MY CANADIAN GIRLFRIEND
MADISON: Hey. I’m Madison, here to meet with Jenine. It’s my first day.
RECEPTION: Hi. Great to have you. Take a seat. (on phone) Miss Jenine, Madison is here to see you for her first day.
SFX: Door unlocks automatically
RECEPTION: Miss Jenine is ready for you. Go ahead through the doors. Welcome to CGI.
MADISON: Thank you.
SFX: Door opens and closes
JENINE: Madison! Welcome to Canadian Girlfriends Inc.! Are you ready to make some real money?
MADISON: (enthusiastic shrug) Sure.
JENINE: That’s what I like to hear. We got a desk set up just for you, right over there. Get your stuff… Huh… Not much. Don’t worry. Get what you do have, and put it on the desk. Feel free to consider this your home away from home. As you can see, tons of potted plants everywhere. Pictures on the cubicle walls. It’s truly the comfortable every individual chooses to make it. Sammy over there even has a dehumidifier. You’ll get to meet all the girls soon enough. In the meantime, let me show you what your job is. You know all the boring HR movies every job ever taught you ever? Toss it all out the window. We are providing a service to men, to make them more comfortable. Make them happy. And, the best part about it, is that you will never have to show your face, or say a word. Everything is via text on your computer.
MADISON: But, it isn’t dirty stuff?
JENINE: No. That isn’t in your job description. Anything that teeters that line, you would forward to our upper tier. But, we don’t worry ourselves with that. Your mission is to match a mark to his dream girlfriend. He finds a connection, and then they go from there.
SFX: Text ding.
JENINE: Would you look at that! It’s your first mark! Go ahead and get comfortable. Alright. So, here’s your first schlub. So, when he got set up, he had to make himself a profile, which automatically appears when you get that first text. As you can see, he’s a male. He’s looking for love. Dork. He looks too attractive to be on this app, but not so attractive that he’d have to use it either. Let’s find out his location… Okay… Yeah. He lives in the middle of Nowhere Alaska. Says everyone in his village is a relative. Makes sense. Alright. His first text says “Hey girrrrl.” Oh, god. One of those. Okay. So, text back, and let him know that you’re his match coordinator. Check with me before you press send.
SFX: Typing as she speaks
MADISON: Hey, honey. I’m your match coordinator. Like that?
JENINE: Close. So, a couple things: you’re his match coordinator. Not his beau. Honey is a little too… familiar. I like the comma in Hey, Honey though. But, the comma would only be applicable with match coordinators, and guys seeking an older woman.
MADISON: So, more like… Hey, James. I’m going to be your match coordinator today?
JENINE: Exactly. Press send. So, texting is a whole language. The way you text, and the way your daughter texts will be entirely different. Right?
JENINE: Yeah. An 18 year old will put a space between the end of a sentence, and an exclamation point. So, when he-
SFX: Text ding
JENINE: (continuing) So when a guy wants to talk to a girl in her early 20s, text how you think your daughter might. You probably use emoticons, or like colon, dash, close parenthesis to make a smiley, right?
JENINE: I know. And, your daughter, she probably texts using emojis. Right?
MADISON: (thinking) Um, Yeah.
JENINE: Perfect. Okay, let’s read his text. Another thing: don’t let a guy go three minutes without a text response. He’s paying for the experience. Okay, so James just gave the thumbs up. No problem there. Text him, and tell him you want to ensure you help match him with the exact girl he’s looking for. Ask him if he has particular interests, and if he’s a fan of blondes or brunettes.
MADISON: (reading text) Hey James. To best match you with a woman, are you looking for anyone in particular, or are you open?
JENINE: Looks good. Send that. Let me know when you two narrow it down to a specific girl. You know that game Guess Who?
MADISON: No. Oh! You mean the one with all the faces and people describe the faces one feature at a time?
JENINE: Exactly. Do that, if he doesn’t have one in mind. Use the files in that folder there to choose someone from. Have fun, but make sure you keep in mind that he’s paying for this experience. You’re a one-on-one right now. Soon, we’ll have you working with multiple clients at a time. But for now, James is all yours.
SCENE: Found Model
SFX: Light knock on door
MADISON: Miss Jenine
JENINE: Jenine is good. Did you two find a model?
MADISON: Yeah. Veronica.
JENINE: Nice. She is similar in age for you, so it’ll be easy to imitate her.
