Chapter 2:

Cooper raised his eyebrows, smiling at her. Was he flirting again? She certainly hoped so. “I wouldn’t have pegged you as someone in social media.” He said, shaking her hand.

You neither, she thought, remembering how she had pictured him up on stage. But then his words echoed in her mind. “What do you mean you wouldn’t have pegged me as someone in social media?” He hesitated, a bit embarrassed. “Are you referring to my age?” 

“No, no, it’s just, you seem so confident and put together.” Her heart skipped a beat. He still hadn’t let go of her hand. “I thought this office would be full of nerds like me.”

Kat resisted the urge to snort at him. If he was a nerd then nerds had come a long way since the movies she used to watch in the 1980s. “It’s just a front, I was up all night working on a big pitch which is happening,” she checked her phone, “about ten minutes ago.”

“And drinking wine.” He smiled at her. 

“There may have been some wine involved, but it won’t affect my performance.” 

“Okay, I’ll be watching to make sure.”

She withdrew her hand from his. “You do that.”

On her way to the conference room she wondered if anyone who worked at this company could be categorized as a nerd. Lindle Industries had started off as Anika’s YouTube channel and grown into one of the only firms in the country that could reliably deliver the holy grail of social media marketing — viral videos. Mostly reliably, Kat remembered — there was the Whip Cream Challenge disaster of 2010, where a kid had eaten shaving cream instead, sending herself to the hospital. Since then, they had avoided all types of eating challenges, but Kat didn’t take it personally. If an eight-year-old doesn’t know the difference between whip cream and shaving cream, whose fault was that?

“Okay team! Let’s get started.” Anika was at the head of the table, next to her was Ted Ames, Producer, and his ever-present scowl. He stared into his laptop, which he insisted on bringing into every meeting. His job was supposedly to bring their ideas to life on time and on budget, but to Kat he seemed to spend most of this energy shooting everything down.    

Now, there was a new client to impress.

“Dolphin Rescue,” Anika said, throwing a web page up on the screen. “This group rescues and rehabilitates injured dolphins, porpoises, and whales with as little human contact as possible so they can be reintroduced into the wild. They need to get the word out about the work they are doing.”

“A non-profit?” Ted asked.

“Yes, they don’t have much of a budget but this could get us into a whole new sector of clients if we do it right.”

“A sector with no money.” 

“Let me worry about that.” Anika turned to Kat. “What do you have for me, Dolphin squirts trainer in face? A new meme? Catchy jingle? Some kind of cetacean challenge?”

Kat took a moment to get her thoughts together. “I’m not sure our old standbys would work here. I took the initiative of doing a, um…” her mind blanked. What was the word she was going for? 

Anika was staring at her impatiently. 

Kat continued to stammer.
“Um… I did, that thing where you ask a group of people what they think.” Great job she was doing impressing Cooper.   

“A focus group?” Ted leered. 

“Yes, focus group.” What was wrong with her mind? She would worry about that later. 

She tried to recover, “For a charity project like this, the focus group reacted best to something more earnest. So I think we should go whole hog tugging on heartstrings. A rehabbed dolphin being released back into the wild, attractive host narrating. I’m thinking high production value, sweeping drone shots, that kind of thing.”

Anika thought for a bit. “That really is out of our wheelhouse.”

“Going Scorsese is great, but how will we pay for it?” Interrupted Ted. “This kind of film needs a director, cinematographer, drone cameras, actors. All very expensive. Your cell phone isn’t going to cut it here.” 

“I can direct.” Anika stared around the table, looking for other volunteers.

Cooper hesitated, “I… have some camera skills, and a drone camera we can use.”

Ted nodded. “Well that’s a start. What about our attractive on-camera talent?”

Cooper looked at Kat, a smile in his eyes. 

“I think Kat would be perfect.”


CALLING ALL WRITERS!

Vergo invites you to submit fictional short stories, or a limited chapter series, for our new feature called The Menopause Adventures.  Your heroine must be over 40 and we ask that you include some portrayal of a menopause symptom or symptoms in your story.

If your story is selected we will publish your name and short bio, along with bestowing a modest gift
– the coveted Vergo pen.

Submit your writing to: deborah@vergowoman.com

Ramona Grenier
Author

Ramona Grenier is an award-winning writer of short stories and television. Ramona's past occupations as Fry Cook, Television Producer, and Private Investigator have imbued her work with insights from all walks of life. She has a BFA in Film Writing from the University of Southern California and can be reached at monagrenier@gmail.com.

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