The Devil Wears A Purple Clutch

August 27th 2012

Story originally written and experienced: June 14th 2011


There I was.


1 purple clutch in hand.


In the pouring rain.


And Gayle King was waiting for me.


15 minutes on the clock.

Ready? Set?





It started like any other ordinary day in the Oprah Magazine fashion closet.


Send this.


Organize that.


Steam this.


…Steam this again.


When suddenly my boss sprinted into the closet, panting. There was an emergency, she said. The spiderman broadway show premier was tonight and Gayle King needed a purple clutch. And she needed it now.


Someone needed to volunteer as tribute.


…And it was not going to be me.


Except it was.


II Pause II


It was no secret that my endeavors  on these special missions always took a turn for the absolute worst. My track record was as follows:


A. Bags breaking in the middle of oncoming traffic in New York City


B. Having an editor lend me her $100 metro card….and then watch it fly out of my hand and flutter into the sky…never to be seen again.


C. Inexplicably ending up in Spanish Harlem


D. All the above


And this time was no different.


Play. > 


Everyone stood there silently. Myself absolutely included. There was 9 of us so the odds were potentially, ever in my favor. But no sooner than I could casually back behind the shoe stand did my boss make direct eye contact with me.


My co workers conveniently                                       parted like the red sea.


“Olive, I’m going to need you to do this for me.”



I ever so carefully >>>> walked the plank.


And she handed me a pink post it note that adhered to my finger tips.


It read:

“225 West 38th Street Floor 16- Kara Ross – Purple clutch. Hurry.”


Her instructions were as follows:


“Go this address. Be back in an hour. No excuses. Do not be late.


Go downstairs.


Find a cab.


And if you can’t find a cab in the first 5 seconds.



Then I’m going to need you to run.”


I looked outside, the windows were glazed with the torrential downpour that was occurring as she  was demanding her demands.


…It’s a good thing I brought my pleather flats today.


I obeyed my instructions. Sprinted





the escalator

through >>> the door

and onto the street corner. 

And began to count.






Found a cab.


The d r o p s of water had slightly smeared the ink-stained address on the post it but I managed to decipher what was left of my instructions.


225 West 38th street. And drive fast. Please.


Traffic was heavy


The         a        n   was thick and after about

    r         i  



10 minutes, we had traveled a grand total of:

…2 blocks.


50 minutes left.


Alright Olive, secure the flats.


We’re going on a run.


I asked the taxi driver to stop the car. To please, stop the car. >>> Threw cash in the front seat and swung op   en   the door that invited a shower of unforgiving rain immediately as I stepped out of the vehicle.


And ran. I ran like a fat kid that just shop lifted a pack of swedish fish.


50th street

I can’t lose my job

46th street

Good god my dress is officially see through

42nd street

I didn’t know there was a pizza hut over here. NICE.

38th street

Fucking finally.


I approached




225 West 38th street.


Only to find out that there was in fact a 225 







…and  G.


Guess which one it was.


I unsuccessfully inquired about a purple clutch from the following places:

A. Wig shop

B. Kosher deli

C. Video rental joint

D. Another wig shop (WTF)

E. A carpet cleaner headquarters

F. Someone’s personal home

And finally at 225…..G.


40 minutes left.


I sprinted into the lobby

out of the rain and

straight to the elevator bank.


Soaking wet, and practicality nude (Damn you cotton polyester blend) impatiently waiting for my ride to floor 16…suspiciously lingering in a herd of other visitors….why was everyone waiting here….could the elevator POSSIBLY be this slow…..?




The elevator had arrived.

And my question was answered.

This was not just any elevator.

Why would this be a normal elevator? That would be silly.

…Twas a crank elevator.

And the mechanism to move the elevator uP  and 





…looked like this. 


Why, life…why?


The movement of the elevator was at the mercy of a professional cranker…as was everyone else who stepped into in.


Meet Bob.


Bob was the 80-year-old elevator attendant complete with an embroidered vest and a beret.


His day-to-day job responsibilities were as follows:


1. Greet the oncoming riders

2. Take his sweet ass time to readjust himself in his seat


That slowly…but surely…creeped from floor to floor.


35 Minutes left.


The elevator finally began to move. And fantastic news, we were scheduled to hit every. single. floor. on the way up.


