The Seduction Campaign
The Seduction Campaign
Gloomy - that's the word people used to describe the main conference room on the fourth floor of the WJBO building; people other than Rex, that is - he loved the room. Windowless, it had dark grey Berber carpet and black walls. Most of the space was occupied by a rectangular conference table. Its grey marble top was expensive, but it had the look and feel of cast iron. The only comfort was the seating - plush leather chairs surrounded the table, all the same size, except for the oversized outlier at one corner reserved for Rex.
It was Monday morning and Rex's minions were seated in the conference room waiting for him. Kurt, sitting by the door, could sense movement in the hallway.
Conversations ended when Rex barged into the room. For a large man he was agile. He swiftly cut right, left, and then left again to get to his personal chair, slamming his back into it before grabbing the table with both hands to pull himself forward. His shirt wasn't completely tucked into his pants, and his shirtsleeves were rolled up, exposing the leathery skin on his elbows. As he often reminded people, his was a radio show, though he did have aspirations to be on TV.
Rex surveyed the troops and absorbed the silence. "Do I have to do everything?"
Kurt struggled to hide a smile.
Gus Stevenson, the oldest of the group at fifty-three and an industry vet, asked, "How was your weekend, boss?"
Rex's reply was a laugh. Next to Gus sat Henry Winters, an NYU grad who wore thick glasses. Rex looked at him and said, "Come on Coke bottles, give me something."
Henry adjusted his glasses. "Well..." He leaned forward. "Did you catch the latest about the sheriff in Phoenix?"
Candace asked, "What about him?"
"They found cocaine in his car. He says it wasn't his. It was planted."
Rex glared at her. "Who the hell do you think, missy?"
Henry said, "It's people who don't like what he's doing with immigrants."
"Not just immigrants," Rex said. "It's illegal immigrants. Don't forget that." He rubbed the shirt over his stomach and grimaced. "You've got all those morons out there protesting, trying to make it look like the guy's prejudiced. Yeah, he's prejudiced all right, against people who break the fucking law. He doesn't fall for that bleeding heart bullshit, like caring about some Mexican guy who supports six kids. They sell condoms in Mexico, don't they?"
Richard said, "I read about the guy, too. Sounds like a good story."
"Why didn't you say something to start the meeting?"
Candace whispered to Kurt, "You're from Phoenix."
Rex said to her, "Speak up."
"I just thought, maybe Kurt could take this. He hasn't been home for a while."
"That's your contribution to the discussion?"
Kurt said, "It's not such a bad idea, boss."
"No, kid, let Henry do it."
"But I could bring you that stuff you like."
Richard asked, "What stuff?"
Rex said, "I've got something better for you, kid." He glanced at Richard. "You too." He turned to Candace. "And you, if you can handle it."
Kurt asked, "What are you thinking?"
"Conspiracy theories...bogus conspiracy claims made by liberals." Rex leaned forward, prompting the others to do the same. "I'll describe the claims, discuss the real facts, then make the lefties look like the loonies that they