The plane was only half full as GSD&M’s pitch team shuttled back to Austin the day after our Land Rover presentation. We had no inkling what Crispin or Kirshenbaum had shown, but every instinct told us our work had struck a chord.
Roy Spence received initial feedback and our guts were right.
The final vote was eleven-to-one in favor of GSD&M and we were asked to keep quiet until the other two agencies were notified. Roy took the entire group out for sushi and Saki that night and we partied liked pirates, having beaten two very good agencies. I didn’t bother telling anyone I was neither a fan of raw fish, nor fermented rice wine.
Not that night. That night, I ate and drank everything that came to the table and enjoyed every moment of it in the spirit of camaraderie. It had been a bruising pitch process and everyone on the team had given up many nights and weekends. I have no doubt that many of us woke up feeling a little foggy but thrilled to be bringing the business back to Austin.
I was badly hungover but happy to be headed home. Being the flight was only partially full, GSD&M’s team a chance to spread out throughout the plane and enjoy some well-deserved elbow room after spending weeks trapped together in a sweaty war room.
We’d been in the air for about an hour when the first sign that I wasn’t a sushi and Saki man took hold. A sudden pain rippled through my lower intestine. Holy fuck. Was I having appendicitis? I’d never felt such intense pain. Instead of panicking, I resigned myself to give it a few minutes to subside. The pain continued to build as I sipped my ginger ale to no avail.
It suddenly occurred to me that it might be gas, no doubt the result of the sushi and Saki I had pounded like a sailor the night before. Luckily, I had a fair share of open air around me so rather than hit the plane’s bathroom, I simply let loose a thankfully silent fart that instantly relieved the agonizing pain I’d been experiencing.
I immediately regretted that decision.
The vile stench that engulfed my quivering body was indescribable but being a writer, I’ll try. Think of a dog dart multiplied by burning hair and a crime scene with numerous decaying corpses. It flat refused to dissipate. It clung to me like a needy child.
My fellow passengers all too soon caught wind of my error in judgement. Within seconds, nervous fliers began comparing notes.
“What is that smell.”
“Is that melting wire?”
“Dear God, I think the plane is having a mechanical failure.”
I sat in horror, as a stewardess was summoned. I said and pretended to be asleep. There was some discussion about calling the pilot back to investigate and determine whether an emergency landing would be needed.
I had to do something. I opened my eyes and confessed to the stewardess. “I’m sorry, but it was me. I had sushi last night and it wasn’t agreeing with me.”
The stewardess looked at me as if I had run over her cat. “Well, do you think you need immediate medical attention?”
“No, I think I’ll be just fine.”
Word quickly spread through the entire cabin and everyone on the pitch team soon knew exactly what had happened. In retrospect, I should have let them emergency land the damned plane.
And that’s why I don’t eat sushi.
Cameron Day is a freelance writer and creative director who refuses to eat sushi but is available to help work on your pitch or perform project work remotely. He prefers to work outdoors. www.iamcameronday.com