PRIEST OF SALES
D. Scott Cole
Based on characters and ideas from
Priest of Sales
By D. Scott Cole
Copyright 1993, 1994, 1998, 1999
Dorian Scott Cole
Contact: Primary Contact.
This is a story that I wrote just for fun, and I haven't tried to market it or make it "visual." It's a bit cerebral, so it's long on dialogue. It developed out of some experimental writing I did to stretch my writing skills. The original story is set in a futuristic world where I could develop some themes with greater freedom. I then took the same characters and their problems and reset them in the world of today. It is Gina's spiritual quest, Travis's sexual struggle, and Mark's quest for fulfillment. Gina's sexual struggle is a symbol of her spiritual growth.
This screenplay is not an example of my writing and should not be used as a demonstration of concepts described on this web site.
This story is not for everyone. It deals with mature sexual themes. It deals with spirituality in ways that some may not feel comfortable with. But the themes are fully developed and worth reading. If you enjoy it, please let me know. Primary Contact.
Note: This story is rated due to mature sexual themes and some language. Scenes which some might find objectionable have hyperlink bypasses. There is no pornography or X rated material in this story or on this web site.
The poem recited in this story is remembered from my childhood. Through the Internet, I located the poem recently at the Detroit News Web site, Halloween article. The author is unknown. The poem in its entirety is much more unpleasant than the few lines recited here, but if you want a jolt, follow this link.
Priest of Sales
by Dorian Scott Cole
Copyright Ó 1993, 1994, 1998, 1999
The grave-digger’s song - that night.
The night is cold and silent and the ghostly gray-white grave-stones mock us in the faint moon-light. They are stone, we are frail flesh and blood, and they will sit upon our empty shells, holding us in our appointed place, silently speaking to us that we are mortal, finite, captives of time and place and of so much soil and stone.
As we walk forward, we cannot make our way through the stones without bumping into them or tripping over them - immovable, immutable testimony - mock, mock, mock - our time is coming and they wait patiently for us. Time is our enemy. The stone-cold grave becomes home to us all.
So suddenly, so soon the end comes, and the stones seem to ask, "What might we have left unfinished?"
The darkness and the stones close around us now, forcing us to see that there is no escape. What we have left unfinished will forever remain so. What joys we seek, experiences we hunger after, loves we wish to fulfill - their passion suddenly stilled, cold as the night around us, silent as the stones.
But it isn’t our time. Ahead glows a tiny light. We walk slowly toward it. It is so tiny, frail, the tiniest whisp of air would extinguish it, but it is all we can see - the only point toward which to go, the only hope. After many painful reminders of our fragile existence, we finally reach a macabre scene. Time has found another, too suddenly, too soon. We observe, but we are not compelled to help - we gaze at the scene with curiosity born of the feeling that the one lying there could be us, and so what is to happen to her… and us?
In an open casket over an open grave lies a very attractive twenty-nine year old woman, dressed in a wedding gown, with eyes wide open. Kenrick, the undertaker, wearing a black cape and a black stovepipe hat, comes toward the grave with a candle in a metal carrier lighting his way. He stops and looks at her face in the candle light, and then speaks to her. His voice and words drip false sincerity.
"I'm so sorry, Gina, no one came to mourn. I left the lid open as long as I could, but it's past midnight and no one is coming. It's too late. It's too late, Gina. Too late."
He closes the casket and begins to lower it into the ground. As he lowers it he begins to smile and say a sing-song poem.
"Don't you laugh as the hearse goes by
Gina begins to cry and beat on the inside of the casket. But the undertaker is singing too loudly to notice.
"The undertaker takes you in
Gina pounds and cries louder, terror in her eyes.
"Please, don't leave me here alone," she pleads fervently. "I'm not really dead, I just look dead."
The undertaker hears her but the casket has reached the bottom and he begins throwing dirt.
"It's your time. You can't come back to life, Gina, they won't let you." He continues singing.
"The worms crawl in,
Gina continues pounding and shouting in terror. Kenrick ignores her and continues throwing more dirt on the casket and it is nearly covered.
