The Return of the Salesman


Henry Wilson was pissing what seemed to be a gallon of used beer when he heard the front door close.

“I’m home,” came a call from the living room.

“Hi, Honey, I’m in the bathroom,” Henry called back.

“Why don’t you close the door, for Pete’s sake?”

“If I’d walk over to close the door, I’d piss all over the floor.”

“Very funny. Ha, ha. What are these beer bottles doing all over the place.”

“Oh, Jerry and I were just havin’ a few. Jerry, this is Evelyn. Evelyn, Jerry.”

“Henry, there’s nobody out here. Who’s Jerry?”

Henry finished up and walked into the living room where Evelyn was standing with her hands on her hips.

“Shit, he must have snuck out when I was pissin’. Here I was tryin’ to figure out how to get rid of him and he was tryin’ to figure out how he could get outta here.”

“Sounds a lot like us.”

Ha, ha, yourself.”

“So you gonna tell me who this Jerry is?”

“Oh, he called this morning after you left for work and asked if he could stop in and demonstrate a new state-of-the-art vacuum cleaner. I told him, sure, he could come over after lunch, bring a couple of six-packs, and I’d listen to his spiel. He came over, vacuumed the living room while I had a beer. He then gave me the hard sell on buying the vacuum cleaner and I had another beer. I told him I’d think about it while he vacuumed the bedroom and kitchen. I had another beer. When he was done with that, I steered ‘em into talkin’ about sports. Turns out he’s a Cubs fan. How can anybody be a Cubs fan in New York City? We got the Yankees and the Mets.”

“Well anyhow, he had a beer and I had another. He offered to do the drapes with a special attachment the vacuum had. I said sure, why not, knock yourself out. He did the drapes, I had another beer and when I went to the bathroom he must have done his disappearin’ act.”

“So, I had a tough day, Henry,” said Evelyn.   “Do you think you could throw something together for dinner?”

“Hey, I got the place vacuumed, didn’t I? I had a tough day too.”

“Let’s see; drinkin’ beer, talkin’ baseball, and watchin’ some poor schmuck vacuum the place. Ya, real tough day, Henry. When are you gonna get a job?”

Henry walked into the kitchen and made a noisy show of rattling pots and pans that were in a drawer under the stove. Evelyn had followed him and now stood over him shaking her head.

“I was thinkin,” said Henry.  “Maybe I’ll talk to Jerry about gettin’ into the vacuum cleaner sales racket.  I think I’d be good at it. Hey, sounds like somebody’s at the door; get it would ya.”

“You really take the cake, Henry,” said Evelyn as she trudged to the front door. “Oh…, um…, hello. Lookin’ for Henry? Henry, is Jerry tall, good lookin’ and dressed in a nice blue suit?”

“Yeah, that sounds like him. Is he back?”

“Yeah, and he brought a friend. Looks like a twelve gauge, am I right, Jerry? Go right in; Henry’s in the kitchen. Try not to make too much of a mess, okay? I had a tough day.”

~ fin ~

Roy Dorman is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for over 60 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had flash fiction and poetry published in Black Petals, Yellow Mama, Theme of Absence, Near To the Knuckle, Shotgun Honey, Cease Cows, and a number of other online and print journals. Roy is currently the submissions editor at Yahara Prairie Lights.