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.
BEAU MONDE OF PETERSBURG
Travis, twenty eight, enters an atrium like area from his office. He is well dressed in casual slacks and a short sleeve shirt, which are dressy while still sporty - look but don’t play in the dirt. A receptionist sits at a desk near the entrance. Around the atrium are arched entrances to various sections, variously labeled: DIET, SALON, DANCERCIZE, MODELING, PHOTOGRAPHY.
Travis enters the salon. There are various beauty supplies displayed in the aisle, all marked Beau Monde. As he enters, one of the beauty operators catches his eye. They discreetly smile at each other as if each has a secret.
"Anything I can help you with, Travis?" she asks.
Travis wiggles his eyebrows suggestively, then checks the register tape and moves on.
Travis enters the fitness area. A table in the walkway features exercise products, all with the name Beau Monde on them. He looks through the glass view window at the dancercize class. One of the female exercisers and he share a secretive smile. He moves on.
Travis enters the Modeling area. Tables feature portfolios and beauty products, all with the Beau Monde name. A male model is walking the runway and posing for pictures. A female model is sitting on the sidelines, waiting. She notices Travis, and the two share a secret smile. He winks and moves on.
Travis enters the atrium walking toward his office. A man waits in the reception area. Seeing Travis, he quickly walks after him, looking angry. He nails Travis at his office door, grabs him by the lapel and jerks him inside.
"I ought'a kill you!" The man seethes.
"Calm down! I don't know you," Travis protests.
"You've been fucking my wife!" The man rails back.
"I never go out with married women," Travis says indignantly.
The angry man hurriedly opens his wallet and shoves a picture in Travis’s face.
The man grabs him by the lapels again and slams him against the door. Travis's head hits the door with a thud.
"You so much as even look at her again, I'm going to prison for murder.
You understand?" He shakes Travis by his blazer lapel for emphasis.
He punches Travis in the stomach, lets him go and walks away. Travis folds and slumps to the floor, rubbing his head and clutching his stomach, unable to breathe.
Three reps, Phil, Jeanette and Sherry, are standing around the Petersburg Beau Monde meeting room in a huddle, speaking in hushed, angry tones. Travis enters. By his face, no one would know about his earlier encounter. His spirits seem high.
"Hi, everyone! Great news for sales!"
Sherry breaks away from the huddle. "Where is Linda?"
"She's.... just late, she'll be here after while. Everyone have a seat."
Everyone remains standing except Jeanette, who sits with a show of being casual, like she owns the place, and then she confronts Travis.
"She told me she was going to quit. She said she can't keep working sixty hours, she'll get sick."
"Yeah, she told me the same thing." Phil said, joining the attack.
"Fantastic news! We have a new promotion going. We have twenty percent
discounts for new members. Isn't that great? And whatever discount it takes
to get young women into fitness, do it.
"Who is going to work for Linda?" Sherry demanded to know.
"We'll work that out if she doesn't show up. Sometimes people need a break, or need to vent."
"She isn't coming, she went to work yesterday for Penneys," Phil informed Travis with certainty.
"Are you sure?" trying to create any doubt so they could get past this obstacle.
"I dropped her off," Phil said, his face showing his discomfort below his pragmatic attitude.
"Who is going to fill in for her?" Sherry asked as an accusation.
"We'll just have to do make do until I can hire a replacement."
"Yeah, you can hire them, but you can't keep them," Sherry complained. Maybe the furniture store has an opening." She quickly grabbed her things and hurried out the door in a huff.
Phil looked at the thinning ranks, then said, "So that leaves us working eighty hours each to make up for Sherry? Forget it." He calmly picked up his things, giving Travis time to come up with some response, and walked out the door.
Travis had nothing to say. They were right. He watched the meeting room door slowly close, then he looked at Jeanette, his eyes almost pleading for her to stay.
"Hey, I got a family. Don't even think of asking me to make up for those
PETERSBURG DAILY NEWS
Travis enters the Advertising Department and goes directly to the open desk of one of the sales agents. Shirley is talking on the phone. She looks up at him, smiles, and holds up one finger. She winds up her conversation and hangs up. Travis enters the cubicle with half walls that mark off Shirley’s allotted space. Her space is neat except for one corner stacked with files and magazines that belies the need for storage.
"Back already! Business must be booming," she says, as she reaches into a file cabinet for his folder.
"Or busting. I need to run my ads again. Same two."
Shirley looks in his file and pulls out two ads. "These two?"
Travis nods. "Make this help wanted ad about three times this size.
"I can make the ad bigger, but it won't look right. You need more words."
"OK, I'll call you with more B.S.
"We have new ads for selling perfume, jewelry, and bottled water." She
gives him a look that says, ‘pitiful, huh.’
Travis returns the pitiful look. "Better off dead meat."
"Maybe we can bring you better luck with the steady woman. Try personals?"
