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Co-written with William Lopez.

Harold Cromley, Royal Caribbean’s Senior Branding Director, strode to the podium with a heady mix of bluster and self-satisfaction. He had a fantastic idea, and couldn’t wait to share it with the roomful of reporters arrayed before him.

“Good morning everyone,” he beamed into the microphone. “Thank you for joining me.”

The mic reverbed slightly. Cromley gave a toothy grin.

“I’m so excited to announce our latest collaboration I know you’ll absolutely love!” his voice rose excitedly. “A melding of two fun, tropical brands! Buh, buh, buh,” he waved away several raised hands. “I’m only taking questions at the end. You’re gonna want to hear this.”

The journalists slowly lowered their arms.

“Royal Caribbean proudly declares that its official alcoholic drink will be,” he paused for effect. “Corona!”

A collective groan rose from the crowd.

Taken aback by the phalanx of glowering faces, Cromley resolved to continue trucking, if only with slightly less bravado.

“I, um,” he stammered before regaining his composure. “Look, we’ll be rolling out a new marketing campaign around our shared love of relaxation and getting away from it all.”

 Apprehensive side-eyes filtered about the room.

“And I mean complete separation from the drudgery of your everyday life!” continued Cromley with a newfound bombast that only elicited more unease.

“For that very reason, our new tagline will be: ‘Navigate, take a break, isolate!’”

“What’s wrong with you?” demanded April Lima of Univision, from the back of the crowd.

“Eh, uh,” he started again. The sweat streamed down his temples, darkening his starched collar. This was not going as expected. “We’ll be deploying the marketing campaign across traditional and social media. It’s sure to go absolutely viral.”

“Oh, fuck you!” cried Francis Ross of NPR News.

“Look!” yelled Cromley in exasperation. “I don’t know why I’m getting all this pushback. It’s a great partnership between two completely compatible brands, so why are you being such dicks about it?”

“Where have you been for the last month?” asked Emilia Tolstoy of Axios.

“I’m glad you asked!” replied Cromley, levelling his shoulders. “I’ve been stuck in my office, focused completely on this project, without a second to read the news, or watch TV, or do anything other than work!”

“Check your goddamned phone!” shouted a voice from the back.

“Fine!” retorted Cromley self-righteously. “I will!”

He whipped out an iPhone, scrolled through the notifications, and felt his stomach drop onto the floor, penetrate the Earth’s crust, and fly right out the other side of the planet.

“Fuck,” he gulped.

 Royal Caribbean recently posted an opening for a new Senior Branding Director.

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