MADISON: (confused) What?
JENINE: Let’s get back to your desk. Okay, so show me the conversation so far. (scrolling through conversation) Okay. Mhm. Good. I’d probably not have used an emoji here, but that’s fine. Alright. Let’s be Veronica. So, we’re going to switch to the model account. Click there, and then onto the Model tab. Click Veronica. Perfect. Now, you can continue the conversation, but as Veronica.
MADISON: She won’t be upset?
JENINE: Ask yourself that question. You are Veronica. She isn’t real. The model’s real name is Penny or something like that. She hasn’t been with the company since her videos and pictures were taken two years ago. She got her initial payment, and royalties for every client we take on. Sweet girl though.
MADISON: So, I’m not the match coordinator?
JENINE: No, of course you are. You are a woman of many hats. So is he. (over cubicle) Caleb!
JENINE: How many guys are you talking to today?
CALEB: So far, five. But, the day’s still young.
JENINE: You know it is! Quick question. How many girls are you?
CALEB: Two Veronicas, Trish, Ginger, and Sue.
JENINE: Keep it up. (back to Madison) As you can see, Veronica is a hot commodity. We do have a selection of men too, but you’ll be unlikely to have to portray one of them for at least a month. They’re in incredibly low demand. So, now you can stop being so clinical, and be flirtatious with James. If he asks for pictures, shoot him one from the unpaid catalog. If he wants something a little… more, let him know the cost of the pic or vid. The associated costs are right there.
MADISON: What happens when they try to meet the girl?
JENINE: I’ll tell you what… Hey Caleb?
CALEB: Yeah boss?
JENINE: You think you could show Madison the ropes around here?
CALEB: Sure thing. Would you transfer my clients over to other chatters?
JENINE: You got it. Have fun, “ladies.”
CALEB: (sympathetically) Your head is probably spinning.
MADISON: Yeah. I thought I was just coordinating, not flirting.
CALEB: It’s not hard, once you get the hang of it. They can’t advertise the real job descriptions, otherwise the methods will get out to the rest of the world. That paperwork you signed, explains that what goes on here stays in here. I mean, technically, it keeps your lips sealed for 5 years. Anyway… Do you have any questions?
MADISON: Does it get… really dirty?
CALEB: Eh. At first, guys want to get into that stuff, but eventually they realize they just wanted someone to talk to. Right now, your inclination is to think we’re taking advantage of dopes. Am I right?
CALEB: That’s a perfectly natural belief, too. I wanted to do this even when I thought the same, but then I realized this was actually helping guys. I overheard your guy was in the sticks in Alaska?
CALEB: Perfect example of a guy who doesn’t get the feminine connection he needs. He wants human touch, but this is the next best thing.
MADISON: But he thinks he’s talking to Veronica.
CALEB: What difference does it make, whether he’s talking to Veronica, Trish, or Madison? He’s getting a connection he’s looking for. And at the end of the day, that’s all that matters to him.
MADISON: I think I disagree with it on principle.
CALEB: Give it a couple days. I promise you’ll come around.
MADISON: I don’t see why I can’t send him a picture of me, and tell him my real name.
CALEB: You think I should send them pictures of me, and tell these guys who are looking for Sue Ellen who I really am? And send them pictures of me doing these poses?
SFX: Clicking mouse
CALEB: They aren’t nude, but they’re not exactly… ummm… great poses for me to be in either. (pause) You get my point?
MADISON: Then why don’t we have the models do this, so it’s at least honest?
CALEB: I didn’t realize we were going to have some philosophical debates before we’d be able to appease your mark. What’s his name?
CALEB: Right. Is he waiting on a response?
CALEB: No more than three minutes. Every time you leave a text unanswered, you’re leaving money on the table. Look, you’re already in the red. See that timer right there? But, the company lets first weekers slide a tiny bit. But get those going faster. Our competition does 5 minutes, but their chatters get paid way less than we do. (scrolling conversation) Where are we on this one..? Okay, yeah. You’re Veronica. Be flirty. But, don’t get too involved. He’s your number one priority. He’s Veronica’s number one priority.
MADISON: You’re a pimp.
CALEB: Aren’t we all? Whatcha texting?
MADISON: (reading as typing) Hey. I’m Veronica.
