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Thread: Sharp Shooting – The Williamson Williams & Ecclestone

  1. #1

    Sharp Shooting – The Williamson Williams & Ecclestone

    I’m five minutes late, out of breath from running and knackered after the commute, and Alan is holding the door open for me and being a knob about it.
    “Afternoon, Michael! What time do you call this?”
    Afternoon. I get it, because I’m five minutes late and he’s exaggerating for effect. I sort of half-croak something resembling a word. It’s early.
    “Speak up, son! Heh Heh.” Alan is still holding the door open for me. I’m three feet away. How short does he think my arms are?
    I walk towards the break area. The vending machine has the customary fifteen people waiting to use it, so I walk over to my desk and drop my bag under it before turning my PC on.
    My phone’s ringing. Before I can pick it up, Charles Williamson walks over to my desk with his trademark, flailing swagger.
    “There’s no work for you today,” he says.
    “Oh,” I say. I don’t know how to talk to this man or if I should talk to this man.
    “Oh?” Charles says.
    “Sorry.” I don’t know what I’m apologising for. “I haven’t had time to check the work rota yet.”
    “Check the app before you clock in tomorrow. Your services are not required today. To the canteen you go.”
    I want to try and tacitly divert his attention to the forty-eight missed calls showing on my handset, but he’s back at his desk, screaming at somebody or other down the phone.
    I take my sales script down to the canteen with me. There are, I’d guess, fifty salespeople in there; a few temps, but mainly people like me who’ve been around ages and rarely get the chance to do the job. George, my Team Leader, beckons me over to a roundtable with eight of my colleagues.
    “There are no spots upstairs today, so we need to go over the sales scripts again.”
    This is the seven hundred and third time I’ve done this.
    George clears his throat. “Simon, you go first.”
    “Hello, my name is Simon, and I’m calling you on behalf of The Williams Williamson & Ecclestone –“
    “Fuck’s sake, Simon. You got the Williamson and Williams the wrong way round. Again.”
    “I’m sorry. ‘The Williamson Williams & Ecclestone’ is a right mouthful, though.”
    “If you can’t even get the name of the bloody company right, Simon, you might as well bugger off now. Off you go.”
    Simon trudges off. “You next, Marie.”
    Marie starts her spiel: “Hello, my name is Marie, and I’m calling you on behalf of The Williamson Williams and Ecclestone. Are you tired of filing your own reports? Feel time-consuming admin is getting in the way of your real business needs? That’s where we come in. You see, -“
    “The fuck’s that?” George asks.
    “I thought I’d try a new approach,” Marie offers.
    “One, you sounded like a bloody telly advert. Two, stick to the bloody script in front of you. Get out of my sight and practise by yourself over there. By the bin. Drew, you’re up.”
    “Hello, my name is Drew, and I’m calling you on behalf of The Williamson Williams & Ecclestone. We have identified you as an emerging, exciting new company that can grow alongside ours. What we’re offering you today is a mutually beneficial relationship, which will enable your company to reach new heights. We offer-“
    “Terrible,” George interjects. “Drew, you were sticking so closely to that bloody thing I’m going to start calling you Glue. It’s no use. Nobody’s getting it today.”
    Just as George starts to get up, the doors fly open and Dave, another Team Leader, barges in. Craig, the lad who works opposite me, follows closely behind, in tears.
    “There’s been an, erm, rota rewrite,” Dave says. Dave and George share a conspiratorial look. I think I detect a sense of despair, but I can’t be sure.
    George turns to me. “Michael, you’re needed upstairs.”
    It’s about bloody time.
    “Just remember to stick to the script,” George says, as Drew buries his head in his hands.

