Blue Mondays                                                             GREEN  6

      Lex takes the lectern to brief Fungal Propagation late on Monday afternoon, and to his delight, people are actually listening to what he has to say.  It is close to 17:30, and Lex has spent an extra two hours waiting in the front office, going through his charts again and again. He is feeling pretty darn good about this presentation right about now, his confidence growing with every slide. You didn’t make me wait, you made me better!
      Lex knows that he has this presentation dicked. Between Stan's visionary ideas and his own masterful PowerPoint slides, this Slide Show has evolved into a thing of rare beauty. What an marvelous concept Fungal Propagation is, he thinks, and I can drive the potential home to everybody in this room.
     One by one, the people sitting around the Executive Conference Room begin to perk up. Their smiles spread like cancer. These are evil little smiles, the smiles of co-conspirators, but Lex is not the least bit deterred. Lex knows that everyone in the room would like to see him fail, but he seems to be turning them around with the strength of his presentation. He Is Turning Them Around Against Their Own Will.
      What a fine performance he is giving. Even Mr. Rangler is starting to look excited. That son of a bitch. Rangler had so wanted to bust him, but look at the balding idiot smile now. This must be a great frigging briefing!
     Lex allows a portion of his consciousness to float out of his body and drift amongst the spikes on the corporate timeline, where he looks forward with bemused pride at all of his upcoming milestones. The future is dead ahead.

     Things are moving fast for government work. Very rapidly indeed. In a matter of days he has acquired a budget line, found money as it were, someone else's project will have to go hungry. In a matter of weeks, he unveils a working Fungal prototype. His contractors have been working very long hours. He is sincerely grateful for their loyalty.
      It won't be long now before Lex has designed a miniature simulated network inside his office – no, inside his lab, he is definitely going to need a lab.  In this lab he will be able to test out every little portion of system functionality to his hearts content.  Of course he can set his own work hours, but in an uncharacteristic show of commitment, Lex is working overtime for gratis. Fungal propagation, it changes everything! He frets and slaves over the user interface (stark colors and obnoxious noises) until the system irritates the hell out of him. Good job!  It's almost perfect.
      Headquarters would seem to be the logical place to test this baby out, possibly using a small group of unpleasantly surprised selectees. Everything will work out fine with the human interface. The union should have no issue with the concept; after all, the boot-up screen already tells the user that their work is subjected to monitoring.
      Lex’s spirit floats on up the stairs and into a plush third floor suite. Admiral Curso, who had never wanted a goddamn computer on his desk in the first place, is livid. He has kicked over his chair. Magazines liter the carpet and felt tips are strewn everywhere. All he had done was to try and pull up the Washington Post  sports page and check the freaking scores, and suddenly his screen was flashing red and beeping.
      Fungal propagation. What a beauty of an idea this has turned out to be. Award winning stuff.  Okay, perhaps there are some folks who might claim that this was not really Knowledge Management in the very strictest sense of the term, but who the hell knew what was meant by that particular moniker anyway? Certainly nobody in this room. Present company included.
      Productivity in the test group increases by a dramatic 27% in the first six weeks alone. At least according to Lex's metrics it does, and Lex is the process owner for the metrics.
      Lex is lavishly praised and suitably rewarded.  Admiral Curso, against his better judgment but knowing a bandwagon when he sees one, awards Lex with the bronze Defense Supply Agency Distinguished Coin of Merit. In short order, Lex is awarded a Quality Step Increase, with the promise of a GS-15 soon to follow. He is given a Special Employee Meritorious Service Award of forty hours paid leave. Lex is allowed to resume doing his own performance evaluation. 
      All of this is totally justified, you understand. It goes without saying that a man of Lex's talent and vision needs his own personal staff, and he is promised three bodies for reassignment  before the meeting even breaks up for the day; two Computer Specialists, and, per his request,  Melinda Stuart for all his administrative needs.

     It's time to wrap this presentation up, so Lex's spirit floats back downstairs to the conference room and zaps back into his body. The last slide has been thoroughly explained, and Lex smiles benevolently, reaching over with his steady right hand to turn off the projector.
      "Any questions?" he asks.
      The immaculately coiffed Ms. Judy Blythe, from the Human Resources office, speaks first.
      She clears her throat and smiles up at Lex.  "Mr. Thompson, have you always been a fucking moron?"

 


      The blue spotlight has captured Lenny in a sharp edged cameo. He is contorting the muscles in his face, transforming himself into something new. His posture compresses and now his knuckles are almost touching the floor. His eyes pop open wide - It’s a chimpanzee!
       Suddenly Lenny starts jabbering away like Dubya on peyote, twisting the President’s own words into a convoluted story involving the Pope, Yasser Arafat, George W Bush, and the Lone Ranger's trusty steed, Silver. The capacity crowd is following along, getting progressively deeper into the story, with laughter building on every change in Lenny's accent. The kid is a hit.
      It's a little perplexing, isn't it, that there is scarcely a soul in the audience who gives a flying fuck that Tommy Thompson has taken on the name of the great Lenny Bruce. They're all just happy that he's making them laugh.
      Stan Keaton cares about the name theft, but most of the other folks are regular patrons on Blue Mondays, drawn by the early show time and the delicious half price Blue Curaco margaritas. The margaritas - called Last Laughs - are a huge specimen of the margarita genus, and have been known to cause devolutionary effects in many test subjects. Stan is hard at work on his second Laugh, periodically taking a break to chuckle or scribble an impression in his notebook. Stan desperately wants to have a strong opinion of the act. He feels like it is his responsibility as a critic to have a strong opinion, given the performers appropriation of the hallowed name. He would prefer to despise Lenny, actually, but thus far it is not working out for him. He’s laughing, damnit, in spite of himself.

