I’ll Be In Touch
or, COCA (Covering Our Collective Asses)

by Randolph O. Mann

Linda stepped out of the lavish atrium in grand style, wearing a mesmerizing Venus asymmetrical bandeau top with a complementing Escada sarong cover-up. She was forced to shield her eyes from the bright Mexican sunbeams by repositioning her Moss Lipow sunglasses from the top of her head to the bridge of her newly rhinoplasty-ied beak before meandering onto the crowded hotel veranda to join the procession of ravenous lodgers attacking the breakfast buffet. The scent of the ocean mingled with the perfume of recently grilled bacon, filling the first light zephyr and signaling how this ‘complimentary’ five-star al fresco brunch was in full swing. The tables were elegantly set with sterling silver flat ware, harmonizing accoutrements, and posh white tablecloths that were dancing in the morning sea breeze.

In a practiced fashion Linda cautiously approached the daybreak spread, opting for only items found among the abundant offerings of brand cereals and fresh fruit while deftly sidestepping the tempting French pastries, mouth-watering cheese platters, and all the imported smoked pork products. Laden with her self-constructed high-fiber-low-carbohydrate plate Linda perused the slapdash seating arrangement in search of some Industry Professionals with which to share her morning meal. At the far side of this copious fare Linda spied two familiar faces seated next to a squat adobe partition that was encircling the banquet area. A friendly wave from her colleagues beckoned Linda and she threaded her way between the crowded diners with intentions of joining the two men, one smiling and the other attentively engaged assessing the luxurious vista through a pair of second-hand opera glasses.

Linda hailed her associates as she approached “Good morning, Gentlemen.”

William answered, “Good Morning Ms. Browne.”

Playfully Linda teased “Stop that you two! We go back way too far for us to be start employing formal corporate etiquette at the breakfast table. For heaven’s sake, both of you have already seen me naked.”

Never breaking his focused surveillance upon the horizon, Randy sarcastically analyzed, “Using that logic, everyone at T. Winston, INC should be on a personal name basis with you. And in this time zone it is already afternoon, Linda.”

Linda queried rhetorically, “Did ‘someone’ wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?”

William clarified. “Randolph has not been himself sense the new boss took over. Here, grab a chair Linda, and have a seat. Can we offer you a glass of sangria from the crystalline decanter or how about a cup of hot coffee? I believe you will find some freshly brewed Columbian Supremo in the thermal carafe.”

Linda expressed derisive gratefulness as she seated herself. “Thank you, William. Now speaking of the new employee, where would Leslie be, on this fine morning?”

Randy, still intently focused, corrected. “Afternoon!”

William politely maintained his neutrality by explaining, “I do believe she is participating in a morning-slash-afternoon constitutional.”

Linda bellowed, “Jogging? At this ungodly hour?”

Randy abruptly interrupted. “William! There they are! Quick Billy, set up the tripod.”

Linda asked in her befuddled way, “Where? No. What? No, I mean who! Who are ‘they’?”

Randy quickly summarized, “WHERE, would be; on the foot path between the beach and the hotel. WHAT, is; opportunity! AND WHO, is our next score! ”

Linda queried, “Randolph! I am getting that sinking feeling again! Please tell me that Leslie is NOT about to be ‘skinned.’”

While very efficiently occupied snapping his D100 Nikon digital SLR camera with AF-S Nikkor 600mm f/4G ED VR lens and polarizing filter attachment onto his pistol gripped Nikon Bogen Manfrotto Pro Tripod (all purchased with his employee discount from the T. Winston, INC catalog) Randy acknowledged, “Fortunately for all of us, Leslie Kirkelmier has backhandedly offered herself up as a convenient, Collateral Target of Opportunity.”

Linda questioned, “That does not sound like the Leslie I know.”

Reacting to the urgency of the moment Randy conducted a two pronged conversation. “Here Linda, take the opera glasses and check it out for Yourself. And William, we will need the laptop connection in place so we can go directly into Photoshop for editing if need be.”

William answered, “I’ll set it up.”

