Good Narrative Principles

Who’s To Say?


IMG_4737I could be the Devil. I could be God, or at the very least an Angel.

I go door-to-door selling cable service contracts. Mostly, I like the job. The benefits are great and, no small thing, I get free cable. I couldn’t ask for a better Boss; he’s warm and always shoots me a thumbs up, particularly when I’m below quota, like now. Despite what they tell us at our weekly meetings, that January is meant for nesting, I find it the toughest month of the year. People are reeling from the extravagances of the holiday season, what with the extra pounds and extra fat credit card statements. They’re in no mood to sign up for anything that requires them to dig into their wallets. Also, it’s beyond cold. Not as bad as last year (touch wood) but still, it’s cold.

Even though my voice is high and clear (I’ve always earned high marks for my superb enunciation) it’s hard to sound friendly when you’re screaming and folks won’t even open up the door to say “thanks, but no thanks”. What’s even worse are the long stretches between bathroom breaks. I’m not about to drop my drawers on a lonely stretch of road between here and there. Knowing my luck, a car’s headlights will hit me just when I let loose and then I’d be out of a job.

Instead, from the other side of a locked door, I have to skillfully navigate the discussion from sales to their higher nature. It’s not an easy transition. When they say “no, sorry, you can’t use my bathroom, even though it’s clear to me that you’re not a criminal” I have to remember to smile and wrestle with my need to get in the last word when I could just as well be on my way to the next house, where a “yes” is waiting for me.

As the long day turns towards night, I like to imagine that I’m a supernatural being bearing gifts. All they have to do at the next house to demonstrate their fidelity is sign on the dotted line and then maybe slaughter a lamb or wash my feet. I’ll tell the barren wife that she’s in fact pregnant. And while the husband cracks open his fine rum, the wife will laugh with delight behind the bathroom door. Maybe I’ll even move in for a spell so that we can all watch free cable TV together.

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