For ONE Night Only, Chapter 8—Clark Humphrey
Marshall Ayres has been up since 5:45. It’s now 7:10. He’s had his morning mini-workout (the short version for the starts of long days). He’s had his shower and his deluxe brush shave and his doses of fine grooming products. It is the start of a health-food and energy-drink powered full day of Winning.
As his raspberry and peach smoothie with protein powder comes into being in the blender, Marshall picks up his phone and clicks past each item on the day’s calendar app. Mostly the usual assortment of conferences and meetings with the toadies, contracts to be signed, underlings to be motivated, chastized, exhorted. Competitors to be smothered flat. Victories to be toasted. Defeats to be avenged. A meeting with the legal department to determine how to countersue that leech of an ex employee who’d spread such disrespectful things about him to the media.
And it’s all in the name of “being Social.” For that is the marketing angle behind his latest venture. Harnessing the power of social media to share all media formats, via triple-anonymized cloud servers, to mobile devices of all platforms and screen sizes, with minimized redundancy and cross-synergization, and also robust path-masking that optimizes deniability against IP legal actions.
Copyrights, though not software patents, are among the “dinosaurs” of society that Marshall will help to disrupt.
He likes that word, “disruption.” He likes being a rising star in a movement that’s changing the world. Destroying tired old industries and ways of doing things. Forging new paths, new efficiencies. Flattening centuries of useless bloat. The inefficient, the parasitic, the wasteful—all will soon be gone.
In the place of all that, a rationalized order to everything, managed by intelligent cloud based Big Data and supervised by rock star code warriors such as himself.
He hears a familiar buzz from his phone. It’s time for his morning meditation. He turns off the blender, picks up a tall glass from the cupboard, sees a speck of dish soap on it, sets it aside, reminds himself to tell the maid’s interpreter about it, picks up a second glass, finds it acceptable, pours the smoothie into it, sets the opened blender carafe down on the granite countertop, and takes himself, his glass, and his phone into the study.
He sits before his genuine reproduction rolltop desk. He un-sleeps his three-monitored PC (real antique desks don’t have the room for three flatscreen monitors but this deluxe tribute model does), clicks on his customized meditation app, and dons the Shure headphones that are always connected to the PC.
In the headphones, he hears the familiar soothing, yet stimulating, sound of the binaural white noise, scientifically engineered to reach the most receptive parts of his brain.
Within seconds, all three screens bear a CGI animation of a tropical beach, followed by a succession of video and still images. A CGI Earth spins slowly in space. The image zooms in, passing through the clouds, closing in on the North American continent, then on his city.
The image dissolves to a still of his dream home. It is a magnificent estate situated on the shore of a tranquil lake. It contains, as depicted in further images, indoor and outdoor pools, a home theater with a curved 4K screen, a rec room with a genuine vintage Bugatti roadster parked in the center, a slate pool table, a two-lane bowling alley, four marble-walled bathrooms, a commercial-sized kitchen with a walk-in freezer, an eight-car garage filled with a dark green Lamborghini and other luxury imports (and maybe one fully restored 1950s pickup), a sunken living room with a wet bar and a video wall, three guest bedrooms, a master suite with a mirrored ceiling, a walk-in closet filled with custom tailored Italian suits and silk ties, a 24-hour staff (including at least three live-in mistresses), and, at the center of it all, at the center of the world, an even taller, more muscular, more perfected version of his self.
And there’s travel too, represented by images of a private jet, a 100-foot yacht, a private space shuttle, and the Earth’s most scenic destinations, ranging from the top of Mount Everest to the shores of Bimini.
The next images depict future news website headlines (print newspapers being among his definition of obsolete “dinosaurs”). The headlines all shout about the onderfulness of Marshall Ayres, the single wealthiest and most important man the world has ever known. Photoshopped stills depict major world leaders genuflecting at his brilliance (politicians, as a class, being another category of “dinosaurs” to him). Self help book covers ask “What Would Marshall Ayres Do?” and offer “The Marshall Ayres Plan to a Perfect You.”
Marshall Ayres is the lord of all he surveys, and Marshall Ayres finds it all to be excellent.
Marshall Ayres is late, as he returns to the plane of reality.
He re-ties his genuine leather shoes. He looks at the cuffs on his well-pressed white shirt. He decides he’ll get a Rolex, even though he has his phone to tell him the time; it just makes the whole look come together.
Where is that car service? Why is it always late when he needs to be always the first one in the office and usually the last one out? He has to set an example for the rest of the office, to separate the loyalists from the Leechers.
