Ted Kord, Genius, billionaire playb-- well, not a full playboy, more of an aspiring playboy. Maybe a playtoddler? No, that’s ridiculous. I mean there’s probably some gold diggers who’d be willing to tune out overly long conversations about nanotechnology’s future in an expanding green new world interspersed with frequent references to Monty Python’s Flying Circ-- No. No there aren’t. There’s easier money out there. Even Anna Nicole Smith only had to dole out the occasional geriatric spongebath, not constant droning verbal torture… Let’s try this again…
Ted Kord, Genius, billionaire… single and available… CEO of Kord Omniversal and aspiring new tech-based superhero has just declared his company’s major flagship product for the next year will be a sophisticated car and personal security system.
Abner Jenkins, married, crusty old Chief Financial Officer, inventor of the B.E.E.T.L.E suit - something which, in Tony Stark’s refusal to release the Iron Man armour, could potentially sell like hotcakes as the most desirable product for any nation’s defence force. He’s more than a little miffed at Ted’s decision.
Ted Kord, ever the sensitive soul, didn’t like where the two left off at that Annual Flagship Product Meeting and looked to extend an olive branch, calling Jenkins and leaving a message for him. He has not returned his call. Hup… spoilers I suppose. It’s not a big one though.
Meanwhile in New York City, “Frank” Farley Fleeter, Head of the floundering Farley Fleeter Advertising Agency, is being leveraged by some shadowy big business type to steal Kord Omniversal’s big product on show at the New York Science Expo before it can be announced to the world. A product which he has been led to believe is the B.E.E.T.L.E suit, with the presumed intention of clearing the field for said shadowy big business type to put some other killamajig in its place - although presumably not called a killamajig, the name probably wouldn’t test well when run through marketing. Fleeter responded by getting all hands on deck at the remains of his company - 6 people - and planning a heist with his fellow “Madmen” (don’t ask…) with a piece of the Farley Fleeter Advertising Agency senior partnership pie as the prize for any and all participants.
And that’s where we are… well, there’s other bit players involved, like “Who did Abner Jenkins call instead of Ted?”, “Who were those other board members you told me about, but now seem conspicuously quiet about?” and the whole “Ted’s father’s brain slowly and prematurely turning to mush” thing, not to mention “What was that whole smart home shower scene? Did you really just write that whole scene just to make a bunch of immature jokes about having an automated shower/blow dryer’s potential use for graphic self-gratification?”... but I’m frankly a little irritated that you managed to get the Abner Jenkins never called Ted Kord back spoiler out of me, so those questions and points will have to wait.
So without further ado…
K . O . R . D . E A S T D I V I S I O N - A D M I N I S T R A T I O N W I N G
Present Day | Boston, Massachusetts
Ted Kord stepped out of the elevator and stopped by the desk of Angela Revere. He waited behind her desk with a smile whilst her keyboard tapped as she hurriedly finished her task.
“Oh, Mr Kord! I’m sorry. Here are your messages.”
She handed him a small stack of index cards, which contained the names of callers and the content of whatever message they had to pass on to the C.E.O."Angela, I’ve told you before... ‘Ted’ is fine.”
He repeated his daily request to her as he thumbed his way through the index cards. “Hmm…”
“Any problems, sir?” Ted cringed slightly at the ‘sir’, before shaking it off. “Has Abner Jenkins tried to call through at all?”
“No sir. Should I be expecting a call to come through?” Angela replied, as the C.F.O had not called. (***Again, sorry about the spoilers...***
Ted said, leaning back in contemplation, thumbing through the cards once more to make sure that no two were stuck together on the first pass. “He probably just figured he’d see me around the office at some point and would see me in person during the day.”
“Any specific plans for lunch today, Mr Kord?” Angela asked.“Ted.”
He once again gently corrected. “There’s no lunchtime meetings today, and I was cooped up in the office most of the day yesterday… No need to set up anything today, I think I’ll take a walk outside today. Around one-ish? I’ll pick myself up something while I’m out.”
“Yes sir, Mr Kord.” She returned to her typing, as Ted walked into his office and closed the door behind him.
“Cheat day at Big Belly Burger it is...” The secretary said to herself, making a mental note of Ted’s dietary calendar as she returned to composing a company-wide memo about the upcoming New York Science Expo.