CALEB: You’re going to hear the word ‘clinical’ a lot around here. You’re being clinical. Stop it. You’re not the coordinator anymore. He’s talking to the Veronica! The girl of his dreams! And, she’s just saying ‘sup?’ No. She’s excited to meet him! She may go visit him in the frigid air of the Antarctic.
CALEB: Literally nobody cares. (bright idea) Actually! You’re a (chef kiss) Genius!
CALEB: Send himmmm…
CALEB: … This.
MADISON: (reading text) Hey baby. It’s Veronica, but you can call me V. My coordinator told me you live in Alaska. Is it cold in the Antarctic? (reacting) I just said it was the arctic!
CALEB: Don’t forget the cold emoji. Chicks love using emojis. Barbara and older use emoticons.
MADISON: You said antarctic.
CALEB: No I didn’t; V did. She’s a-
SFX: Text ding
CALEB: … ditz.
MADISON: That’s insulting.
CALEB: No. Oh dear lord. No. Veronica is way smarter than… James..? Will ever be. See? He’s already correcting Veronica.
CALEB: A guy wants to be right. It doesn’t matter the context. He wants to teach you. He wants to feel like he’s making you better as a human being. His impact on Veronica will make the world a better place, even though he knows deep, deep down that he’d never in a million years have a chance with this Veronica girl.
MADISON: So I’m Veronica, who likes to be called ‘V,” and she’s- I’m stupid.
CALEB: Don’t personalize it so much, but yes. What you’ve done in just that one text to him was establish that you’re human. You have preferences, and you have faults. So, what’s next?
MADISON: I thought you were teaching me.
CALEB: Where would you go with that?
MADISON: I guess… (reading) Oops, exclamation point. My bad. I thought they were the same thing. Like possum and opossum.
CALEB: Emoji. Don’t use them in every text, but remind him that you have facial expressions too. Oh. The shrug one would be a good one. And add a kissy face.
MADISON: (unimpressed) You can’t be serious.
CALEB: Dead serious. Tell you what: you get a hang of these conversations, and then tell me how I’m doing it wrong. In the meantime, a kissy face is flirtatious, and guys love it. Annnnd, send.
MADISON: It’s demeaning.
CALEB: Did you ever look in the mirror, fake laughing to try to make your laughs sound and look more sincere in case you were flirting with a guy?
CALEB: (sigh) Okay. You’re the first girl I’ve asked that, who said no. Look… there are tons of people who do it. It isn’t to be fake, but to be more likable, and friendly, and fun. Do you drink?
CALEB: Do people find you more fun when you’re kind of… (contemplating re-wording) When you let loose?
CALEB: That’s what you’re doing here. Jenine actually wouldn’t mind it if you came in with something to nip from. It’s not like we’re bootlegging here like in the ‘20s. I have a flask in my pocket. It just loosens me up. Now, don’t get sloshed. You’re just lightening your inhibitions. Tell you what: you keep up the conversation with your mark, and let me know if you’re getting stuck.
MADISON: I actually just got a request for a pic.
CALEB: Use the folder in the unpaid on the right side. It tracks what pics you’ve sent already. Make sure you only send the ones with those exact clothes on a specific day. Like, in one of my conversations, I’m using Veronica in her pink blouse. I’ve sent two pics. Tomorrow, my mark’ll inevitably ask or more pics. Then we’ll probably use the ones in the blue and black dress. Just so he doesn’t think she wears the same clothes all day every day.
MADISON: You mean the white and yellow dress?
CALEB: Again… doesn’t matter.
SCENE: Clocking out
MADISON: Hey, so… I think he’s in love with me.
CALEB: Nice. I thought you left like an hour ago.
MADISON: Nope. Still here.
CALEB: Well, I think your shift is over. Right? 4 o’clock?
CALEB: Cool. Alright. Well, I’ll see you tomorrow. Hey. It’s good to have you on board. I didn’t have high hopes earlier, but… I think you’re a good egg. (ironically) Smiley emoji.
MADISON: Thanks… So, how do I talk to James after I leave here?
CALEB: Veronica doesn’t sleep. You, on the other hand, are on your own. I’ll see you in the morning.
MADISON: Okay. I’ll tell him good night then.
CALEB: You will do no such thing. She’s now in the hands of ‘after 4 o’clock Veronica.’
MADISON: I’m so confused.
CALEB: (yelling to other cubicles) Who just got Veronica for James?
