Zero Return Game


Devil Wears Prada (movie)


In her spare time, which Miranda has in precious small amounts, she likes to dabble in the stock market. She's not a gambler, far from it, but she's pretty bad at it. Time and time again she has over-invested herself, with marginal or even negative returns; conversely, she often fails to recognise a good opportunity and does not invest until it is too late.

The problem is, Miranda decides, accurately valuing a company. The inherent worth of what you invest in is so unpredictable, so hard to calculate, that oftentimes you end up blowing through a whole lot of effort and resources with nothing to show for it. It's best to invest a minimal amount, or close to nothing, and just hope for the best.

Miranda employs this same strategy with her human resources. Employees are unquantifiable entities, she reasons: there is no use investing in them because it is akin to pouring effort down a black hole. Those good enough to invest in take their value with them once they have been groomed and nurtured; those who stay absorb the investment like a sponge and do not give it back.

She has quickly blown through a series of junior assistants, accurately proving her theory, when Andy Sachs walks through the door and into her life. Here, Miranda thinks, is a prime example of investing in a dead end company. But Emily needs a temporary bandage to stem the workflow, and there is a small glimmer of potential, however minuscule it is, so Andy -- Andrea, Miranda corrects herself, is hired.

At first, Miranda invests little in this Andrea. She is like a steady contributor to her portfolio -- low risk, low gain.

Then one day, her young investment blossoms into a cash cow overnight. Gone are the clunky shoes, the drab makeup, the dreary locks; in their place stands a tall, sleek and dare she say, quite sexy young woman with a very nice ass.

Perhaps this is Miranda's one-in-a-million surprise investment. She decides to test this; she orders Andrea to start coming to her house, and waits. At first, there is disappointment, but Andrea somehow proves herself worthy, and the cocky grin Andrea gives her upon mission completion sends a startling, pleasant shock between Miranda's thighs. Her gamble has paid off unexpected dividends.

Eventually, the right time comes. Her children are with their father for the week, Stephen is out of town on business, and Miranda is as horny as hell when Andrea walks into the house.

"Andrea," she summons.

Miranda can hear the gulp from where she sits next to the kitchen. The footsteps get louder, and then Andrea stands in front of her. Her eyes widen as Miranda leans forward, letting her bathrobe fall open slightly.

"I hope you understand," Miranda murmurs, "what it is I want from you."

Andrea does. She's always had good instincts. Perhaps she is frozen in fear at the inappropriateness of it all; perhaps she understands that there is only one way forward that will not end badly for her. And then as Miranda reaches out and removes Andrea's clothing piece by piece, she discovers that she is wrong: Andrea has frozen in feverish anticipation, and wants it -- wants this -- as much as Miranda does.

She smells like peaches, her skin firm and luscious beneath Miranda's fingertips. Miranda kisses that moist, welcoming mouth; the creamy pale neck; the swollen, fleshy breasts. There is substance here, Miranda is surprised to find, different from those stick-thin models that march around her daily, substance that is firm and warm and unyielding that arches in response to her ministrations -- she had forgotten what it was like to make love to something so full, so complete. When Miranda slips two, then three slender fingers into Andrea's burning core, the gasp of pleasure is exhilarating and rewarding all at once.

After Andrea clenches tightly around her, once, twice, countless times, Miranda pulls her fingers out and licks them, savouring the taste. She wonders what more she can get out of this, when she notices the glitter in Andrea's eyes. This time, it is her who gives in and opens up, wide, impossibly wide; she feels Andrea's mouth upon her nether lips and aching bud, lapping and taking away, and as Miranda arches and shudders and whispers Andrea's name, she decides that perhaps this is something worth investing in.

For a while, it pays off. They continue their trysts whenever they can -- at Miranda's house, in the back of a car, in Miranda's office, in the ladies bathroom at Runway. Miranda gives and takes from Andrea, and gets back so much that she berates herself for taking so long to learn the basic concept of high risk, high rewards.

When Miranda invites Andrea to Paris with her, she is counting on a bigger windfall than ever before. Instead, as watches Andrea walking away, taking with her more than Miranda could ever have possibly bargained for, she learns that it is not worthwhile to invest more than you are willing to lose. The chance of returns, in this case, is zero.