Employing the borrowed opus-binoculars, Linda intently glassed the tropical panorama in search of Randy’s would-be ‘fatalities’, searching among the recesses of this world renowned seascape until she ultimately was able to make out a small band of scantily attired trekkers slowly hiking along the very public path as they stumbled, lurched and skidded between the enchantingly sophisticated hotel and the celebrated white sand beach.

Linda cried out, “My god! That IS Leslie, and she is leading our whole stable of underdressed swimsuit models along a hillside trail! Randolph? What have you two done?”

“Exactly what we were told to do.”

“What IDIOT would authorize such a risqué Photo Session featuring topless T. Winston, INC Fashion Divas?”


“Leslie? Leslie?”

Randy harmonized, “Yep, Leslie-Leslie. William, I am all set here. Are you ready to receive the camera’s feed?”

“I’m good to go once I hook the linking harness to my laptop.”

Linda clarified. “Randolph I am confused. Did the new Managing Supervisor of the T. Winston, INC Sales and Merchandizing Department sign off on this provocative project?”

“Of course not, Linda. Now, William! The ladies are about to reach the first flight of wooden stairs. So I will be sending a series of ‘stills’ until just before the girls start up the steps. Then I will switch over to the video mode that should record their step-by-step wiggling and waggling until the womanly progression reaches the first landing. During their predictable rest bit on the landing I will zoom in for the up-close-and-personal shots of the ladies bits and pieces.”

William added, “Or as both the Paparazzi and our Shipping Department has officially baptized them, The Money Shots.”

Linda inquired, “Then WHO did?”

Randy redirected. “Then Who, did What?

Linda persisted. “Who ‘Signed Off’ on this provocative venture?”

Unwearyingly, Randy enlightened Linda as he vigorously clicked, snapped and adjusted the various components of his camera equipment “Nobody ‘signed’ anything. I am working at the verbal direction of Ms. Kirkelmier. Here we go William! The ladies are approaching the stairs! Say cheesecake, girls!”

Linda reevaluated herself. “Cheesecake? On second thought give me those opera glasses. I want to see this for myself.”

William directed “You will find the glasses on the table right where you just set them down, Linda. Randy, this first set of pictures is arriving completely out of focus and we will need to make some serious adjustments.”

“Adjustments? Billy-Boy, can you help me out here, what kind of changes do we need to make?”

Linda commented, “Randolph? Those women seem to be completely naked!”

William said, “Randy, I don’t know. Change the F-Stop or adjust the shutter speed. If that doesn’t work your guess is as good as mine. But I do know these first three pictures are so out of focus the media sensors will not need burr-filters to veil the girl’s ‘undercuts’ and I can assure you our Shipping Department will use these blurry images as evidence of ‘Reasonable Doubt’ and we can kiss our wager goodbye.”

Randy ordered, “Linda please stop shouting! If you will carefully examine the ladies in minute detail you will unfortunately discover how those females are not naked, yet, AND even worse we have not been able to ‘clearly’ capture their posteriors for posterity. A very important element that we must accomplish if there is to be a well earned payday for the three of us, I might add.”

Linda gathered herself. “Threesome? Posteriors? Payday? Randolph, my sinking feeling is returning.”

William agreed, “I know exactly what you are feeling ‘Girl-fur-eend.’ In the Shipping Department we call it Deja-poo.”


William off-handedly explained, “You know! Been there, and stepped in IT before.”

Like-minded, Linda exclaimed as she aimed her cross-examination toward Randy. “Yes! Exactly! Now, Randolph I need you to explain precisely what is going on here. I want to know all the gory details related to this corporate fiasco before someone from upper management gets wind of these high jinks.”

William cautioned “Linda? I am afraid that would be too late!"

Desperately spinning her head around and searching among the seated dinners for members of the T. Winston, INC Executive Management Team, Linda questioned, “Too Late?”

Between his frantic camera adjustment Randy mockingly reminded her, “Linda, you ARE Upper Management. Darling, you must remember your promotion?”

“You’re right, I am an Executive Manager and in such a capacity it might be better if I am kept ‘outside of the loop’ on this one. But..."

