Day 256 – The Salesman – Part 1

A new one! Finally! This month has been crazy. Going to Stonehenge Summer Solstice to scatter a friend’s ashes tomorrow. May he keep on flying. I’ll write a story Thursday to do him justice.

Word count: 812

Clean, combed hair, a smattering of gel, a lean smile and a set of polished white teeth. These were the first things that would greet customers when Brian approached their front door of a weekday morning, suitcase laden with brochures, adverts, contracts, contacts and promotional material. But despite this first physical greeting, there other more pressing areas of self presentation that Brian was more adept at.

The Walk, as he liked to call it, was the way one displayed themselves in public without being seen .This was not the walk done in the supermarket on a hungover Sunday afternoon. This walk must represent achievement, focus, determination, responsibility and ambition. The Walk must swagger with swing of a fulfilled and content lifestyle; one where the weekends are occupied with yachts and fishing, sunsets in log cabins and frequent flyer’s free stays in city breaks such as New York or Milan. The Walk must never falter when on The Move, a term Brian had coined to describe the preparation to sell. It must appear to be the only walk that one knows.

Brian was deploying The Walk as he strutted up the gravelly garden path. Shrubberies and flowers lined the way. A pristine lawn stretched out in either direction. There was even a vegetable patch by a moderately large and expensive looking green house by the gable end of the house, while the other sported a posh and well constructed conservatory. It was a huge house to say the least: Brian in his smart, shiny suit and briefcase was completely dwarfed by it. He appeared but a lego man at the front door as he pressed the doorbell. The usual awkward moment of waiting passed quickly as the owner soon answered the door. There were many occasions where Brian would wait up to twenty minutes just in case the occupier was in the shower. This tactic had only succeeded once, but he would never say that it was not worth the wait. Brian was cautious; he was never one to leave a plate a restaurant half finished, not even a morsel. Everything he bought he consumed to its full capacity and it was this vigour for getting his money’s worth that drove him in the world of salesmanship.

An old shrinking lady opened the door. She wore a headscarf tightly around her white hair and held a watering can in her hand.
“Oh dear, I was just about to water the flowers, but would you like to come in?”

“Why, that would be lovely, thank you very much,” Brian said, taking great care to wipe his feet sufficiently on the Welcome doormat.

Inside, the house was even more magnificent. The hallway was a huge open room with a staircase sloping round the three walls of the room, under which was an archway that led to the bright yellow kitchen with an enormous bay window that drenched the room in sunlight. To the right the was a closed door, most likely made of mahogany. To the left was the living room, another bright room, this time with walls lined with fine bamboo. An assortment of comfy sofas, armchairs and footstools were sprinkled around the room. A small upright piano stood in the corner, a lonely sheet of music on the stand. There was not a surface free from a plant.

“Take a seat in the conservatory area, it’s much nicer in there…” The old lady showed him through a set of patio doors down into the ceramic tiled conservatory. It was more of a greenhouse than glass extension. Yet more flowers and plants grew in pots in every crevice.

Brian sat down in the awkward position that he assumed up to thirty times a day. It was the position of weakness. In order to remain seated, he must harness all his wit and energy to persuade his host that they absolutely needed whatever he was trying to sell. It was a fine art: many failed on this first hurdle, not overcoming the barrier of the stereotype of every single salesman ever to turn up to work.

“Now, what would a nice young man like yourself be wanting after a crazy old bat like me?”

Brian adorned the slimey grin, “Well, now young, lady, many a thing, but I’m a married man!” He displayed his shiny gold wedding ring surreptitiously. Fake, of course, his wife had filed for divorce from him two years ago and, in a move that Brian had regretted, he had thrown his wedding ring at her before crawling pathetically at her feet to have it back. That was the old Brian: the new Brian could lie without a bat of an eyelid. His veins were made of steel, like superman.

“Oh, you do tease!”

“Madam,” he said opening his briefcase, “I would like to make you an offer… you couldn’t possibly refuse.”

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~ by S.G. Mark on June 19, 2012.

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