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Don Copal
Don
Don yelling at Manny
Information
Name Don Copal
Gender male
Location El Marrow
Occupation Sales Manager, Department of Death
Year(s) 1
Voice Actor Michael Sorich
Last Seen El Marrow (sprouted)
"'Manny, you couldn't find a sale at a yacht club!" -Don Copal

Don Copal was Manny Calavera's boss at the Department of Death. Copal was a major part of the D.O.D.'s fraud scheme masterminded by Hector LeMans. After Manny unwittingly throws a wrench into their corrupt plans, Don is sprouted by Hector.

BackgroundEdit

Don is an intentional embodiment of the "evil boss" stereotype. He is relatively short and has a portly build, and is always seen wearing a yellow shirt with rolled-up sleeves, suspenders, and a loose-fitting green necktie.

Loud and abrasive, Don is particularly hard on Manny, whom Eva describes as his "whipping boy". The two openly dislike each other, and Don frequently berates Manny for his fading sales numbers. Though the two are rarely seen interacting, Don seems like Manny's rival, Domino Hurley, to whom Manny accuses Don of giving all of the best clients. In one cutscene where Don chews out Manny (telling him he "couldn't find a sale at a yacht club"), Don tells him to be more like Domino by making more premium sales. Also, in a conversation Manny has with Eva at the beginning of the game, it is mentioned that Don recently gave Domino a raise, much to Manny's chagrin.

It is never directly stated how high up Don is on the corporate ladder, or exactly how many sales agents he manages. Based on the cutscene where Don, Domino and Hector LeMans discuss their scheme, it appears that Don is the highest-ranking employee implicated in Hector's criminal activities, meaning that Don is most likely a senior or junior sales manager. Glottis refers to Don as "the boss himself," meaning that Don may very well be extremely powerful.

Just like everyone else at the Department of Death, how long Don has been working there is never specified. However, it is mentioned that Manny has been working there for a longer period of time (which is another possible reason Manny resents him). When Eva sarcastically asks Manny to show some respect for their boss after a disparaging comment, Manny asks: "Why? I've been working here longer than he has." Eva retorts: "And you're proud of that?"

Don works in the office two doors down from Manny. His office has a giant golden door with Aztec decorations on it, most likely to distinguish it from the office doors of the salesmen. Don's secretary is Eva, who works at a desk outside of his office.

Year 1Edit

During the game's opening cutscene, after Manny returns from seeing Celso Flores off on his "big journey". Eva tells Manny that Don wants to see him when he gets back from his "trip". As soon as Manny goes outside to talk to Eva, however, she says that Don is in his office, but does not want to be disturbed. This is possibly an error on the part of the game designers.

After the player first assumes control of Manny, he receives a memo in his mail chute, sent out by Eva and written by Don. The memo announces that there has been a mass poisoning in the Land of the Living, and that there are so many dead souls to reap, clients will be chosen on a first-come, first-serve basis (most likely part of a ploy to ensure Domino got the best client). After Domino sabotages Manny by sending his driver home for the day, Manny is forced to use a replacement driver, Glottis the mechanic, if he wants any shot at landing a big client. This requires
Copal

Concept art of Don Copal drawn by Peter Chan, taken from the 1996 Grim Fandango Puzzle Document

Manny to get a work order signed by Don, allowing Glottis to modify a company car so that he can drive it. Whenever Eva buzzes Don on his intercom telling him that Manny wants to see him, she gets the same angry response, telling her not to interrupt him.

Manny soon discovers that Don is not actually in his office, and that after sending out the memo about the poisoning, he climbed down a makeshift rope made of neckties into an alleyway next to the D.O.D. building. The reason why Don slipped out is never directly specified, but it was most likely to either visit loved ones in the Land of the Living (a Day of the Dead tradition in the Land of the Dead) or to simply enjoy the Day of the Dead festival in the El Marrow streets.

After climbing up the rope of ties and breaking into Don's office, Manny discovers that Don's intercom is rigged to give the same prerecorded response whenever it's buzzed (implying that he sneaks out of his office frequently, as the setup is quite elaborate). Manny changes the prerecorded response to "Aw, cripes, Eva, just sign it yourself, will ya? I'm busy!"

In Don's messy office, Manny finds a memo warning sales agents not to exchange clients under penalty of extreme punishment (doing so would ruin Don and Hector's fraudulent plans).