Gina is sitting behind her desk busily typing into her notebook computer. A white blazer hangs on a coat rack. She is dressed in white slacks and a white pull-over sleeveless blouse that seem to coordinate well with her frenetic pace. She types very quickly, answering each e-mail as fast as she reads it and can respond. A voice comes over the intercom.
"Yes?" she replies without missing a key.
"Travis is here."
"Send him in," she quickly responds, her voice indicating her pleasure. She feels she can’t lose with Travis - they need a sure thing and Travis is about as close as she can get. She has worked with him several times and they have always gotten along well. But what would he do if someone threw him a curve ball? How flexible is he? She feels almost… playful. Travis appears in the doorway. Gina rises and walks to meet him, beaming, expansive, then closes the door after him and shows him to a seat.
"You wanted to see me?" Travis seems a little edgy.
Gina is perplexed at his seeming dis-ease, but she continues happily, hoping her upbeat attitude will lift his spirits. "I'm screening for a new position. Are you interested?"
"Maybe. What is it?" he asks cautiously.
"We're going to start introducing our beauty clubs to corporate America.
I need people who can
Gina dials her phone.
"I've sold to corporations. I can do that."
"Margo, I have a candidate," she says into the phone. "Can we come down?" She hangs up, suppressing a smile.
"That's what I'm looking for, people who can get in the corporate door.
I'm also looking for certain.... attributes, not just sales skill.
Travis shakes his head.
"You'll be seen in every kind of clothing imaginable from bathing suits to exercise costumes.... You understand where we're coming from?"
"Image sells, and that's one quality we're looking for. We would like to see your physique, so let's go down to the examination room."
Travis, again uneasy, checks his watch to hide his unease, and counters, "Why don't we go to lunch and talk about the position."
Gina rises. "What size briefs do you wear?"
"Thirty two. Why?"
She pulls a package of briefs from a drawer and holds them up. "Posing briefs."
"Look, I - "
Gina pulls him from the chair and pushes him toward the door. "C'mon, dragging your feet makes life a drag. Dare to be daring."
MARGO'S EXAMINATION ROOM
Margo and Tracy are sitting, waiting. Margo is dressed in a sleek orange dress that goes well with her reddish hair. Covering that is a white, waist length, short sleeve lab coat. Tracy is a sporty brunette, hair styled short, wearing a white short sleeve blouse, and dark brown slacks, all seeming to emphasize her trim but muscular build, which contrasts her demure disposition. She is reserved, but she works at overcoming that trait.
The exam room is neat but well equipped, located at the rear of the headquarters complex. It is not part of the offices, but adjoins them. A box of supplies sits on the counter where it is in process of being put away. Adjoining the exam room through double open doors is the posing area, followed by the sports and fitness center. Anyone who is injured in the fitness area can be easily brought into the exam room on a stretcher. Gina and Travis enter.
"Hi, Margo," Travis says, and he waves to Tracy, who he doesn't know.
Gina introduces him. "You know Margo Beauchesne, our Company Physician, Fitness Specialist -"
Travis interrupts, continuing, "Cosmetologist, Doctor of everything."
"Everything beautiful," Margo amends.
Gina turns to Tracy. "And this is Margo's new assistant, Tracy Vonderlagge,
Gina points Travis to a screened area and holds out the briefs.
Travis takes a deep breath and doesn’t budge from his spot. "I don't
see why I have to go
Margo, puzzled at this new measure, looks at Gina. Gina appears to be all business. Whatever Gina is up to, she will be supportive. "This is the only opportunity for thrills we workaholics get."
"I pose in my own club, you know."
"Kenrick's rules," Gina replies flatly. "We need to make sure you didn't
develop a pot
Travis imitates Arnold Swartzenegger. "I'm not-a bo-dy build-er."
Tracy can see the point to this - it seems fair. "If it was a female
candidate, you would be
"You get him, Tracy," Margo encourages. "We look for proportion and muscle tone. Shaping exercises make fit and beautiful bodies."
"I think I've seen that in our ads." Travis is held in place by the conversation.
Gina adds the final argument. "Your body is our best advertising. A sleek body means you use the club."
Travis hesitates while the three women stare at him expectantly. Finally he reaches for the briefs. Just then a man comes out from behind the screen in posing briefs. The three women share a smile between themselves and Travis. Travis breathes a sigh of relief. Gina pulls the briefs over his head.
They turn their attention to the man and look at him from different angles.
"What do you think?" Gina asks.
"Something isn't right," Margo replies.
Gina roughs his hair. Shakes her head. "Hair needs styled."
Tracy is circling, examining his physique. "Nice pecs, muscular, not flabby. Good round buns. Flex your leg."
The man flexes his leg.
"Well proportioned, not excessively defined," Margo states.
Tracy spots the problem, puts her hand on her hip and cocks her head.
