The second-floor conference room of Simpson/Lynch Studios.
The Skipster and the Foxster are seated at opposite ends of the conference table. Both have large mugs of coffee in front of them. On the floor, to the right of the Foxster, is his cat, Orson. Orson also has a large mug of coffee on the floor beside him.
The time is approximately 8:45. We join their conversation, in progress.
Foxster: Oh, you did? Well, so much for the idea of a two-level interview...
Skipster (smiling): Cute. I only did it to expedite things... Not to mention, she was the only one who responded to our ad in the Pleasantview Poop Sheet. We must've decimated the town's unemployment rate with all our hirings for Kewl Beanz! (pauses) No matter. Anyway, Foxster, I didn't mean to step on those overly sensitive toes of yours. (Foxster laughs) Besides, I did all the other hirings without you...
Foxster (smirking): Smartass.
Skipster: And they've all worked out well! But at least you got to interview Carla, our new receptionist, after I did. (Foxster nods. Skipster pauses.) The others should be here any second. (pauses) This should be fun.
"Any second" turns out to be a few minutes. The conference room door, ordinarily left open when the room is unoccupied, is closed; protocol dictates that those desiring admittance knock upon the door, and wait to be permitted to enter. Shortly before nine, there is a knock on the door. The Skipster rises, walks to the door, and opens it. Standing there waiting are Tara, Gretchen, and Kato.
Skipster: Morning, folks. Come on in, but... Please don't take your seats yet! (Tara, Gretchen, and Kato enter, remaining at Skipster's end of conference table. Skipster closes door, walks to intercom at desk, and presses button.) Carla?
Carla (unseen, via intercom): Yes, Mr. Skipster?
Skipster: Has Miss Wickie arrived yet? (Tara looks at Gretchen and silently mouths, "Miss Wickie?")
Carla: Yes, Mr. Skipster.
Skipster: Excellent. Direct her to the conference room, please?
Carla: Yes, Mr. Skipster.
The Foxster rises and walks toward the others, who are still at the opposite end of the table. All make small talk until there is a knock on the door. Skipster walks to door and opens it. Vickie Wickie stands there.
Skipster: Ah, Miss Wickie. Right on time. Come in, please. (Vickie enters.)
Vickie: Oh, please call me "Vickie," Skipster... I'm sorry, I meant to say, Mr. Skipster!
Skipster introduces Vickie to the Foxster first, then to the other three staff members. Foxster proceeds to his seat at the far end of the conference table.
Skipster: Have a seat, everyone.
Vickie walks toward Tara's usual seat, on the right of the Foxster.
Tara: Umm... Excuse me, Vickie, but that's my seat. I always sit next to... Orson.
Vickie: Orson? (Tara points downward.) Ohhh, look, a cute little kitty! What a chubby little puff-ball! And... he drinks coffee?
Foxster: Only with non-dairy creamer.
Tara (sitting, as Kato and Gretchen take their usual seats): So, no offense, Vickie?
Vickie: (pauses) No offense meant, none taken. (seeing the only chair now empty) I guess I'll just have to sit right next to Mr. Skipster! (Gretchen frowns. Skipster and Foxster sit. Orson gets up and waddles toward Vickie.)
Skipster: Okay, everyone, this meeting will be quick; I know you all have lots of work today. The Foxster and I have hired Vickie as our new Executive Assistant!
Gretchen (confused): But... My title is that one.
Foxster: Actually, Gretchen, between your increased duties with SnL and with Kewl Beanz!, the Skipster and I have decided to promote you, to the brand new position of Director of Operations! It should take some of the pressure off of you... while giving you all sorts of new headaches... (scattered laughter) with a corresponding boost in pay, of course. Congratulations! (Kato and Tara applaud briefly, as Orson jumps into Vickie's lap.)
Gretchen: I... Thank you!
Kato (to Gretchen): I'm so proud of our "titanic Teutonic."
Gretchen (laughing): Oh, you! You should close your large mouth, Kato! (all laugh but Vickie)
Skipster: That's really all that the Foxster and I have for you! We just wanted to make everything official, and to properly welcome Vickie into our little group. Any questions?
Kato: Just one, for Vickie... If I may be so bold?
Vickie (stroking Orson's fur): Okay... Go ahead, Kato.
Kato: Well... Would it be rude to ask if "Vickie Wickie" is your real name?
Vickie (smiling evenly): Would it be rude for me to ask if a Japanese name like "Kato" is what it really says on your Chinese birth certificate?
Kato (smiling tightly): I'm sorry if I...
Vickie: No offense meant, none taken.
Foxster (breaking tension in the air): Ohhh-kayyy! Let's get to work, folks! (The Foxster, Kato, Gretchen, Tara, and the Skipster rise, as Vickie remains seated with a questioning look on her face.)
Skipster (to Vickie): Vickie, the Foxster and I have to make a few quick phone calls, so why don't you just sit here and relax for a few minutes while we're gone? I'll be back to get you into the swing of things before you know it!
Vickie: Sounds great! I'll just wait here and get acquainted with Orson.
Skipster, Foxster, Gretchen, Tara, and Kato leave. Vickie is alone in the conference room, still holding Orson.
Vickie (looking down at Orson, who is purring contentedly): Okay, you fat little fleabag, that's enough! Get the hell off of me! (Orson doesn't move. Vickie pushes him off of her lap and onto the floor.) I said get lost, furball, before I turn you into a throw rug! (Orson looks up at Vickie questioningly, as she laughs scornfully and viciously kicks him. He hisses at her.) Just don't get too close to the kitchen, or that nosy little chink might cook you for our lunch! (Orson hisses at Vickie again, and runs from the conference room.) So much for animals and their stupid instincts! Friggin' cat's like everyone else around here, thankfully; he can't see below the surface!"
To Be Continued... (and for more info on "Theme Thursday, click here!)
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