VOICE: (distant) I do! Just got it!
CALEB: See? That rando over there is now Veronica. We, on the other hands, are back to being nerdy Madison, and super cool Caleb. Get your stuff. Let’s go.
MADISON: (grabbing stuff from desk) Won’t James be mad, or suspect something’s up?
CALEB: Oh. No. That rando guy over there knows your entire conversation, and probably already figured out all of Veronica’s quirks and habits. He’s got it totally handled.
SFX: Elevator door opens and dings.
MADISON: So that… rando… guy is Veronica, picking up my conversation where I left off?
CALEB: You nailed it! See, originally, Canadian Girlfriends Incorporated was made to help streamline models’ interactions with their fans. We would connect with the models, and see if they’d like us to help boost their memberships, and do most of the one-on-one conversations with their fanbase for a cut of the profits.
SFX: Elevator opens and dings.
EDIT: Voices echo in parking garage
CALEB: (continued) It was incredibly appealing, since they’d go from maybe tens of subscribers, to thousands of subs. Smaller portion of the pie, but a much larger pie. And, less work on their end. Eventually, we realized we could hire our own models for a week for shoots. They’d get a ton of money for that week, but then we wouldn’t have to see them again. Some had contracts that have them on standby, just in case the marks asked for a personalized video. Like saying their names to help confirm they are indeed talking to the model. Eventually, we no longer had to do that, since we learned how to hook our marks early, and deep, deep down, they don’t care if they’re talking to the model. They just want that connection. Contrary to popular belief, we’re not selling texts; we’re selling relationships. Anyway… Time to call it a day.
SFX: Car keys jingle
MADISON: Do I get James back tomorrow?
CALEB: Ehhh… You never know. Sometimes the mark loses interest. Sometimes they won’t be worth the effort on our end. If they’re not paying, we’ll find someone who will.
MADISON: What are they paying for exactly?
CALEB: An experience, silly. What you did in there, kept him occupied. Some people are just wanting someone pretty to text, and some people are moments away from pulling the trigger. These conversations you’ve been hired to have are sometimes the only thing between these people living, and… well (shrugging)…
MADISON: You’re being hyperbolic.
CALEB: I honestly wish I was. There are perfectly ordinary people wanting conversations with these models. Sometimes these guys can’t admit that they want to talk to… another man. Dun dun dunnnnn. Sometimes they’re creeps, but many many times, they’re lonely guys who feel they’ll never find someone who appreciates them for being them. It’s a safe space for them. And because you’re pretending to be another person, you’re anonymous, putting you in a safe space too. And, since I love making my exits dramatic, leaving someone with something profound to contemplate all night, I’m going to call it a night. Goodnight Madison.
SFX: Car door opens and closes. Car engine starts, and car drives away in parking garage
MADISON: Good… night.
SCENE: Next Day
CALEB: (chipper morning person) You’re back! Good morning.
MADISON: I am!
CALEB: You even brought a potted plant.
MADISON: I took what you guys said to heart. It’s home away from home. Besides, I’ve always wanted a succulent. So, what’s on the agenda today?
CALEB: Same as yesterday.
MADISON: Do I get James back today?
CALEB: I don’t think so. Log in, and see your notifications. If you get the same person, it’ll let you know as soon as you’re in. Check the bell icon right there.
MADISON: I can see my previous conversation with him. Is that the right one?
CALEB: It would be. Doesn’t look like he’s been reassigned to you. No sweat though. It’s not a performance thing, so don’t feel bummed out like it’s your fault or anything. Do you like coffee?
MADISON: Not much of a coffee drinker.
CALEB: Coffee’s a great medium for a little extra… shot. You didn’t bring any?
MADISON: Oh. No.
CALEB: I thought you took what we said to heart! Maddy, I’m so disappointed!
MADISON: Nah. I got a good feel for it yesterday. I don’t think I need it.
SFX: Text alert
MADISON: My first mark!
CALEB: That’s my girl. Alright, let me know if you need any help. Oh, hey… It’s good to have you back today. I’m excited to work beside you.
MADISON: Thanks! I’m glad to be here too.
SCENE: Too Close
JENINE: Hey Madison. Can I see you in my office in a second?
CALEB: Uh oh. (funny/suspicious) Whadya do?
MADISON: I don’t know.