Upon returning to Eva with the work order, she receives "permission" from Don to sign it, allowing Manny and Glottis to head to the Land of the Living in search of a client. Unfortunately, by the time Manny gets there, all of the best clients are gone (Domino is seen leaving with Sister Calabaza as just as Manny arrives). Manny ends up stuck with a very lowly client with no commission, Bruno Martinez.

While getting Bruno set up with his "travel package" (all Bruno qualified for was to be stuffed into a coffin-shaped box and mailed to the Ninth Underworld), Don bursts in and tells Manny that unless he makes a premium sale by the next sales report, he'll lose his job, leaving Manny with no way to work off his debt to the "powers that be". Desperate, Manny "steals" a premium client, Mercedes Colomar, in an attempt to save his job.

Revealed CorruptionEdit

After bringing back Mercedes "Meche" Colomar from the Land of the Dead in the hopes of saving his career, Manny is shocked to learn that she doesn't qualify for anything good, despite living a seemingly spotless life. Shortly after, Don angrily pulls Manny into his office, furious at the stunt Manny has pulled.

"You vandalized company property in order to obtain secret information so you and could take your illegally modified company car and your unregistered driver and run Domino here off the road! All in order to steal a client from her legitimate agent!"

Ashamed that she has seemingly let Manny down, Meche has already left on foot. Upon discovering this, an enraged Don tells Manny that Meche qualified for a ticket on the Number Nine train and Manny just couldn't find it. Because of Manny, Meche is wandering the dangerous Land of the Dead, when in fact she qualified for the best travel package available. More importantly, he has unwittingly dispruted Don and Domino's scam.

Don locks Manny in the toolshed of the D.O.D.'s garage until he finds out what the "boys downtown" want done with him, adding: "Someone's gonna take the fall for this, Calavera, and it ain't gonna be me!" before slamming the door.

After presumably being informed of Manny's predicament by Eva, Salvador Limones rescues Manny and escorts him safely out of El Marrow. A cutscene reveals that Domino and Don are in league with Hector LeMans, and as Salvador hypothesized, they are conspiring to send all of the best clients to Domino, who then sells them a lesser travel package so that Hector can steal Number Nine tickets from deserving souls. During the cutscene, Hector furiously asks Domino how he could lose a client to Manny. Don sticks up for Domino, saying that Hector "can't get too mad" at him, and that it wasn't his fault that he lost Meche. Hector contradicts Don, saying that he very well can "get too mad...but not at Domino." He tells Don that he's putting Domino in charge, and then shoots Don repeatedly. Hector and Domino nonchalantly watch as Don sprouts before their eyes, and Hector casually expresses surprise at the type of flower that grows out of what was once their partner in crime ("Marigolds... hmm, funny...for some reason, I was expecting tulips.").

AftermathEdit

As it turns out, Don Copal was responsible for ensuring that Domino got all of the best clients. Domino's mail chute is bright red, easily distinguishable from the others, and Don ensured that the files of the best clients were placed in it (a concept that is further elaborated on in the game's Puzzle Document, written by Tim Schafer in 1996). Manny used this information to identify which chute was Domino's in the Tube Switcher room, and gain information about his clients.

Don was in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Number Nine ticket scam, which was taken over by Domino after Hector sprouted him.

After sprouting Don, Hector enlists Domino's help to do the same to Manny, unaware that he has been rescued. How they explained the disappearances of Manny and Don to Eva is unknown; it is quite possible that they planned to sprout her as well to cover it up, but Eva remained underground with the L.S.A. and remained safe.

TriviaEdit

  • With only two short exceptions, Don never appears in the regular course of the game, only in the prerendered cutscenes. Even when he does appear (before and after the cutscene when he chews out Manny for stealing Meche from Domino), they are scripted action sequences. Don can never be interacted with like other characters, such as Eva or Domino.
  • Unlike any other character, Don has a would-be toupee imprinted on his skull.
  • Copal is a kind of ceremonial incense used by American civilizations like the Aztecs, who called it copalli. Manny pronounces Don's surname "Co-PAL". Eva, who speaks in a New York accent instead of Manny's Hispanic accent, refers to him as "CO-pal".
  • Hector's surprise at seeing marigolds sprout out of Don instead of tulips implies that sprouting different people results in different flowers, and that the type of flower in some way reflects the person sprouted (the tulips representing Don's loud, obnoxious nature). It could also have been just a dark joke on the part of Hector.

VideoEdit

Grim Fandango Manny gets caught by Don Copal01:35

Grim Fandango Manny gets caught by Don Copal

Manny gets busted by Don Copal

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