Running with the Bulls: Flash Fiction
Bullheaded clients full of hot air and BS were her bread and butter.
It was a typical day in the life of PR Queen, Lydia Spinney. She was the maestro of crisis communication, image enhancement and turning setbacks into comebacks.
If you gave Lydia a lemon she wouldn’t turn it into lemonade, she would have you convinced it was a bottle of 1947 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut – “a remarkable cuvée with a silky texture and notes of citrus and honeysuckle”.
This was her gift but it didn’t mean she had to like some of the inflated egos she represented, including the embattled tech start up CEO who’d just stormed out of their meeting.
Accused of a toxic work environment, harassment and intellectual property theft, he hadn’t liked her frank and fearless advice that was absent of any flattery. Especially since she’d flagged that he would need to accept some responsibility for his actions.
Lydia’s mouth twitched in amusement as she watched him barrel through the office like a bull in a china shop. He’d be back and she looked forward to bleeding every billable minute from him.
She turned her attention to the next appointment in her diary. A Zoom call with an Angus and Daisy Bull. There were no other notes.
She started the call and two shadowy figures came into view. ‘Ah, hi. I’m Lydia Spinney and you’re—’
‘We’re Angus and Daisy Bull,’ one of the shadows replied in a baritone voice.
Lydia leaned closer toward the screen and squinted. She couldn’t make out their features. ‘Can you turn some lights on? I like to see who I’m potentially working with.’
‘I told you this was a bad idea,’ a female, presumably Daisy, said in a mournful tone.
‘We need her help,’ Angus responded. There was some shuffling, a click and a flash of bright light.
Lydia blinked as their features came into focus. She blinked again. And again.
A horned bull and a cow stared back at her from large, pensive eyes. The bull wore an Armani suit and a Chanel scarf graced the cow’s neck. Their background was a sprawling stone wall structure that resembled a maze.
Lydia withheld a sigh. ‘Look, I don’t work with people who want to be anonymous. So either remove the avatar filter or we’re done here.’
Daisy rolled her eyes at Angus. ‘I told you so.’
Angus cleared his throat. ‘We’re not using any filters.’
Lydia burst out laughing. ‘Who put you up to this? Was it Rick? Is he still annoyed that he got stuck with the cauliflower steak at the Christmas party after I ordered the last plate of wagyu?’
Daisy visibly shuddered.
‘This isn’t a joke,’ Angus said gruffly. ‘Haven’t you ever met a minotaur before?’
Minotaur? Lydia had seen some things in her time but not any Greek mythological creatures. But now that she thought about it, it wasn’t the strangest thing she’d encountered in her line of work, not by far.
She pondered it for a moment. The pair on the screen clearly had money, so did it matter if they had a few cows loose in the top paddock? Real or not, she’d hear the Bulls out. ‘How can I assist you?’
Angus nodded slowly. ‘You see, Lydia. We’ve been plagued by misconceptions and grievances for far too long. Thanks to centuries of ridiculous and grossly offensive stories, people think we eat humans.’
Daisy sniffed. ‘Which we don’t. We’re herbivores.’
‘And we’re struggling with trespassers who keep turning up at our labyrinth.’ Angus inclined his head toward the structure featured in the background. ‘They turn up with giant balls of twine so they can find their way through the maze.’
Daisy chimed in, ‘And don’t forget the job opportunities. All we get offered are mascot positions and there’s only so many bull-related sports teams to go around.’
Angus’s heavy brow furrowed. ‘I’m just lucky the Chicago Bulls paid as well as they did when I worked with them.’
Lydia furiously took notes on her digital pad.
‘And that’s not the worst of it.’ Daisy flung a disturbingly human-like hand to her chest. ‘We’re getting the blame for climate change too.’
Lydia stopped writing. ‘Climate change?’
Daisy looked down at her lap, her cheeks impossibly appeared aflame.
Angus shifted in his chair. ‘The methane and the like.’
Lydia smothered a laugh and put down her stylus. ‘First things first, let’s work on your public perception. We’ll launch a campaign highlighting your vegan lifestyle, your love for nature, and your commitment to protecting it. We’ll even organise labyrinth tours to educate people about its historical importance.’
Angus and Daisy nodded in agreement. ‘But what about the trespassers?’ Angus asked.
Lydia flashed a sly smile. ‘We’ll deal with that too. We’ll turn your labyrinth into a protected heritage site, making it off-limits to anyone without proper permits. Trust me, no one wants to mess with environmental laws.’
‘But what about the…’ Daisy began in a quiet voice, ‘…you know, the climate stuff?’
Lydia leant back in her chair and smirked. ‘That’s simple. We’ll launch the Minotaur Carbon-Neutral Initiative.’ She gave a dismissive wave of her hand. ‘Carbon credits, a seaweed supplemented diet for you too and we milk it all with a TikTok dance. I’ll have you lauded as climate heroes in no time.’
‘Bullseye!’ Angus bellowed in delight.
A deep, rumbling sound came from Daisy followed by a guttural emission of air.
Angus patted Daisy on the back. ‘She always belches when she’s excited.’
Lydia gave a sympathetic nod. This wasn’t her first rodeo and Minotaurs or not, she’d be able to wrangle them. Bullheaded clients full of hot air and BS were her bread and butter.