* * * * *
Ted finished getting caught up on his daily activities and responding to messages and requests by 10:30. He used his phone’s intercom to check in with Angela who confirmed there were no further new messages since he’d last requested them. “No sir, not even from Mr Jenkins.” He ended the call and slapped at his desk rhythmically. Feeling restless he got to his feet and decided to check on the engineering pool. He grabbed his suit jacket and opened the door.
“Early to lunch, Mr Kord?” Angela asked.“No, no. Not yet. Just thought I’d do the rounds and check on some of the workers.”
“The engineers, then?” Ms Revere knew him well. Ted had friendships and relationships with the workers there from when he first came to work at the company, well before his father had put him on the executive fast track.“Well, yes…”
“I’ll call Ms Case then.” Angela picked up her phone.“I hardly think that’s necessary.”
Angela looked over her thick rimmed glasses at Ted.“Has she asked you to do that? I mean, come on--”
Angela’s gaze held.“Oh my God. She’s asked you to call ahead anytime I’m coming? Are you kidding me?”
Her eyes softened. “I don’t think it’s anything personal, Ted. But she is supposed to be in charge on site there. And when you come in as often as you do…”“She thinks I’m undercutting her?”
“She thinks you’re a distraction. And when the workers get all buddy-buddy with the upper management boss, she feels it-- hurts her effectiveness to manage the workforce there.”“This is ridiculous. This is my company and I have to call ahead? What, am I supposed to sit up in my ivory tower and just get reports in on the local peasantry? That’s absurd! They’re a building over. I’m going.”
“Ted…” Angela pleaded, looking back up at him through her glasses frames which seemed to make her eyes double or triple in size. “Please let me call. It’s a courtesy.”
He looked down at her and sighed. “Do what you need to, Angela.”
She started dialing whilst Ted walked to the elevator.“And don’t think I don’t know what you do when you give me that glasses look.”
He said, calling back to her. “I’m still the boss here!”
“Good morning, Mr Kord!” Said one of the young employees from Public Relations.“See!”
He pointed at her. “Still the boss! Respect commanded!”
The elevator door opened. He walked in and turned around.“Now please call ahead so that I can see the Research and Development engineers in my Research and Development company...”
He called back to Angela as the elevator doors closed.
* * * * *
It took Ted ten minutes to make the brief trek to the Engineering wing, after he’d slapped the guy working the security desk in the lobby five and told him he was going to need the Corporate seats for the Celtics back with the season done. “Next year, Leon, even with no Kyrie, we’ve got the young kids another year older and wiser.”
, “Catch you on the way back, Ted. I’ll bring the tix in tomorrow.” A smile to the lady working the lobby reception. “‘Morning Rachel.”
and out the sliding doors.
The courtyard between K.O.R.D buildings was sparsely gardened, focused mainly on long green sections of well manicured lawns with the odd aesthetically suitable tree, pruned to shape and was occupied by people rushing between buildings, and the odd smoker. Later there’d be numerous employees interspersed enjoying lunch outside, since the weather seemed nice.“Jason, you’re logging your smoke break, right?”
“Yes, Mr Kord.” Came the reply, with the slightest melodic hint reminiscent of a school student replying to an old teacher.“Because I’d rather you take extra breaks, log them and take the time making sure you clean yourself up for when you get back in there. Working with sensitive stuff in there.”
“Yes, Mr Kord.” He repeated with the same tone.
Ted looked at the young engineer, clicked his tongue in his cheek and moved on to the R and D building.
He walked in to find the President of the Eastern Division Melody Case waiting for him in the lobby.“Mel’ I don’t need this kind of procession. I was just going to pop in, say ‘Hello’ to some people I used to work with, see what kind of things people are working on and then go.”
Melody replies coolly, but with more than a faint hint of frustration in her tone. “Ted, you’re the C.E.O of this company. The procession is going to happen, whether you like it or not, so if you feel you have to do this. Then let’s do this.” She turned and hit the button for the elevators.
The elevators on the R and D building were on the outside and made of thick multiplex glass, providing a quaint view of the courtyard and the whole K.O.R.D complex to anyone watching.
