I hereby disclaim any responsibility for my wife's debts, the actions of my congressman, or anything that happens to you after reading this story if you're not at least 18. My lawyer told me try to limit my liability. Seems one guy was reading a dirty story when his monitor exploded and killed him. His wife is suing the manufacturer, of course. Personally I think he probably came on the screen and blew the tube. But what do I know?
The first reader who spots the AMAZING WORD TRICKS repeating "phrase that pays" and notifies me gets to be removed from my mailing list without the usual $50 charge.
I was a door-to-door insurance salesman once for about 20 minutes. It was another of my many failed careers.
Dante was wrong. The deepest circle in hell doesn't belong to the traitors to kin and country, there's a level even deeper. The Tenth circle is reserved for door-to-door salesmen. Because that's a living hell on earth, and THEN you die.
I took the insurance job after being fired from my trainee position at the heavy equipment company. I just fucked up too much for them, I guess. I hated being in an office all day anyway. I thought being outside would be better. I was wrong. After two weeks selling insurance door-to-door I knew I had made a mistake, but there weren't any other job offers being waved at me, so I plugged along. I spent the better part of that Friday morning getting doors slammed in my face. I went to lunch.
The fast food place where I went was jammed. I waited in line, grabbed my burger and shake, and looked for an available seat. The only place open was at the counter. I balanced my briefcase in one hand and my tray of food in the other and headed for the seat. I couldn't help but notice that I picked a chair right next to a pretty young woman who was eating alone. I tried to make small talk.
"You know these burgers will kill your stylish figure," I said.
She wasn't offended at all. "Yours too," she said.
"Yeah, well, when you're out here slogging the streets, you have to eat and run, you know?" I replied.
"You a salesman too?" she asked.
"Yep," I said. "You?"
"Yes. Been here all week knocking on doors. Just grabbing a burger before I get in the car to drive home. It's almost three hours upstate. Thought I'd get an early start," she told me.
"Oh," I replied. I guessed I wouldn't be seeing her again. "What do you sell?"
"Lingerie," she answered.
"Door-to-door lingerie?" I asked. "I never heard of that."
"It's a new company," she replied. "Kind of like a Tupperware thing."
"How's it going?" I wanted to know.
"Great," she said.
"Are you a typical salesman, er, woman for them?" I said, leaning away from her and surveying her up and down.
"Yes. Only female sales professionals. Most of us are young, 20's and early 30's. I sell a ton."
"I see," I said.
"Say, I ran myself ragged this morning looking for Cherry Tree Lane. Look," she said, reaching into her big purse. She pulled out a postcard and handed it to me. It was a business reply card. I flipped it over. "See? Cherry Tree Lane. It's not on my map, nobody I talked to ever heard of it."
"Nope," I said, studying the card. In truth, I had stumbled on Cherry Tree Lane just the day before. It was one of those brand new streets in a brand new subdivision. So new that some of the houses didn't even have grass yet. The card had spaces for name, address, marital status, dress size, and a yes or no box for "Please have a sales associate call". In neat hand lettering I saw "Shirley Tipton, 18 Cherry Tree Lane. Married. 6. Yes." as the responses.
"Well, a good lead gone bad," she said. I nodded, knowingly.
I didn't have a strong memory of 18 Cherry Tree Lane. Nobody had been home when I knocked on the door, and I hadn't marked it for a return visit, since I didn't see any of the things that life insurance guys are trained to look for. You know, like kid's toys laying around, a station wagon, a van, or other signs of a young family.
We finished our lunch, and when I tried to get her phone number, she politely declined, saying she was already in a relationship, and anyway, she lived three hours away. She left.
It was time for me to get some doors slammed in my face. I thought to myself, "Screw this." I decided to to blow off the rest of the day.
I got in my car and started driving. I found Cherry Tree Lane and slowly cruised up and back down. There was a car in the driveway at number 18: a hot little Miata, bright red. Not a car an old lady would drive. But then this was not a neighborhood an old lady would choose, either. I was already past the house when a young woman walked out the front door, heading for the driveway. I whipped my head around, but could only get a quick glimpse of her as I motored away. She was lovely. A fiery redhead with a nice figure. I began forming a plan.
