The Novel in Short: After graduating from university with a degree in business, Dustin has a problem. He needs to figure out a way to break through the confines that the world has built for him. The confines of middling employment opportunities, family expectations, and the small imaginations of others. Luckily, he’s not alone. With his monkey sidekick, Dustin braves the hazards of the real world, demonstrating his own unique brand of hippy entrepreneurship.
Good, Good Advice (ripped off from Richard Branson):
In business, as in life, don’t forget to have a good time…even when you’re fighting a ninja.
Good, Good Advice for Fighting Ninjas:
Buy or rent Richard Branson’s How to Fight Ninjas Like a Virgin.
We must have been really distracted, because neither the ninja nor I saw the air balloon dropping in. But as it was coming in, its pilot introduces himself with a big 80s style boom box playing Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow”. As the ninja turns around, the pilot of the air balloon throws the boom box at the ninja.
It explodes, throwing the ninja several feet into the air back towards the beach.
The pilot of the air balloon leaps out and introduces himself.
“Hi there, Dustin. I’m Richard Branson.”
He smiles and it takes me a full three seconds before I can get any words out.
“Yes, that’s usually the first experience people have when they meet me. Most often women use those exact same words.”
I manage to stand up and dust some of the sand off of me.
“Looks like this is your first go at taking on a ninja,” he says by way of casual observation.
“Well, looked like you could use a hand. Why don’t we give it a go together.”
“That’s the spirit.”
The ninja has recovered from the boom box blast and is getting ready for another attack.
“You know, it doesn’t seem that long ago when I had to deal with my very own first ninja. Back then many record companies were jealous at the success Virgin Records was having. Back then, all it took was one good smile to disarm a ninja.”
At that moment, as the ninja is about to cut us both down with his katana blade, Richard Branson turns around and gives him his award-winning smile. The ninja is instantly blown back several feet and has his katana knocked out of his hands.
“Now, Dustin, I want you to notice that I’ve only stunned him. I could have had my smile focused on full blast. That would have instantly sent him into a euphoric state that would have required him to attend one of Virgin’s legendary rock concerts. In fact, there will be one in Ireland later this year if you want to have a go. But I wanted to leave something for you. After all, this is a good learning experience for you. Now, I want you to try to stun him with a smile.”
Just as he is recovering, I turn around and flash him my most charismatic smile, but if anything that just emboldens the ninja because he is able to pick up his katana again.
“Well, that wasn’t quite right. But that’s okay. You gave it a go. And that’s important in life, just as in business. Now, this next move is something I’ve perfected over the years. I think you could learn how to do it pretty easily.”
As the ninja recovers and gets ready for the next swipe of his katana, Richard offers up one of his signature moves. “How about a pint, mate?”
Instantly, we all find ourselves at a bar that materializes seemingly out of nowhere on this secluded beach. We’re drinking beers and having a laugh. Richard has his arm around the ninja and they’re reminiscing about the way ninjas used to do things in the old days.
“You wouldn’t believe this, mate. But the second ninja who ever tried to kill me had a tie-dye robe, multi-colored and all. The third ninja who tried to have a go at me had traded in his katana for a bong. Tried to bludgeon me to death with the thing. That was a bleak time for the ninja assassin industry, but boy did we all have a lot more fun back then.” They both have a chuckle at that.
They finish up the last of their beer.
“Alright, Dustin. Your turn.”
I turn to the ninja in what I think is my most affable look and say, “How about another pint?”
The ninja looks at me confused. Instantly, the spell is broken and he is picking up his katana again.
“Okay, okay, Dustin, that didn’t quite work out. No worries, mate. Just remember, when it comes to experiences like this, we all start off as Virgins, right.” He gives me a wink, knowing full well that he has simultaneously made a great point about life and business and just promoted his brand.
“Well, Dustin, this one is just for fun. But I think you could get the hang of it if you tried. This techniques is called ‘The Cheeky Ad’ method of disabling a ninja.”
The ninja is about to swipe down on us when suddenly he notices something behind us. On the beach a billboard has magically appeared in plain view of everyone who happens to pass anywhere within several miles.
The ninja stares in shocked amazement. There in bold letters it reads:
Tradition says ninjas live quiet lives of tradition…dare to ninja like a Virgin.
In the background is a ninja with a vodka martini surrounded by several bikini-clad girls.
“Obviously, that one is outside your skill level just yet, but I thought I’d give you a taste of what years of life and adventure can lead to. Now, obviously I’m not going to show you anymore techniques because that would just be showboating, but I was wondering if you had anything to offer.”
That is the question — What on earth do I have to show Richard Branson that would impress him?
It’s clear that the ninja won’t be stunned by the sign forever, no matter how cool it is.
I rummage through my pockets searching for something…anything. All I find is one loosy joint.
“Well, I guess we could all smoke this…”
I feel stupid and lame for even suggesting it after what I’d just witnessed. But then the ninja sees the joint and says, “Aw man, I could use a hit after the day I’ve just had.”
So, Richard Branson, the ninja, and I sit on this gorgeous beach and smoke a joint together.
It turns out the ninja has a name. His name is Doug and he used to be a barista before he devoted his life to the ninja-for-hire trade.
“Man, that was awesome. When did you have the time to have a billboard made?”
“Billboard…what billboard?” and as Richard Branson says that we look and the billboard is gone.
We all have a laugh.
Richard Branson pats me on the back and says, “Not bad for your first ninja, wouldn’t you agree Doug?”
Doug takes a hit and shakes his head. “Honestly, I thought I should’ve killed you several chapters ago, but you did really great hiding out from me, man. Most people just die. Really, Chinese throwing star to the head and they’re out…How do you know Richard Branson?”
How DO I know Richard Branson?
“Dustin,” Richard Branson says, “We need to have a talk.”
He then turns to Doug.
“As for you Doug, you’re welcome to take a job with the Virgin Group. We’re always looking for up and coming ninjas who have the potential to become client-oriented entrepreneurs and are up for a good time. And you fit the bill. What do you say, Doug?”
But before he’s even finished the question, Doug the ninja has climbed into Richard Branson’s air balloon. As for me, I’m still wondering why Richard Branson rescued a nobody like me.