“Is that Jason Fatsis down there, smoking again?”“Yep.”
Ted replied, leaning against one of the elevators sides.
“He’s so fired. His work’s been in freefall the last 3 months, he’s out there smoking as often as he’s in the clean lab and he’s been giving more and more attitude like he owns the place.”
Ted raised his eyebrows but remained silent.
“You don’t agree?”“I’m not going to tell you how to do your job, Melody. And I agree. In fact, he gave me attitude when I asked him if he logged his break just now. But it’s not my job, it’s yours. And I’m not going to tell you how to handle these things.”
“Oh. It’s just I know you started out here with him and that you two talk quite a lot...”“And? He has a job to do. And you have a job to do. The fact that I am friends with the people here doesn’t change the fact that they still have to do their job properly, and I’m not in the business of bailing out my friends when they feel they don’t have to pull their own weight just because they know me.”
“Huh…” Melody replied vacantly as she looked out the window at Jason Fatsis, who had just lit a second cigarette off his first and crushed the finished butt under his heel.
The elevator doors opened and the pair stepped out.
“I’m just going to get some paperwork together to sort this Jason situation out.” Melody said, sweeping some of her red locks behind an ear. “If you want to say ‘Hi’ to Murray, he’s in his office, and then we’ll walk the floor together. OK?”
Ted wasn’t one to look a gifthorse in the mouth and said “OK.”
with a smile.
Ted poked his head in the door of Murray Takamoto’s office and said “Knock, knock...”
whilst wrapping on the door. “You all set for New York?”
Murray Takamoto sat beside a wide solid desk made of quality oak. The old fashioned desk stood in stark contrast to his job title “Head of Cybernetics/Electronics/Online Security” which sat on a placard at the front of his desk. The pair once joked about making his title seem more badass by renaming the position “Grand Scion of Cybernetics, Emperor of Electronics and Grand Gatekeeper of K.O.R.D’s Online Presence, Omnipotent Leader of All things I.T.”
But alas the business world would not be ready for their nerdery. Hence the dull placard on his desk.
“Got my tickets and I’m all packed! Where are we staying?”“I booked us rooms at the Hilton. Well, I booked me a room at the Hilton, opposite a lovely little backpackers hostel where I’m sure you’ll have a lovely view of me--”
“Ha-Ha.” Murray deadpanned with dripping sarcasm, but then was unable to keep the smile from his face.
“This is going to be awesome!”“I know, man. So cool!”
“Anyway, I gotta get back to work-- never ends.”“I know. Good to touch base before we go.”
Ted turned to leave and walked to the door.
“Yeah, you know what it’s like… have to delete something called ‘Just Looking For A Good Time.’...”
Ted dropped his head, still facing away from Murray whilst his friend cackled with laughter.
He turned and closed the door behind him before rushing over and sitting down opposite him.“Come on, you have to get rid of that! I’m not kidding around here!”
“Relax… it’s already gone, I’m just breaking your balls. You’re lucky I saw it too, going through the logs, because I was supposed to present full findings to Melody this afternoon. I figured deleting those under privacy or some such excuse would check out OK with you?”“Yes, Oh thank you Murray, sweet Jesus!”
“Nah. Still just Grand Scion of Cybernetics, Emperor of Electronics and--”
, Omnipotent Leader
” The pair quoted together.
“‘Sweet Jesus’ would mean I’d have to take a paycut. And while the meek may inherit the earth, I’ve got my eye on a kickass new home theatre setup.”
The pair laughed as old friends often do.
“So what’s going on between you two?” Murray started vaguely doing something on his computer whilst listening to Kord.“Who?”
“Don’t play dumb. You and Melody. Come on, give me something. Let me live vicariously. You’re basically me but with money. If you don’t get somewhere with the girls soon I’m going to start to think it’s our personalities that are the root of our lady problems.”“Nothing’s happening and I can’t see anything happening in the near future. In fact I think she’s pissed off with me. Did you know she’s told Angela she wants to be called ahead before I come over here? It’s like 50 metres away and is where most of my friends are and she wants to have me asking about visitation…”
“Ouch. Hate to see Mom and Dad fighting like that, but at least I might start getting two Christmas presents from now on…”“You’ll get nothing and like it!”
