Andy my darling. Oh hi lovely to see you again. Can you stay?"
One of Bobbi's former boyfriends kissed her enthusiastically and said he could spare only a few minutes right now.
"You continue to look gorgeous," he said to the raven-haired beauty with luminous green eyes and an eye-catching figure. "Not having babies has allowed you to keep your shape."
She laughed and said congratulations; she'd heard from Sue that he'd married Sarah Johnston.
"Yeah thanks. I was in the Business Bar with some guys when Sue came in and told me you were here so I popped up just to say hello. We guys are actually negotiating a business deal if you can believe it."
"Well I was once shafted in a bar," Bobbi giggled. "They are useful for all sorts of things."
"Are you staying in the hotel for long?"
"I plan to stay no longer than six weeks."
At that Andy kissed her again and said Sarah would be in touch to invite her over to dinner. He slapped her ass and left, smiling with a face lit by some great memories of being with her in college days. Andy worked in his parents' vehicle dealership.
He turned in the passage and called, "You'll need a car."
"I'll call about a lease in a day or two. Bye darling."
God that was a sweet but all too brief encounter, Bobbi thought, but it excited her. The city was sprinkled with old friends and acquaintances in positions to help her deal with this business crisis. She no longer felt like a lone woman on a mission.
Later she had a great reunion with her mom Pearl who said she'd terminated the employment of the CEO who'd left two days ago, allowing Bobbi to take command.
"I thought I was coming in as an advisor?"
With inescapable logic, Peal said: "How can an advisor lead the shake-up of a business?"
* * *
Bobbi awoke in the morning, feeling stifled by jet lag.
She swam three lengths of the basement pool and felt decidedly worse.
After a breakfast of bacon and eggs and hash browns and a double-shot vodka tomato juice, Bobbi felt significantly better and thought she'd rely on black coffee to get her through the day.
No one at the company would know her of course because her father had refused to allow her to go near the place. Harry would now regret that bloody mindedness, she thought, but then figured perhaps it would be advantageous because she could fire under-performers or people surplus to requirements without being ripped apart by emotional guilt.
After looking at distaste at the building and entering Shit Agency, correction Shep Advertising Agency, on the 10th floor (and it occupied the 11th floor as well) Bobbi made her first decision. She'd have to relocate the company and rebrand it. This was terrible, the outfit gave the impression it was a pre year-2000 company, years divorced from reality.
At reception, always first impression of a company she sniffed, the youngest receptionist smiled a 'Good morning ma'am' while the two woman rested back on their chairs sipping coffee and having a cozy chat.
"Hi young lady," Bobbi smiled. In a louder voice she said, "I'm Bobbi Joyce, your new CEO."
One of the receptionists screamed as hot coffee spilt down under the neckline of her black dress and her companion swore.
"Not a good look ladies, in fact I'm gravely disappointed," Bobbi called and said to the younger receptionist to please take her to the CEO's office.
"I'm afraid you caught us at a bad time ma'am. I mean we were unprepared and for that I apologize."
"Aren't you going to add that it wasn't your fault, that you are only the junior?"
"No ma'am, I don't work in isolation."
"Oh great answer... um...?"
"Nellie call me Bobbi and I congratulate you on your steadfast performance. You are the type of person we want around here."
"Here's your office Bobbi. I'm afraid your PA is not due to start till 8:30."
"And what time do you ladies in reception start."
"Eight-twenty for the seniors and I start at 8:00 to deal with couriers and early phone calls."
Bobbi checked and the time was 8:27.
"Could you please fetch me coffee."
"Yes certainly. The machine here switches on at 8:30 but the machine in the café will be up and running if you don't mind the wait."
"How did you know the machine servicing this floor switches on at 8:30?"
"I guess I was briefed when I started work here six months ago or just found out along the way."
"Don't rush fetching my coffee Nellie. Use my phone to call reception that you are being delayed by me."
"Thanks, I was going to call them from the café."
Hmmm thought Bobbi and booted her laptop and made a note under the name Nellie. Obviously not everyone in the boutique advertising agency was a deadbeat.
Seconds later a blonde arrived checking her watch and saw Bobbi and stopped in surprise.
"May I assist you or are you Miss Joyce?"
"Yes to the latter and please call me Bobbi."
"I'm Ursula Bohn, your PA. Welcome and I exist here to service your every need."
Well that appeared to be another name to add to the Good list.
Bobbi of course had seen on the website that the agency's PA to the CEO was Ursula Bohn, a college business graduate aged twenty-eight and who'd been with the agency three years.
Mrs Hansen, director of Finance and Accounting came rushing in to introduce herself, saying to Bobbi, "A receptionist had told me you'd arrived unannounced. I am so sorry I wasn't here to personally welcome you."
"That's fine. I gave no notice of my arrival time. Please call me Bobbi and take a seat for a brief chat before you take me around this little empire."
"Oh that's the term your father uses to describe this place."
"Yes I probably picked the term up from my mother. My father and I don't relate well."
"So the rumor says and thanks for being prepared to talk frankly to me. God this place needs some straight-talking. Please call me Lily."
Bobbi later added Lily's name to the Good list. In the meantime they toured to meet the mix of good, indifferent and bad people working in the empire of fifty-six people. Bobbi knew she'd have to wait to build a reasonably accurate list of those who appeared good, indifferent or bad but as she progressed through the offices she made a list in her small notebook of those who responded poorly at being introduced to her. That list was headed, 'Fire?'
