This is the second installment of my Rock Gods & Messy Monsters analysis. You can read my first article explaining the first couple of pages here.
Alex’s boss Langley shocks her to get his morning coffee. He had electrical shock chips implanted into her body so he could immediately get her attention anywhere in the building.
Alex rushes to the vending machine area, passing several other characters along the way. She returns with coffee, but not the Twinkies Langley demands every morning.
Shocking Alex shows the control many bosses have over their support staff. Some executives truly believe their assistants are their property and have the right to demand things of them in any way they choose.
It’s also interesting that Alex allowed the shock chips to be put in her body. Some people go to extremes and put up with a lot of abuse to work somewhere cool, like in music. They do whatever it takes to get one of the coveted jobs. It’s a small industry, so you become part of a club. I’d love to know if people still care so much about the entertainment field.
As Alex rushes to get coffee, she first passes Zena, another assistant. Zena is proud to take her brain out every day and sees nothing wrong with how they’re treated. My favorite line for her is,
“Doing nothing can be a difficult achievement, especially when there was work to do, but Zena excelled.”
Zena represents women who use what they have to better themself. It really pissed me off when I was younger because it was obvious that some women got special attention, special access, or even got promoted because they batted their eyelashes and swung their hips – and made their bosses feel desirable.
But studies have shown that attractive people get further ahead, so why shouldn’t everyone have the right to use what they have to help them create their life? As long as there are two consenting parties.
And, I know, the system will never change if women use their bodies and not their brains to get ahead. And I agree – but I also think it’s fair to use what you have.
I knew someone who came from an impoverished, fractured family. She was on her own by age 16, barely got a high school degree, and came from a not-so-nice area. But she was beautiful. And she used what she had to make a better life for herself. Can any of us fault someone for taking advantage of what they have? This comes up later, so I’ll get back to this issue in a future article.
The second character Alex passes is Hellie, the receptionist. Hellie’s busy training the mutant sea creatures she found in the Hudson River. In other words, Hellie is an entrepreneur with a plan. More on her later also.
And finally, the third character Alex encounters is Clef. Clef is the owner of an indie record company. He has a production and distribution deal with Acht, which means he has control of his artists, but Acht makes and distributes the records for him. For a percentage of royalties.
Clef is constantly running around handing out tapes, trying to get more attention for his artists. The record company can only promote so much music, so Clef is beyond stressed as he tries to secure marketing dollars for his bands. Payola happened for a reason. His short, dry cough is one of the ways his stress manifests.
When Alex gets to the vending area, she can’t find the Twinkies her boss demands. Rather than process her stress, she buys candy. She eats her anxiety away, which I relate to. Emotional stress eating is a big issue, and it’s not discussed enough.
And finally, Alex returns to give Langley his coffee. And, yes, I used to have to get my boss coffee every day, and I found it utterly demeaning. The vending machine was on the other side of the floor – a city block away (the short side of the block). The record company’s building took up at least a third of an entire midtown block in New York City. Needless to say, I got a lot of exercise at my office job.
Langley would call from the taxi some days to make sure I had a steaming cup on his desk when he arrived. I also think he did it to show off to the taxi driver because cell phones weren’t that common back then. I had to be psychic and know when he would appear off the elevator and have hot coffee waiting for him. And you know what? I f’ing did it!
I specifically mention putting the coffee in a styrofoam cup because no one cared IRL (in real life) about recycling or the environment. We did eventually get paper recycling bins for under our desks, but I was told it all got thrown into the regular trash downstairs. Soda cans and glass bottles had to be walked around the other side of the building. And no one seemed to care except one other assistant and me.
I love the last couple of sentences – “She rarely looked at him, but when she saw his arm reach out for the cup and noticed even it was purple with rage, she stepped back and trembled. Today was not going to be a good day.”
I have had one too many days like that. What about you?
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