Tuesday, November 20, 2018

50 Shades Of Black: A Fictitious Exotic Journey For “The Best Part”

November 4, 2018 by  
Filed under Highlights

Love at First Bite

The morning dew was fresh on the leaves, and Zena was still asleep. She keeps the window open to capture the fresh air, and a cool and satisfying breeze meets the opening of her eyelids.

She reaches for the alarm clock and realizes immediately — she’s late for her first day on the new job.

“Oh, my God!” Zena runs to the shower, jumps in, and glides a sponge soaked in natural soap all over her body. Sprinkles from the splashing water gives her naturally curly hair a sparkle, even before she rubs in the essential oils.

Contemplating what to wear — the burnt orange pantsuit or the cranberry wrap dress — Zena grabs her jacket and takes a glance in the mirror before leaving her condo.

As she drives down the freeway, thoughts of the unknown run through her mind as she thinks the new job and expectations. She slowly glances up looking at the building that will be her new workplace. “Wow, the building didn’t look this big when I was here last,” she murmurs to herself.

All eyes are on Zena as she approaches the reception desk.

“Hello, I am Zena Mitchell — here to see Mr. Spoon.”

The receptionist looks up from her computer. “Oh, you must be the new graphic artist?” Zena answers reluctantly: “Yes, I am.”

“Welcome to Onyx & Partners. Just one moment while I call him. Mr. Spoon, Zena Mitchell is here. He will be right down.”

Zena smiles, “Okay. Thank you.”

Still excited to be joining one of the largest black-owned advertising firms in Atlanta, Zena tells herself to be friendly — but not overly familiar with her co-workers until she finds her way.

Maximus leans back in his office chair to stretch his back. He pushes the button on his office intercom. “Hey Shelly.”

Shelly is shocked. “Mr. Johnson, I didn’t know you were in your office. What time did you come in?”

“I came in at 5 a.m. — I couldn’t sleep,” Maximus says through a yawn, “so I thought it was best to get to work. I am really concerned about the new campaign for our client. We can’t mess it up. I am going to take a break and get some coffee from the conference room. You want some?”

“No thanks, I stopped by Starbucks earlier,” Shelly replies.

Mr. Spoon tells Zena to have some coffee in the conference room while he goes to get her new supervisor. Zena is impressed with the lavish décor.

She looks up as Maximus enters. “Wow, are you my supervisor?”

Maximus looks confused and says, “Well, I guess you can call me the supervisor for everyone here, if you like. You are Ms. Sunshine that I met in the coffee store?”

“No, my name is Zena Mitchell — and now I remember you. I had no idea that you would turn out to be my new boss.”

A tall, stately lady enters the room, “Zena? Hi, I’m Lydia Maxwell, your supervisor. I see you have met Mr. Johnson.”

Zena stammers, “I thought he was my supervisor?” Ms. Maxwell interrupts, “No, this is Mr. Maximus Johnson — CEO and founder of Onyx & Partners.” She chuckles, “Ms. Mitchell I admire how you’re getting to know the company.”

Maximus takes a sip of his coffee and says, “Ms. Mitchell and I recently met informally at my neighborhood coffee shop. What will you be doing here at Onyx?”

Zena clears her throat. “Well, I am your new entry-level graphic artist.”

“And today is her first day,” says Ms. Maxwell.

“That is great,” said Maximus. “Looking forward to seeing your designs. You ladies excuse me.”

Maximus leaves the conference room, followed by Zena’s curious glance. Ms. Maxwell pulls out the conference room chair and sits down next to Zena.

“The professional culture here at Onyx is relaxed, but we are all about the business, outcomes, and goals we set for the company. There is not much of a learning curve. You have to kind of feel your way around, and I’ll give you your assigned projects. Time is of the essence on these campaigns for our clients — and there might be some late nights and early mornings.

She goes on, as Zena tries to take it all in.

“Here is a booklet of some of the campaigns we are developing — so while you are finishing your bagel and coffee, take a look at  them and tell me what print ideas you have. The new desk for your office is coming up from our warehouse, and your office should be ready in the next half-hour. So make yourself comfortable and give me your thoughts on those campaigns in the booklet. I will be back shortly to escort you to your office.”

Maximus reenters the conference room in a rush. “I understand Ms. Maxwell went downstairs to our warehouse?”

Zena replies, “Yes — she might be checking on a desk.”

“I know this is your first day,” Maximus says breathlessly, “but I need a prototype ad designed ASAP for my client’s campaign.”

Zena replies, “Okay, where is the campaign synopsis?”

Maximus hands her the paper. “It’s for our client, Free Cosmetics — natural makeup that lets you be who you are. How long will it take you to put something together?”

“Let me take out my laptop. Check back with me in an hour.”

Maximus smiles and says, “Wow, that’s great. I will see you in a half-hour.” He leaves the conference room, and Zena shakes her head while she starts tapping away on her computer.

She returns to Maximus much faster than he expected. “Yes?” he asked. “It’s only been 15 minutes.”

Zena smiles, “You said you needed something. So I developed a tagline for the campaign.”

Maximus is surprised. “The tagline is the hardest part of any campaign. Let me hear it.

“Live, Laugh, and Love…Unleashed Expressions! By Free Cosmetics.”

The room falls silent. Maximus bends down to look at the words on Zena’s computer. “I love it. I really love it. Zena, it looks like you will have a future here. That bagel looks good. I will let you finish it now.”

Zena smiles, “You want a bite?”

Maximus grins, “No, not now.”

He exits the room with tantalizing swagger — Obama style.

Want more Zena and Maximus? The story continues in the September 2018 edition of Las Vegas Black Image Magazine.

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