On our lengthy travels u        wards Bob conversed on the following things:


Floors 1-3: His wife Betty

Floors 4-8: Betty’s fear of rollerblading

Floor 9: Multiple Sclerosis

Floors 10-12: Betty’s unwarranted bathroom habits

Floors 13-16: How Jazz has made a solid comeback within the last few years (touché, Bob, it really, really has)

And after what should have been a 24 second process in total indeed turned out to be that long in between….each…floor….




I had arrived.


I desperately lunged onto the 16th floor and beelined >>>> for the clouded window in the left corner.


The room was dark, the carpet was sticky and the woman on the other side of the windowpane was wearing pleather pants. (fun fact)


She moseyed>>>> over to me, perplexed by my visit and uncomfortable with my see through attire.


“Can I…help you?” She skeptically inquired.


“Yes! Yes you can! Hi I’m here with Oprah Magazine and I’m here to pick up the purple Kara Ross clutch we ordered.”



She said nothing


30 minutes.


Finally she decided to do what most humans do, and respond.


“I um…I have no idea what you’re talking about. “




I called my boss in a panic. Asking her ever so gracefully




“Ah yes…” she said “I told you the wrong floor. It’s actually 21.”


Now, in any event this would seem like  a quick fix. My boss and I would exchange polite banter such as “No worries! I’ll just hop on the elevator and go up a few stories and all will be well.”


But the crank elevator, my friends…was indeed the only elevator in the building…and this is how I found out:




Welcome back, Bob.




“Yes. Hi Bob. I need you to take me to floor 21, please.”


“OF COURSE DARLING. But. I need to go all the way down to Floor 1 first. This is the only elevator in the building and well, IT’S DOWN TIME!”














…If you’re ever curious about Betty’s whereabouts between the years of 1947-2011, and Bob is unavailable.


I’m your girl. 


20 Minutes Left


Floor 21.


I jumped off the elevator, 108% sure I would be seeing Bob in the near future. And by near future I mean in 4 minutes and promised him we could reconvene about Betty’s sausage pot pie recipe in a short few. There was a glass door and alas, it read


“Kara Ross”


Turns out, there is a God.


I not so subtly banged on the door and begged them for the clutch. They bagged up that sonofabitch and I was ready to go.


son of a bitch




My phone went off. I had a text message from my boss.


It read:

Where r u

There I was.


1 purple clutch in hand.

In the pouring rain.


And Gayle King was waiting for me.


15 minutes on the clock.


Ready? Set?




And run I did. I ran like a panda who had just heard about a new batch of bamboo on the latter side of the forest.


42nd street


I can’t lose my job.


48th street


Fuck this shit


53rd Street


Seriously going to that pizza hut after work.


57th Street


Fucking finally


I  sprinted through the doors


Up the escalator


And into the (modern-day) elevator




I had arrived.


At this point I was having severe tunnel vision and a slight hankering for pizza hut, but it was diluted from the intense excitement I was going to feel after this. moment. right. here. 


I was going to be a hero.


I was going to be a star.


I was going to be established as Oprah’s selected latest sidekick like a true rags-to riches fairy tale.


0 Minutes left.


Touchdown  I


I threw myself into the fashion closet, drenched from head to toe, purple clutch death gripped under my arms.


Gayle was standing in the center


of the closet and my boss>>>>>> ran over to me to grab the goods.


“Thank god you’re here she’s leaving in 15 minutes!!!”


She snatched it out of my hands and ran over to Gayle.


I was going to be a hero.


I was going to be a star.


I was going to be a, wait hold on my boss is back. 


“Hey just talked to Gayle. She actually found another one she liked better so we’re not going to use this one. Thanks though.”




A few days later I as I sat in the closet casually reorganizing leather belts, I found myself mentally recapping the recent bullshit that had gone down earlier that week. A few minutes later one of the big time editors walked back and asked myself and the others to gather around in a circle because she wanted to say something. Something great.


And it was this:


“I know that you guys are working really hard. And I know that we don’t always say thank you. And so I’m here to say thanks. But I’m also here to say something else. We always dream about where we want to go one day and how we want to make it and sometimes I think we fail to remember that we’re not going to get pats on our backs our entire way there and we most certainly aren’t going to get thank yous. Following your dreams can be a humiliating process, but you know, it’s a devilish world out there and in a sense, that’s exactly how it should be.  I’m not going to convince you that this is worth it. That’s your call.”


…Anyone else need a purple clutch?