Management Systems are how a business allocates their Human, physical, and financial resources.
The four fundamentals of Management are Planning, Organizing, Leading, and Controlling.
I go over the terms that are supposed to be on today’s Principles of Management exam while my body is posed like Rodin’s Thinker. As the kids in the Introduction to Human Figures class frantically sketch out the details of my nude form, I draw the facts out of my mind that’ll help me pass the exam that’s coming up in two hours.
I’m finding studying for exams is a lot like learning my lines back in the day. When I was on the set of All About Nikki seventeen years ago, I had to learn things on the fly when we had re-writes. Sometimes the director would change the script right in the middle of shooting! And most times I managed to learn those lines so quickly we only had to do one take. Compared to the craziness of Hollywood, college seems like it’s a piece of cake.
Sitting across from me at her easel, Professor Harris stops sketching and holds up her red pen. That’s my cue that the class is over. I hop off the cube, slip on my black silk robe and streak into the dressing room at the other end of the studio. After I close the door behind me, I quickly get changed back into my street clothes, a black fitted short sleeve blouse, a black kilted mini-skirt and black ballet flats. When I put my watch back on it reads 12:54. I have just enough time to meet Chris’ professor friend from Spelman College before I start my second job answering phones and sorting mail.
I sling my messenger bag over my shoulder, push past the exit door of Studio 1D and hurry down the hall to the office of the Fine Arts Department. When I enter the reception area, Amy the blonde nineteen-year-old working the front desk flashes an eager smile at me as she peers up from her Renaissance Art book. I smile back at her and grab the stack of mail sitting on the counter.
“Hey Marilyn, you’re here early.” Amy greets. “You that eager to answer phones?”
She wishes. “I came early to meet Dr. Flowers. I reply. “Is she here?”
“She’s still in Chris’ office.”
Amy grabs the phone and punches in his extension. “Chris, Marilyn is here.”
“Great.” Chris says though the intercom speaker.
Amy jumps out of her seat and slings her backpack over her shoulder. I smile back at her as she rushes towards the door. “Mari, I have to go. Got to get to class.”
“I’ll take care of things here.”
After Amy leaves, I hear Chris’ footsteps coming down the hall. The thin cocoa skinned man wearing khaki pants, a short-sleeve madras shirt and trainers strolls out to the reception area followed behind by an elegant looking silver haired peanut colored woman dressed up in a tailored orange linen suit, Church hat, and heels. That must be Dr. Flowers. Wow, she must come from some serious money. The last time I saw a designer outfit that expensive was when I was wearing it on the set of All About Nikki.
“Marilyn, this is Dr. Edna Flowers.” Chris greets. “She’s one of the legendary professors from Spelman University.”
Legend is an understatement. From the graceful way she stands, I feel like I’m in the presence of royalty. “Nice to meet you Dr. Flowers.” I reply extending my hand.
“Nice to meet you Ms. Marie.” Edna says shaking it firmly. “My grandkids loved your show when they were younger.”
“Would you like an autographed picture for them?”
“You still keep headshots in your bag?” She inquires.
I wish I didn’t have to. I’d actually have more room for handouts. “Like a college degree it’s better to have them and not need them, than need them and not have them.” I joke opening up my bag.
“Well, my grandkids have outgrown Nikki, but I wouldn’t mind one of you for myself.”
“How do you want me to make it out Ma’am?
“However you like.”
I take out a picture and write: To Edna: Thanks for being a fan of Nikki all these years. Best wishes, Marilyn Marie. The old woman’s face lights up when she reads my personalized message on the picture. “If only people knew how kind you were in real life.” She tells me.
“Well, I try to follow the Bible in my life and do unto others as they’d do unto me Dr Flowers.” I say.
“Several students who recognized Marilyn from the show on campus were surprised at how friendly she is.” Chris interjects.
“Sounds like you’re still quite the celebrity.” Dr. Flowers says.
“A fading star is still is still a light to those around her.” I sing.
“As is a good Christian.” Dr Flowers replies.
“I’d like to think I’m having a positive impact on the students here.”
I’m about to start putting mail in the cubbyholes near the door when I notice a sheet of paper in mine. Amy didn’t start doing the mail yet, and it wasn’t here this morning when I showed up to sign in. Maybe it’s a notice from the Bursar or one of my professors.
I pull out the note and grimace in disgust reading the sick message underneath the disfigured picture of me on it that says:
I’M GONNA MAKE YOU LOOK LIKE THIS AGAIN MOVIE STAR
God, I had no idea that the Hollywood crazies would come to a New York college campus. Out of all the places in the world, I thought I’d be safe here. Chris catches the winced look on my face and becomes concerned.
“Marilyn, is something wrong?” He inquires.
“Th-This was in my mail cubby.” I tell him as I hand him the note.