    I pick up the phone and dial the first of the three numbers that have been assigned to me on the work rota. The person on the other end picks up but doesn’t say anything.
    “Hello, my name is Michael and I’m calling on behalf of The Williamson, Williams & Ecclestone. We have identified you as –“
    The man on the other end tells me to “Shut.The.Fuck.Up” in a bizarre staccato before clapping five times, clap-clap clap-clap-clap. “Shut.The.Fuck.Up.” Clap-clap clap-clap-clap. “Shut.The.Fuck.Up.” Clap-clap clap-clap-clap.”
    I scrunch my face and put the phone down. I can hear Sarah opposite me sob and pop Rhodiola pills.
    “Please sir, if you could…just…please stop telling me I’m boring.”
    Oh, Christ. Don’t say that when Charles is on the floor.
    “I said mutually beneficial. Mutually beneficial. Mutually beneficial. Mutually beneficial! Why do you keep saying ‘What?’ Is there distortion on your line, sir?”
    “I’m just trying to do my job. Please. You’re my third call. If I don’t-“
    “Sarah, you son of a bitch!” Charles bursts out of his seat, rips the headset off her ear and towers over her. He fixes his face into a wild-eyed gurn.
    “Stick to the script,” he says, pronouncing the word gutturally like its twenty letters long.
    Charles pulls Sarah’s headset back on. She can’t control her bawling. “Our services include, but are not limited to, accounting, filing, reconciliations, accounting –“
    “You already said that, you stupid bitch,” Charles says, screaming into her headset, punctuating every word with his pigeon head thrust. Sarah starts to retch. Charles’ face contorts to an exaggerated frown.
    “That was your third call,” he says. Sarah retches and sobs, the capillaries in her eyes like static on a broken TV.
    “That’s three calls without a sale. Get your stupid behind down to the canteen and don’t look at me, or sit in that very chair, until you learn how not to be a disgrace.”
    Sarah cries as she walks out of the office floor. Minutes later, Marie arrives from the canteen and takes the spot at her desk.
    Ignoring the sight of his trembling hands almost knocking his handset over, I look at the work rota and dial the second number assigned to me. A woman answers.
    “Hello, 50’s Vintage – Karen speaking.”
    “Hello Karen, my name is Michael. I’m calling you on behalf of The Williams Williamson & Ecclestone.” A mistake on my second call. Shit. “Sorry, I don’t think I’ve woken up yet!”
    “You fucked up! You fucked up!” Karen says, but I think I sense a playfulness in her tone. I try to engage with her now that the forced formality has, however inadvertently, been broken.
    “I’ll just start again, OK? And try not to mock me this time” I say, flirting. “Hello Karen, my name is Michael and I’m calling you on behalf of The Williamson Williams and Ecclestone. We have identified you as –“
    “You still suck! You still suck!”
    “Why do I suck?” I ask, feigning indignation.
    “You keep saying ‘The’.”
    “Well, yes…it’s part of our company name.”
    “That’s silly. I want to go to The McDonalds for my lunch today. That’s also silly.”
    Charles isn’t paying attention to me.
    “Erm…the ‘The’ made sense when we were The Williams Williamson & Ecclestone Partnership. Now, we’re just The Williamson Williams and Ecclestone.”
    “You fucked up! You fucked up!”
    “How have I fucked up now?” Fuck. Everybody on the desk heard that and now they’re looking over at me.
    “You got Williamson and Williams the wrong way round again. And you keep saying ‘The’. Shouldn’t you just be Williamson, Williams & Ecclestone?”
    “It’s our company name!” I half-shout, feigning anger.
    “You’re silly. What do you want?”
    “I want to sell you something.”
    “What do you want to sell me?”
    “Well, we’ve identified you as-“
    “Stop reading from a script.”
    I exhale. “You’re an emerging, privately-owned company. We have discovered that you haven’t selected a company to outsource your administration to. We are hoping that you’re sat there with a garage full of files that you can’t be bothered to process yourself, and would much rather pay us to do it for you.”
    Charles has a stern expression on his face and he’s walking over to my desk.
    “Sounds about right,” Karen says. “How much are we talking? I don’t even know what’s a good price. I just make dresses. I hate all this business business.”
    Charles is hovering over my desk. “Our price is a good price,” I say, incongruously.
    Charles glares at me.
    Karen laughs. “Our price is a good price?”
    Charles lifts the headset from my ear. “Stick to the script” he shouts.
    Karen sounds confused in the background. “Who’s shouting?”
    I can’t stick to the script. I’ll lose the sale. I decide to jump ahead to and tweak the closing pitch; that way, I’m sticking to the script, almost, and not alienating Karen.
    “Now that we’ve established a dialogue, would you be interested in meeting face to face? We can offer you a range of establishments for complimentary lunch or dinner.”
    Charles is blowing a gasket. He picks up my bag from under the desk and empties the contents on my head. My heart is pounding at this point.
    “You premature son of a bitch,” he screams.
    “OK, Michael. I shall meet with you…but only because your timing is so good. Your sales technique could use a little work.”
    “Oh, I think it’s better than you’re giving it credit for.”
    Charles is visibly seething, mimicking someone mentally afflicted to indicate the intelligence of my decision, and smashing his fist down repeatedly on the script in front of me. He storms off as I finalise the details of my meeting with Karen.

