Movie Critiques
Top 20 Problems
Human Condition
What Kind World?
Read for Fun
Home Page
Reference Shelf
Story Ideas
*Dynamic page: subject to change
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1998, Dorian Scott Cole


Travis is on the phone to his secretary making flightarrangements. 

OK, and Jennifer, please make sure

this time they don't put me behind

a bulkhead on the plane. There is

no place to put a briefcase, so

I can't work.

Kenrick enters.
So, where are you off to?
Tampa. I'm going to go study the

town and see if it is ripe for our

corporate clubs, maybe make some

initial contacts.

Sounds good. I wondered when you

would hit Florida, it isn't just

retirees down there.

Have you given any thought to 

adding more sales people?

Yes, I have ads in some regional

papers. And, I was thinking maybe

about Mark. He needs a change, 

and it might be right for him.

Hmmm. You know, we've had one go

around with him and it wasn't good.

I gave Mark a nice plumb and I've 

let him suck on it as long as he 

stays productive.

Is he in exile?
His potential is.... limited. 

Travis, you need to start thinking

a little more shrewdly. We don't

want all these people hanging 

around forever, they just aren't

productive. And some old prune

face like me doesn't really attract

the younger crowd - the ones that

buy all of our products. So if they

are like you and have a lot of 

potential, we move them up. If not,

they're a dime a dozen and we move

them out. Give them way too much to 

do and they leave. So give a little

thought to the company you keep.

Kenrick exits and closes the door. Travis throws his pen at the door.


Gina is watching a TV program and fighting to stay awake.


Gina opens the door. Travis is standing there. She gives him an incredulous look and lets him in.



Travis, you shouldn't be here.
I know. I need someone to talk to.
Sure. Have a seat.

Travis sits.

I had a meeting with Kenrick today.

He told me basically that most of

the staff out there is a dime a

dozen and we're supposed to overwork

them until they leave.

I've heard that before. That 

doesn't mean I do it.

I thought about that, Gina. But

you know, that's the way Kenrick

makes us work it. He controls the

number of employees and the new

assignments. So he is the one who

does the overworking. We're just

the people in the middle who make

it work.

OK, but why has this come up now?

It didn't make any difference 


I talked to Mark yesterday. I told

him I could use him for expansion.

I told Kenrick today I might want

to use Mark. He said forget it, 

Mark was one of the dime a dozen

people. This stinks.

Does Mark want the job?
Probably not. But what if he does?
Find a reason to tell him no.
Gina, I'm not a saint, I can lie, 

but now I see the importance of 

this to Mark's life. Mark can do 

it. But Kenrick has this 

artificial system that weeds him 

out. I feel like instead of selling

a dishwasher, I'm selling a marketing

concept. It's an illusion, It won't 

actually wash the dishes.

We're mixed up in people's lives.

Who do we think we are messing up

people's lives like that?

What do you want me to say, we're

all creeps? Our entire system is 

going to fall down around our ears

because we're selective and not 

everyone can make it? You're 

letting Mark get to you. Life is

worth the effort, and Mark and you

and everyone else find ways to deal 

with it.

Travis throws a pillow at her, rises and paces.
Damn it, Gina. How can we put 

people through this - overworking

people and destroying their dreams.

Is this what managers do? What are

we the supreme seducers? The 

Temple prostitutes that keep people

serving the business gods?

Travis sees the pain in Gina's eyes.

(Starts in whisper, grows vehement)
Yeah. Yeah, sometimes this is what

we do. No matter how much it hurts

us or how much we think it is false

and unrealistic, we keep pumping 

them up. It doesn't make any 

difference if we're the nicest 

people and the best managers, we

still have this job to do. Because

somehow, aside from right or wrong

or any other concern, we've got to

keep things going so we all survive.

Are we seducers? We're

sales people times ten. No matter

what happens, we seduce our people

into running the race every day, 

giving everything they have, even if

they're exhausted. And when all is 

said and done, the people who work 

for us wouldn't have it any other 


Travis rises, shaking his head.
I don't know, Gina, this really 

opened my eyes. I keep asking 

myself, what am I doing to make it


If we're not part of the cure, we're

part of the problem.

Yes, exactly.

Travis heads for the door.

Thanks, Travis! I haven't been 

depressed for months. You're not 

going to leave me like this - Where

do you think you're going?

(Devilish grin)
I'm going to grab a handful of 

friends and go out and get stinking

drunk and bemoan our fates and 

commiserate until dawn. Then I'll

put my smile back on and go do my


Gina gives him a perplexed look.
Irrational acts are the only way to

handle irrational demands.

Wait, I'm coming with you.

The room is full of staff members, including Kenrick, Margo, Mark, Tracy, Troy, Gina, and Travis. Travis is speaking to the group.

So for the foreseeable future, I'm

going to spend most of my time in

the air, and I hope to have every

major city in the U.S. hit by one

of our sales people within the next

twelve months. If you know of 

anyone who wants a sales job, please

send them my way.

The audience claps as Travis takes his seat. Kenrick standsbefore them.
Speaking for us all, we wish you 

the best of luck, Travis. You have

certainly done a magnificent job.

Our last speaker, and certainly not

the least, is our long time 

physician and adviser, and sure to 

be for many years, Margo Beauchesne.

The audience claps again as Margo steps before them.

My topic today is very related to

beauty, and is one very close to me

personally. It's directed at the 

people I work with. I'm talking

about stress and the specific 

effects of overworking.

