Flim-flam artists, captains of industry, Wall Street piranhas, impatient mobsters, spinmeisters and assorted mountebanks abound in Ultimate Severance, a highly satirical and imaginative novel that provides a public relations guidebook to the reality of spin and humbuggery in the 21st Century.
With the end of the War on Terror through the accidental launch of new “lite’n kleen” nukes, a culture of euphoria, ethical and social impairment and calls for numerous peace dividends is again in fashion. This is clearly an environment of business opportunity for financially-bleeding Trotter Pugg Mitchell, a world PR giant, and its clients such as Old Masters Originals, a maker of “limited edition” reproduction art. And when the agency teams up with Mob Boss Joey Lasagna to abet dicey corporate megamergers, they provide Wall Street raiders with a new quick-fix ultimate severance package: an innovative Corporate Governance Program powered by Trotter’s new “language of happiness.”
Cash flow gushes. Money is well laundered. Trotter President Marvin Runnymede sets up a European “multi-use facility” in a 500-year old chateau in Provence; plans to sell “Instant PR Agency” franchises to Third World countries, and hires has-been “Greats” to promote dubious products and ventures.
But fortune’s smile becomes a sardonic grin. So many stubborn CEOs undergo fatal retirements in colorful circumstances around the world that a powerful US Senator decides to advance his presidential ambitions with the usual TV-circus hearings. Well-cooked dishes of suspicion, buncombe and open doubt are served to the media.
In the ensuing rush for strategic exits, winners and losers fake out, promote and wound each other in surprising ways; the faux rond wheels of justice grind and clank, and the “language of happiness” covers all.