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I Sold Vacuum Cleaners for Two Days Part II
by Michele Christopher
Below continues the story of how Ted Rhobe Rae sold vacuums for two days.
Please note: we at fasterthantheworld.com do not condone doing any drugs while on the job. Especially mescaline.
On we drove. I was still high from my first sale, as well as some mescaline I popped when the Jesus lovers weren't looking. My boss was saying something to me, but so was the air conditioning vent in the car, and I couldn't pay attention to them both. So I listened to the air conditioner.
"I appreciate it," I replied.
"THANK YOU!" screamed the vent. "That's all I ever wanted to hear."
"Who the hell are you talking to!" shouted my boss. I came to and looked at him. I'd never noticed how his nose moved around his face, and thought it must be a pretty inconvenient thing to happen, especially if he had bad allergies.
"Boy, don't let that first sale go to your head," he said. "You have a lot to learn, you understand?"
I nodded. All of a sudden, his nose leapt from his face, in what I could only assume was a desperate attempt to quiet the air conditioning vent once and for all. I caught the flying proboscis in mid air and handed it back to him. For someone who had almost lost a very important appendage, he wasn't very pleased.
"Boy, what the hell is wrong with you? You on drugs or something?"
"I sure hope so," I said.
He smiled as we pulled up in front of a nice two story house. "Humor--I like that. A good sense of humor goes a long way in this business. Now listen--you take this street. I'm going to go one street down. I'll swing around soon and see where you are."
As he drove off, I stood on the moving sidewalk and waited to be taken to the front door of the house. After a couple of minutes, I realized that the moving sidewalk was broken, so took the more traditional route and walked up to the door. It was a very nice door. The doorbell, however, did not share the same amiable personage.
"Wash your hands!" it yelled when I went to ring it.
"Wash your hands, you filthy bastard! You stink, and I don't know where your hands
I had been insulted before, but never by a doorbell, and despite what some people have called my impeccable work ethic, I felt no need to expose myself to such insults for the sake of a sale. I crossed the lawn to the next house, but it was melting, and I figured that with that problem, the occupants would have no desire to buy a vacuum. The third house and the fourth house were arguing with each other about whether TJ Hooker could beat up Captain Kirk, but the fifth house was relatively quiet. I walked up to the front door and knocked.
"Hola," said the older woman who answered.
"Hello," I said, "I am a representative of the Wei Raleigh Sook corporation, and..."
"No habla ingles," she said.
"No, I don't," I answered, curious why the woman wanted to know if I had shingles.
Just then, my boss pulled up in his van. "Don't bother coming up here if you have shingles," I shouted as he got out. "They won't let you in."
"Hola!" he shouted as he approached the woman. "Como esta?"
"Muy bien, gracias, y tu?"
They began to speak in what I could only assume was some exotic language. I looked at my hand, which seemed to be the only interesting thing to do at the time. My fingers were firmly rooted in my wrists, which meant that the mescaline was wearing off. Suddenly, my boss and the woman quit talking, and my boss tapped me on the back.
"Now, the folks here don't speak English, but that's ok, because you speak the international language of unwanted particulate matter. Now you just go in there and show them what this baby can do, and I'll be back to help you close the deal."
He shuffled off back to the van, leaving me to stand there, looking at the woman, who eventually moved inside the house and motioned for me to follow her.
There were five other people there, and they were all very nice, which was a relief for me after being dressed down by a doorbell. But all of them spoke the language I'd never heard before. I looked around to make sure there weren't any shotguns or posters of Jesus. There weren't any shotguns, but there were lots of statues of the Virgin Mary and there was a candle that had Jesus on the front.
I started to take out the Sook 2000x to show them just what four hundred cubic pounds of suction could do. Each of them paid close attention through the entire presentation, and before I knew it, my boss showed up again and began talking to them. They decided not to buy the vacuum, so my boss led me out of the house. I had picked up enough of the language to say goodbye, at the least, so on our way out I shouted, "Cayetay man tequila."
My boss stopped and stared at me. The woman and her family were silent for a second, and then one of the younger guys started running toward me. "He must want to give me a hug," I thought, "for my attempt at assimilating with he and his family," but before I could embrace my new friend, my boss had me by the collar and was dragging me toward the van.
"Boy, do you even know what you said to those people?!?" he asked.
"Well, I intended to say, 'It was nice to be in your home.' "
"What you intended to say don't make a shit bit of difference. What you did say was,"Shut up, butter."
I sighed--languages were never my thing, but you couldn't blame me for trying. I was tired--after being threatened by a Jesus freak, insulted by a doorbell, and making new friends, I just wanted to go home and find the bottom of a whiskey bottle and curl up on the couch with my dog Francis. But my boss had other plans.
"Alright, we still have more work today. I have one more stop I need to make."
As we drove through the suburbs, I watched the sun go down, and wondered where this glorious adventure would take me next.
It was nine 'o' clock. I had been at work for thirteen hours.
Ted Rhobe Rae