    After a very long twenty minutes, Charles, whose face has finally lost its enraged, purple hue, gives me the disapproving slow blink and the silent come hither. I follow his bombastic hulk of a frame out of the office floor and up three flights of stairs to the old client meeting rooms, the squeaking of my sweaty hands on the bannister and the gabba thump of my heartbeat cutting through the silence. The floor is empty. Charles walks over to the Prosperity meeting room and motions for me to enter first. I do so, holding the door open for him, which he almost knocks off its hinges when he closes it behind him. I stand there not knowing what to do.
    “Sit down, for Christ’s sake” he says. I sit down. He pulls out the chair next to mine and angles it so he’s sitting directly in front of me. I can feel his hot breath on my face.
    “You fucked up,” he deadpans.
    “I know.”
    “You befriended somebody from an external company.”
    “I know.”
    “You undermined the company you work for and what it represents in order to make yourself look good.”
    “I know.”
    “I know,” Charles says, mocking the defeated lilt of my voice. “The fuck d’you mean, ‘I know’? What I want, quite frankly, is an explanation.”
    He waits for me to talk, reclining in his chair and rubbing his temples. It’s so quiet up here when he’s not talking. I’m in outer space. My heart feels like it wants to fuck my throat. My mouth is cotton wool. I can’t speak.
    “Talk, goddammit!” he roars.
    “I booked a meeting,” I splutter, not sure where the words are coming from, but knowing talking is better than nothing. “The company sound interested in what we’re offering. I’m confident we might actually make a sale.”
    Charles’ eyes narrow to slits. “Go on.”
    “Which is a good thing, because nobody in this company has sold anything for months.”
    Charles leans forward and rests his hand on my left knee. He gives the flesh above it a tight squeeze. He moves his hand forward slightly, taking my trouser leg with it, before giving it a hard slap.
    “It’s just not the way we do business here,” he says.
    Sensing an opening, I continue: “I have no problems with the script,” I lie. “Better salesmen than me have sold our services using it.”
    Charles doesn’t interrupt. He just edges a little closer and puts his hand on mine, giving it a squeeze too soft to be avuncular. Then he reaches for my collar and caresses the loose top button. “You’re scruffy,” he says, softly.
    “I…” I’m unsettled. “I know my behaviour was unprofessional. The customer –“
    Charles suddenly squeezes my hand a little too hard and stands up with a snap.
    “We’re going to have to let you go,” he says. Fuck.
    “We have our own way of doing things here. And, as the undisputed market leader, I’m inclined to believe that our way is the right way, quite frankly.” Charles paces around the room. He hasn’t kicked me out yet.
    “Please, Mr. Williamson. I know I fucked up, but I booked a meeting. I have potential. Prospective clients ring my number and ask to speak to me. I get ten emails every hour. If I can just have another day on the phones, maybe try to alter my style-“
    Shut up!” he roars. “We can’t have you undermining this company. We can’t have you setting a precedent for everybody else down there.”
    “I know”, I say, with my head down.
    Charles walks over to me slowly. I look up. He shows me the full whites of his eyes and the tip of his tongue. He stands in front of me very closely, his crotch level with my face, which is so numb my mouth is hanging open.
    “You’re sacked,” he says. “Unless…”
    Charles slowly unzips, leering at me until it’s all the way down, before theatrically turning 180 degrees and dropping his trousers.
    “…you kiss. My. Arse!”
    His bare, wrinkled posterior is staring me in the face. He lets out a deranged cackle. “Kiss. My. Arse!”
    I leap up and run out of the room. I can hear Charles screaming “He’s gonna quit! He’s gonna quit!” as I reach the doors. I run down the stairs, taking them five at a time, until I get to the reception on the ground floor. I walk through the revolving doors and the cold air hits me so hard that I fall to my knees, sobbing.

