Summary of the amusement
Clarity Nice visits the headquarters of Herbaline in Orange County, a herbal, diet and weight prevention company, known for its aggressive marketing methods. Seeing on a corporate chart that the president of the company, Lyle Matchett, has never been seen and is not shown anywhere in the annual report of the company, Clarity decides to explore the company's premises afterhours, and stumbles upon an area inside the company building labeled emotician office. Intrigued by a word that she has never heard, she opens the door and gets in. Emotician Coley Manglove finds the Malibu teleoperator in her office and reveals to her the secretive project that she has been told to carry out by the head of human studies at Herbaline: A chart of emotion that can be used to describe the personality of employees and to elicit sales from a customer, even those reticent to buy Herbaline products.
The morning airport van driven by Fletcher took Clarity and Lanai out of Los Angeles, taking the road to Palm Springs, East of L.A. They stopped several times to refuel at gas stations along the way, while Fletcher kept reading a page from an old paper edition of the Desert Sun, indicating the opening of the correctional language facility of Herbaline a few years earlier, a place unknown to most employees of the company.
"So you are happy here, at this place, at Herbaline, driving for them?"
"It's not bad, I get to see the landscape of the U.S."
"Yeah, California desert areas do have pleasant sightseeing spots, like this."
Clarity kept throwing furtive looks at the newspaper page that Fletcher was holding in his left hand.
"This page has interesting news, right, you have been holding it for quite a while today," said Clarity.
"Yeah, it's not bad, it has the news for today, or relevant news for me that is."
"Palm Springs is certainly a well-to-do city."
Fletcher glanced at her, looking quite intrigued by her statement. Clarity held the stare.
"I mean the page is outdated, it shows twenty january twenty oh eight, 2008 is not today," said Clarity.
"This paper shows the location of the language facility area."
"Really, where is it, can you show it to me?"
Fletcher set aside Clarity, away from Lanai and the gas station employee, sitting down on a picnic table bench brought in from Yellowstone park by a ranger who'd made a few dollars, selling it for a lesser fistful of dollars, taking it there with a transportation company owned by a friend of his.
"This article shows what the language center does and it shows the way to get there from Los Angeles."
"What does it do?"
"It's where all the course material of the company is designed, a sort of marketing lab. No one really knows what's going on there."
Fletcher pointed towards the top of the newspaper page, taken out of the miscellaneous events feature from the Palm Springs Gazette. "This is my map to drive you there," he added, "when the place opened a few years ago, the article included directions to get there and words from the mayor who said Herbaline was bringing business to the Palm Springs community."
"It's just odd that you get directions from a newspaper," asked Clarity.
He unfolded a plastified map of the state of California, a new map made by Rand McNally.
"I can always refer to this, I don't trust these Herbaline guys with directions really."
The language facility of Herbaline was set along a palm tree avenue of Palm Springs, not too far from the mayor's city Hall and office building, yet far enough, not to draw attention to it. Lanai and Clarity were assigned to their quarters and they were told that they would work with Coleman Cartmel, level four salesman and distributor at Herbaline, in addition to being the motivational guru of the place, solely in charge of all the training that took place there, and of all the sales training in particular.
Clarity caught Fletcher on his lunch break and took him aside, inviting him to an iced tea near the counter of the self-service food area of the facility. The cook of the facility waved at her from behind the kitchen counter.
"So what does Coleman Cartmel do here?" Fletcher pointed to the cook.
"Not sure, you have to go through the kitchen area to find out, the cook knows something here that no one else knows about him."
"You mean about his sales work?" The facial expression of Fletcher changed, showing a grimace.
"Yeah, yeah, sales work, Cartmel sells all kinds of things to anyone, kitchen appliances, cookware, furniture, Herbaline products, Chevron gas stations, Wolfgang Puck rest areas, and Jack in the Box key rings. This guy is unlike any other guy I know, he can sell anything to anyone."