"You're standing there like a thirteen year old girl who just discovered
she has breasts. It's throwing your entire body off.
The man thrusts his hips slightly forward, at first awkwardly, going too far, then just slightly and more confidently.
Gina observes from the side. "That's it. That's the physique we want.
You pass the first
Gina, Margo, and Tracy shake their head. Travis grabs the posing briefs from Gina and begins taking off his shirt. Tracy comes forward with a bottle of liquid makeup and starts smearing it over his face, neck, chest and hands. He smiles at her as she does so, and she tries to stay professional, but responds.
A photographer, Fred, is just finishing a shoot with a female model on an exercise machine. The model is dressed in a sleek but brief green and white spandex sport suit, cut off at the calf. Fred has tousled dark gray hair and wears a black turtleneck shirt and loose fitting black slacks. Gina, Travis, and Tracy enter. Travis has redressed in his sport jacket.
Fred is moving around the room with the camera glued to his eye, and
clicking pictures as he speaks to her. "Don't open your legs so wide, we
want to suggest it, not photograph it. That's better, now make it look
painful.... now show us you like it.... give me a painful but ‘oh so sweet’
Fred checks his film counter, then turns to Gina, wary of her.
"This lady is going to sell equipment," he gushes. "I think we should
make her exclusive
Fred's gush disappears and his face looks troubled. "I suppose you want something?" he says dejectedly.
"I've been shooting all morning - right through lunch. My next shoot is right now - some guy you sent down. Can this wait?"
Gina shakes her head no. Fred shrugs.
"I'll send for lunch, Fred," Gina volunteers. "Give Travis a test."
Fred's enthusiasm is history. "OK, Travis, get out there, keep your jacket on, give me some poses."
Travis hesitantly walks on stage as Fred drags the exercise cycle out of the way. After a moment he tries a couple of poses. Fred watches but doesn't click the camera.
"OK, take off your coat, dangle it over your shoulder. Then look at Gina. Focus on her," Fred directs.
Travis does that and Fred snaps a couple of shots. "This isn't working,
people," Fred drones. "Poise is way off, no presence.
"How's that?" Travis asks.
Gina has no patience for what is happening. Fred's energy left with the model, and Hess about to let Travis fall flat on his face. Travis, who knows very well how to do this, and has probably posed with more models than any of them, has caught Fred's negative energy and has become helpless.
"I'll help," Gina asserts, and enters the stage.
Travis obediently straightens, feeling more at ease. "This will be something to tell my next client - nerves, atmosphere - how to overcome it."
"OK, chase me around the stage," Gina invites, and begins backing away. "Don't catch me, just have fun doing it."
They trek around the stage a few times. Gina pantomimes slow motion and Travis follows her lead. Fred gets several shots. They quit and Tracy hands him a silk shirt with an open front. He puts it on.
"OK, back to center," Tracy teases. "Stand up straight. Head back, it will bring your shoulders with it. That's good."
Travis laughs at her, enjoying her good-natured teasing. Their eyes linger on each other.
"Now keep your focus on me," Gina interrupts them. "Put your hips forward
a little, now
Travis smiles at her, as she backs slowly away, and he ambles after her.
"Put just a little bounce in that walk," Gina directs. "Put your hands in your pockets."
"Think happy, Travis," Tracy suggests. Travis creates a smile.
"No, that's cheesy," Gina scolds. "You've just been laid and you're
on cloud nine." Travis looks happy.
Gina is jolted by his look. "Wow! Hold that and look at the camera.
Gina is standing behind her desk, all smiles, and Travis is seated in front.
"What do you think?" Gina asks.
"I already know what working for you is like. I like corporate accounts. What's not to like?"
"I feel really good about you, I'm going to submit your name."
Gina walks around the desk as if to shake his hand, but instead takes his face in her hands and looks directly into his eyes.
"We're going to work very closely. The life of this company depends
on how well we do. Commitment is a two way street. You try hard for me,
I'll never let you down. But one
Travis is momentarily startled. No one has ever done that to him before. He is unnerved. Speechless. Gina shakes his hand and he hardly notices. He walks toward the door, but Gina’s voice stops him.
Gina has an impish grin on her face. She is going to test his truthfulness immediately. "Who were you thinking about when you got that seductive look on your face?"
Travis hesitates a moment, then replies, "I can't lie, so.... better just to be quiet."
"Don't start that. Let's keep things open - no secrets. Was it Tracy, or someone from the past?"
Travis sighs. "The reason for the seductive look.... it was you."
Gina thoughtfully watches him leave. She wonders why she left herself open for that possibility. Why did she even ask - now it only complicates things. Travis was fun, she had to admit, in fact she suddenly felt alive and she had more fun playing with Travis than she had had in a long time. No, no, no, she couldn’t go down that path - complications, no time, rechanneling sexual energy, company rules, and on and on.
Next: 3 Problems