  2. #2
    Oh my god, this was brilliant. Sensational. Took me until "'Shut the fuck up!' Clap clap clap clap clap..." to get what you were going for, but I legitimately had an "Ohhhhh!" of revelation, and I loved it. I kinda wish I had got it straight from deducing the acronym of your company, but that's neither here nor there...

    This reminded me a bit of an entry Mavsman put forth in last year's CSI tournament entitled "Cynical Fallacies", and that column got my vote for Standard Column of the Year, so take the comparison at high praise, man. I sincerely hope that everyone reading this column gets it, because there were a few that didn't get Mavsman's brilliant point in the column I alluded to, and that was unfortunate. (I hope I'm not sounding too cocky by saying I get it, I promise I'm no hero! mizfan had a column months ago that made a subtle point that everyone and their dog got, but it went completely over my head).

    Pardon my rambling. This deserves a lot of credit, Sidg, especially if you were shitting yourself preparing, as you mentioned in Oli's column. Gave a refreshingly unique look at something many of us have probably been guilty of neglecting while we sit in the stands and chant, "BO-RING" or "Shut the fuck up!", and that's how handcuffed many of the talents can be at times. Sometimes it's almost damned if they do, and damned if they don't. Your take on "The Williamson Williams and Ecclestone" versus "Williamson Williams and Ecclestone" was pretty humorous while making a great point, too. I'm guilty of plopping the word "the" in front of something that doesn't need a "the" occasionally - more out of habit than anything! I make a conscious effort not to say the phrase "PIN number", though...what do people think the N stands for?

    The only thing that I wasn't a huge fan of was the lack of spacing, structurally speaking. If it was me, I would have entered spaces between each piece of dialogue. I know that going for a new paragraph every time there's a change in dialogue (especially when a column such as this is full of dialogue) will stretch the height, for lack of a better word, of your column, but I think it's aesthetically advantageous. Minor complaint, though.

    But seriously, man...this was a truly brilliant concept and it was executed incredibly well. With the columns by Oliver and you so far, this round is off to a hell of a good start. Well done.

  3. #3
    The Brain
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Skul, when did I confuse you? I'm seriously trying to dredge up what column that could have been... apparently I can only remember other people's columns.

    Sidg! I agree with Skul that the spacing was a bit of an eyesore, but otherwise this was fantastically clever. It started a bit slow but it built well, and by the time they got to the calls themselves I couldn't stop smiling. Extremely clever way to make a whole slew of great points about the WWE (their terminology, not mine!) and the industry in general. My word, makes you feel a bit of a dick to be a fan at all? Now all I can think of is Joe Hennig crying in the bathroom and Alberto Rodriguez dabbing his eyes with that stupid scarf after I lay into them... ah, I'm doing it right now!! The last scene was the best, can you imagine a boss like that in any other industry? Well, I mean, I guess you can because you just did. Hm.

    Fuck it, I'll just say this was a one of the most clever columns I've ever read on this site and leave it at that.