Ted burst out with his best Ted Knight impression.
“Heh. Caddyshack…”“So, yeah. I don’t think she likes me much. Certainly like that anyway. It was tense in the elevator. Besides, I’m her boss. I’d need some kind of guidebook for how to navigate those treacherous waters whilst dodging the rocks of sexual harassment suits…”
“Hmm…” Murray vaguely expressed disagreement. “I don’t think that’s your biggest issue there.” His focus was now mostly on the computer, and he’d offer Ted cursory glances or head tilts whilst talking and keeping one eye on his work.“What are you talking about?”
“If you want my advice… considering my boundless extensive knowledge of the fairer sex…”“...which you have managed to somehow gain, whilst still being just as tragically single as I am…”
Ted finished his sentence, folding his arms across his chest.
“...yes, that. But in my opinion, she likes you. But you’re her boss. And you know Mel’. She’s a serious woman with her work. She’s strictly business. Like EPMD.”“You’re a second generation Japanese American with your other parent being white.”
“Don’t racially profile me and tell me I can’t like the E-double…” He looked away from his monitor and pointed at Ted.“I wouldn’t dream of it.”
Ted rolled his eyes.
“Good... But yeah. She takes her business seriously, and you’re her boss. In a company she’s been ingrained in for a long time. Of a company your Daddy built and you’re the head honcho of. Now how do you think SHE thinks that would look?”
Ted thought on that for a few seconds before breaking the silence.“...why are we talking about Melody anyway?”
“To assuage my boredom. Also, because you frankly don’t know many women in general, let alone women who can tolerate your presence for longer than 20 consecutive minutes.”“Harsh.”
“...but true. Anyway, help me out with something. That issue you had with your shower profile, how’s that work with your photographic memory? Funny as it was, I thought you’d know exactly--”“It doesn’t use a display. It’s not like I can get a visual on what it’s telling me. ...plus, I may have been yelling over it with frustration.”
“Ah. Do you want one?”“In the shower? Seems like it’d be a more vulnerable point for water damage. Plus, the average person we'll be marketing to isn’t going to have that same preference for the visual that I do.”
“You’ve been listening to that cockhead Randall Truman too much. Surprising, because most people who do that have the telltale horns as a giveaway…”“Mine are still growing in.”
Melody Case knocked on the door and let herself in.
“Are you ready, Ted?” She asked the CEO. “Can I borrow him?” She asked Murray.
“Sure, I’ve no more use for him. I grab him by the ankles and shake him upside down til his pockets are empty anytime he strays too close to my office.”
“Yeah, how much did you get out of him this time?” A small smile crossed Ms Case's face.
“Ah not good, Mel’. He’s catching on. I just got an expired Blockbuster card, a validated parking ticket and a movie stub.”
“Marketing must have got to him first, Murray.” Melody's smile broadened.“Wow. I’m right here in the room.”
Ted replied. Flustered she turned a deep shade of scarlet.
“Oh, I’m sorry Mr Kord.” She panicked.“Melody, it’s fine. We’re all just joking around.”
“I-- OK. Well, should we?”“Go walk the floor? Got it.”
Ted said, getting to his feet. “So, I’ll see you at the airport? I upgraded you out of pocket. First class to NYC. Am I as cool as you now?”
“Let me run the math… Nope. Still short.”“Oh come on, how do you figure that?”
“Well I had to dock you for not being down with EPMD, plus you said ‘knock, knock’ when you knocked on my door earlier.”“Not cool?”
Murray replied only by screwing his face up and making a sucking noise on his teeth.
“Now, the first class upgrade got you 50 points… and I only took 10 off you for the ‘knock, knock’... friends rates and all that. But you’re still behind.”“Melody? Has Mister Takamoto been pulling his weight? Are we going to have any issues with having to let him go in the near future.”
“Murray’s one of the best workers we have, Ted.”“Really. Damn. More’s the pity. You win this round, Takamoto.”
“I win every round, Ted.” Murray said, shrugging and swivelling a full 360 in his chair in victory. “Catch you at the airport, Kord!”
Ted closed the door behind him and he and Melody walked the engineering pool, as Ted came to terms with their progress, new products, new additions and reconnected with old friends.