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The angels are near to us, to those creatures by God's command they are to preserve
He was putting the final touches on Spaggie when his boss called him on the intercom.
"Warren, you about finished with the drawing?"
"Almost, R. B." Spaggie was smiling up at him from the art board. Warren hoped R. B. would be equally sanguine about the situation. Lie picked up the art board, smiled back at Spaggie, and then left his office.
He passed by two other offices on the way to see R. B., both of which contained artists working industriously over angled drawing desks. The wall of the hallway was gray fabric exhibiting numerous samples of art that represented past prize-winning advertising campaigns. Lucas Communications, Ltd. every year accumulated a few Diamond Awards in categories of print ads, folders/flyers, radio commercials, direct mail campaigns, television spots. R. B. was always tense this time of year when every local advertising agency submitted entries considered its best work of the past twelve months. Winning awards in any category made R. B. happy, but winning "Overall Best Campaign" made him the happiest.
"An award represents future business," R. B. liked to say. And that was really the crux of it. Maybe awards massaged the egos of most winners, but for R. B., winning meant bucks-future bucks. Awards built a reputation which attracted new clients and kept current clients coming back.
"An agency lives off its reputation," was another R. B. dictum, and certainly Lucas Communications had a reputation for being one of the city'smost creative houses.
Warren Young had been with the agency for eight years. Fresh out of art school, he had started as a draftsman. In two years he was promoted to Artist B, two more years to Artist A, and Master Artist the year after that. But R. B. kept a close eye on all his talent, and he discerned that Warren's personality fitted him for an even bigger job.
Actually, R. B. didn't come up with the original idea. Warren was working with Abner Kelly on the Farm Fresh Dairy account. Abner was the agency account exec assigned to Farm Fresh. Usually Abner was very friendly, able to schmooze clients with the best of them. But for some reason the president of Farm Fresh did not like Abner (Warren thought it stemmed from a time when Abner started to light up a cigarette in the president's office without the president's permission), and after many hours consultation the president suddenly threw out all the work done up to that point. Abner committed the unpardonable sin he blew up in the client's face. Lucas Communications was about to lose Farm Fresh, so R. B. blew up in Abner's face. At which time R. B. pointed a finger at Warren and said since he was the artist, he should come up with new ideas and sketches and get back with the president and save the account.
Warren did save the account, justifying R. B.'s faith, and was launched as an account exec. But he was an account exec with a difference. R. B. did not want to lose his art talent, nor did Warren want to quit drawing, so he was a combination exec/artist unique at the agency and for the next year was R. B.'s "Number One Son."
But that was two years ago. When the economy went south, so did some of Lucas's clients. R. B.cut back on artists and copywriters-keeping the bottom line securely in the black. He even cut one account exec, Bill Ridley, who was old enough to get social security along with his pension. But rumors were that others might be cut.
Warren was walking through the office pool area when a voice to his rear arrested him.
"Warren-" a voice so musical it sang. Warren turned.
"Hello, Hazel," he said. Hazel McIntyre approached rapidly, holding an art board.
"Does this look all right?" she asked.
He looked at the drawing, a proposed logo for a startup company that produced music videos. A beautiful job," he said. Beautiful, right-but the real beauty was standing before him.
Hazel had been working only four months, coming from an art school in Atlanta. Her hair was dark red with fiery highlights, her skin milk-pale. Green was her favorite color, which was good because her eyes were green, with the longest lashes he had ever seen. During her first day on the job most of the guys had trouble not staring. They still did.
She constantly experimented with her hair it was long enough to give her a new look every day, from loose natural waves to ponytail to bangs to a mixture of this and that. Combined with her taste in clothes, the total effect was always stunning.
He sighed. She was twenty-three, making him feel old at thirty-two.
"Do you think Mr. Bonnell will like it?"
Jed Bonnell was the account exec on her job, and his best friend. "I can't speak for Jed," he said, "but this is good." Actually, no one could speak for Jed, a sixteen-year veteran in the advertising game. He spoke for himself. He had worked for five different agencies in his career, not because he wasn't talented, but because of his frank, some would say abrasive, personality. Not all clients responded to his honest, plain-speaking approach, but the ones who did stayed with him in agency moves. That's why he kept being hired by new agencies after loosing favor with his old boss.
Warren wasn't sure why Hazel seemed to have elected Warren as a father figure.