OLWG · writing

OLWG #28 – Whatever Happened to Randolph Westcott?

 Written for OLWG #28

Randolph pulled the collar of his overcoat up and pulled the brim of his fedora down, an almost futile attempt to shield himself from the rain. Glare from the automobile headlights reflected off the wet pavement casting an eerie glow over the city street, and suddenly, there it was. Randolph probably wouldn’t have noticed it – if not for the lights from the passing delivery truck.

Help Wanted, the sign said. Black letters, carefully hand printed on a buff coloured background; it was tucked into the corner of a steel framed casement window. Right there, in the middle of the block on 57th Street between Scott and Grant. There was no name on the building, there was no indication of what the business was inside, but Randolph leaned over and retrieved the sign. He read it again, flicked the dog-end of his cigarette into the running water along the curb and headed for the door.

The door opened onto a passageway that ran straight back, perpendicular to the street, a flight of stairs disappeared into darkness on the left side of the corridor. To the right a wooden door stood ajar and the tinny harmonies of Glenn Miller’s Stardust played softly inside. Randolph pushed the door open. A girl with short curly brown hair and a green frock sat at a desk inside. She was busily engaged changing the ribbon on a burly black Royal typewriter that was perched at her side. Randolph waited to be noticed.

When she finally saw him she pulled herself together and sat up straight, “Good morning,” she smiled a million watts, “may I help you?”

Randolph held up the sign, “I, uhm?” he fumbled.

“Of course,” she said and indicated a hard backed wooden chair across the desk from where she sat. “You can hang your things on the rack there.”

Randolph draped his overcoat and hat on the stand by the door and moved over to take the chair she had indicated. As he sat, she held out her hand.

“Margaret Monroe,” she introduced herself and Randolph bounced back up from the chair he had barely touched.

“Westcott,” he said and took her hand, “Randolph Westcott.” She continued to smile at him as he released her hand and sank back down into the chair. They sat for a few moments, in awkward silence. “What, uhm, what kind of man do you need?” he held the sign back up, pointed at it. “There’s no name on the door and the ad, here, well it seems pretty general.” His turn to grin.

“Oh, yes of course; we’re looking for a marketing man, Mr. Westcott, this is a marketing company and we’re way ahead of our time. We need someone who can be an Ambassador for our client’s brands. Someone who can spread the gospel of our clients all over the country, while building their brand awareness. We need someone who can…”

“’Scuse me, Miss Monroe, but shouldn’t I be talking to the boss?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Shouldn’t I be talking to the boss?”

Her expression changed, her brows knitted and the smile disappeared, “Mr. Westcott, this company is called ‘Monroe Marketing’ it’s my company. I’m the President, the Executive Director and the CEO. You are talking to the boss. Do you have a problem with a woman being the boss? …Well, do you?”

“No ma’am, I have no problem with a woman boss. It’s just not very common these days. Most women haven’t been liberated yet.” He gave her his patented sideways grin.

“OK,” she said, “I’m sorry that I jumped at you, but most men haven’t been liberated yet either.” They had struck a balance, détente, a truce.

“How does one go about Ambassadoring and building a brand?” he asked her.

“There’s an art to it.” She told him as she warmed up to her subject. “What kind of experience do you have?”

“I’ve done warehouse work.”

She frowned.

“I was a short order cook in Poughkeepsie for awhile.”

She shook her head.

“I did some film work, and theatre, mainly vaudeville; you know the stuff, don’t you? mostly just a lot of gratuitous sex and violence?”

Her smile came back, “Perfect,” she said. Then she leaned forward on her elbows and crooked her finger to bring him in too. Lowering her voice to a whisper, she began to explain the position. Randolph listened carefully. He asked questions in all the right places.

Moments later, Margret knew that she had found her man. All that remained now was to negotiate the terms of his employment.


This week’s prompts are

  1. Ambassadoring
  2. Gratuitous sex and violence
  3. and there it was