Three days later the chairman of the board Luke Harris arrived and introduced himself and after that exchange of pleasantries said, "I didn't like your mother firing the CEO without consulting me."
"Was my mother obliged to consult you?"
"Would you have agreed with my mother's intended action?"
"Then perhaps she anticipated that and took the easiest route?"
The public accountant looked angry.
"Luke let us not start off with a row. My mother told me you lead the board well."
Actually he mother hadn't mentioned Luke or the board but Luke seemed to relax a little.
"Okay, I agree with that. Will you refer your proposed plans of action to the board before you act?"
"Yes and no. I'm thinking of a major restructuring and will put that before the board and I intended seeking approval of the board to look for a capital injection of $2 million and, when that is in the bag, to seek board approval to relocate and rename the agency but that's all. Internal management such as changing departments and hiring and firing people will be my sole responsibility as it was my father's responsibility before he became ill and appointed a replacement CEO now gone."
"I see. And how will you justify restructuring and relocation to cost $2 million."
"When I get around to that Luke I'll discuss that will you before placing formal proposals before the board."
"You are making me nervous."
"Luke I say this kindly so please don't be offended. If you think you might not be able to stand the pressure of me driving the agency forward then you might have to consider resigning. But perform as you are required to do as chairman and I'll be very happy to work with you."
"You sound like a tough young lady but are you tough?"
"I'm not the one who should comment on that Luke. I guess exactly what I am will soon unfold. I suggest you keep this comment to yourself. Already I've placed a question mark over your son's ability to hold his position of creative director. At this stage it's just a question mark until I have learnt more."
"My mother has brought me in to make the hard calls Luke and I have no intention of disappointing her. Shall we have coffee?"
"Yes thanks. We really need to talk in depth Bobbi."
Joey Hadley called on Thursday night.
"Hi it's Joey, down in the lobby. I saw Sue in the mall last evening and she said you were home, staying at the hotel and would be lonely."
"Hi Joey and that's lovely of you to be thinking about my welfare but it's late."
"Only 9:30. I remember you as a babe who loved being shafted."
Smiling Bobbi said sarcastically, "It seems you haven't lost your shyness Joey."
He laughed and said she was always one for a good laugh and Bobbi gave him the room number.
As Joey entered the room and kissed her, Bobbi kissed him back and thrust into him and didn't let him go.
"We can just have a beer and talk if you wish," he said hesitantly.
"No let's have sex if you're up to it."
"I'm up to it," he leered and pulled her hand on to his boner. "And I was considerate and brought condoms."
"Oh good for you. I feel like a good work out Joey."
"I'm here to service your juicy cunt baby."
"Oh god," Bobbi groaned. She felt she'd grown a little beyond that sort of talk but the fact was Joey was here, within reach.
She reached for his belt.
On Friday afternoon at office drinks, Bobbi stayed for half an hour. She thought most of the people looked worried and then Charlie Harris, creative director, brought her a fresh wine and stood talking as the other two people drifted away. He was particularly friendly and spoke very positively about the potential of the agency. Ah so daddy had delivered a quiet word and Charlie had spread the word that an axe could swing on jobs.
"Charlie why are there no representatives of clients here?"
"Because we decided Friday night drinks should be the opportunity to develop our internal culture."
"Has that worked?"
He looked blank and asked what she meant.
"I won't bring this up at Monday's management meeting Charlie but as from next Friday I want client representatives to be here for drinks but numbers must be kept between a dozen and twenty because we don't wish to be overwhelmed. I'm relying on you to spread the word and to ensure it happens."
"Yes Bobbi, anything you say."
"Oh thanks. In that case could you provide me with a thoughtful report by next Wednesday midday about how your department operations, what you think about its quality of output, the way your department interacts with clients, the quality of your resources including personnel and perhaps some thoughts of where to from here."
"You mean should the agency refocus?"
"Yes. I've noticed we are not involved in direct marketing and internet advertising unless clients specifically request it. How can we perform well in those areas without specialists and the marketing of those two services?"
"Um I have no idea... um less we plan and development in those areas."
"Exactly and give me your thoughts because those areas come directly under your department of creative services. If we do push ahead could you cope?"
"Oh hell yes Bobbi. I'm the director."
Oh god, she sighed.
She left to prepare to dine out with her mother.
Next evening Bobbi went to dinner at Sue and Brian's home. She sat with Kitty on her knee playing with Bobbi's necklace beads and Sammy plucking at the front of his T-shirt told her for the third time, "You brought this for me from the South Sea Islands and no one at school has a shirt like this with so many colors."
Brian arrived with a guy and they came in and beamed at both women and both said a big hi Bobbi.
Brian got to her first to kiss her and managed to grab a piece of her butt and squeeze without being noticed, or not noticed as far as she could see.
Thomas McDowell came on to her more gently and his kiss just brushed her lips and the sexiness of his dark eyes looking down on her almost left Bobbi breathless.
"Um how's Maria?"
"The adulterous bitch is living with the guy who upset our short marriage. We divorced eight months ago and her mother says the guy has decided they shouldn't marry because they are having so much fun living the wild life."
"God you are lucky you got out of that woman's clutches."
Thomas looked at her quite shocked.
"I hadn't been prepared to think like that."
"Oh Thomas, you're not still bleeding over her are you? Face up to it, she was a bitch."