“Excuse me?” asked the VC who was still smiling..
      “The marketing assistant. Shouldn’t she go, too?”
      “Why would he want to fire her?” asked the smiling vc, trying to appear patient. “If he did that, we’d be back to having nobody in marketing and it seems to me I’ve heard she was even making sales before Steve came on board.”
      “But,” spluttered mother Anthea, “she’s such a slut.”
      “My dear,” the VC explained, “all marketing people are sluts. That’s just the nature of the beast.”
      “Well, I don’t like it,” she huffed, sounding just like her daughter.
      “Stop and think about it for a minute,” he said, well aware that he’d have to be careful with her or she might not be willing to step up to the next round of financing. “We have to keep our eye on the bottom line, and we’re getting good value out of her. Nothing else really counts.” He displayed his teeth at her. “A good businesswoman like you knows that, Anthea.”
      Sitting back, I let the venture capitalists deal with my mother-in-law and the rest of her kin, wishing that I could have them around at home when the in-laws came to dinner.
      That night I stayed late at the office with Annamaria, plotting Steve’s downfall and its aftermath. She put on an exotic new CD that began with a ticking of drums that had its roots in the jungle. With the beat driving us on, we prepared cancellation orders for the magazine ads, a thanks-but-no-thanks letter for the PR agency, a press release announcing Steve’s resignation, and then Annamaria hit me with the bomb.

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