  4. #4
    Well done Sidg. Well done indeed. Like Skul, it took a little while to really click into place for me, but once it did it all fell into place. That, to me, is a demonstration of a great piece of work, one that reveals itself as you read it. I agree with the issue the others have as spacing - coming in, it looked a little bit like there was too much text all in a lump to get through, which was a little of putting - but boy am I glad I stuck with it because it was a masterpiece. Funny that all those things people do that some of us love to see from fans are absolute dick moves, isn't it?

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    I agree that the only thing wrong with this was the spacing. It did make it difficult to read at times. Either spaces or color changes for each new speaker would have made this easier on the eyes.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by mizfan
    Skul, when did I confuse you? I'm seriously trying to dredge up what column that could have been... apparently I can only remember other people's columns.
    Memory's a bit vague, but it was a column about the "every-wrestler", the non-superstar who found himself going through highs and lows, even losing to the Undertaker at WrestleMania before eventually finding himself irrelevant. You kept the narrator (the superstar himself) intentionally unidentified, and pretty much everyone who read it got that he was intentionally unidentified because it could truly be a number of wrestlers, past or present - and ol' blonde Skul comes along and says, "Oh, it's Heath Slater". Which it wasn't.

    Come to think of it, it was a lot more than "months" ago...might've been over a year ago, even. I think it was your column, anyway!

  7. #7
    Main Pager Maverick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Hipsterville-By-Sea, United Kingdom
    Enjoyed this Sidg, a powerful message indeed. It was also funny, insightful and well observed. The ending with the kiss my ass club was terrific. I kind of miss those days.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Memory's a bit vague, but it was a column about the "every-wrestler", the non-superstar who found himself going through highs and lows, even losing to the Undertaker at WrestleMania before eventually finding himself irrelevant. You kept the narrator (the superstar himself) intentionally unidentified, and pretty much everyone who read it got that he was intentionally unidentified because it could truly be a number of wrestlers, past or present - and ol' blonde Skul comes along and says, "Oh, it's Heath Slater". Which it wasn't.
    That wasn't Mizfan. I know what you're talking about, but it was by another columnist who wrote five or six columns before disappearing. I'm struggling to remember his name, but I think it was just one word. He also wrote about an idea of how to make the World Title the unified title and recreate the territory system as part of a five part series or something.

  9. #9
    The Brain
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Actually that was me, I distinctly remember being disappointed when some people thought I was talking about Heath Slater. Not that I dislike Slater, it just wasn't what I was going for...

    "It Doesn't Matter What Your Name Is", it was called, and yes indeed it was last November.

    Now I just need to think of the name of the other guy Xan is talking about, because I remember him too. Dammit, this will drive me nuts.

  10. #10
    Broken Kleck Kleckamania's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    I admit I was waiting to comment on your columns until I saw what you did with this round and I need to emphasize that this was great. I will say the spacing and amount of swears in this were both a bit jarring, but this was a very creative piece of writing that played on so many issues in the WWE. I got the acronym early into the column, but this column appealed to both those who got it right away, and those who didnt until towards the end in different ways. You thought this through really clearly and created a very clever, creative column. Nice job

  11. #11
    Just want to address the formatting gripes in one blanket response, if I may…the reason I’ve delayed this F2F is because I’ve tried to phrase this response again and again and I can’t do so without coming across like a bit of a prick, but…this was a short story and I wanted it to look like one. It resembles 98% of the printed fiction you’ll see in your bookcase. I see where you guys are coming from, because I have an HTML editor at my disposal, but I did preview the column with spacing (I’d anticipated this criticism) and it looked a) a bit ridiculous and just not “right” and b) imposingly long. I was scrolling for days!

    Skul – I’m taken aback by that. Thank you. I don’t remember Mavsman’s column because I stopped reading the CSI columns out of spite when I got knocked out. So petty. I’d been in the CF for about two months when I entered, thought I was really hot shit and would win the whole thing, and received quite the bloody education! I was bricking it before posting because I’d half-written two other columns and I wasn’t sure if I’d gone the right route. I was second and third guessing ‘til the end. It’s funny – the STFU and What? chants were, to quote JR, the sizzle to the steak of the piece, which was to transpose and allegorise WWE’s working practises to a thoroughly mundane industry to highlight how ridiculous they are. If anything I’m chuffed that people seem to have taken away a feeling of sympathy for wrestlers who receive dire treatment of fans precisely because it wasn’t my primary aim. I was really going for the levels thing here.