William interrupted. “Speaking of butts, whatever you just did, Randy, it worked perfectly. Shilo’s ‘fine’ looking ass is now in faultless focus.”

Relieved Randy irreverently announced, “Good! AND then upon the second day, the great and powerful Randy separated... the ladies from their drawers.”

Linda tutored, “Randy? I just looked and the models are already naked.”

“Not naked enough to satisfy the Shipping Department, I can promise you that! Linda, please take another glance at the ‘stills’ from William’s laptop. If you can get pass the bouncing mammary glands you will notice all those curvy girls are still wearing shower slippers and c-strings and we do not get a single dime until their ‘wishing wells’ see the morning light. William, can you please show this nearsighted ‘executive’ our little dilemma.”

Glancing over Williams shoulder at the computer screen Linda gasped just before her head cocked to the side, doggie style. “OH! My! God! Little? Little is a gigantic understatement. Randy, those swimsuit bottoms are barely there and they look like they might hurt too.”

“I know, but at this juncture those postage-sized ‘manhole covers’ are looming large upon our provisional profitability horizon.

Puzzled, Linda asked, “William, what is he talking about?”

William illuminated. “In their present attire the T. Winston, INC Fashion Divas will not meet the Shipping Department’s very strict definition of naked. The Shower Slippers were accounted for early on in the preliminary negotiations as part of a Gaming Addendum that Randy wisely insisted upon. Regrettably an equally shrewd envoy for the Shipping Department’s rank and file insisted that slippers were to be the only exempted article of clothing. So the c-strings have to go before we win the stakes.”

Linda put forward, “So it is your intention to use that laptop computer to Photoshop the pubic areas of these vulnerable women?”

William enlightened her. “Only if Plan ‘A’ fails.”

“Plan A?”


Linda backpedaled, “Randolph! Can we just ‘rewind’ this whole ill-timed episode back to last night’s bed check when as I recall the crew and all of the fashion models where dressed and accounted for prior to assigning everyone a 4 am wake-up ‘Make-Up Call’. What happened?”

While still franticly engaged collecting photographic verification Randy brought Linda up to speed. “That was correct and then in the wee hours of this morning the whole production team was collected inside a waiting tour bus hired to chauffeur talent and crew to a predawn photography shooting location.”

Still snapping away with the Nikon camera Randy continued. “We were all just about to depart from the hotel’s gated ingress when Leslie abruptly stood up and announced to one and all onboard how the travel ‘plans’ had changed and William and I would not be a part of today’s Graphic-Fashion Team and the two of us were asked to exit the bus. As instructed we gathered our paraphernalia and said our goodbyes as we struggled down the narrow middle isle of the idling bus.”

Linda interrupted Randy’s conversation but not his frenzied photographic endeavors as she collected personal clarification. “Weren’t both you and William along as translators?”

Between harried clicks of the camera Randy affirmed “Yep, AND we pointed that out to Leslie, too.”

“So what was SHE thinking?”

“It was her position that William and I-“

William interjected, “Mostly Randy.”

“- were being singled out as suspected perpetrators of mischief and as such we had been identified as gratuitous personal easily replaced.”

“Is she NUTS?”

“Possibly. But she did have a method to her madness.”

“This I have to hear.”

Randy continued his multitasking as he responded. “Once Leslie had ushered both of our sorry asses off the ‘Traveling-Team Bus’ and as a trio we were all standing together on the sidewalk outside the hotel foyer, Leslie instructed me to provide verbal Spanish translations of the driving directions to the morning shoot location and she also wanted me to dictate the bus driver’s downtime security agenda into her Olympus VN-960PC Handheld Digital Voice Recorder so she could replay it later for him.”

Audibly daydreaming, Linda mumbled, “But on her resume Leslie presented herself as multilingual!”

Randy answered Linda’s distracted musings. “Oh she is, but Spanish is not one of her second languages.”

Mortified, Linda asked, “Did I just ‘think’ out loud?”

William snickered.

