Day 278 – The Salesman – Part 3

Word Count: 725

“You must be the best. You must not show weakness. You must not show desperation.”

It was the bi-annual motivational get-together at the company. The sales staff were meant to be awed and inspired by the man at the front of the room, adjacent to the blank whiteboard and swivelling his hips around as if he was in a gym. Brian detested this sort of thing. When he was young he might have adorned the same wide eyes as the younger generation in the front seats, but he was tired and getting older by the day. His beard was too long to believe any of this motivational crap. People would buy whatever they wanted to buy; at least that was what he had found.

There were spring rolls for lunch. Brian scoffed the lot. He didn’t have very much at home. There were also strange little sandwiches with cress and pesto. It was the usual corporate atmosphere. Conversation was just a means to an end and no one really cared how you were. Brian preferred to be out on the road, walking door to door and boring his customers to death with far off distance timeshare offers and yachts and cruises and double glazing.
The boss spied him and came over as Brian hung out by the water cooler watching the time tick by on the oversized clock on the wall. It was the generic office type: desks with no character and reminders to adhere to company policy littered everywhere. This was where the telephony sales team were based. Brian had no such luxury as a desk. He had the glove compartment in his car and a cup holder to hold his morning coffee.

“Brian, you look less than pleased to be here?” The boss was smug. He enjoyed these social gatherings. It was a chance for everyone to devote their attention on him for once, instead of him shouting at groups of two or three at a time.
“What makes you say that?” Brian feigned surprise.
“You’re skulking away at the water cooler and not taking part.”
“Sorry, just other things on my mind,” he tried to appear sad and dismayed at life. It was not hard.
“What’s wrong?” his boss mocked concern, “Personal life?”
“No, no, it’s ok… I’ll work through it… somehow,” he was using all his old sales tricks. It was all about manipulation, not positive thinking.
“Come, come,” he took Brian into his office.
There was nothing in the office save a laptop, a desk, a chair and a Mont Blanc pen.
“Tell me Brian, what’s going on?”
“My wife and I… we’re going through a bad patch…”
“Oh dear, oh dear. Is it serious?”
“Divorce is looking likely, yes.”
“My, my. Well, you must have time off!”
“Time off?”
“Yes, absolutely. You must stay at home and resolve your issues.”
Brian hadn’t anticipated this at all. He had thought that he would have gotten some awkward talk on being a man and resolving issues like a man. This took him completely by surprise.
“I – I can’t, thank you, honestly. Thank you. But I can’t.”
His boss still remained concerned, “Well why don’t we put you on the easier tasks? I’ll give you senility row, how about that?”
Senility was the street full of old people, mainly suffering from some form of disease, whether it be physical or mental. It was the practice run for all the salesmen in the company. It was as easy to sell in that street as it was to cycle downhill. Every now and then some young freshman would be written into someone’s will and would disappear with his heavy bank account to somewhere exotic. It was easy, but it also toughened you up. Learning to leave your heart at the door was the hardest part of all. Brian had done that a long time ago though.
“Oh, well… yeah, that would be excellent, actually,” Brian accepted the offer. It would certainly mean more money.
“Well that settles it. You’ll start there tomorrow. Let me know if you still want that time off though. I went through a similar thing myself with my second wife. I missed the boat, unfortunately. But I found my third, so there’s always hope,” he winked at Brian. Brian returned a false laugh. The point of awkwardness had been reached.

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~ by S.G. Mark on July 11, 2012.

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