      Arch Campbell, Channel 4's man about town, strolls on into the Chow Sin Sushi Bar. Charming Chinese lanterns, thinks Arch. Two and a half stars for decor. It’s time for him to check out this rising young comedian who has the gall to appropriate the name of the comic legend, and perhaps get a modest bite to eat as well. If the kitchen would be so accommodating.
      Lenny notices Arch right away because of all the commotion up front at the bar. The bartender speaks to the head waitress, who passes the word to the doorman, and suddenly a brand new table appears, which is positioned with a perfect sight line of the small stage. A magnum of good champagne in a gleaming ice bucket is brought to the tableside. Well, they must be laying it out for Arch Campbell. No?
      The waitress whispers to the three folks who are sitting at the back end of the bar nearest the exit. They exchange bewildered but pleased glances and swiftly move over to the special table. The head waitress supervises the transport of their drinks, jackets, purses and cigarettes. Arch casually moves down to the centermost of the three abandoned stools, and the doorman is instantly there, removing the seats from either side of Mister Campbell.
      Lenny is a bit distracted by the action, but not enough to interfere with his routine.
      "'Ah, no, Mister President. Sheeyat. Come on, don’t you even go and ask me about somethin like that, sir. With Silver? That’s The Lone Ranger’s ride, Mister President. He's a highly respected horse. Damn, Sir, that just ain't natural, I don't even wanna talk about it, you bein the leader of the free world and all.' So suddenly the Pope summersaults out of his sandals, twirls around on one foot and says to the farmer 'But maybe you could give Mister Arafat a taste!'"
      The room erupts in laughter. Arch erupts, and he hasn't even been in the Chow Sin for the full story.

      It is always a special treat to have a celebrity in the house. At this point in his career, as Stan would be wont to point out, Arch is more of a celebrity than a working critic. All he needs to do is drop your name on the Channel 4 Six O' Clock News, and your business is going to take a nice little spike. Arch sees Stan at the bar, gives a quick nod of recognition, and turns his eyes to watch the approach of the queen of the kitchen.
      Stan is nibbling from a complimentary basket of fries.
      Chef Auger has been preparing a very special dish for Mister Campbell. It is the largest crabcake that Arch has ever seen. He is really helpless to do anything other than laugh with glee when he sees the size, laugh out loud and clap his hands and shout ‘Bravo’, attracting attention away from the stage. The crabcake is as thick as a dictionary and just about as wide. There is no way on earth that one person could eat this entire thing. Arch orders a Red Hook and takes a tentative taste of the crab. Oh my God, this thing is delicious!  Arch digs in with gusto now and is pointedly oblivious to what's happening on the stage, right up until Lenny has the spotlight turned on him and yells out "Arch! Who'd you have to blow to get this job?"
      True to his reputation, Arch is a good sport, laughing harder than anyone in the house, and the crowd applauds his bravado. It is a good thing that no one is sitting on either side of Arch, or his wildly gesticulating arms would probably have cleared the bar within a four foot radius.
      What an enchanting evening this has turned out to be. Arch refocuses his attention back on the crabcake. His fork hits something hard and a reddish surface appears. What the hell is this? This had better not be something unsavory… Gross! Whatever it is… red… What? Are they trying to embarrass me?
      Arch begins to frantically scrape the crab away from the foreign object when it finally dawns on him what it really is. Look! It's the body of another crab! A little red crab! Delightful. Just delightful.  And things continue getting better with each passing moment. Pulling out the inner crab he discovers that the shell has been stuffed with bite sized, luscious chunks of sautéed lobster, prepared in a fine ginger and garlic sauce.
      Arch finishes his beer and makes a mental note. 'Three and a half stars for the Chow Sin Sushi Bar. And kudos to that new kid, Lenny Bruce. He’s pretty darn good, but not as good as the Crab Nebula’.
      As Arch extends his thanks to the chef with an extravagant air kiss and heads for the door, he can still hear Lenny in the background.

      "You all see in the paper this morning, yeah, The Washington Post, whatever, there's a new poll out today, where the people - I don't know all of the particulars, they're just The People to me, we don't have to get into specifics here - a lot of folks are starting to blame Bush for the shrinking budget surplus.”

     “What surplus? Stick a fork in it guys, it's done. Hey people, help me out with my memory, I’m a little fried. Didn't the dude just give away everything that was left in the kitty, pass it out to all of his buddies as a very special thank you gift for giving him the fucking presidency? And you thought Clinton had the Bubba's in control, huh? Well guess what? Your little piece - I hope you took a picture of your little three hundred dollar bribe, because just between you and me, that's gonna be the last piece of the pie that you’ll ever see. Mark my words - you're not worthy of further consideration. Cause I know you guys; you ain't that wealthy or you wouldn't be hanging out in a cheap little club like this, watching the likes of me."
 

Prelude    1.1 Be My Guest    1.2 LTMTSKW   1.3 Suzan  
1.4 DownUnder    2.1 Melinda   2.2 Lex Makes His Move  
2.3 Fungal Propogation   3.1 Letter Perfect   3.2 Funhouse   3.3 Red  
3.4 Permissions    3.5 Menthol   4.1 Happy Hour  
4.2 The Reporter Speaks   5.1 You Can't Win If You Don't Play  
5.2 909 
6.0 Blue Mondays