He pointed towards the kitchen, behind the counter serving food. Clarity followed her intuition and entered the kitchen coming face to face with the cook, Clarkson, a cousin of Clark, the guy owning the Diamond shop in Grand Cayman, who had taken Clarity and Flower in a golf cart through to the Lofty bank vault. Clarity learned from Clarkson that Lofty bank had changed names, becoming Lofty & Jennings private bank, and that the bank was now owned by Buddha Talk, a former bank representative who lived in Cayman, in his luxurious home in Nelson Quay.
"I don't know much about Cartmel, but I know he's involved in the study of a person here, he is using someone as a sort of a guinea pig to know more about how a person thinks, in order to prompt a sale of Herbaline products. Cartmel jots all that he knows in the sales database of the language interpreters, who are the ones coming up with the next version of the company sales manual. The manual is updated once a year or so, every twelve months."
"Who is the person being studied, is it a woman named Ambi?" Clarkson lowered his voice.
"You know too much already, you're headed for trouble if you keep talking like that."
"I didn't say much." She added. "Where is Ambi?"
"Room one oh three, can't go in, all that I know from where she is, is that you can talk through to the person across the door, if you know what to say to the person or to the door."
Intrigued, Clarity walked out of the kitchen through the kitchen back door, into a corridor, noticing the door behind her closed. The back of the kitchen door facing her was labeled with a sign saying "No Exit this way, the exit is where you are."
She saw the poster of an emotion scale attached with pins to the corridor wall. The negative part of the emotion scale was considered unproductive, anything associated with annoyance, or hostility, was labelled inefficient, non conducive to sales performance. Cartmel imposed positive emotion on sales employees of the company, to lead them towards a half-filled brain filled with only half of all the range of human emotion, ranging from the friendly to the amiable, and to the persistent, labeled clearly in the chart, and away from the angry or the animosity or slight animosity area of the chart, placed on the negative part of the chart, clearly away from any hostile, belligerent emotion, the likes of frustration, impatience or irritability, attributes Clarity considered as part of the natural range of human emotion. This emotion scale was being used by American universities in psychology classes, in particular at University of Arizona, one of the universities included in the U.S. News and World Report college rankings which received funding to carry out the project begun by Herbaline. In exchange for carrying out social experiments, Herbaline donated several million to the university each year.
Room one oh three was kept closed by a heavy wood door decorated with a thin steel-coated layer indicating inviolability. The door acted as a vault and there was a knob indicating access to the person living there, a person who'd been living there for months, a 'language recluse', as she was known in that inhospitable area of the language facility. Ambi Michaels was known at Herbaline, but no one wanted to talk to her or be with her, because everyone knew she was at odds with Manglove.
"Ambi, are you there?" Asked Clarity. The feminine voice of a woman answered from the other side of the door.
"Yeah, who is this?"
"A friend, are you all right?"
"I am all right, but I'm a bit tired of this place. There's no sudoku in here, no crosswords. I'm just a bit bored to tell you the truth."
"Would you like to get out?"
"Yes," said Ambi.
"How do you get in there, in your room? I don't see any key on the door, or any knob or way to get in there."
"There's a tumbler, someone in the language facility, knows of it. Coleman Cartmel knows of it. He's a good fuck and a nice guy, but he does not let me use words which sound too negative, words he keeps hidden from me in some scale or chart."
"You can still use those negative words, since you know them. I mean if you disagree with what he says, you can tell him, because you know the word disagreement."
"Yeah, but I want to get out of this place, so I don't use those words, it's the whole point of the facility, to correct your language and move towards sales friendly language."
Clarity pondered on the words of Ambi. A beeper offered by Ivy alerted her that she had to get back to her room. Tracing her steps back to the kitchen counter, she walked past the kitchen and reached her quarters, realizing the chart of emotion was really a chart of language, and for Herbaline, a chart of manipulating the language of its workers, to mold them into herbal product or service salespeople.
TO BE CONTINUED, HERE, THE EMOTION SCALE
All characters over 21
BANANA HUMOR for Adults previously released:
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THE MALIBU CASE.
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