Too late. Brankton had already packed-up noise-reducing headphones, a next gen iPhone, a tin of Macanudos for smoking after the show, a Montblanc fountain pen, the Wall St. Journal and a GQ with Eva Mendes on the cover (whom he went to undergrad with) into his leather satchel in record -- and it must be said, Dear Reader -- stealthy time. His back was already to Jackie as he headed out toward the doorway that led to the main dining room. Behind him lay two ten-dollar bills occupying their own little competing pile, face-up with two dead, white male Sec. Treasury Hamiltons (illegitimate bastard child that he was) enjoying the view.
“Pussy,” she said as quietly yet forcefully as she could muster, seeing now for the first time the family that had front row seats to her “blue” performance. She also saw clearly Brankton swing a hand behind his head with a middle-finger salute to show his appreciation for their conversation that never really started.
Out on 6th St. Brankton stripped off his sweater, tied it around his waist, and hoped his sense of direction was true. The right arm of his aviator sunglasses in his mouth showed a decade’s worth of teeth marks, while the left was as new as the day his ex-wife had bought them for him.
He hated confrontations and heated conversations, which is most likely why he was still single. His older brother, the one who was a borderline sociopath (somehow, Brankton drove his older brother to this border often in their childhood), had once beaten him to within an inch of his life when he was ten year’s old because Brankton had discovered and eaten his brother’s entire Almond Roca stash. His brother simply followed the gold foil wrapper trail back to its source and found a contented if not bloated Brankton sitting on the couch watching a rerun of Highway Patrol starring Broderick Crawford, that porcine-looking actor with a waddle that wobbled every time he barked his lines. That was the last time Brankton ever talked to his brother-the-rabbi of his own accord, who now has a congregation in upstate New York, and by all accounts weighs over 300 pounds and closely resembles Broderick Crawford with his broad brimmed hats and sizeable waddle of his own that sways whenever he speaks his mellifluous Hebrew sermons.
The theme song for an NBC hit show began to play from the bottom of his leather messenger bag. Brankton continued walking and dug around inside his bag until his fingers felt the familiar plastic of an Apple-made Steve Jobs-designed product. Each time he swung his arm around inside his bag, he was reminded of the thousands of times his mother and wife had whisked hands around their own purses, with that rustling sound of hard and soft objects rolling over each other like so many socks and thongs and jeans in a dryer.
“Yeah,” Brankton said to his assistant. “Are you at work?”
“Yes,” she said. “Remember you were supposed to call me when you landed?”
“Oh, yeah, sorry. I’ve gotten a bit sidetracked.”
“Are you still going to see that guy tonight?” she asked. “The one that Pat O’ from UTA asked you to see?” Brankton pulled out the coverage of the script his assistant prepped for him earlier in the week. “Is it really this good?” he wondered.
“It’s the best thing UTA has sent us this year. Best script I’ve ever read. So, yeah, it’s pretty good.” His assistant was an MBA grad from Wharton who was probably one year from landing an incredibly high-paying job herself if Brankton didn’t get fired before she could transition out and up. "So, did you actually read the script, and not just the coverage?" she asked.
Brankton, as an exec at NBC overseeing “current comedy" didn't actually read spec scripts for development. However, as certain gigs go, this position at NBC was tenuous at best because of several seasons reflecting NBC’s ratings nadir, and Brankton was ready to develop some hits if he could. The low ratings weren't Brankton’s fault; he transitioned into this job after a merger of several companies that landed him atop the pile of mid-level execs as VP Current Comedy. Salary above $300k, and a staff of two talented and incredibly loyal assistants, it was hard not to like his “new” role. 18 months later, and Brankton knew his head was on the chopping block if things didn't change. When times are tough, it's better to ask forgiveness rather than permission which is why he and Team Brankton were now looking to land new writers and producers for development deals for the Peacock Network which was outside of his normal purview. It was a desperate move that reflected Brankton's and NBC's contretemps.