On Saturday morning I drove to Sinclair, nearly an 80 minute drive. I knew there were a ton of factory outlet stores there; there was always pandemonium in the aisles, and the clerks were glad to do anything just to get you back out. Especially if you were returning something.
I found a store that specialized in lingerie, made sure they accepted returns, and then bought almost $500 worth. All size 6. Or Small, if that's how it was labeled. I bought flannel PJs, see throughs, two piece, one piece, teddys, silk tops, satin bottoms. If they sold it, I was buying it. I filled my trunk and drove home.
By the time Monday morning rolled around, I was ready. All of the tags had been cut from the clothes and carefully set aside. I packed the lingerie in a suitcase, the best one I had. It was also the largest.
I drove up to Cherry Tree Lane. I figured if she wasn't home, I could always just cruise the neighborhood and knock on doors that hadn't been answered last week. Of course I would be trying to sell them life-insurance, not lingerie. Yuk. I really hoped Shirley would be home.
As I approached the house, I noted that garage door was up. The Miata was parked to the left, there was an empty space on the right. Good. I pulled up at the curb, took out the suitcase, and carried it to the front door. As I pushed the doorbell I checked myself over. Clean suit, shirt and tie, polished shoes. Very professional.
It was only a few seconds before my redhead opened the door. She said "Can I help you?"
"Yes," I replied. "I'm here with the lingerie."
"You're... what?" she said. "You're from the lingerie company?"
"That's right," I lied. "We tried to get here Friday, but didn't make it. Sorry. It's Shirley, right?"
She nodded her head. "Yes, That's when they said she'd be here, but no one showed up. Why are you here? The appointment was with a Betty, or Betsy, or some name like that."
"We had to let Betty go," I improvised. "She kept missing her appointments, and that really made people mad, you know. They stay home and then no one shows up. Not good. It was too bad, I liked her." It was true. We'd had a nice lunch together. Sort of. My voice lowered conspiratorially. "Confidentially I think she has a drinking problem. A shame. Tsk tsk."
"Oh," she said. I was still at the door. Shirley contemplated the situation. "I thought your company only had female sales representatives."
"Oh that," I said. I knew this objection was coming. I had an answer ready. "Government stopped that a month ago. Discrimination, and all. Now we have both guys and gals. At first they thought women wouldn't react well to men selling lingerie door-to-door. Guess what? They were wrong. I was sales associate of the week last week!" I told her, looking as proud as I could. I inched closer to the door. "Do you want to see our line? It's really quite lovely."
"Well," she hesitated. "I guess it's all right." She opened the door to let me in. I pulled it shut behind me.
It took only a few minutes to find a spot on the couch, open the suitcase, and get settled. She sat on the ottoman in front of me. I started with a very conservative full length cotton nightgown. I picked it up by the shoulders and held it up for her to see. "This is a nice number," I said. "Very warm, very soft. Easy to care for..."
"Not exactly what I had in mind," she said. "I'm more looking for something for my husband." She realized what she had said and laughed. "I mean, not for him to wear, of course, for me to wear for him." I nodded knowingly. One of the salesman's best tools is silence. I kept my mouth shut. After a moment she continued babbling. "We've been married 5 and a half, almost 6 years, and, uh, I wanted to get some new, uh, things to wear, you know, in the bedroom and around the house."
She was telling me that she'd been married long enough for the spark to leave the marriage, and she wanted to get it back. Probably wasn't getting laid, I thought to myself.
"Oh, I know just what you want," I said. I reached in and picked out a sexier number. It was a satin top with a pair of matching satin pants. "We have it in beige - we call it 'champagne' " I told her and winked, "and in light blue and in a violet. Here, feel." Her hand went out to touch the fabric.
"Oh, that's lovely," she said. "Let's put that one aside." I folded it neatly on the couch. I pulled another specimen from my display case. A top and panties combination. On this one the top was more daringly cut, a fact I was sure to point out to her as I held it up.
"I personally like the cut of this one," I said. "Very sexy. But I like the satin material on the other one better. It all depends on what you want."
"Put it aside, too," she said.
.... There is more of this story ...