20 May 2014

The big boys of tobacco celebrate a court decision

‘A brilliant coup if ever there was one!’ explained Mr Sticks as he poured himself a glass of carrot juice.

‘I hear you!’ Mr C Garette cheered in agreement, accepting a glass from the host.

‘Do you have any kola kenda by any chance?’ Mr Dhoom Vetiya inquired.

‘Of course we do, we are very conscious of the flavor preferences of our ethnic counterparts,’ Sticks grinned, the condescending slur going unnoticed by Mr Vetiya.

‘Carrot juice for me, please,’ said Mr Tu Bak-ko.

‘Nothing like water!’ Mr Tar Zan said emphatically.

The gentlemen were seated in the plush London home of Mr Sticks, one of the biggest names in the tobacco industry. They were celebrating a court decision in Sri Lanka pertaining to pictorial warnings on cigarette packets. 

‘Anyone got any cigarettes?’ Tu Bak-ko winked at his friends.  It provoked guffaws all around.

‘Gave up the day I said “hello” to the industry,’ Garette confessed.

‘Never touched the stuff,’ Vetiya said and that brought same-here nods from Zan and Sticks.

‘So, fellas, what do you think?’ Garette brought up the subject of the court decision.

‘Brilliant old chap, simply brilliant!’ Bak-ko exclaimed.

Tar Zan emptied the glass of water and spoke at length.

‘This 50-60 percent thing is right up our street.  It’s bloody vague.  First of all, we can pick 50 instead of 60. When I heard that I had to strain to suppress chuckles. Then there’s the issue of how we apportion the space.  We could technically have warnings in smaller print in a big box, say black letters on red so it goes unnoticed, and say that the entire red area has to be counted under the “Warning” column of the calculation.’
They all roared with laughter.  Mr Sticks refilled the glasses and asked ‘How about a cigarette, gentlemen?’  

More laughter.

The door opened just then and in walked Mr Can Serus, ‘Sorry I’m late; had to change my pants!’

‘Yes, I noticed you were uncomfortable.  Peed in your pants or something?’ Tu Bak-ko ventured.

‘No way man.  Multiple orgasms.  It happened when they talked of space necessary for branding!’

‘Yes, yes, that was rich, wasn’t it?’ Mr C Garrette was excited.

‘Bonus.  A rich bonus, that!’ Sticks concurred. 

‘Yes, we don’t use even ten percent of the space to display brand name and logo even now!’ Tar Zan was smiling.

‘It might be a defensible position if there were dozens of competing brands and in a market where there is low brand recognition, but that’s not the case in Sri Lanka,’ Dhoom Vetiya painted the local picture for his friends. 

‘Ok friends, let’s raise a cheer for a determination that is vague enough and comes with enough loopholes for the money to keep rolling in!’ Mr Sticks raised his glass of carrot juice.
‘Amen to that!’ said Dhoom Vetiya downing his kola kenda.

*In a parallel universe of course!


Anonymous said...

That was one super piece! Why not try fiction too? Pretty sure you are good at just as much as you are great with verse!

Anonymous said...

Very amusing to read and creative too!