There were cries around the office to alert the stragglers, and everyone was at last accounted for when Wanda Mossway, receptionist in Evil Odors, and Hip Gypley, assistant promotion director for Oil Slicks, entered the room looking sheepish. Gypley had a lipstick smudge on his collar. That was Hip with every new girl in the office: some preliminary sweet talk and then those romantic moonlit strolls by the Potomac, throwing in refuse, spray-painting their initials on the Lincoln Memorial.
"I'll make this short and sweet," Director Kinzel began, "but I do just want to tell you what a magnificent first year we have all had. A lot of people sneered when we were organized 12 months ago. You remember. The wise guys said, who needs a National Defilement Association? So many of us, they said, acting as individual Americans, were already doing plenty to deface the land.
"But you and I know different, don't we? Even the great spirit of American enterprise and know-how can only carry us so far. Sure, it's easy for Mr. & Mrs. Average American to roll up their sleeves, spit on their hands and do a representative job of spoiling the little things—your national monument, your public park, your roadside rest area, your Lake Erie. But, let's face it, making this nation ugly is no job for amateurs. It needs organization."
"Hear, hear!" the NDA gang cried.
"There is no doubt," Kinzel went on, "that without the NDA we would not have been able to tackle the larger projects that demand concentrated community effort. When you talk about killing Lake Superior, filling in San Francisco Bay, putting neon lights on Mount Rainier, asphalting the Everglades, greasing up the Pacific Ocean—and not, please note, just the Santa Barbara Channel—you're talking about assignments that need the NDA. So, as you go out and find your way home through the smog tonight, don't ever think for a moment that you are just a disposable bottle in the garbage heap of NDA. Each and every employee is playing an important leadership role for the stupendous decade ahead."
There was more cheering and back-slapping all around. Wanda Mossway kissed Hip Gypley full on the lips, and in the excitement her cigar touched Hip's hairpiece and set it ablaze. The sparks ignited the NDA library of pornography, but an alert steno prevented the fire's spread by covering it with tinsel.
"Now here's the good news," Kinzel went on after this brief interruption. "I am pleased to announce that our NDA Citizens Council membership drive has exceeded our fondest expectations. Effective immediately, we can boast of 10 million card-tossing members."
The cheers were so lusty and prolonged that many in the NDA crowd did not hear the rest of Kinzel's announcement, to the effect that the National Defilement Association had also exceeded its original projection and had signed up 7.5 million junior enrollees for its Little Litter League program.
"All right, let's get on with the Christmas party!" Kinzel called above the happy tumult. He looked around and smiled broadly, then an expression of puzzlement slowly came over his face. He called over Margie Seltzer of promotions. "Margie," he said, "this is no time for business talk, but I must say I am disappointed in you and the whole promotions team. How could you have forgotten a Christmas tree?"
"But, Harvey," she said, "didn't you hear? There aren't any more Christmas trees. Americans cut them all down."