Ignoring the levity of her prickly moment Linda continued her grilling. ”So you are telling me, that Leslie Kirkelmier jettisoned the only members of her crew fluent in Spanish and replaced you guys with a Dictaphone?

Randy confirmed, “Yep!”

“That little lady is brilliant!”

William again snickered.

This time Linda inquired, “William, what’s so funny?”

“If she is so smart, why are those girls mountain climbing in their birthday suits?

Refocusing her inquest towards Randy. “Ya? Why is that, RANDOLPH?”

“Something must have got lost in translation.”

William snickered again.

Linda exploded. “Lost in translation? WHAT, DID, YOU, GUYS, DO?”

Randy calmly continued his personal testimony. “Only what Leslie told us to do.”

William began backpedaling. “What do you mean by US, Masked Man?”

Randy sarcastically mumbled into the camera equipment, “Typical.”

Linda pressed the issue. “And the, ‘THAT’ was?”

Randy returned to his chronicle between camera adjustments. “Leslie shoved her digital voice recorder into my face and insisted that I provide Spanish instructions for her “right now’ because, ‘her production crew was very late and in a hurry requiring a quick trip to the hotel’s private beach.’ So I did my best; Estas Mujeres son salvajes. Transpote a las damas directamente a una playa nudista.”

William snickered

Pivoting her head and her full attention away from Randy and directing it towards William, Linda demanded clarification. “What did he just say, William?

William sheepishly deciphered, “These women are savage-, awe...wild. So drive the ladies directly to the nude beach.”

Returning her full attention back in Randy’s direction, Linda exclaimed “Savages? Nude Beach? Randolph, what were you thinking?”

Randy serenely explained “These are desperate times Linda, and sometimes we have to make money even before the sun shines. William! The ladies are on the move again, jiggling their way up the middle set to stairs and I will return to the camcorder mode. Now where was I Linda? Oh yes, Leslie explained further how her cost-cutting strategy would have our gals using the public showers to make their costume changes and the hired chauffeur would be asked to work security. So..."

“So? So, WHAT?”

...So I translated for her.”

“What. Did. You. Say?”

“Proteja a las mujeres en la ducha y usted puede vender la ropa que ellos dejan.”

Without taking her focused attention from Randy, Linda directed her line of questioning towards William, demanding, “WILLIAM, What does that mean?”

William warily interpreted. “Guard the women in the shower and you may sell the clothing they leave behind.”

Aghast, Linda shouted, “SHAME ON YOU TWO!”

Randy said in his defense, “Hey, she started it.”

“I don’t care who started it, this mockery must be stopped. IMMEDIATELY!”

While still intently absorbed peering into the Nikon viewfinder Randy serenely conceded the day to Linda. “Ok! You heard the Boss! William, the jig is up and this party is over, the fat lady has hit her high note and we can roll the credits as we saddle up and ride into the sunset. We surrender, Billy-Boy, so go ahead and wave the flag.”

William winked as he grabbed his dinner napkin and stepped up onto his chair and signaled side to side in clear view of the crowds gathering at both the base and the summit of the stairway. “Got’cha”

Suspecting duplicity, Linda queried, “What are you two up to?”

William coolly answered, “Plan A”

“Plan A?”

“Yep, Plan A. Randy has placed a ten dollar bounty upon each of those vibrant c-strings decorating the female pudenda.”

After a short hiatus affording herself the opportunity to appreciate the inevitability of it all Linda jadedly observed, “So that would explain the yelping horde of street urchins that have been stalking our oblivious T. Winston, INC fashion models regrettably trapped on the hillside staircase?”


“And I can reasonably speculate it will be only a matter of time until each member of our credulous rock climbers is brusquely relieved of their spring loaded ‘cookie dusters’ and it would not be much of a leap to hypothesize how the Shipping Departed will eventually be handing over this week’s hard earned payroll?”


“Then as I see it, there isn’t anything that can be done to stop ‘Plan A’ and I am awkwardly in the way if I continue to hang around here?”


“Ok then, I can see you are both very busy here, so don’t stand up. I will find my own way back to my room and, and, I’ll Be In Touch!”

The End