"I'm not dead! Please don't make me die."
Gina wakes, screaming, and sits up in bed, gasping for air. Catching her breath, she stumbles to the bathroom and splashes cold water on her face.
"Please, God, don't destroy me like you did my father."
BEAU MONDE OF NICHOLASVILLE
Beau Monde is "beautiful day" in French. It sums up the philosophy of Beau Monde Enterprises - make all things beautiful so that it is a beautiful day in all ways human. Their buildings reflect their philosophy - they are spacious and grandly appointed, well architected and beautiful without being extravagant. The beauty of nature is built into the architectural plans, and welcomes the visitor as well as the employee in the atrium that functions as a foyer to the several beautification venues.
Gina enters the atrium and signs in with the receptionist near the entrance. Around the atrium are arched entrances to various sections, each labeled: DIET, SALON, DANCERCIZE, MODELING, PHOTOGRAPHS. Gina walks toward the Dancercize entrance where Mark stands, late thirties, figure of a male model.
A class is in progress. Mark is watching an instructor, Arabella, through the view window. Gina hesitates for a moment. She is unprepared for meeting with Mark. She doesn’t know how he will react to her, even though the affair was nearly a year ago. They have avoided contact, except for business meetings. She collects herself and goes forward.
"Hello, love," she says with just a touch of sarcasm.
Mark sighs and turns toward her with a sour expression.
"Hello, Gina. Why can't you just call me Mark like everyone else."
"Part of me still likes you - part of me still wants to kill you. Which part would you rather see?" Gina says this sweetly, but you can taste the bitterness behind it.
Mark holds his tongue.
Gina, responding to Mark’s restraint, drops the bitterness, and asks hopefully, "One of those ladies your new love?"
"No, just watching Arabella. Business major. She also works sales," he says matter-of-factly, but then he continues enthusiastically, "she loves it all. Give her six months, she'll have my job."
This news almost makes Gina forget her feelings toward Mark. "Great! With business declining, we need new blood." The moment hangs as they look at each other. They are beyond the uncomfortable first encounter that both of them have been dreading. Gina looks toward the office.
"We have a new beauty product promotion coming. Let's go to your office
and I'll explain it to you."
MARGO'S EXAMINING ROOM
Gina is sitting on the examination table and Margo is listening to her heartbeat.
"Your heart sounds OK, Gina. Have you talked to your own physician?"
Gina expected that question, and she dodged it. "Oh, that takes too much time. I see you all the time."
"Thanks for your confidence, but I do fitness and cosmetology consulting and an occasional physical. That's no substitute for regular medical care."
"What do you think is happening to me?"
Margo takes off her stethoscope and begins putting her physicians tools away. She carefully considers Gina.
"Sometimes the heart skips beats. It could have a lot of causes, some
serious, some not.
Gina smiles and considers saying everything is fine. But Margo is her confidant as well as physician, and she didn’t come to see Margo just to pass pleasantries and pretend. Her smile fades.
"I'm tired most of the time."
Margo's face shows greater concern as she picks up a lighted tool and looks in Gina's eyes.
Gina replies, "No, I'm happy enough. I just can't sleep."
"No time for that."
"So you're still repressing your sexual desires?" Margo quickly shoots back.
"Rechanneling sexual energy, Margo. They're not…" Gina makes a face
of distaste, "pent up!" She is tired of hearing Margo’s theories about
Margo studies her for a moment, then says, "Honey, I don't interpret dreams. But when you start repressing your natural desires, your body thinks it is dead. If you don’t use it, you lose it - it dies."
Margo again begins putting her instruments away, as if satisfied she has identified Gina’s problem.
"I never have time to figure my dreams out myself, " Gina complains.
"If you won't take time for yourself, your self will demand attention,
even if it has to shut you down." Margo lets that sink in for a moment,
then gets to one of her big items of interest about Gina.
"Last week. I fell into a trance, in one of the club hot tubs. Scared three people half to death. They thought I had cooked too long." Gina smiles at herself, obviously pleased by other’s reaction to her.
