Stock prices were climbing and Rob Shmaltz was excited. He worked in an advertising agency as a writer and he constantly was investing in penny stocks. He remembered the story of Bre-X. It had been a fraud but a friend had bought ten thousand shares at twelve cents and sold them at a hundred and fifty dollars a share. Rob wanted to emulate that success story but so far he was not having luck. The most a share had gone up was forty seven cents.

Lucy Wang was the Creative Director at the Blue Blue Ad Agency and no matter how hard he tried she never seemed pleased with Rob’s work. She had been hired after Rob and she constantly hinted to him that she wanted ‘’her own’’ people in the department. Her dilemma was Maria Calrone.

Maria was the President of Blue Blue and she had appreciated Rob’s work ethic from the moment she met him. He had written commercials for their biggest client ‘’Bubbie’s Delicious’’ and they had loved them. When Lucy came to Maria one day and suggested that she wanted to replace Rob, Maria threatened to fire her, and suggested that the topic was never to be discussed again. As long as she was President of the Agency, Rob was safe. This did not sit well with Lucy and she resented his ‘’safe’’ situation.

Rob was working on a campaign for a launch of a new apple cake created by the ‘’Bubbie’s Delicious’’ people. He had spent weeks working on it, writing a series of commercials and the presentation was coming up.

Lucy had been somewhat guarded with her response to Rob’s campaign and he took that as Lucy being Lucy. He thought she had a very hard time giving out compliments. She was over seeing a number of clients and he felt confident in his work.

On the day of the pitch, Lucy and Rob drove in separate vehicles to the Bubbie’s Delicious Headquarters. Rob had offered to drive with her, but Lucy had declined his offer and said she had other places to go once they were done. She refused any offers of friendship.

In Bubbie’s boardroom, everybody sat around a comfortable dining room table, and small apple cakes were placed in front of them. The head of the company ‘’Bubbie’’ was there and Rob was excited. The smell of the cakes permeated the room and he could have floated away.

His presentation went flawlessly and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Bubbie stood up and applauded. Tea was brought in to have with the cake and the feeling was positive and jovial.

When he left with Lucy, Rob was on a high. Lucy however seemed angry. She looked at Rob and shook her head ‘’I’ve never seen such bullshit. Those Bubbie Delicious people wouldn’t know a good campaign if it would bite them in the ass. I’ve had enough of your crap. I can’t stand it when underlings are getting credit for campaigns. I am the one who should be acknowledged as the creative genius.’’ Rob was confused. He had created all the commercials, Lucy had very limited involvement.

She jumped into her Land Rover and drove off in a frenzy. Rob felt the high he was on was dissipating fast. He didn’t know what had gone wrong, but never receiving a compliment or a word of encouragement from your boss was very frustrating.

When he returned to the Agency, Maria Calrone called him in to her office. ‘’Rob, here’s the deal, I received a call from Bubbie’s Delicious to tell me they were thrilled with the campaign you presented. I want to Thank You for the good work. Now here’s the other side of the equation, Lucy felt you could have done more to include her in the pitch. She said you basically ignored her. She is very upset and said she was planning to give me formal notice tomorrow. If she does leave I would like you to take over her job as the Creative Director. Your salary would be raised to two hundred and forty thousand plus benefits.’’

Rob was shocked, he had gone from a Writer to being offered the opportunity to lead the entire Creative team. It would be a huge amount of responsibility. He loved working on Bubbie’s campaign but did he want to handle all the Creative business that the agency was responsible for? It was a tough decision.

After not saying anything for a couple of minutes, Rob looked at Maria, he knew she was serious. ‘’I appreciate the offer, but I really want to think about it, can I let you know?’’ Maria smiled, ‘’Yes, but since Lucy gave us short notice, I will need your answer by tomorrow afternoon. We need a Creative Director in place.’’

Rob left Maria’s office and walked back to his desk. He kept asking himself if he wanted to immerse himself as the Creative Director. He wondered how it would impact on his personal life and stock investing, which he really loved. It was the salary consideration that kept him from making a definite decision.

That night when Rob went home, he checked his stock portfolio and was delighted to see some of his stocks were moving up. The trajectory was all good and it helped him make his decision.

The next morning he went to Blue Blue and Marie called him into his office. ‘’Rob, I have some bad news. I received a call from our corporate head office last night. They think we have colluded against Lucy Wang and she has filed a number of charges against you and I. She believes you were a ‘’spy’’ for me, and together we have hurt the Agency’s growth potential. She has made allegations that you and I were in an intimate relationship and it has caused the Agency to lose perspective. They are launching a full scale investigation and I have been put on interim leave. You unfortunately are being put on indefinite suspension. I know the charges are all bullshit, and we will be vindicated, but for the time being, I need you to give Lucy all your files. I’m really sorry. It is ludicrous and I plan to sue Lucy and the Agency once we are cleared of all the false allegations, but until then, I am sorry.’’

Rob couldn’t believe his ears. He couldn’t even defend himself, Lucy had created a witch hunt. He knew he was innocent and he also knew that the Bubbie’s Delicious situation had somehow caused her to flip out.

When he went to his desk, Lucy was standing there with two security guards. ‘’I told you I didn’t want you in this department. Now, give me all your files and the guards will escort you out. Oh, and you better not say anything racist or sexually harass me, because these guards will hear it.’’ Rob looked her up and down. ‘’I have never said a racist thing to you in my life, and I would never say anything that could be construed as Sexual Harassment. I have a Girlfriend, a Mother and Sister, I respect women.”

