Saturday, April 17, 2010

(Near) Death Of A Salesman

Last week, I failed to get a piece in for Friday Flash Fiction due to a number of reasons. This week, Cormac Brown is having a well-deserved week off so I thought I would use this time to write a story using last week's starter sentence which was supplied by none other than Paul D. Brazill.

(Near) Death Of A Salesman

The trouble with me is that I never realise how deep in the shit I am until I'm choking on the stuff. Right now, I don’t reckon I could have gotten any deeper – face first in the gutter, a boot on the back of my head, and a couple of shotguns pointed at me. Yeah, I reckon the shit was pretty deep right now.

Right from the get-go this morning I knew today was going to turn to shit. A flat tire kicked off my morning, the temperature was going to be in the high thirties, and my decidedly younger girlfriend had decided it was time to call it quits as her father had threatened that if he found out who was doing his teenage daughter, he was going to kill them – slowly.

I stopped in at the corner deli for a sandwich and a cool drink. Sitting in the air-conditioned comfort, I decided that today was going to be my last. Twenty-nine calls this morning and I could only convince one person to join up. I stared at the “best chance” cards in my hand and decided that one more would do and then I would hand in my resignation. The boss wouldn’t care – he fucking hates me anyway.

After lunch, I drove to my final door-knock in the insurance game. It was a huge place – a mansion, some would say. A circular driveway took me right up to the front door where I was greeted by two huge Dobermans, eager to take chunks of my flesh for their dinner. A man appeared at the doorway, whistled, and the dogs disappeared around the back of the house as quickly as they had appeared.

I got out of my car and headed for the door. The guy, dark hair slicked back, looked as if he had just recently stepped out of the shower – or a Hollywood Mafia film. Either way, I didn’t want to disturb him for any longer than I had to so I approached him and cleared my throat.

“Good afternoon, Sir, are you the man of the house?”

The homeowner didn’t respond. Instead, he nodded his head towards the door and ushered me inside.

The interior of the place was captivating; floor-to-ceiling mirrors, crystal chandeliers and leather couches. What caught my attention more, however, was the silenced pistol that had magically materialised in his hand.

“Who the fuck are you?” The stranger took one step towards me, expressionless as he lifted the pistol and aimed it directly at my head. “And what the fuck do you want?”

“Dude, I am just an insurance salesman – I just sell insurance.”

“Do I look stupid to you? Do you think I am a complete idiot? Is that what you think?”

I didn’t know how to answer him. The gun was making me nervous and I looked around, trying to locate any avenue of escape. He smiled at me, closing the distance between us until I could smell his cologne (or quite possibly what he had had for lunch.)

“So, you are just a lowly insurance salesman, huh? Life insurance, I hope – for your sake.” He looked me up and down, and seemed to realise that I was no threat to him. “Okay, I’m interested.”

I didn’t have the faintest notion how to sell insurance to a man holding a weapon and I could sense that he would use that gun with only the slightest provocation.

“Do you mind pointing that thing somewhere else while I get the paperwork out my bag? It is really making me nervous.”

The stranger chuckled and nodded, placing the pistol down gently on the end stand next to the couch.

Just as I started on the company spiel, a young, gorgeous brunette walked in the front door. She bounced into the lounge-room where I was and came to a grinding halt. The smile dropped from her face as she recognised me, and I her. She shook her head and gestured silence.

“Hi Daddy, how was your morning?”

I felt myself groan inwardly. Daddy? Oh, I am such a fucking dead man.

“Hey, princess. Been keeping out of trouble?”

“Always, Daddy, you know that.” Daddy could see me staring at his daughter; I hated to think what kind of expression was plastered on my face – didn’t take long to find out.

“What are you staring at, asshole?” He picked the gun back up and ran his fingers across the black steel. “Not staring at my daughter, I hope.”

“No, Sir, I wasn’t staring at Heather...” Oh shit.

“How do you know my...”

“Daddy, can I see you in the office? Like, right now?”

I could see Daddy was torn between the wishes of his daughter and wanting to find out how I knew his daughter’s name.

“You stand right fucking there and don’t fucking move or I will shoot you dead on the spot. I ain’t done with you yet. Capisce?”

I nodded dumbly, afraid to make even the slightest movement for fear of discovering just how serious he was.

Heather and her dad had been gone only a few moments when I heard shouts from the other room. All I could make out were the words bastard (him) and run (her). I figured that was my cue and made a break for the front entrance.

Flinging the front door open, I made a break for freedom. In my haste I failed to notice the two burly guys sitting on the bonnet of an Olds in the driveway, nor did I see them step quickly in my path. What I did see, however, was the giant fist as it careened into my face and knocked me on my ass. I struggled to get to my feet until one of the human tanks connected his right foot with my ribcage, sending me sprawling into the gutter.

So, here I lay - face first in the gutter, a boot on the back of my head, and a couple of shotguns pointed at me. Yeah, I reckon the shit was pretty deep right now.


Harry said...

Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. Nice job coming full circle Paul. (even if you're just circling the drain);)

Laurita said...

Oooh, ouch. This was both suspenseful and funny. I like the part where he slips and uses her name. Nice closing by return.

Nicole E. Hirschi aka CJT said...

I agree with Harry - some days it just doesn't pay. You did a great job coming full circle. And you should know, you don't mess with daddy's little girl- it always causes trouble.

Bukowski's Basement said...

The guys in Glengarry Glen Ross never had to deal with THAT!! Like this piece very much, Paul...

David Barber said...

You never mess with man's daughter - especially when he's a gun toting psycho! Great piece of writing, Paul.