Margo switches on a projector and a picture of the backbone appears on screen.
The process of wear begins early.

For example, each bone in the spine

is separated by cushions, or discs,

which allow the spine to turn and to

absorb shocks. However, this tissue

isn't fed by blood vessels and has 

to regenerate from the fluid in the 

spinal column. 

This system isn't especially 

effective, and for most of us we 

lose more cells than we gain by 

around age twenty. 

A picture of a body, and cells multiplying, comes on.


At age thirty five, our entire body

has become like our spine. For one

reason or another, none of our cells

are replaced as fast as they are 


SHOT: Kenrick smiling.
Fortunately we all have terrific 

support systems in today's world

that allow us to take full 

advantage of our body's healthy

years. Vitamins, exercise, rest,

sex, companionship and proper 

medical attention all help.

But if we get too caught up in

our jobs and forget these things,

We pay a price for the richness of 

a full life. Right now, today, is

the time, especially for you, Travis,

to make sure our jobs don't take 

too much from us.

SHOT: Kenrick's smile fades. 

An image appears on screen showing mechanical things in motion and corresponding body sites. A fraying cable used to lift a block is shown next to nerve and muscle fibers. A water hose with mineral deposits clogging it, next to a beating heart and blood vessels. Old, dirty oil draining from a machine, next to it a cell.

Stress hastens the dying process.

It simply means we overwork our 

physical bodies, either through

repeated activity, lack of rest, or

too much mental stimulation.

The symptoms show up as physical

problems that won't go away, and

depression, lack of energy, and even

death. Let me show you.

Mark is leaning forward with great interest. On the screen the fraying cable becomes magnified and rocks back and forth over a pulley.
All mechanical things wear and break

from use. Our muscles and nerves 

are no different. Overuse without

allowing the body time to repair,

causes muscles to thin or to tunnel. 

Mental stress causes muscles to stay 

tight, or spasmed, causing the same


Even nerve fibers can fray from

too much flexing in one position.

They can become raw and irritated,

or actually break strands.

The cable frays apart and the block falls with a resounding thud. Mark jumps. Kenrick notes Mark's reaction and the other's intent interest. He turns on the lights and turns off the projector.
Well, that's certainly interesting,

Margo, and thanks for your 


It's almost over, just another 

picture or two.

Well, we all certainly know how to

take care of ourselves. And you 

know, it's the quality of life that

is important, not the quantity. So

we get a little tired occasionally,

but it's worth the effort.

I would like to see this. I'm new


This is really interesting. I can

give it a couple of minutes.

I wouldn't mind seeing it myself.
Well, I'm outvoted. Margo, please

continue with my blessing. I'll

hold down the fort.

Kenrick walks to the exit and turns off the lights, but instead of going out, he slides into the background. Someone turns the projector on. The water hose expands to fill the screen, showing the passage through it nearly completely restricted with mineral deposits.
Water contains minerals that 

sediment out and grow like 

stalactites inside pipes. As

a result, the pipe becomes 

clogged and will no longer pass


The blood vessels in our bodies
have a similar problem. Certain

minerals cling to the walls of the

arteries and plug them. 

Some things accelerate this. For

example: high blood pressure, which

can come from stress from living a

full life, tends to cause roughness

in the arteries that accelerates 


These deposits not only make it

harder for the body to replenish 

itself, it also makes the vessels

brittle and much more easily broken.

The hose breaks with a loud crack, allowing water to flow everywhere. Mark winces.
When this happens, it is usually

in the brain and causes a stroke.

The screen changes to a machine with dirty oil, side by side with a cell.


The oil in a machine we can change,

so it gets fresh oil to make it

run smoothly. But the individual 

cells of our body, we are powerless

to clean. Over time, our cells 

succumb to buildups from by-products

of cell activity. This includes

formaldehyde, a preservative, which

stops cell activity. 

The screen goes blank. 
We are all victims, to some extent,

of stress. It's part of living, 

and it takes its toll on all of us. 

But sometimes it hits some harder 

than others, burning us out 

physically and mentally. As your

physician, I can help.

If you are having continuous 

trouble fighting viruses, or if you

have continuous muscle problems, or

ulcers and heartburn, or ringing in

the ears, joint pain, or are losing 

your feeling sensation, don't let it

destroy the quality of your life. 

Come and see me before it's too late.

Beauty starts on the inside.


Travis is returning from the meeting and is putting away notes. Mark appears in the doorway.

Mark, hi! Come on in.
Do you have time for a word with me?
Sure. Anytime.
I've been thinking over what you

said, and you're right. I've been

blaming others instead of taking

control of my own life. I think

it's time for a change. I would 

like to help with the expansion.

There's no really easy way to tell

you this. I already put your name

forward in a staff meeting. The 

consensus was, right now is not the

time to put you on the road. So

maybe in a few months.

But now is the time! I know it.

Travis, don't put me out to pasture,

I can do the work and I need the 

challenge. Margo's presentation 

made me see what all this negative

stress is doing to me, and it's all

because of the situation I've kept

myself in. Travis, give me a chance.

Mark, this is tearing me up. I 

really want to, but I can't. What

we need to see is just a few months

of consistent performance out there

and I think I can swing it.

Mark studies him for a moment, then turns bitter.
Well, I'm not going to beg.
Mark quickly leaves Travis' office.
Next: 10 disintegration

Main Page

Page URL: