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The Problem with Mitzie
by Adam Kluger



Mitzie Kerfuffle was blowing up Blake Schnellenberg's iPhone with more nonsense.

She was a tornado of trouble. 

A monkey's claw that had worked her way into Blake's life.

An erstwhile confidante, co-worker and subordinate at Sharkpool Weekly, a financial newsletter and quarterly.

Mitzie had no sense of boundaries and propriety. She simply extruded her way into areas that were not in her purview. If Blake didn't know better he would think Mitzie was intentionally mimicking his own responsibilities at Sharkpool, while ignoring her own lesser responsibilities, in an attempt to undermine or replace him as the Chief.  Mitzie had no facility with numbers, no education in the area, she couldn't write or sell or do much of anything really (the owner hired her because she was nice to him one night as the hostess of a fancy restaurant he had frequented and she mentioned to him that she always wanted to be a writer), yet she was always complaining about another co-worker named Montgomery.  Apparently, she and Montgomery had a short thing and it ended quite badly. Mitzie was heartbroken. Montgomery handled the social media for Sharkpool.

"Blake, Montgomery, I hate to even say his name, is ruining Sharkpool's good name. Did you see his last post? It makes no sense. He wrote GNP... what the fuck is that Blake? He should be fired immediately from Sharkpool, he is killing our brand, can we please set up a conference call to go over the problems with social media with the owner?"

" Mitzie, GNP means Gross National Product. It's an accepted economic term."

"Blake our audience doesn't know from GNP."

"Actually, they do Mitzie. Listen, I'm about to step into a sales meeting. Talk later."

"Ok God bless."

The sales meetings, in general, usually went alright but advertisers always wanted to know about "actual" magazine distribution which had been practically abandoned over a year ago due to high printing and fulfillment expenses. These days,  Sharkpool was focusing more and more on the digital space. Impressions, amplification, true reach. The major task was trying to get wealthy advertisers to pay an exorbitant fee for being featured on the cover.

[text: Blake- did you see what what's his name did now? There is a typo in his last FB post it reads "ROI" Obviously, a typo--does this kid even know how to type?]

[text: Mitzie,  please, I'm still in a meeting and I think by ROI,  he probably meant "Return on Investment"]

[ text: Oh I'm so sorry Blake, God bless you! Just trying to do the best I can for Sharkpool- I hardly get paid any money and I work my ass off, my little precious boo boo kitty isn't doing well and Bob the owner doesn't even respond to my emails anymore]

[ text: Mitzie- please stop contacting the owner directly, if you have an issue please bring it to me and I will handle it that's my job as the Chief of Sharkpool. Okay?]

[text: Got. it. Have a blessed day.]

[text: tahnsk]

[text: just letting you know that this asshole is ruining everything we are all working so hard on he is a total embarrassment]

[text: ok, I'll call you after my meeting]

[text: Thank god for you...I mean it]

[text: kk]

The "sales" meeting that Schnellenberg was referring to was actually a face to face meeting with the owner of Sharkpool Bob  Beauregarde, who quietly slid into the conference room, while Blake was absorbed with his Iphone.   

[text: Successful Payment of T-Mobile Bill: $70... 0987]

[text: Chase Bank: Low Balance Alert  (...$36 : ending in 0987]

[text: I need to work late tomorrow so you need to pick up Betty Sue after school and make sure she does her chemistry homework]

[text: ok will do]

[text: Blake, can we set up a conference call with the owner later today? This kid is destroying Sharkpool with his bad grammar- maybe I could take over social media for him I couldn't do much worse]

[text: ok you will pick up Betty Sue or ok you will oversee the chemistry homework or both?]

[text: both]

[text: she got a c+ on her last test you need to help her with covalents and moles]

[text:  I don't know anything about chemistry]

[text: stop being lazy. Google it or look at the study guide-you need to start doing your part]

[text: ok will do]

[text: you say that but meanwhile her last homework assignment while she was with you got an incomplete]

[text: I'm in a sales meeting right now but I will check the study-guide]

[text: whatever, I'm tired of having to stay on you about this- it should be a priority]

"(Cough, cough) Blake, do you need to step outside for a minute to deal with whoever you are texting?"

"Oh, no sir Mr. Beauregarde, Sir, I apologize...didn't know you were in the room."

"That's ok young man, who do we have lined up as Sharkpool's cover star for the next quarter. I hope it is someone good and someone with deep pockets."

"Yes sir-I've been in talks with Morty McMint  of Trask Publishing and Sidney Schindlebergstein of Rolf Real Estate."

"Will they pay for the cover?"

"Not sure yet Mr. Beauregarde, I just sent them the recent newsletter and rate card with a request to set up a meeting."

"Have you looked at the date on the calendar, Blake?"

"Yes, sir."

"We need to lock one of them in for a cover pronto or I'm going to start having to make some changes around here."

"Yes sir, I understand completely"

[text: Blake, I was thinking that maybe I could write a profile piece on Sidney Schindlebergstein, I went to a party at Hudson Yards and met the bartender at Vessel who said Sidney sometimes comes to his bar--good idea? I was thinking of emailing Mr. Schindlebergstein today- you are always telling me to focus on sales...good idea? ]

When Beauregarde, started leafing through the latest issue of Sharkpool magazine that was on the table, Schnellenberg quickly and discreetly texted Mitzie back. 

