Monday, January 4, 2010


“A spokesman?”
Kessler looked smugly at the older man across from him. There would be days like this, they had told him at the agency. They were right.
“Spokesperson, Mr. Grossbart. In this day and age,” he winked knowingly, “spokespersons we call them.”
“Spokesperson. Spokesman. It’s all the same thing. Like the guy with the white beard from the fried chickens.”
“Like the guy with the chickens, but we were thinking of someone a little more in touch with the younger demographic. Someone like–.”
Days like this, Grossbart chanted silently, days like this, days like–.
“Audience,” he said aloud, “someone to appeal to a younger audience. Oh like a musician perhaps, a rapper, some heavy–.
“A wrapper? What kind of wrapper? What the hell are you talking ‘a wrapper.’”
“Rap is in. They’re very big with the sixteen to–.”
“Big. I’ll bet its big. Sixteen to whatever is just about the right age for a wrapper. For wrapping you don’t need four years in college.”
“The buck some of these guys are making they can buy themselves a college if they want one. Rapping is big money these days. That’s why it makes sense to take advantage of–.”
“Wrapping is big money? Not with Grossbart, it isn’t. With Grossbart Wrappiug is minimum wage. Very minimum minimum wage.”
“You’ve got to look at the big picture, Mr. Grossbart. Sure, rapping isn’t for everyone. Even me personally, it’s not my favorite, but–.”
“This is what I mean, you went to get a big shot business degree, a PH.b–.”
“An MBA.”
“Whatever. An MBA you got so you should listen to a wrapper.”
“You have to keep in mind who you are trying to sell to, Mr. Grossbart. Who are they listening to?”
“To wrappers?”
“On the nose. Rappers. Turn on your radio. Any top forty station.”
“Any top forty station. And it’s not just black–African Americans.”
“Who said black? Black, white–it’s not this. Who listens to a wrapper? A ball player, maybe. A movie star. But a wrapper? Better a cashier. At least they handle money.”
“A cashier?”
When it finally hit Kessler what the problem was, he figured let it drop. An explanation was going to make somebody feel like a fool, and this was not the best way to do business.
“You know something Mr. Grossbart, you’re right. Who’s going to listen to a wrapper?”

“I’m not in business forty years, because I don’t know something.”
“The wrapper was just an example. What the agency really had in mind was one of the hottest movie stars around.”
“I told you movie star. Did you hear me? I said movie star.”
“You said it. . . .you said it and I heard it. What would you say to the biggest name to come out of Hollywood in a decade.”
“What would I say? I’d say who are we talking about?”
“You are something, Mr. Grossbart. They told me down at the agency. Mr. Grossbart, they said, Grossbart has been in the business forty years, and it’s not because he doesn’t know something.”
“So? You saw the remake of ‘Weekend at Bernies?’ Biggest box office of the year.”
“I saw.”
“And who is the actor that made it the biggest box office?”
“And who is the actor who is going to star in the new silent remake of ‘Gone With the Wind?’”
“Silent. You mean–.”
“Who else? Mandelbaum!”
“Mandelbaum? The big guy? The one who doesn’t talk.”
“But he doesn’t talk.”
“He doesn’t say anything, but he–.”
“You’ll excuse me, but what you’re telling me is that you want I should have a spokesman for Grossbart’s that doesn’t–.”
“A spokesperson that doesn’t spokes.”
“This guy is hot. Just his face will sell.”
“What’s the matter, I can’t get a face and a voice too?”
“Some people don’t need a voice to communicate.”
“First a wrapper and then a dummy. Who else you got? A convict maybe, a child molester?”
“He’s not a dummy. He just doesn’t talk. That’s his thing. His. . .schtick. Like Presley’s hips, like–.”
“Good enough, get me Presley. His schtick, I like better.”
“Come on, Presley’s dead.”
“So he doesn’t talk either, right. Dead , dumb, same difference.”
“Alright, Mr. Grossbart, you don’t want Mandelbaum,, you don’t want Mandelbaum. But you’re making a mistake. This guy will make you a fortune. You know what they’re planning on spending on that ‘Gone With the Wind?’ I’m talking about ‘Gone With the Goddamn Wind.’ And Grossbart’s can get in on all of that hype. Mandelbaum! ‘Gone With the Wind.’ Grossbart’s. Think of the billboards. Mandelbaum’s face all over Times Square. All over the country. Think about it.”
“And for a spokesperson without the spokes, what does it cost?”
“Now you’re talking.”
“For a spokesman without the spokes. Half price.”

(originally published on line in Laughter Loaf:

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