Saturday, October 22, 2005

Jack-in-the-Bottle

Did you ever sense that under your respectable and conventional facade there was something not quite comme il faut, some asymmetrical aspect that operates like a mental magnet for odd-ball-ers, fly-by-nighters or not-quite-there-ers ?
Un-huh.
Let's take visitors at the door. Now most people get the usual: aluminum window salesmen, the occasional religious enthusiast, canvassers for cancer/ heart/stroke and vacuum cleaners, or kids selling candy bars for "the school."
But if an aluminum window salesman comes to our door, you can bet your boots the fraud squad will show up fifteen minutes later hot on his trail.
Our normal canvassers are either members of the right-wing branch of the KKK or soliciting for something like "suicide on demand."
And if our door-to-door visitors aren't crooked or crazy, they're dumb.
Once a woman showed up doing a provincial survey on recreation. I was so pregnant I hadn't seen my toes for weeks. After we got nicely settled, she started off on her questionaire. Bright questions like "What forms of recreation have you engaged in, in the last nine months?"
No kidding...
But most of our knock-knock problems were caused by a guy named Jack. We never met Jack, but we came to know him quite well through his friends.
Jack was a bootlegger.
Jack naturally must have moved a lot. In any case, back in the days when we rented before we bought, Jack had been there before us. Down scale, up scale, it didn't matter. Shortly after we moved in, some of Jack's old customers would show up at the door and demand that we sell him ( sometimes her) a bottle. I am very grateful, I can tell you, for the present, more relaxed, liquor laws.
It got embarrassing. Even when we lived in Cabbagetown, it got embarrassing. Because Jack's buddies had extremely crude ideas about sanitary facilities. We had to paint our front door a lot.
And Jack's ole buddies, ole freans, would show up at the damnest times. Like the middle of the night.
Now, my husband sleeps like there is no resurrection, and when he's rudely awakened from a sound and deserving rest, he has the equable temper of a hibernating bear.
One night the familiar bang-bang began at the front door.
My husband shuffled downstairs , muttering imprecations and peered blearily into the gloom of a winter night.
This time there were three of them. Drunk as lords.
It was never made clear whether (a) we were hiding Jack, ole buddy, ole frean, who had promised them a bottle, (b) they were bootleggers who really lived there, my hous'... s'gawd's s'truth, or (c) they were looking for Ethel and her girl friends, ya know Ethel, doncha?
Anyway, my husband's delicate and fragile patience snapped. We kept an axe in the hall for chipping ice off the sidewalk.
Waving it aloft, he lunged after the retreating trio, his tartan dressing gown streaming behind him, while the battle-cry of the Harris clan split the 3:00 a.m. sky.
For some reason, they never bothered us again.

8 comments:

answer-man said...

**handbag**

Sela Carsen said...

OMG!!! I'm going to have to use Bonnie's trick and spew coffee on my keyboard at that one! Dh has the enviable ability to ignore the doorbell, but I've seen him go off like a bottle rocket at telephone solicitors.

Bernita said...

Welcome to the Coffee Snorters Club.We guarantee to clear your sinuses and any other blocked-up apertures... We have a ten-step program....
Once had one of those "Answers to telephone solicitors",lists but lost it. Sigh. Your DH might have loved it.
You know, (gruffly)like "You sound like my parole officer" or(sinister dirt-bag tones) "Hey!You sound like the guy that knocked up my sister" or ( eager geeky voice) you're just in time to help me test my new sound invention...EEEEEEEEE."

Bernita said...

What's with the shades. "Answer-man"??? Bet you're selling something, smooth boy.

Ric said...

"you sound like the guy who knocked up my sister." What a hoot!!
I got on some list for venture investors. I was getting five calls a day to invest in such things as oil wells in Peru, Rodney Dangerfield's last movie, and neon powered engines. I finally started saying, in answer to "So you think you could put in $40,000?"
"I'll have to check with my bankruptcy lawyer..."
CLICK.

Anonymous said...

enjoyed it and I will be adding it to my favorites. I have a really cool

Bernita said...

Ric ~ smiling wickedly~

jason evans said...

Waving it aloft, he lunged after the retreating trio, his tartan dressing gown streaming behind him, while the battle-cry of the Harris clan split the 3:00 a.m. sky.

Oh my God, what am image! Laughed out loud on that one.