“I think I need to visit another planet. The people on this one are driving me insane.”
Meet Elaine Triesance, publisher, writer, political adviser, investment guru, and CEO of Triesance Entertainment Group, which has had a hand in virtually every motion picture made over the past eleven years. Elaine is the ultimate power broker.
She’s also just a wee bit eccentric.
“Marlie, get Anna Wintour on the phone, will you?” Elaine instructs her primary personal assistant. There are six assistants, total, each tasked with managing a specific portion of Elaine’s life. “I’ve seen the suggested 2013 editorial calendar. She needs to drop anything about Chanel until that horrid Lagerfeld finally has the decency to die. He’s single-handedly killed Coco’s brand in a quarter of the time it took her to build it. There’s no reason to go chasing after him as though he retains any value.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Marlie politely responds. Marlie, a mere wisp of a girl, dressed head to toe in gray so as to give sufficient visual contrast to her employer’s usual black, is respected by some for her ability to handle Elaine’s sometimes monster-like emotions. Others fear her because, when Marlie calls, Elaine’s not far behind. “There is another stack of Fashion Week invitations today. Seattle, St. Louis, Birmingham, Indianapolis. Shall I send the usual ‘not-in-my-wildest-nightmares’ response?”
Elaine, dressed in a black under-bust corset with decorative pasties, sipped espresso from a child’s tea cup. Her gaze is stern as she ponders the question for a moment. “No, don’t bother responding to those morons at all,” she commands. “Instead, gather the names of the designers participating in those ridiculous charades and distribute them to the major fashion houses, especially Elizabeth Arden, Calvin Klein and Versace, with my recommendation.”
Marlie gives her employer a quizzical look, which prompts Elaine to explain her reasoning.
“All these pretend fashion weeks are the work of designers and their little friends who don’t have the talent, the guts, the aggressiveness, nor the creativity to actually make it in a real fashion house. They’ve all either been rejected by a fashion house already, or are too clueless to even know how to apply. So, they create this dream world where they envision their little town becoming ‘the next fashion capitol of the world.’ ”
“It’s not funny,” Elaine snaps. Marlie’s smile is gone. “Having minor fashion centers scattered all across the country is bad for fashion. The industry must remain centralized to remain competitive and vital because buying is centralized. The managers at their local department store don’t buy their own merchandise because they’re too stupid to know what will sell and what won’t. You think Macy’s or Nordstrom is going to send their buyers to twenty little towns to look at a bunch of designs that, even if any of them were any good, don’t have the ability to actually deliver in quantity? What a total and complete waste of time!”
Elaine walks over to a near-by window and grabs hold of a curtain panel, ripping it down with a sharp yank. “Cassie, we need knew drapes in the drawing room!” she screams. The forcefulness of her voice sends vibrations through the entire 42-room manse. Cassie, the assistant in charge of domestic operations, comes running along with two of her own assistants. They grab up the offending panel and run off, cell phones already up to their ears.
Elaine continues her monologue as though nothing had happened. “So, we have real design houses hire these eager little beavers, work their asses off for a couple of years, take advantage of the occasional good idea one of them might have, and then let them go. With the people motivating these local shenanigans out of the way, their pathetic fashion weeks fail, they stop wasting our time, and we can focus on trying to restore some respect and profitability to the industry. The whole field has become a disgraceful laughing stock. I’m not even sure we’re doing London this fall. That was a complete waste of time this year.”
The mogul puts down her cup and walks over to the half-bare window. A thin man in an expensive, tightly tailored suit walks through the door with his hands full of freshly-printed paper, the White House seal visible across the top. “Carney wants your take on this release before it goes out the White House door,” he said.
Elaine takes the papers and a red ink pin from her political assistant. Two minutes later, she hands back the papers looking as though she had bled all over them. “Tell Jay he needs to start worrying about his grammar. Damn Republicans are going to eat his ass alive if he doesn’t.”
The thin man winks and leaves the room quickly. That’s how it is in Elaine’s house. No one stays any longer than their needed. Marlie is the exception.
“The screening room is ready when you are,” Marlie says.
“What did Katherine bring me today?” Elaine asks, referring to her entertainment assistant.
“Sony’s new stuff,” is the answer.
“I hate that shit,” Elaine says.
“You paid for it,” Marlie reminds her.
“And it keeps paying for everything else in return,” Elaine says. “It’s a good investment. Doesn’t mean I have to like the shit. The movie business has absolutely nothing to do with what’s good. It has everything to do with what’s going to put the most asses in theater seats and standing in line for the DVD release.Quality is irrelevant. Academy Award winners rarely even crack the top ten in gross annual revenue. The American movie-goer is stupid and the way to make money is by pandering to their stupidity. Louis Mayer figured that out long before I was even born.”
Another pale-faced yet exquisitely dressed assistant, this one named Sara, enters. Her air is confident. “The galleys for your book are here and on your desk. I’ve tabbed the places you’ll want to make changes and ordered a change in the type.”
Elaine sighs. “I suppose I need to do another photoshoot for the cover.”
“Your image demands it,” Sara says. “Your face is still more recognizable than your name.”
“It’s a curse to be this beautiful,” Elaine replies. She walks over and picks up the tea cup, then sets it back down. “Schedule the shoot in two weeks. I have movies to watch. I should be nice and thin from all the vomiting.”
Sara looks at Marlie, rolls her eyes, and leaves.
“She rolled her eyes again, didn’t she,” Elaine says.
Marlie smiles. “Yes, she always does.”
Elaine walks toward the screening room. “Your breath always laughs when she does it, too. You should work on controlling that. Am I going to wretch through all these movies?”
“Probably,” Marlie answers. “But Tristan will be here when you’re done.”
Elaine breaths in deeply and smiles just a bit. “Perfect. I love a good fuck, especially after a bad movie.”
Elaine enters the theater and closes the door behind her. Marlie returns to her desk and resumes business. Her cell phone has already amassed 17 desperate voice mail and countless text messages. She smiles, knowing that bit by bit she’s taking control of the whole thing.