Another Silly Turf War by Richard Arneson, Author of Citizen Dick (Guest Post and Giveaway)
Today's guest blogger is Richard Arneson, author of Citizen Dick.
Dick Citizen, an unambitious, twenty-five-year-old with an obsessive hatred for his first name, an uncanny ability to hit a golf ball long and straight, and a bizarre skeleton in his closet, stumbles backwards into the last place he should be—Corporate America; more specifically, he stumbles into a PR position at CommGlobalTeleVisa, the 3rd largest telecommunications corporation in the United States, its name synonymous with ineptitude and shoddy, C-level leadership.
For Dick, boredom soon sets in, so he writes farcical press releases—to pass the time and for the enjoyment of his co-workers—about outrageous, bogus product offerings CommGlobalTeleVista has in the works.
But when one of the press releases gets leaked to the press, Wall Street responds favorably to the moribund corporation for the first time in several years. And when Noble Tud, the sleazy, hirsute, golf- and prison-obsessed CEO discovers Dick is uncannily lucky—he’s had fourteen holes-in-one—he decides to carry out the press release’s claims that CommGlobalTeleVista is about to take over a large meat company. And if doing so edges their stock price north of $75/share, Tud will receive a $100M bonus.
"Another Silly Turf War" by Richard Arneson
Like most people, on occasion I’ll do some work at Starbucks—but I’m not crazy about it. They’ve gotten a little too big and powerful for my liking, kind of the Walmart of coffee shops…except without the competition. If the work I do at Starbucks has anything to do with my writing, it’ll be proofreading or editing. I leave the creative stuff for the tree house I work in and now call my office. It’s loaded, with air conditioning, a phone line and cable TV. I found a cheap, dorm room-sized refrigerator that I’m going to install over the weekend and pack with beer. By June, it’ll have a small, flat screen TV. I’d love a second story, maybe even install a urinal some day.
I like to switch off between three Starbucks, not wanting to spend too much time at any one. I think spending too much time at a public place can put people off, make you look a little desperate, even creepy, like there’s an employee you might be stalking. Not that I know anything about stalking; she really was my girlfriend.
Over time, I’ve noticed that each of the three Starbucks I frequent has become the hangout for the private school students near them, a soda fountain for the aughts. I’m assuming. And you can smoke if you’re sitting outside on the patio, so the academic toughs drink lattes and smoke clove cigarettes and leer at passersby. But I’m not scared of them—I went to public school, where we smoked real cigarettes, drank beer, and made average scores on our SATs. And let’s face it, even Mike Tyson couldn’t look intimidating wearing khaki pants and a baby blue, button down dress shirt. If back in high school somebody had suggested we head out to get a frappucinno topped with whipped cream and nutmeg, we would have teased him until he opted to stay home Saturday nights to watch The Love Boat.
But the students seem to have claimed their respective Starbucks as their own, their turf, their ‘hood set to Norah Jones music. I’m waiting for the day—and trust me, it’s coming--when a kid from one of the neighboring Starbucks has to buy his 2,000 calorie drink at one of the other two. Smart looks will be exchanged, then a few words, probably a challenge to a game of Scrabble, trash talk about the upcoming moot court competition. Then an iced coffee will hit the floor and everybody will scatter, tan, dimple-legged women in tennis outfits hiding behind free-standing shelves loaded with over-priced mugs. The unemployment club will grab their cups of ice water and head to the restrooms. Then the two will face off, a pair of khaki-clad kids with something to prove and nothing to gain—just another silly turf war, but with a dash of cinnamon.
Richard Arneson’s thirteen years working in corporate America drove him up a tree—literally. Once he escaped the telecommunications industry after ten years of service, he built a tree house—ostensibly for his two young sons—installed electricity and cable TV, and set out to fix himself, deciding that dealing with the memories of working in the goofy-as-hell world of corporate America could only be accomplished by getting them down on paper. Citizen Dick is the result.
Arneson is currently working on his next novel, The Tree House, which, ironically, is not being written in his tree house but in the cab of his 1950 Chevy pickup truck. He lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife and their two sons. He has plans to build a second story on his tree house in early 2010, one large enough to accommodate a baby grand piano and two dental chairs.