SFX: Office door closes
MADISON: Yes ma’am?
JENINE: Take a seat.
MADISON: Am I in trouble?
JENINE: No. Not in trouble. Look, I’m going to ask you a few questions, but I’m just wanting to find out what you’re expecting from some of this…
MADISON: (confused) Okay?
JENINE: So, your new mark is this Justin fellow.
JENINE: Can you tell me what you know about him?
MADISON: I know he plays soccer. He’s married… ummm… He’s a botanist I think?
JENINE: Good. I’ve just been watching your interactions, and I think you’re getting the basics. Keeping the conversation going. Good. Do you know you get paid commission on upcharges?
MADISON: I haven’t really gotten that deep into it. I’m just now getting a feel for the nuances. Oh man. I realize some mistakes I made in the conversation with James yesterday.
JENINE: Don’t worry about that. You’ll continue to make mistakes for a good deal of time. When you’ve been here for four months, then you start to really hone your skills. Look, the reason I ask, is because you’ve been using the pics from the free albums. You can send him links to paid pics and vids. It helps increase your commission. It also gets them more… fixated on your conversations.
MADISON: And fixation is what we want..?
JENINE: Absolutely. Every text is counted against their tab. After they’ve reached their text limit, they’re asked to increase their tab. Your goal in talking to them is for them to feel heard. Just between us girls… you know all a guy wants is to feel like someone cares about them. And it helps to have them think that person is prettier than their mom.
MADISON: Oh gross.
JENINE: Not like that. But, yeah. Mama’s boys want to be paid attention to by pretty girls. That’s why we get models. While I have you… I wanted to say I’m proud of how quickly you turned around. I know it isn’t easy to justify it to yourself what we do.
MADISON: Once I realized we were actually doing a service to these guys, I really started to empathize with them. Some of them are in real need. Justin, that guy… he’s dealing with some real stuff with his wife. I was really surprised at how little these guys wanted some more of the… risque stuff.
JENINE: But, you should be promoting the paid content-
MADISON: Right. Yes. I know that now. I’ll work on that. But.., I really came in with the expectation that they were monsters. Granted, I never anticipated being the chatter, but now that I am, I mean… they’re real people.
JENINE: While that may be true, I do encourage you- or should I say… I discourage you from getting too attached.
MADISON: Of course.
JENINE: Your conversation with Justin started to make me wonder- which is why I called you in here. You don’t know this, but he is a habitual client of ours. We’ve kept an eye on him, but his account creation methods try to disguise who he is. We’re in the beta stage of a new program that we are going to launch on people like Justin.
MADISON: What is it?
JENINE: Glad you asked. I was going to stare holes into you until you asked. Before I answer: What do you do, exactly, now that you have a feel for the ropes?
MADISON: I text people to keep them on the hook until they make their next payment.
JENINE: Okay, maybe elaborate a little more.
MADISON: I find a model a guy wants to talk to, and I become the voice of the model, showing interest in him. He pays for the interest. I mean, (thoughtfully) essentially, we’re online call girls.
JENINE: I wish we could rebrand it to text girls. (pause for laughter that doesn’t come) Get it? Not call girls, since we’re… (giving up on dad joke explanation) you get it.
MADISON: (not laughing) I mean, that’s funny.
JENINE: I don’t remember where I was going with that train of thought- oh! Right. The beta program. Artificial intelligence has gotten to the point where it’s indistinguishable from human interaction. So the beta program will occupy peoples’ time who aren’t willing to pay for those upgrades. Eventually, we hope to have the whole process wholly automated. It could be within the year, and all we’d have to do is supervise, making sure something isn’t going off the rails.
MADISON: What about the guys who really need the conversation?
JENINE: Great question: what about them?
MADISON: They need someone to talk to.
JENINE: Right now, they think you’re a model. No offense, but you’re not the model they signed up for. You’re providing a service they want, or need. But they’ll be getting the same thing from texting an AI as they’re getting from you. And, the workload will be automated, allowing for more marks, since we wouldn’t be so restricted by finite amounts of time and clients.
MADISON: I’m trying not to be obstinate- I’m just trying to understand better… Humans will be getting the human connection they’ve been craving.., from AI… and, we’re okay with that?
JENINE: They’re getting the same result either way. I mean, when you take it all into consideration… (with finality) What’s the difference?
EDIT: Echo ‘What’s the difference’