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20160301_161407“Sir,” Millie buzzed across the intercom, “Mr. Wonka is still holding on line two.”

Dr. Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s Master Distiller, drew a breath and gave a slow exhale. He knew he’d made a mistake in reaching beyond the marketing department’s recommendations for the forthcoming Milsean edition packaging.

“Millie,” he asked somewhat sheepishly, “would you mind asking him if I might return his call a bit later? As you know, I am terribly busy at the moment.”

“You are?” Millie asked.

“Yes, Millie, I am.”

“Oh, okay. Very good, sir,” she said. Lumsden’s line went blank and line two turned from red to green signaling that Millie was negotiating at least a momentary reprieve with the infamous chocolatier.

Lumsden watched the phone, waiting for the line to cease its green flashing, but it didn’t. It went red again, and Millie buzzed the intercom.

“Sir,” she said, “Mr. Wonka is rather insistent that he speak with you about the Milsean packaging designs that he’s compiled. He said that you received them.”

Lumsden was quiet.

“What shall I tell him, sir?”

Lumsden hovered so closely to the intercom speaker that Millie could hear and almost visualize him pounding his fist against his forehead.

“Put him through, Millie,” he said and took a sip of coffee.

“Very good, sir,” and in an instant, the direct line to Lumsden’s desk awoke. He took another sip and pressed the button for the speakerphone.

“Willy!” he said exhuberantly. “It’s great to…”

“Dear Doctor Lumsden,” interrupted the nasally caller. “I am mortimatically discombobulated and well washed over by a course of dread I’ve not rounded since my last visit to the dentist. Oh, where are my manners? How are you, my fine gent? Well, I do hope. Although Miss Millie did divulge that you are really rather assiduous. Is it trouble at home? Maybe you’re not getting enough sleep, dear sir. Too much to do, if I do say so about my own trade. Many incumbencies and far too few Oompa Loompas at my disposal for hauling the arduous billet. What say you, dear fellow?”

“I’m, um, doing well, Willy,” Lumsden measured carefully while simultaneously wondering as to the meaning of “mortimatically.” Still, too much had been said already and he didn’t want to stir another filled response. “Time is a bit short for me right now, Willy” he said succinctly, “but I thought that since you called, we could go ahead and discuss the designs you sent over.”

“Splendid!” Wonka shouted and banged his handset on his oaken desk. The percussion rattled Lumsden’s speaker causing him to shrink back into his chair. “Where shall we begin, good Doctor?”

“Well,” Lumsden began but was once again interrupted.

“There’s no need to convince me by way of high praise, good sir,” Wonka confusingly slowed into almost a whisper but then gradually began to increase his voulme. “I can already sense that your heart has all but traveled door to door, caroling amidst both friend and foe with regard to the splendicity of my designs. This is true, yes?”

“Well,” Lumsden started, “the designs certainly are very…”

“Beautiful,” Wonka whispered again. “Yes, I know this. Good grief, man! There’s no need to repeat yourself. You are indeed under much stress. I can tell. Have you tried flavored coffee? That’s all I drink. In fact, I do so believe that it is the secret to my success. A day full of flavored coffee allows me to see things that no one else can see. It truly is thaumaturgic.”

“Say, Willy,” Lumsden said trying to bring the conversation down a notch. “I’m concerned that the box…”

“Isn’t colorful enough?” Wonka broke in. “Oh, my good man, we believe as one another here, yes? Being that your Gaelic term ‘Milsean’ means ‘sweet things,’ I was ever so inclined, as it seems you were as well, to choose from the gobstopper color schemes, but then by way of private conversation with one of the chocolate machines in the factory, we decided that you’d asked my opinion because you knew that I was an expert in such things and would follow toward a minimal but ornately colorful theme. I am, as you well know, a horizon’s length in keenness of eye when set against even someone as yourself, even having a doctorate as you do, wouldn’t you agree? Yes, I know you do. And so, my academicious friend, I settled for a slightly less imposing box. It will urge the purchaser not only to prefer the beverage, but will stir within them a strange urge to attend the circus. In this case, it just so happens to be a zippity zop bottle of Glenmorangie whisky. What fun, yes?!”

“Willy,” Lumsden petitioned, “the packaging of our editions, in a sense, work to communicate the character of the whiskies within. Did you try the sample we sent you?”

“Oh, indeed I did. Oh my, indeed, we all did. I have many minutely-framed workers who’ve been clamoring for the delivery of another bottle. And I did promise them as such. Say, is that a possibility? I’ve made the promise, and you know, it really is good business to work within partnered associations to maintain such asseverations. Might I be so rude as to impose such a request of your kindness? It’s settled then. Once we’ve concluded, I’ll let the Oompa Loompas know another bottle will be delivered. There will be rejoicing, to be sure.”

“So, you tried it, then?”

“Oh, yes! And please do not forget, good Doctor, that I am a chocolatier of the highest order, one who with little effort is as agile in scent discernment as you are with the whisky craft itself. And so it is a note of truth, one you cannot deny, when I affirm that the nose of the Milsean is a magnanimous bathing in Portuguese artisanry – sweet red wine and the finer castor sugars I use in my meringues. With little effort, I am certain that I have pinpointed your mind in this pursuit.”

Completely surprised that the mechanics of his lungs were beginning to force air up and through his throat to form any words at all, Lumsden added, “I’ll admit, Willy, that you have a good handle on the bouquet. But what about the…”

“Egad, Bill!” Wonka intruded again, although he turned once more to a whisper as if attempting to keep a secret. “The whisky is just marvelous on the tongue. I do believe it will serve to keep my teeth as white as can be.” He got even softer. “My dentist did say that to swish a little whisky at night is better than flossing, although I am suffering with receding gums. Strange.” His voice went into a crescendo. “Regardless, the Milsean is an ineffable basketful of sugar-dipped cherries. And they are so very crunchy and sweet, as though you picked, purified, and preserved them in an instant, not settling for a loss of a single drop of juice. I thought I was the only one capable of such feats, and yet, there it is, right there in your Milsean.”

“Well, Willy, as I said,” Lumsden said sounding exhausted, “I’m really very busy today, but I’m glad we had a chance to consider…”

“Me, too,” Wonka interfered anew. “Very glad we’ve had the fortuity to appoint my designs. And by the way,” he continued, “have you been to the subcontinents, or Southeast Asia perhaps? I have. I’m really quite fond of the people there, and I’m equally sure that the Milsean’s finish reveals evaporated cane juice. Did you use cane juice in your formula, and if so, I’m positive that you joined it to passionfruit, yes? No need to confirm my surmising. It could only be this. So, shall we sign and seal our deed with a gentleman’s word that the lawyers may begin their dance?”

There was a moment of silence.

“Bill? Good Doctor?” Wonka banged the handset on the desktop again. “Oh, my. I must have lost the connection.”

Rubbing the mental debilitation from his eyes, Lumsden spoke, “I’m still here. Your designs will do. I’ll patch you back through to Millie. She’ll give you Marc Hoellinger’s number. He’s Glenmorangie’s CEO and will get the ball rolling with marketing.”

“Splendid. Thank you, kindly, and I do hope we’ll have the pleasurable convenience of visiting…” Lumsden pressed the “hold” button and rang for Millie.

“Yes, Dr. Lumsden?”

“Wonka’s on hold. Give him Hoellinger’s number.”

“Will do, sir.”

Lumsden gave a soft moan and took a sip of his coffee.

And that, my dear Angelsportion friends, is why Glenmorangie’s new Milsean edition, while it is quite tasty, is bottled and packaged as though it were handled by Oompa Loompas.