Archive for May, 2009

Door to Door

Vacuum SalesmanThe knock on the door sounded oddly cheerful, but when Gwen opened it, she was startled to see a disheveled man with a crazed look about him. He reminded her of Rasputin, except for the complex looking machine he held in his hand. He produced a maniacal grin and started his spiel before she could close the door in his face.

“Good afternoon, sir or madam!” he exclaimed, small droplets of spittle spraying from his foam-flecked, crusted lips. “You are about to be amazed! Watch this!”

And with that he leaned past Gwen and threw a large handful of dirt onto her new, cream-colored carpet.

“What are you doing?” she screamed, “Have you lost your mind?” She realized too late that it was a rhetorical question.

“Fear not, pretty lady!” Rasputin chortled. “This is your lucky day! I am here to introduce you to the revolutionary Suck-o-Matic 9000, the next generation of home vacuum systems.” He brandished the device in his hand in what Gwen felt was an unnecessarily threatening manner.

“But my carpet,” she protested, “you’ve ruined it!”

“Tut tut, my dear,” he replied, “there is no dirt or stain too tough for the Suck-o-Matic 9000. It incorporates the latest breakthroughs in nanotechnology, space-age polymers and HOBO filters.”

“Isn’t that HEPA filters?”

“Never mind that. Give me five minutes of your time and this modern-day miracle will have that carpet looking better than new or I’ll personally eat every grain of dirt on your rug!”

Gwen looked doubtful. “Are you sure about that?” she asked.

“I guarantee it, madam! Just give me a minute to set it set up.”

“OK,” said Gwen as she turned away, “I’ll go out to the kitchen and get a spoon.”

Rasputin looked puzzled. “What is the spoon for, if I may ask?”

“It’s for you,” replied Gwen. “This is Maine, you know. The electricity’s been out for two days.”

The Troubador

TroubadorThe young man walked slowly, reluctantly up to the entertainer after the show was over.

“Hi Dad,” he said, “do you want some help packing up?”

“Sure, Joey, that’d be great,” said his father as he unstrapped his Roland AX-7 keytar. “How’d you think the show went?”

“Oh, it was great! They really loved ‘Margaritaville, didn’t they?”

The older man smiled. “They always do. Jimmy Buffett’s a sure thing with a crowd like this. Of course, everyone here was at least as old as Jimmy; they grew up listening to him.”

They spent a few quiet minutes packing up the equipment. Finally, the young man cleared his throat.

“Dad,” he said, “Mom’s not at home.”

“Out shopping again? I hope not; she knows we don’t have much money.”

“No,” replied the son, “I mean she’s gone. She’s not coming home.”

The father stared at his son. “What do you mean she’s not coming home? Where is she?”

The son shook his head. “I don’t know, Dad. She wouldn’t tell me. She just said she’s leaving and won’t be there when you get home.”

“But why? What did I do?”

“It’s about the money, Dad. The credit card company called again this morning. And she’s been avoiding the landlord for two weeks now. She said she loves you, but she just can’t stand it any more.”

The father sat down heavily on his amplifier, a stricken look on his face.

“But… I know things are going to get better! I’m getting more gigs”

“Like this one, Dad? You’re doing this for free!”

“A gig’s a gig, son. My name is getting out there! The more I play, the more chance there is someone in the business will see me!”

The young man looked around, frustrated. “Dad, this is a free concert put on by the senior center! There weren’t any talent scouts here; there won’t ever be!”

The father shook his head in protest. “But it’s just a matter of time! Music is my life; it’s all I know how to do. It’s all I want to do!”

“Dad, there are other ways to make a living with music. You’re a great musician and a great teacher! You taught me to play. Isn’t that teaching job at the high school still open? They’d love you there!”

“But that’s a full-time job! I wouldn’t have time to play concerts!”

“But Dad, you’d still be a musician. You’d still be earning your living with music. Come on, at least consider it!”

The musician looked around at his equipment, then out across the lawn where his elderly audience was slowly filing away. He sadly lowered his head.

“What,” he murmured, “and leave show business?”