[text: Mitzie, can't talk, plz hold off]

Beauregarde was unhappy about something, his eyebrows furrowed.

"What's a matter sir, is there something in the new issue you don't approve of?"

"I just don't like it when a writer throws in an abbreviation like ROI...just seems lazy to me...just write Return on Investment...I hate lazy writing."

"Yes sir, we'll correct that before we get it to the printers."

"I know you will, Blake." Beauregarde continued to flip through the dummy of the book. The physical manifestation of a magazine is called "the book" for some reason. Beauregarde, who owned 20 other small publications, looked like he was chewing on a lemon.

[text: another idea I had was Morty McMint of Trask Publishing... I heard you mention his name on the phone the other day...I think he would make a great person for me to write a profile piece about because I'm an aspiring reporter and he's done so much in publishing...good idea?]

Schnellenberg snuck a peek at the owner who was reading through the book shaking his head and circling parts of the magazine with a big red sharpie. Not good.]

[ text: Mitzie, again, plz hold off. call u later-B]

[text: Is everything ok Blake? Any update about a meeting with Bob about firing that asshole Montgomery? Madone! I hate him so fucking much- and not because of what he did to me but what he is doing to all of us. I can't take it anymore. I think of his smirk it drives me insane.]

[text: can't talk]

Beauregarde slid the dummy with his corrections back to Blake. "Ok let me know when you've locked in the next cover and tell the art director that I want to see more graphs and charts. I don't know how many times I have to say that."

"Yes sir. On it sir."

"Alright, good job" and with that Beauregarde nodded toward Blake and made his way toward the door. By the way how's that waitress Minnie doing in her internship?

"Great sir. Breath of fresh air."

"Please explain to Minnie that I'm very busy and  if I get one more  crazy text from her I'm going to fire the whole lot of you. Understand?"

"Yes, sir. Perfectly."

"Good." Beauregarde left the conference room.

[text: Blake, are you still in your meeting I have a problem and it can't wait.]

[text: five minutes, Mitzie, please]

[text: fuckhead just a posted a story on social media and he used another term nobody ever uses "NASDAQ" ...he needs to GO! He is driving me crazy and he keeps making up terms and abbreviations that are just wrong.

[text: NASDAQ is a known term for the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations]

[text: then why doesn't he just write it out like that - so everybody knows what the fuck he is posting about... this kid is a total asshole Blake I fucking hate him and he needs to be fired.]

[text: 5 minutes please]

[text: kk ]

Blake reached into his pocket and frantically fished out his small bottle of Zantac. No water around so he coughed up some phlegm and forced the little pale, red,  diamond shaped pill down his throat. Then he dialed Mitzie's number.

"'s it going Blakie?"

"Just had a meeting with Mr. Beauregarde."

"Your sales meeting was with Bob?"

"Yes, the meeting was with Mr. Beauregarde."

"Why isn't Bob responding to my emails about improving our social media?"

"Well, Mitzie - Bob did mention to me that he has been getting your emails."

"Oh good."

"Actually, not so good. Bob does not want you emailing him directly anymore."

"Why not?"

"I'm not sure Mitzie. Maybe because he is responsible for 20 different magazines, maybe because he's very busy and maybe because it is not proper protocol for writers for a magazine to be texting the owner."

"That's strange-I'm just trying to help."

"I'm sure Mr. Beauregarde realizes that Mitzie but it's my job to deal with any problems with Sharkpool. That's why I'm the Editor in Chief."

"I mean I don't even get paid enough to be working here. It's a joke Blake. My little precious boo boo kitty has a serious infection that's going to cost a thousand dollars because my insurance doesn't cover it...and then that asshole just posts whatever he wants and doesn't even know what the fuck he is writing about. Clearly Bob is completely clueless and doesn't give a fuck about Sharkpool."

"You are going to get all of us fired Mitzie - if you don't stop texting my boss. He said as much today."

"Bob said that?"

"Yes, Mr. Beauregarde said exactly that. Mitzie I appreciate your enthusiasm and passion and good ideas but please stay in your lane. "  

"Madone! Blake on my little precious boo boo kitty's life - I didn't mean to get us in trouble with Bob."

"Mitzie, please. Just no more texts to Bob. Ok?...promise me."

"You got it Blake. God bless you. I can't believe how amazing you are. I am so blessed...what did you think about my ideas with Morty McMint and Sidney Schindlebergstein. "

"I don't know if you have good instincts or you overheard my phone conversations but I have been targeting both of them to pony up major bucks to appear on the cover."

"If we land them can I interview them and write the cover article?"

"You can definitely help me with it."

"You are such an amazing person Blake I love you so much I am so blessed to know you. I thank God every day. If it wasn't for that piece of shit rat in the social media department who needs to be exterminated I would be ecstatic. I can't believe I'm a magazine writer. It's a dream come true. I'm so appreciative."

"Ok, great. Have a good day. I got to run."

"ok bless you. God is great."

"Yup. Talk to you later."

Blake hung up. And waited.

[text: You are the best. Do you think it's ok if I text Bob to thank him about my upcoming interviews with Morty McMint and Sidney Schindlebergstein.]

[text: definitely not ok. Please do NOT do that. Call you later to explain in full detail why that is not a good idea.]

[text: okay Blakie- you are the best. God bless you.]

[text: kk]



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