THE ADVENTURES OF MR. NICE GUY
(Based on partly true events in
the life of a free-lance advertising consultant in Palm Beach County)
Mr. Nice Guy
Refuses to Murder a Prospect
Mr. Nice Guy was cooling his heels in the
overstuffed reception area of a doubtful prospect that could nonetheless
turn into a big account (Mr. Nice Guy hoped).
He used this down time productively, scanning copies of Cosmo, Palm
Beach Life, and Air France Fashion Magazine to soak up whatever new
graphic design elements might be there.
The client's receptionist had told Mr. Nice Guy he would have to
wait while Mr. Thick finished clipping coupons from Sunday's paper.
Mr. Nice Guy finished studying all the magazines and also caught up
his personal correspondence.
From one of the magazines he discreetly tore out a coupon for a
luxury car sweepstakes, shrewdly figuring the coupon might delight Mr.
Thick (if he wasn't enraged by the mutilation of his magazine).
After that, Mr Nice Guy watched a dwarf royal palm tree trembling
in the final throes of death by dehydration. The tree was supposed to be
adding life and cheer to the room, but its condition evoked a mood of
death and gloom.
"This little fellow needs water," Mr. Nice Guy stated.
"Oh, we rent that silly thing!" the receptionist brayed. "They're
supposed to take care of it. Not me."
With a borrowed coffee mug, Mr. Nice Guy poured fifteen cups of
water into the pot before the soil looked dark and wet.
By that time Mr. Thick was ready but he couldn't shake hands because he
had given himself a nasty cut with the scissors. "I'm crazy about corn
flakes," he said, inadvertently identifying the coupon in whose eager
pursuit he had wounded himself.
"Now, I need company brochures. Fifty thousand of them. And they
must be first class all the way!"
"Yessir!" Mr Nice Guy happily took notes.
"Lots of pictures--color pictures--pictures front and back! On
good, stiff, shiny paper. With scalloped edges."
Mr. Thick lit up a cigar. Mr. Nice Guy was already lightheaded from not
eating since breakfast the day before. Now the cigar smoke went to his
stomach like an elevator coming to a quick stop after zooming straight
up forty floors.
"What about gold foil?" Mr. Nice Guy guessed on a hunch.
"Good idea!" Mr. Thick puffed. "Plenty of gold front and back. Big
gobs of gold all over--but in good taste, of course."
"Of course." Mr. Nice Guy made a note: "Good taste."
"Now about how much will that cost?"
"Well, Mr. Thick, what you've described will be very expensive.
I'll have to develop a quote. For one thing, a lot depends on exactly
how many color pictures, what size they are, what paper we use, and
precisely how much gold."
"Just a ball-park figure." Mr. Thick sketched with the cigar to
suggest a ball-park and the ash fell like a pop fly onto the carpet for
an infield hit.
"Fifty thousand copies as specified, I would estimate--depending on
particulars--somewhere between ten thousand and twenty-five thousand
Mr. Thick frowned and sucked down a few quarts of cigar smoke.
"That's way too high," he protested. "When I was in business up north, I
used to buy two hundred thousand brochures just like that for six
"Why don't you order them from that company, then?"
"They went out of business years ago."
The cigar smoke had Mr. Nice Guy's stomach searching for any juicy
remnant of yesterday's breakfast it could project toward the offending
cigar, but there wasn't enough for even a stale belch.
"How much do you have budgeted for this project, Mr. Thick?"
"Oh, we have ample funds, believe me! You're just too high with
your figure." The cigar went rather low for Mr. Thick's funds and much
higher for the estimate. "What if we don't go with the scalloped edges?
Save money, right?"
Mr. Nice Guy was not feeling nice. He wanted to clear the smoke.
"If we don't use color photos, no gold, no scallops, just black ink on
weak white paper, not folded, printed on one side, I can get fifty
thousand for you for maybe $1000--or $1005--delivered."
"Now you're talking!" Mr. Thick brightened. "Now how about if we
just order, say, 200 copies. Or, what the hell--225 copies?"
It was against Mr. Nice Guy's business ethics to take Mr. Thick's
life. More important, such an act would conflict with the image Mr. Nice
Guy wanted to project to the business community. But he did decide to
keep the luxury car sweepstakes coupon for himself.
Later, Mr. Nice Guy called the Forest Service to see if Mr. Thick
could conceivably be brought up on charges of attempted murder of the
dwarf royal palm. But, as Mr. Nice Guy feared, there is no law against
abusing a potted plant.
As Mr. Nice Guy put down the phone, he tried to cheer himself up
with the thought: "Oh, well! At least it's only 15 more hours until
A Paper Movie
The Christmas Story
Mr. Nice Guy's Nice Luck
Mr. Nice Guy's
Mr. Nice Guy's