A man is forced to wear a sweater vest.
|Scott Hinderliter took a long look at himself in the mirror and couldn’t help but feel smug. He was attractive, extremely well built and bedecked in an expensive suit. “Dudes who look this sharp are successful by nature” He thought. “There’s no way I can fail.”
The biggest family in hip hop had contacted Scott’s PR firm for a rep. Scott’s boss had selected him to take the job. He drove to the mansion with the top down in his ridiculously expensive Mercedes. Heads turned to watch him drive by. He could see a couple of beautiful women stare with their mouths agape, he watched in the rear view mirror as they whispered something between them after he passed. He was often mistaken for some sort of celebrity.
Arrival at the mansion was complicated. He had to check in with the guard, but his name was not on the list of expected appointments. “I’m with Prestige PR, the family set up a meeting with us at 10:30.” He entreated the duo of guards. They didn’t look swayed. “Do you have ID from Prestige?” they asked, already assuming he didn't.
“No.” Scott answered sheepishly, in spite of himself. In the 12 years he had worked for the firm, Scott had never been asked for ID. “My boss should be here any minute…” He started to feel panic and rage simultaneously. “Is this for real?” He thought. “They can’t treat me like this, I’ve represented some of the biggest names in show business.” Just as this conversation was coming to an awkward head, his boss arrived bearing identification for them both. After spending another 25 minutes in the booth having specialized ID’s made to wear on the grounds, they were finally allowed entrance to the mansion.
To say the place was beautiful was an understatement. It was also lavishly staffed. Multiple members of staff with iPads and bluetooth headsets fluttered around the rooms, every once in a while stopping to whisper something to another member of the staff, or to the royal couple themselves. Techno-savvy hummingbirds.
A bored looking teenager sauntered in, dripping with Prada and smelling of money. She carried a tiny dog of some sort wearing an argyle sweater vest. The vest matched her handbag and her cell phone cover. The Mother (and Matriarch of the household brand) introduced them. “This is my daughter, Pris. She’s starting her own fashion label. We’re very proud of her.” Scott couldn’t tell who was more apathetic about the introduction, the mother or the daughter.
“Nice to meet you.” Scott offered, although it was obvious Pris wasn’t mentally in the room with them. “Pris is actually the reason why we called you.” Offered the Father of the clan. “We need you to represent her, manage her relationship with the press.” Scott’s mouth fell open. They weren’t called to represent the parents, who were by far the most famous stars in hip-hop, even independent from one another. Together they were virtually more powerful than God. “Th-that sounds wonderful” stammered Scott’s boss, “but we were under the assumption that you needed us for your entire family’s service?” Mom tittered. “Oh no! We’ve each got our own PR companies we deal with independently, we need you for Pris.”
Scott took a good long look at the girl for the first time since they had arrived. She couldn’t have been more than 12. She was wearing cutoff shorts no tween with adult supervision should be allowed to wear, a tank top with the word “juicy” smattered across the area where her breasts would be if she were a grown woman, and a pair of jeweled flip flops. Her toes were painted glitter red.
“We need someone to manage her appearances during fashion week in Milan, she’s launching her new line. We’re redefining what represents fashion these days in the tween/teen market. We’re calling it “urban tween couture”. Every label must specify “by Pris” of course.” Mama winks at the little girl and she rolled her eyes.
“She leaves for Milan tomorrow morning, here is your ticket…” she hands the paper to Scott. “We’re flying domestic?” He stammers. It seems very odd that a family with a fleet of private planes would slum it like that. “Oh, no! You’re’ flying domestic, Pris is taking the family jet with her nann-“ Pris glares across the room at her mother, practically slitting her throat with her eyes. “Er, her assistant.”
Two racks of clothing covered with white plastic are wheeled from another room. “Here is your approved wardrobe for the trip.” Daddy says. The plastic is removed to reveal a series of argyle sweater vests in various colors, khaki pleated docker pants, and crisp white button down collared shirts. “You have a nice pair of black shoes and a nice pair of tan shoes, right?"
