They usher me into the boardroom first, ‘After you, Love,’ says the one with the suit.
‘Yes blondie, you go on ahead,’ echoes the one with the Converse and the topknot. I do go on ahead and even giggle. Why do I always giggle?
‘Thanks,’ with my head down and the word given to all of the boardroom barbarians, those that come now and those that have come before.
‘I’ll take a double shot espresso with one sugar,’ says the one with the visitor’s badge.
‘I’ll have the same, but no sugar,’ says the one with the USB stick at the ready, ‘I’m sweet enough,’ he winks.
The coffee orders are currently stuck in the grout of the exposed brick wall, waiting for me to pick them up. I’ve already giggled once, not this time.
‘I don’t get the coffees, I write the ads.’ Yes, that ought to do it. I see the words heading towards that shiny barbarian badge like a slap. So, I giggle. Why do I always giggle? Now the words land on their laps like laced defiance.
‘Oh, you call yourself a writer, do you?’ The one with the badge. They all laugh in a cauldron cackle. ‘I thought he was the writer on this account,’ pointing at topknot Converse.
‘Yes, he is the creative lead, but I concepted this campaign with our new art director,’ firm but kind, well done. ‘She also just graduated from Award School, and with second preference.’
‘Second preference. Who got first then? I bet Market Force snapped him up quicker than you can get a coffee around here.’ The badged barbarian directs this one to the suit.
‘It was a she, actually.’ I interject. Now I’m flushed red, I can feel the heat. They told me to stay quiet until the end and look what I’ve done, admitted that two graduates developed their next campaign.
‘She was me.’ I may be red but my eye contact is strong, head still raised.
‘Yes, yes, we snagged the top two Award grads just like last year.’ The one with the USB stick protects the agency’s ego standing.
‘But I’m still head strategist and he still runs the creative department. Just sampling a bit of fresh blood for this one.’ He inserts the UBS violently.
‘You are targeting the ironic generation, after all.’ Bubble, bubble, toil, and trouble.
The presentation flashes up on the newly rendered wall: ACQUISITION OF AUDIENCE SECTOR C. FEMALES AGED 18-25.
‘Hold your horses,’ announces the badge. ‘Since when do we start a presentation before coffee?’ He flounders his arms on the boardroom glass,
‘Come on Love, fetch someone who knows how to make a good brew.’
I stay seated.
Topknot stands, ‘I’ll get Susie.’
(a flash fiction piece written in response to ‘The Barbarians Are Coming’ by Marilyn Chin)