Rob turned everything he was working on over to Lucy and was walked to the elevator and then out the door by the two somber security guards.

When Rob got home he focused on his stock trading, and after watching a couple of tutorials on You Tube about day trading got very busy.

Rob was loving buying and selling on different stock exchanges. Some days he would buy a stock, sell it and buy it back two hours later. He was really enjoying himself. He was also making money. Not huge amounts, but enough to enjoy what he was doing. He loved the challenge and the thrill.

Exactly one month after being suspended he received a call from Maria Calrone. ‘’We’ve been exonerated. A thorough investigation has proven our innocence and it was proven that the claims that Lucy made were all false. Our corporate parent, VCT Inc. has issued a formal apology to me and they will be giving you one as well. Lucy has been let go, and you are welcome to come back to work. If you want you can become the Creative Director I am back in charge. By the way, I am suing Lucy for slander and defamation and I am discussing a settlement with VCT Inc. for the same.’’

Rob told Lucy he would have to think about his return. He hung up the phone and went back to his computer screen, a stock he liked called Red Giraffe was moving and he needed to sell it off. He loved the action.

A few hours later, Rob called Maria and told her, he wasn’t coming back. ‘’Sorry for everything that has happened, but I just don’t think I want to be at an Ad Agency any more. You are great Maria, but I am scooting. Take Care.’’

Rob hung up and went back to his trades. At five o’clock he received a call from a number he didn’t recognize, there were a lot of digits and he wondered if it was a scam call. He answered with his stock answer ‘’We had the vents cleaned yesterday.’’

The voice at the other end of the line was very British and regal. ‘’Hello, Rob, this is Everton Massey. I am the Managing Director of VCT, we understand you have been the victim of false claims at Blue Blue and I want to apologize for your unnecessary suspension. As a gesture of our goodwill towards you, we are going to give you a bonus of twenty five thousand dollars. It is based on you going back to the Blue Blue Agency and signing a declaration that you are not going to take any legal action against us.’’ Rob was stunned, he had heard of Everton Massey and was shocked that he had called him. ‘’Sorry, I have to talk to a Lawyer first and I’m not going back to the Agency.’’ There was a pause and the voice on the other end of the line said ‘’We will give you fifty thousand to go back to the Agency.’’ Rob thought it was starting to sound interesting. His stock was going up. ‘’No Sir, my reputation was damaged. I was treated terribly, I’m not going back and I won’t sign off on anything. I bet the media will love this story.’’ There was a long pause before Massey spoke again. ‘’How much do you require to sign off and go back to work at Blue Blue?’’ Rob thought for a minute and knew the answer.’’I want to stay as a writer and I want a one time payment of two hundred and forty thousand dollars to sign off, and a raise of one hundred thousand.’’ After saying something about preposterous, Everton Massey answered clearly and directly. ‘’The papers will be at Blue Blue for you to sign tomorrow. You have a deal.’’ Rob felt vindicated and thought he was no different than a stock that had become a hot commodity. He loved the market.

When he woke up the next morning, Rob felt sensational. He took a long, hot shower and headed to work. He walked in and everyone was extremely friendly and happy to see him. It was a genuinely warm welcome. He went to Maria’s office and she was all smiles and gave him a hug. She then presented him with an envelope. It had a check for two hundred and forty thousand dollars in it. The check was made out to him and he wanted to scream out in pure joy. He signed a paper declaring that he would not hold the Agency responsible for any false charges against him and he would not proceed with any legal actions.

Maria seemed extremely relaxed and happy. ‘’I actually think that the Creative Department is going to run much smoother. I don’t know why Lucy didn’t feel like a team player but she’s gone. Jemma Andrews has been the acting CD, because she has years of experience and gets along with everybody. I want team players. That being said, the job is your if you want it.’’

Rob shook his head ‘’Nope, I’ll be very contented staying as a copy writer.’’ Maria grinned. ‘’I don’t blame you, I got a note from Everton Massey’s office , they were very adamant that you got a one hundred thousand dollar a year raise. What a great way to get them to pay for your unjust suspension. I’m going to VCT for a hundred thousand for my damages.’’ It was obvious that Maria didn’t know about the two hundred and forty thousand that he had received.

Rob walked back to his space in the Creative Department and felt like a load had been lifted off his shoulders. He sat down and looked at the ‘’Bubbie’s Delicious Apple Cake’’ file that was on his desk. As he looked through it he read all kinds of sarcastic and nasty comments that the recently departed Lucy had made. Some of the comments were so outrageous they made him laugh.

He was thinking about them when his phone rang with the name of ‘’Bubbie’s Delicious’’ flashing across the screen. He picked it up on the third ring. ‘’Hello, Rob Shmaltz speaking.‘’ ‘’Rob, this is Bubbie. I am so glad you’re back at Blue Blue. I just received a call from Maria and she gave me the good news. I was very upset. Trust me, I was ready to move my twenty five million dollar account and VCT knew I was serious. They are lucky they kept you or I would’ve been gone. Now I want to hear about every thing that happened. I want all the details. You can tell me when you come over on Friday Night, for Shabbos dinner. I made your favourite Chicken soup. Make sure you won’t be late, I love you, you’re such a good Grandson.’’

Alan Schwarz loves life. He is the founder of JAMS Productions, a television production company based in Toronto . His passion is writing.

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