Custom umbrellas keep you dry, inspire pop hitsRihanna held her hand to her headphones, her talon-like nails clicking against one of the cans, and closed her eyes.
"You can stand under my umbrella, ella-ella-eh-eh-eh," she sang, bobbing her head. "My custom umbrella, ella-ella-eh-eh-eh, my personalized umbrella, ella-ella-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh."
Jay-Z sat on the other side of the glass in the recording studio, pushing those little levers up and down and pretending it was actually making a difference, then clicked the intercom: "Ri-Ri, that's fire. But I'm just not sure I'm feeling this song. See, I don't really understand why you're singing about customized umbrellas."
Rihanna pulled off her headphones impatiently. "Jay, c'mon. Everyone knows that custom umbrellas are like diamonds in the sky."
Jay was puzzled. He clicked the intercom. "Huh?"
Rihanna rolled her eyes, then adjusted one of her pasties. "Custom umbrellas are an amazing way for businesses to spread the word about their brands. Come rain or shine, umbrellas custom-printed with your logo are excellent items for brand exposure and impressions. Personalized umbrellas can be used for shelter from the rain and the sun, and your audience will be reminded of your brand every time your customized umbrellas protect them from inclement weather. These custom umbrellas are some of the most efficient and useful promotional items you can provide."
Jay turned to Tricky Stewart and Kuk Harrell, the song's co-writers, for clarity. They were playing Pokemon Go, so were no help.
Jay sighed. "So you have some of these custom umbrellas? Like, you're singing from experience?"
"Cha!" she said, in her native Barbadian slang. "I've got those umbrellas in bulk. When someone aims at my pedestal, I fend them off with personalized umbrellas! You know I'm tougher than a lion. Ain't no need in trying."
Jay rubbed his eyes and tried to go to his happy place: the bounce castle he and Beyonce set up for Blue Ivy in the backyard. Just lying inside that inflatable palace — alone, away from the paparazzi and Bey always talking about surfborts — always managed to calm and center him. He clicked the intercom again. "And where do you get these custom umbrellas?"
She put her hands in the pockets of her Puma drop-crotch sweatpants pocket and gave Jay a withering look. Then her bodyguard, who’d been sitting nearby and reading The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory, looked up and said: “She doesn’t shop for herself, man.” And he handed Jay-Z a card: Pinnacle Promotions.
And then something clicked in Jay's mind. Maybe Rihanna had a point. Maybe if he'd bought custom umbrellas from Pinnacle Promotions, his ill-fated bakery—Roc-a-Cookie—wouldn't have been a flop.
"Alright, Ri. I think I get it," Jay-Z said. "Let's hit that chorus again."