“Well, yeah I have a few…” Scott begins, and is interrupted. “Good, those are the only acceptable colors for footwear for your uniforms, you are to wear the sweater vest according to which day it is assigned. They all coordinate with the handbag and cell phone case Pris will be showcasing that day, as well as the matching sweater vest Spartacus will be wearing. Try one on now to make sure it fits.” One of the techno- hummingbirds brought a vest to Scott, and he slipped it on over his own shirt. It was red and purple, and it fit beautifully. “Shit” he thought. He handed the vest back to the hummingbird.
It was at this point Scott realized his mouth was open. He had no idea how long it had been open so he closed it. It was also now when he realized Spartacus was the tiny dog that Pris was carrying when she entered the room. The tiny dog who had just spent the last 20 minutes eating what appeared to be smoked salmon from a china dish off the table.
These multiple realizations were punctuated beautifully by the sight of the tiny dog jumping from his padded stool, trotting leisurely to the middle of the persian rug, and hunching his back to take a shit on it. “Yep” he thought. “That’s about right.” As the second tiny nugget of shit fell to the multimillion dollar rug, Mama noticed what was happening and shrieked like a banshee in a cemetery. “Pris! Haven’t you trained that goddamn dog yet?! He’s RUINING my fucking rug!!!”
Scott was pretty sure he’d seen Mama’s eyes turn red and a forked tongue dart out of her mouth for a split second. Her sudden fury was disarming to say the least. A woman in a baby blue maid’s uniform came running with a spray bottle and a baggie. “Oh forget it!” she screamed at the terrified maid. “Just burn the damn thing!!”
Just then Mama seemed to remember there were still other people in the room. “Excuse me, please.” She glared at Daddy. “You deal with this” she gestured flippantly with her perfectly manicured hand toward Scott and his boss “I’m going to lie down for a minute.” Mama stalked out of the room.
Daddy looked embarrassed, and Scott wondered if it was because his wife had just screamed the f-bomb at their twelve year old, treated the maid incredibly rudely, treated Scott and his boss incredibly rudely, or because the dog had shit on the rug. He guessed the rug.
Scott looked at his boss with his best “absolutely-not, this- is-never-going-to-happen-so-lets-bow-out-graciously-right-now” look. He was sure his boss was going to smile widely and thank Daddy for their consideration. He was sure his boss was going to explain that this wasn’t the right fit for Scott. Then his boss returned his gaze. His eyes said it all and before Scott could interject, boss man spoke.
“Scott will need the rest of the day to make arrangements to be gone for two weeks I’m sure, so we will get going and he’ll go straight to the hotel when he lands in Milan.” Scott thought his jaw might actually come unhinged this time.
“Great, Carla will be taking care of your travel.” Daddy gestured toward a rather plain middle aged woman in the room with an iPad and a headset, she smiled at Scott. “Oh, and she’ll also get your wardrobe sent. What is he wearing the day of his arrival, Carla?” Carla tapped her iPad a couple of times, then selected a pink and green argyle sweater vest. “Here you go…” she handed it to him. She then selected one of the cloned white button down shirts and khaki pants. “You’ll need your tan shoes and plain white socks to go with it… no accessories of any kind, ok?”
“Oh…Ok…” Scott stammered. He felt like the world's biggest tool. He took the clothes from Carla, and turned to follow his boss out the giant doors. The valet had their cars waiting. Scott looked at his boss and realized he couldn’t speak, he was so angry.
“I know, I’m sorry…” said his boss. “We can’t’ let this account fall though.” Scott made a noise that sounded like a snorting water buffalo. “It’s only for two weeks. At least it’s not in LA!” He could see it wasn’t helping. “Look, if you don’t want this gig I’m quite sure I can give it to Britney and she’ll do a stellar job.”
Scott couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Britney was the new girl, and she was his nemesis. He thought he had never hated anyone so much in his life as Britney, but he was starting to think his boss was gaining on her. “Fine. But you owe me so big time it’s not even funny.” He snapped. “Argyle sweater vest” he murmured “There’s no amount of showering I can do to wash of the shame of this job off my person.” Scott’s boss laughed, then realized Scott wasn’t laughing with him. “Sorry buddy, we’ve all had to take it in the ego sometime.”
“Yeah, right.” Said Scott. “Arrivederci.”