Margo replies with a scientific analysis, which she has obviously thought a lot about. "I suspect your endorphin levels are high and you get depressed when they are normal. It fits your personality. Your endorphins can change your heart rate, you know."
Thoroughly unimpressed by Margo’s scientific reasoning, Gina dismisses the tired analysis Margo has been building on for years. "Oh, you blame everything on my endorphins. Just give me a pill or something that will keep me from killing myself like my father did." The words about her father slip out like they are just a natural part of conversation.
Margo stops at the words about Gina’s father and studies her very seriously for a moment. As a scientist, she sees what is bothering Gina, but she replies as a friend. "Is that what this is all about?"
Gina shrugs noncommittally.
"Gina, you have to slow down. Pills won't keep you beautiful, they'll make you old. Get more rest. Relax a little and.... take time to interpret your dreams. Go in the other room and let Tracy give you a facial."
Gina laughs. "Margo, there is no time. This organization is falling apart. I can't keep sales people because they have to work double shifts to sell enough memberships to make a living. I'm working twenty-six hours a day keeping the managers motivated and doing special recruiting and membership drives. And now I can't sleep at night. Now, really what can I do?" Gina’s laughter has turned to frustration and anger.
"Hire some good help and spend as much time as possible in a trance. I hear they're very refreshing."
Margo continues more seriously. "Honey, I can't stand to see my people do this to themselves. Sixty to ninety percent of visits to physicians are stress related and you’re trying to drive up that number. You keep going like this and you're going to be a burned out hulk at thirty-five. My best advice: fall in love."
Gina shrugs. She has been burned by love. She has no time for love. Margo’s prescription is like prescribing swimming for a cat.
"I guess I'll keep on keeping on. God won't have me and the devil ain't
no kind of friend."
GINA'S HOUSE - NIGHT
Gina is sitting on the floor by herself in a meditative position, in a walk-in closet size room with mirrors on the walls, ceiling, and floor. It gives the effect of being suspended in space.
"Please God, open my mind so I can understand my dream."
She opens her eyes and turns on a computer screen, which is reflected by mirrors. A screen saver image comes on and is reflected in all the glass surfaces, filling the room, making it appear she is surrounded by a slowly mutating field of brightly colored images. She stares into the mirror at the image.
She whispers the poem sung by the undertaker.
"Don't you laugh as the hearse goes by,
Kenrick’s image with the black hat and cape appear on the mirrored surfaces, but fade as he talks.
I'm sorry, no one came. We have to put you in the ground now.
"I'm not really dead, I just look dead," Gina mumbles.
Kenrick is happily insistent. "It's your time."
"But I'm not dead!" Gina angrily replies. She can’t see any reason why death should raise its ugly specter now. She is healthy. Fit. Loves her job. Why?
Kenrick’s image has gone, and his voice fades as he speaks, mocking her with a truth he keeps hidden from her for completely incomprehensible reasons.
"You can't come back to life,
Gina returns with a start and a gasp.
"Who won't let me?
"What does it mean?
She looks at the blank monitor and the mirrors, willing the image to return, but the mirrors are silent. She sighs and turns off the computer.
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
She throws a shoe at the mirrored wall and leaves to the living room.
Gina walks into the living room and turns on the T.V., and then idly flicks through the channels. Very little is on. The clock above the TV says one o'clock. She lies on the sofa and closes her eyes, trying to sleep. But she is too distraught.
The commercial for family books goes off and a televangelist is on, dressed in shiny gold clothing and gold shoes. A mural of a golden stairway winding upward to a golden throne fills the background. To Gina it is a circus atmosphere. The evangelist continues his sermon.
"And I swear on His Holy Word, God struck me dumb. I couldn't talk. I couldn't say the first word. I got down on my knees and prayed. I said, ‘God, how do you expect me to preach your Holy Word if you've struck me dumb? "
"Then I remembered, if it pleases God, he can speak through the mouth of an ass. So I said, you know, maybe I'm missing the point here. Maybe God is trying to give me a message. So I looked around me -
Gina switches to the public access channel. An atheist, Sir Winston, is sitting comfortably in a large leather chair, opposite a moderator. The rear wall is filled with books.