    Mizzles / Maverick– Thanks for the kind words, gents, and since you both complimented my favourite part, I’ll F2F you together. I’d say that sounds wrong, but there’s nothing wrong with that, to paraphrase Seinfeld! The ending came to me at 6AM at Saturday morning and I felt compelled to get up and write it until it was finished. Those are the times I love to write most – before breakfast. I liked that ending, if I say so myself, because it’s one of the few times I’ve managed to make a twist that one should see coming, because it makes sense, really, a bit of a shock. What an awkward sentence that was. It’s late. I’m best before breakfast.

    Oli – We’re so blasé about it too. They’re human beings! They want their dignity back! Hug?

    Xan – Given that you said the formatting was the ONLY thing wrong with this, I’m left to assume it’s the single greatest thing you’ve ever read. Ever.

    Mav/Xan – I can’t remember who that bloke was. Sorry.

    Kleck – Don’t worry mate, I’m just grateful you took the time to read, let alone feed. I was worried that the acronym was a little too ‘on the nose’, but it seems to have hovered a little under the surface, so I’m happy with that. Your Benoit column was the best thing you’ve done so far BTW. I’ll give you proper thoughts at a later time.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Potty mouth.

    Enjoyed this, which is kinda interesting because historically I steer clear from similar things. I don't particularly think the character portrayal or development was fantastic though, but all in all an OK job. Nothing wrong with that, was a great idea.

    Spacing wise, Im one who reads on my phone, so this was difficult, I see what you were trying to achieve, but it didn't work. These days as more and more people read quick fire columns on commutes, having a shit etc... They eat it laid out in an easy to read format. Like children! Identifyable colours are the best way, especially if your aren't spacing

  13. #13
    Hey, my characters are potty mouths, not me. "My characters". How fucking pretentious.

    Thanks for stopping by. I know you're a busy man, so it's much appreciated. I forsook character development fo brevity on purpose, but I accept and understand the critique.

    It looks a bit gash on my phone, too, but fine on my laptop. I can't help but feel colours would look a little trite, especially as there were a few one-line characters in there, but the formatting gripes are unanimous so if I attempt something like this again I'll make like Mrs. Lovejoy and keep the children in mind!

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    It doesn't necessarily need to be full lines colours, you can just highlight the first few words, a'la Uncle Joe.

    Unfortunately I know a lot of guys don't read books, so will be put off by the blocky writing that's all, it's a sad truth!

  15. #15
    The Doctor's Orders
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Definitely take the spacing criticism to heart. Ease of the read in our society is a must. It's a chore enough enticing readers to take a look at your creative pieces if you're primarily a straightforward, current events style writer. If they have a hard time reading it because of something simple like spacing, then you're just putting an unnecessary obstacle in the way of getting more reads and feeds.

    Interesting story. It didn't immediately click with me, to be honest. As I scrolled down to get to the quick reply, I read such words as brilliant and thought, "Hmmm..."

    I went back and read it again. Still didn't click. Perhaps it was my relative unfamiliarity with your writing. Once you get to know a writer's voice, so to state, I think it makes it easier to decipher there non-obvious points that he/she tries to make through pieces like this. I get it, don't get me wrong. I thought I did. I even asked Mizfan to confirm for me the point so I could better understand such praise as "brilliant." Definitely, that was interesting way of making your point. I will just admittedly state that I didn't have the same reaction to it that some did.
    LOP Writer since 2004. Former Smackdown, ECW, Raw, and WWE PPV Reviewer. Current LOP Columnist since 2010. LOP Columns Hall of Famer. Host of "The Doc Says..." on LOP Radio.

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