Tuesday, 6:30 pm in late August hit the suburbs of the city as hot as it ever did. The life of anyone working outdoors during this time of year was resplendent with misery.
It didn’t help that Twisty hated his job.
Who could love a job selling anything door to door during any time of year? Even worse was the fact that he was selling cleaning supplies.
Cleaning supplies weren’t the best product for selling door to door, and Twisty couldn’t understand why his dumb ass cracker of a boss chose to sink his own money into a franchise that showed all the promise of a lost cause. Yet still, he did the job anyway. In this economy, good jobs were hard to find and the crappy ones where in abundance.
As Twisty approached the next 3/2 with the brick façade and the unused basketball hoop in the driveway, he took note of the hedge which needed to be trimmed, the lawn that needed to be mowed, and the two cars in the driveway which needed to be washed. These people don’t clean much, he thought. They’re going to be a hard sell.
Profiling works in door to door sales.
Before doing what he was supposed to do, Twisty did what he wasn’t supposed to do and helped himself to a drink from the water spigot on the side of the house. It would be several hours later before the homeowner discovered that Twisty purposely neglected to turn the water all the way off.
Thirst quenched, Twisty approached the door and rang the doorbell. The loud, fierce bark of the homeowner’s mastiff immediately announced the presence of a visitor at the door. At the same time, it admonished the previously unannounced visitor that his presence was not desired.
Twisty could hear the frustrated voice of the man of the house yelling at others inside. “Boy!” he yelled to his son, “Hold that dog back at least ten feet from the front door while I answer it. We don’t need him trying sniff the crotches of visitors like he did last week to those Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
Twisty stepped about two feet back.
A few moments later, the deadbolt was being unlatched and the door opened up as far as it would. This was a good sign for Twisty. There was always a direct relationship between how far the door opened and whether Twisty could close a sale. The wider the door opened, the better his chances.
The door opened, and the man of the house stood there in the entry. With one hand on the open door and the other on the door jam, Twisty’s next customer possessed all the qualities of a sucker in waiting. His door was wide open and he was completely dressed.
Twisty absolutely hated it when homeowners opened the door and they were butt-assed naked.
Twisty took an immediate inventory of what the open door revealed. The entry led into a foyer which was about ten feet deep. The area was limited on space. Doors appeared on either side of it which led either to the garage or the kitchen. The back of the foyer led into the living room where someone was watching reality TV on a 42” flat screen in the background. At the threshold where the foyer turned into the living room was a boy no older than 13 or 14 with his arms wrapped around the barrel-like chest of what had to be the biggest dog Twisty had ever seen. A low, guttural growl emitted from the dog as Twisty surmised that one strategically placed sniff of the crotch from that beast would render our door to door hero sterile for years to come.
“Good afternoon sir!” Twisty proclaimed as boisterously as he could. “My name is Reginald.” Crackers in the burbs didn’t buy cleaning supplies from people named Twisty. He stuck his hand out for a handshake. “And you are……?”
“Fine.” The homeowner didn’t put his hand out. “What’s up?”
Twisty knew right then that there would be no sell, but he had to proceed anyway. Even more, he would have to resort to unconventional means to even generate the slightest of chances of making the sell. The cracker at the door had just taken the upper hand in the conversation by refusing to give his name or a handshake.
The dog grumbled and the boy holding him readjusted his grip.
Twisty withdrew his hand and proceeded with his pitch. “Well sir,” still boisterous, “I’m here to introduce you to the greatest all-purpose cleaner to ever hit the market. It’s called Wonder Stuff. It not only gets rid of all of your basic problems like grease, grime, mold, and mildew, but it cleans all of the other problem substances as well.” Twisty pulled a sample bottle out of his backpack and held it on display like a game show model as he extolled its virtues.
“Uuumm” the homeowner responded, but that didn’t stop Twisty.
“You see that fresh asphalt near the wheel wells of your truck? It will get that off with no problem. Do you have stains in your driveway from an oil leak? It will take care of that too.” The sales pitch wasn’t working. Twisty could see it on the guy’s face. It was time for a curveball. “In fact, this stuff is so good, it’s reported to be the substance they used to make Michael Jackson white.”
“Really?” The homeowner at the door displayed just the perfect amount of incredulity required of such a claim. “Now Reg, why do you want to come beating on my door with some bullshit statement like that?”
Damn, Twisty thought. This cracker isn’t going to give up the upper hand here.
“It’s just a little joke, sir. My apologies.” Twisty continued. “Beyond what I’ve already told you, this stuff is completely natural and chemical free as well. Watch this.” Twisty then unscrewed the spray nozzle and pulled it out of the bottle where he proceed to lick the intake tube.
“Ok.” The homeowner responded. “That’s all well and good, but I’m just not interested in your product.” The dog in the background squirmed under the control of the boy.
Twisty had come to hate that phrase over the six weeks he had been selling Wonder Stuff. Congeniality and respect hadn’t worked on this guy. Neither had humor. Twisty would have to pull out the big guns and invoke white guilt in order to open up this guy’s wallet.
“Oh, I see what’s going on here. You’re like all of your other neighbors around here who don’t want to bother helping a brother out!”
“Really?” More incredulity. “Is that what you think?” Twisty started getting the feeling that he still hadn’t captured the upper hand.
“Tell you what.” Said the homeowner. “You say that stuff is good enough to make Michael Jackson white. Is it good enough to clean blood stains off of a front porch?” In the background, the growling beast started to key off of his master’s tense attitude and began to show the same symptoms.
“Blood on a porch? Yes sir. It will clean that up too.” Twisty saw a possible way to make the sell afterward.
“Fine!” The new customer said. He turned his head back at his son who was holding the dog in place. “Boy, get me my checkbook.”
At that point, the boy let go of the dog and left Twisty’s field of vision. The dog, realizing that he was now free, lunged toward the door.
It wasn’t his life that flashed before Twisty’s eyes when the beast moved to end a less than promising career in door to door sales. It was sudden realization that Wonder Stuff would probably be used to clean Twisty’s blood from the front porch.
In a mere fraction of a second, Twisty conceded in his own mind that no measure of congeniality, humor, or shaming was going to close a sell today. It was time to turn tail and run before that monster had Twisty pinned to the ground with his jugular in the grasp of its jaws.
Twisty would get a half mile away before he bothered to turn around to see if the dog was chasing him. There was no dog in sight. Twisty had no idea how far the dog had even chased him. Regardless, it was gone.