"Just what proof do you offer, Sir Winston, that religion is a loaded weapon in the hands of psychopaths?"
"My good man, just a brief glance at history is enough to convince the most stalwart of believers."
"Take, for example, the Inquisition. The Church in its glorious wisdom,"
he sarcastically emphasized glorious, sounding for a moment like the evangelist,
"and, oh, its ‘infinite’ love, and we must not forget, of course, ‘forgiveness,’
burned its mystics, those poor souls of deepest illumination, and its scientists,
its very own brilliant scientists, many who were clerics, its theologians
- anyone who dared to illuminate mankind - branded them heretics and witches
Gina switches channels. A psychic, Madam Destiny appears.
"I feel.... feel this period of searching is coming to an end for you.
Thanks so much you for calling, Madam Destiny. Next caller, please.
WOMAN CALLER (V.O.)
"Oh, yes, and I do hope you have an answer for me. I have a little dog, and he seems to be having nightmares."
"What is your dogs birth date?"
WOMAN CALLER (V.O.)
"We're not sure. He was a stray."
"What is your dog's name?"
WOMAN CALLER (V.O.)
"I'm not receiving any vibrations with that name. Does he go by any other name?
WOMAN CALLER (V.O.)
"Well, yes, but I can't tell you that name over the air."
(The woman giggles)
"What makes you think your dog is having nightmares?"
WOMAN CALLER (V.O.)
He is perfectly still and then he begins moving his legs and blinking his closed eyes, and trembling, as if he is running, afraid for his life.
"What is your name?"
WOMAN CALLER (V.O.)
(Beat - sensing the ether)
"Have no fear. Little Poochy is just chasing rabbits in his dreams.
Gina sighs and changes stations to the Televangelist.
"As I lay there prostrate on the floor, I began to see heaven open and a golden stairway reach up to it. God himself sat on a golden throne and He pointed to me and said, ‘build My stairway.’ And when the vision was gone, I could speak again."
Gina makes a gagging face and changes stations to the Atheist.
"During these Crusades, the Church battled these heathen foreign cultures, conquered them, subjugated them, inflicted misery after misery on them.
"When the New World was discovered, the Church continued with its massacre,
killing the so
"Today the plundering continues with televangelists lining their pockets
with millions in a circus
"What proof do I have that religion is a loaded weapon in the hands of psychopaths? I ask you, who are the real heathen in history?"
"So, Sir Winston, if you don't believe in God, tell us where you stand
on an issue like loving your
Gina mumbles, "Yeah, Sir Winston, tell us. All the world that can’t sleep wants to know."
"An old serpent worshiping, pygmy cannibal in East Africa that I met in 1930 had a decent perspective on it. He said, as he popped a toe into his mouth, "Missionary meat is a little stringy, but God always provides."
Gina switches back to the televangelist. A telephone number is flashing at the bottom of the screen.
God has called me to build a golden staircase to heaven, for all who
would be saved. I need
A telephone number blinks mesmerizingly on the screen as the preacher turns away from the camera and walks up the long golden staircase. Gina shakes her head, and finally switches the set off. Finally she puts her hand on the phone and sits for a moment, and sighs in desperation.
"Oh, what the Hell," she says, and dials the phone.
"Rev. Ehler," a male voice answers.
"Reverend, this is Gina Lastrada."
"Ready to put your name on the stairway to Heaven?"
Gina winces, but continues. "Actually I was wondering if you could help
me. You seem to know a
"Did God speak to you?" he asked patiently.
"Then I doubt I can help you," he replied matter-of-factly.
Gina hurried on, determined that somehow, someway she was going to drag some help out of this man. "I dream this man is burying me, and I'm not dead. I plead with him, but he buries me anyway."
The Reverend hesitates, obviously wary of getting into any kind of dream interpretation, especially over the phone. But Gina’s insistent voice prevents him from hanging up. Finally he asks, "Are you afraid of death?"
"I.... I don't know."
