The tangerine seed lodged itself in Molly’s throat during Thursday morning’s breakfast, settling in with the determination of a squatter that no amount of phlegm could evict.
By mid-morning, her voice box was torn from endless attempts at clearing. Forced to mute a lunch-time conference call and collaboration session with the clients, her art director Charlotte approached with annoyance masquerading as sympathy and cold peppermint tea.
“Drink it straight down,” she said, handing her a mug. “It always works, you’ll see.”
To Molly’s relief, it did, leaving behind a faint but bitter aftertaste that reminded her of the absinth account the agency had just lost. Not that it was her fault. Even though she’d won the pitch, and written the tagline “Go with Green,” Kris never gave her the chance to work on it. That Swedish jerk rewarded the late nights and weekends by yanking her off the project and putting her on Quintessa’s tampons in a last-ditch effort to prevent the business from leaving.
“We need new thinking and you’re just the one to jump on the hand grenade,” he told her.
What he really meant, Molly knew, was that she was one of the few female copywriters left who hadn’t jumped ship when the agency luster had worn off.
Throw the lady on the fire.
The conference call ended with stone-face clients asking for time to digest.
“We’re just not sure if it’s really on brand,” the mid-level client said.
Molly left the agency early, running to the comfort of the streets, the subway, and her studio apartment overlooking the city.
How she hated them all. Her clients. Her boss. The industry’s constant unfulfilled promises.
“Don’t give in,” she thought. “Be strong.” But the tears came from some deep lake inside her, and gushed forth with stinging force.
She reached for a tissue, dabbed her eyes and recoiled in horror at the sight of orange, and the smell of sticky sweetness. Then, with only just a slight hesitation, licked it with the tip of her tongue.
Inside her abdomen, branches unfurled with pleasure. Molly closed her eyes. By the time she’d finished crying her first sixteen-ounce glass, she had a brand name—Aurora’s Beast, and a banger of a tagline: Good Comes From The Belly.