While he waits for that unreliable car service (he vows he WILL have his own driver and soon), and because he believes in NEVER letting a moment go to waste, he stars to type notes into his personal journal app; all keyworded for instant retrieval when it comes time to write the story of his success. (He’s already been looking up ghostwriting services In India.)
He writes about his own neat and simple division of the people of the world into three classes. It’s going to be part of his bestselling book. He hasn’t come up with the right terms for them yet (the mark of a True Winner: never satisfied, not even with himself). His current names for his trichotomy:
• The Leaders (a.k.a. Level 1, the primaries, the Winners, and the True Winners; i.e., people such as himself);
• The Followers (a.k.a. Level 2, the secondaries, those who contribute and kowtow in wise deference to the Leaders);
• The Leechers (a.k.a. Level 3, the tertiaries, those who do not deserve to live, those who should be sent off on an ice floe, the losers, the sheeple, the parasites).
There are, of course gradations within and cusps between these levels.
David Carstairs, the local old school developer who got in way over his pay grade, whom Marshall had to buy out at pennies on the dollar, was once a Level 2, tried and failed to become a Level 1 (the poor twerp just didn’t have it in him), and busted himself down to a “high functioning” Level 3.
It’s because of Carstairs that he bought two tickets to the big show by some two bit hippie dippie circus acts. Acts that Carstairs wants to evict for that other, remaining, development project of his. That man, Marshall decides, needs more than one lesson. And Marshall is just the one to give it to him.
Marshall doesn’t particularly like alternative circus acts, not that he knows anything about them beyond the bigtime touring outfit from Canada. And he doesn’t much care for alternative burlesque acts either, with their cleaning up of what had originally been the sort of dirty, sleazy sexiness he likes.
But the burlesque promised for this show. sounds a little intriguing. He likes real nudity almost as much as he likes real sex. The ruder and cruder the better. And he likes danger, since he’s the sort of guy who makes risky deals all day long.
And he likes how the Architect, even though he revised her work on Ayres Colonnade Tower I, is willing to work with him again, once he lands the financing for Ayres Colonnade Tower II. He thinks it shows she’s got a good sense of submission. Not the kind of dainty lie down and think of England submission, but the kind that shows a woman or man accedes to what’s good for them. Which in her case is him.
He’s got a whole Theory of Sex, another part of the grand philosophy that will go into the “What Would Marshall Ayres Do?” bestselling book. The gist of it is that people are naturally sexually attracted to others on the same level of this hierarchy of humanity. But, also, that people with aspirations to rise in the hierarchy are appropriately sexually attracted to people the next level up.
In the case of himself, of course, the only way up for him would be to a more advanced level within Level 1; this architect lady is clearly a Level 2, but potentially a good lay. Someone who knows she needs to learn from a man such as himself, in and out of the sack.
For this particular event, his date will be someone named Sheila.
He’d met her at some big noisy bar on First. He was out drinking and snorting with the usual gang of his fellow code ninjas. Suddenly he heard some chick who was yelling louder than he and all of his compadres put together. He just had to find her. When he did, there was no one else near her. She had climbed onto a table and begun a mean impromptu striptease. One smokin’ bod, though the tits could use a little something more. Barmaids yelled at her to get dressed and get down, threatening to kick her out. She rightfully and truthfully yelled back that they were going to kick her out anyway. He stood directly in front of her and immediately offered to take her away from all this. She climbed down from the table into his arms. He picked up her top from the floor. They stayed in there just barely long enough for him to pay both of their tabs. They walked out into the early autumn night, her booblets still pointing the way. The miniskirted Asian women walking outside the bars, clip clopping out of rhythm in their high heels, stopped and stared in disgust and/or awe.
Marshall admired Sheila’s ability to be Disruptive. Greatly.
Her only demand was that they go to her place. Even though he told her how nice his place was. And even though she turned out to have no cats, dogs, or kids to feed. But she insisted.
She was a dynamite lay. The best he’d never had to pay for. She ave head like there was a miracle cure for all known diseases in his jizz. And she fucked like a wildcat, a regular wildcat.
Then in the morning, she was like some totally different woman had showed up and taken her place. She clutched her bathrobe, as if he hadn’t already pawed and licked every inch of her. She spoke quietly, almost mumbling, and wouldn’t look him in the eye.
This was definitely a chick he had to meet again, he writes just as the phone call comes in from the car service (shitty traffic blah blah blah).