This is what Jeremiah, an aspirant Italian intern who leant against the rooms doorframe gripping several cappuccino’s, said to the esteemed fashion impresario Michelle Feranne as the latter sucked his vanilla smoothie through a cellulite straw, lecherously stroking his Mac book in an office on the fifteenth floor of the Modelling Agency that bore his name. On the union-jack patterned divan behind him an angular, stern, emaciated Scandinavian girl with immaculately straight bangs of blonde hair and perfect posture was sat skulking and shivering slightly in only her translucent pants. She had been ordered to wait upon Michelle’s recognition and forbidden until then from dressing. His free hand moved intermittently to her goose bumped thigh in a force of habit; as he listened to Jeremiah tell him what he paid to hear.
‘Man, you look deadbeat Mick. Tell me, what keeps you going? Knowing as you do that success, I mean true artful recognition, for you, in your line of work, is only accessible through blink and you’ll miss it stabs of clairvoyance? Waiting months, as you do, drinking these potions’
He gestured to a set of ominous looking bottles with cryptic labels,
‘Brewed by these slab-faced doctors and homeopaths, munching on your tablets like a horse- trying to induce this sight into the Big Trend of next Spring to, in a spontaneous flash, be able to pre-empt the rapids of socio-cultural-political-economo-literal-extra-celestial currency. Why put yourself out like that? You work too hard man, putting in these 15 hour weeks, sustaining repetitive strain injury in your forefinger as you click through endless portfolio’s of naked, well lit, bright young things… and for what recognition? Huh? The bastard’s think they know beauty but there is only one direction they are looking, am I right?
Despite not really understanding, at that Michelle raised a manicured hand to his temple in weary agreement, and repeated ‘eeizright’ with his eyes closed. Mournfully he rocked his oily head backwards and forwards as though trying to alleviate some great pressure from his mind and then, removing his hand from the scandinavian’s goosepimpled thigh (which the red marks he left behind suggested had been being treated like a stress ball), leant forward and guzzled his smoothie.
‘…You do so much for this young hungry, fertile industry but, and you must know this, you don’t belong here….’
A final, expressive Slurp of Vanilla was discernable from Michelle.
‘…Indeed you’re maladjusted to this hollow, shallow environment, everywhere trying to dive deeper, get insight, casting a critical eye on the already hypercritical. It as though you have the serene majesty of a lion yet have been imprisoned in the pig’s enclosure, forced to rut with only the filthy, artless slabs of meat for company, conversational detritus to the left and right, everywhere surrounded by their discarded opportunities, their vapid waste! Look around you!…”
Michelle obeyed, lowering his sunglasses just a fraction to look past Jeremiah to the dozens of rows of interns masturbating, filing their nails, tweeting and tensing their stomachs at their workstations. They all had untouched boxes of salad next to them. A few had crushed their Diet Coke’s into a dystopian mesh of twisted logo. Their habitat was flatpacked, airy and chrome- an open plan office with exposed brickwork and superfluously filled bookcases acting as partitions. Towards the back of the room he could see the days models leafing through comic books on the many chaises longes. One of them was very possibly bragging about having run into Gilbert or George in the East End earlier, whilst the other smiled indulgently at the Beano. As he looked out Michelle felt vindicated in having recently ordered the office space to be restructured, having done away with the old ‘hierarchy’ of the office seatingarrangement to position his staff in descending order of beauty and youth from his perspective outwards. As he looked out now, the vista receded through leopard print spandex leggings (sans underwear) and translucent black lace blouses in an outward sprawl of nubile, sprightly jouissance, mediocrity and then decay- with the taut and eager for promotion held in absolute centre-stage high definition and the old and saggy sat so far back in the long room as to be little more than imperceptible blurs. It wasn’t of much concern; to him at least, that this meant longer journeys for the old crones who for some reason felt themselves vital to the whole operation of the agency. Michelle got enormous pleasure from studying the Intern’s behaviour in this controlled environment. In the altered, faint way of all childhood reminiscences it reminded him of watching his Sea Monkey’s be spawned and flourish from that mysterious powder, and the feeling of omniscience this spectacle seemed to bring about in him. How they fascinated him so! From that first spark the creation of basic life forms, on your own kitchen tabletop, oh the delight! The mystery of those colourful sachets overrode any background disappointment he might have held towards the eventual sperm-y inhabitants they produced. This early encounter with an alchemical white powder was to prove… prophetic in later life, but luckily he wasn’t there yet. Watching the interns engage in their rituals, studying them undertake these hesitant character-less interactions as they openly bartered their bodies in his marketplace of desire, was one of his chief distractions these days. He considered this piece of social engineering, this restoration of the natural order, as he understood it, to be one of many masterstrokes in a blossoming career. An archetype of his species, a foreign envoy sent forward from amongst the most youthful, Jeremiah, continued his speech uncertainly, measuring Michelle’s face throughout for any cues.
‘Remember don’t do, as they actually want, do, as they might want if they got around to properly considering it. Don’t forget Micky that your job is the manufacture of needs, you’re here to decide what the wallet-warmers want. So why waste your time trying to figure it out, with all these focus groups, these charts and predictions? The shitmunchers will gladly oblige, whatever. You can put down your crystal ball and allow yourself some stability. Why not make the conditions in which your waldorf can detoxify at a normal pace beneath that radiator torso? You know, Terry told me this in confidence but its no wonder you’ve been finding it hard to—-’
Michelle raised a hand- although he still felt curiously low, the sight of the intern’s and Jeremiah’s soliloquy had reenergised something in him.
“You are so young… it is not your fault, but you ‘ave misunderstood Jeremiah! That OH the not knowing, the mystery… well zhat’ he paused and closed his eyes.
“is the ‘hole magic of it!”
And with a dramatic swivel of the great leather throne he turned his back on the lingering intern.