"Everyone has an emptiness inside of them that can only be filled by God." Having fulfilled his obligation, he continues like a salesman in a parking lot. "You can fill that emptiness by giving - by helping to build God's golden stairway to Heaven."
Gina is immediately wary - she knows the sales game all too well. "Sure. What denomination are you?"
"I'm a Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Independent."
Gina is hesitant. Melchizedek rings a bell from sometime in all those years her mother dragged her to church school. Who is she to argue with a minister. "Uh......"
Quick to play the guilt card, the Rev. goes on the offensive. "I'm insulted,
you act like you
"I think I'll.... just trust myself, you know, like you - a Priest after
the order of Melchizedek." She drops the telephone into its cradle, looks
at the clock, groans, and pulls a pillow over her head.
GINA'S OFFICE - DAY
Gina's office is spacious, appropriate to a glamour profession, with several plants around the room and small statuettes, including a tree and a glass desk. Popular rock music plays softly in the background. Pictures on the wall include people exercising and a mystical picture of an obscure subject. Gina rushes in, obviously late, puts her purse away and slips into her chair behind her desk.
Jordan Wells walks in carrying pictures of an office complex.
"Good morning, Gina. Traffic heavy?" he asks cheerfully.
"Good morning, Jordan. I can't sleep anymore and it's killing me." Gina slips into her desk chair and taps a key on her notebook computer, turning it on. Jordan rests the pictures on her desk.
"Better look lively. Kenrick is on the warpath." He smiles at her as he flips through cardboard backed pictures. Gina doesn’t look up, she is typing on the computer, getting her e-mail.
"What's wrong now?" she asks, as if it means nothing to her.
"Sales are still falling." Jordan continues as if sales mean nothing. "I got the drawings illustrating our new corporate beauty concept."
Jordan turns the group of pictures facing her, with just a touch of fanfare. Gina flops back in her chair, feigning interest, but wearily.
"This office complex is typical of many in the area. Our Corporate beauty
station could fit nicely
Jordan’s enthusiasm completely misses Gina - she is too accustomed to sales hype and too tired to look for genuineness. "Has Kenrick decided to call it a Fitness or a Beauty Station?" she asks as if she is weary from some great struggle.
"Still undecided. I think he's waiting on our Sales Manager's input." He gives her a look that places the ball back in her court.
"I'm too tired to think!" Gina quickly replies in defense.
She continues, working on the subject. "Fitness Station? Beauty Station? We need to get beautiful people worked in there someway."
She switches to the environment. "Now, what about these ten story goliaths around town? How would we fit in there? How do you make your presence felt nestled into some office on the tenth floor?"
"We take a suite nearby," Jordan replies patiently. "People drop their kids off for baby sitting, executives pop in for exercise and massage, office workers spend noon there jogging." He looks at her, mystified that she doesn’t see the possibilities.
Gina realizes she is slipping, but she continues to defend herself with her next question. "It sounds good on paper. But will it sell? What do you think, Jordan? Are corporations really going to buy into this thing?"
"This is it, Gina, corporate beauty, fitness, is the wave of the future,"
Jordan responds enthusiastically. "We can't coax men into the clubs so
we go where they are. We pick big
Gina responds to his enthusiasm. She smiles, and it feels good. Jordan appreciates the smile. He is the main architect of this expansion plan, and his derriere is on the line. "I'm recruiting sales people," she replies, a smug smile on her face as if she was just teasing Jordan. "All I need is authorization to hire?"
"Get your key players, you've got the go sign. Kenrick is so hot on this, he's talking like we already have the organization in place. But you know Kenrick, don't get ahead of him -
"Get ahead of him!" Gina interrupts. "He's talking about opening night
clubs next. I'm so far behind God will never let me die."
Kenrick pokes his head in the door. We recognize him - the undertaker in Gina's dream.
"Repent, sinner. It will all go away," Kenrick teases.
They share a smile.
"Hire people from within the organization first."
Gina nods in agreement. "I think we should have a look at Travis McPherson. He has the best sales record in the company, and he's close - Petersburg."
Next: 2 Travis