Saturday, January 20, 2007

Secret Fantasies of the Violent Sort

Daisy, Princess of Pless in the artist's studio.
Paul Cesar Helleu.
Oil on canvas.


The doorbell buzzed.
Fourth time this morning.
First one was a social beggar trainee - a kid selling chocolate bars "to support the school soccer team, Miss."
"No, thank you. I have diabetes," I lied, and closed the door.

Second shot was some evangelist with with the con-job trick of a cute kid and sweet little old lady in tow, wanting to sell me a copy of The End Times, so I could revel in anticipation of the non-elect getting theirs.
One of those who wanted my money, my mind, and my make-up.
I broke up her attempt to engage me in meaningful discourse on the 144,000 by stating, "I'm not a virgin. Neither are you. Please peddle elsewhere."
The doorframe shivered slightly.

Third time.
A prolonged buzz.
A Long Gong Silver, I supposed.
"Yo!" he said. Close.
Sure enough, a black van hove to by the curb.
He offered a cut-rate contract for gas from Certified Slime and Cross Bones, Inc.
I have an oil furnace.
I ordered the dogs to sit and be quiet as they'd already been fed.
He stumped off, hastily.
I smiled. Decided I needed to devise a point system.

The fourth time, a long brzzzt of the bell was supplemented after fifteen seconds by several thumps on the door.
A weasel, a real weasel this time. Ear-tagged with one of those dangling ident thingies.
With a shit-eating smile. (One)
"Good morning, Miss!" (Two)
"What are you selling?"
"I was driving by in your area (Three) and thought I'd stop and let you in on our latest state-of-the-art product (Four) available for a limited time only (Five)...
"What are you selling."
"I can offer you an exclusive, one-time opportunity, and at an exciting low, low price...( I stopped counting)
WHAT are you selling."
"Aluminium siding."
I stared.
My gaze wandered over him, up and down, then past him to the wall of mellow, apricot bricks glowing warm in the mid-morning sun.
I wanted to hook my fingers over the door casing, lift and drive my heels into his chest. To bust him and his clipboard off the terrace into the japanese juniper. Scratchy stuff, juniper. Not as rough as barberry, but good.
I wanted to say "F-off!"
I wanted an Uzi - with a full clip.
"No!" I said.
"But, Miss..."
I shut the door.
I had to dive to rescue a vase tottering on the hall table.
Door spammers.


Steve G said...

Oh Bernita. Life is so unfair. I have a slight advantage being in Germany. When the salesperson rings and I answer, I let them give their opening pitch. Then I ask...Do you speak English? That takes care of 95% of them. The other 5% get a not interested from me. I don't hate door to door folks on a personal basis, just what they are doing.

Gabriele C. said...

That's why my doorbell is off most of the time. Except when I expect the post delivery guy with an Amazon parcel.

And the few that slip through never come back. :)

Bernita said...

"Life is so unfair"
I get the impression you think this is a whine. And unjustified.
Hmmm, perhaps first person is my best POV after all.

Bernita said...

"And the few that slip through never come back."
Heh. Heh.I wonder why that is, Gabriele.
Heh. Heh.

Bailey Stewart said...

Excellent! I loved the imagery. I could feel the frustration. And the humor. My favorite:

I wanted to hook my fingers over the door casing, lift and drive my heels into his chest. To bust him and his clipboard off the terrace into the japanese juniper. Scratchy stuff, juniper. Not as rough as barberry, but good.

I'll carry that image with me the next time a solicitor comes by, which they don't because we have a "no soliciting" sign up, but I can dream. *gg*

Bernita said...

Thank you, Bailey.

Do you mean to tell me your wandering solicitors actually READ such notices?

My husband once wanted to put up a sign reading "No pedlars, politicians, preachers or pimps."
Since we had our girls still living with us,
I disuaded him from the last and he lost interest in the entire project.

anna said...

When I was a kid I was always knocking on doors trying to sell stuff. I think I was at yours. LOL
funny post Bernita.

Erik Ivan James said...

Thanks for starting my day with a good belly-laugh. Good to see the one and only Bernita sense of humor out so bright and early this Saturday morning.

Speaking of your wonderful sense of humor, what'd ya do with the coat-hangers?

Bernita said...

Ha, Anna. Here, some schools have banned chocolate bars and chips from dispensers in favour of "health" treats - yet still send the kids out w/good old chocolate.

Thank you, Erik. Mission accomplished. Thought this might make a "series" thing something like the Minor Annals. Maybe.
The "Hang-Ups?" I used up the ones most appropriate to the blog topic and moved to other things.
They are still in the archives.

Dave said...

I once had a neighbor with two very large, very vicious black dogs. When the salesmen could get past them and talk to the husband or wife, the dogs used to bring their trophies and present them. Mostly it was dead mice, chipmunks or the occasional squirrel. The salesmen didn't seem to appreciate the offer.

Erik Ivan James said...

Ah, good idea, Bernita! The Minor Annals series sober and reflective, these light and witty?

You are a wonderfully talented artist also (for those of you kinda new here, it's true). Maybe you would consider a set of "cartoons" to go with the new series since the "hang-ups" are...uh...back in the closet?

Bernita said...

They sound like lovely, lovely dogs, Dave!

Thank you, Erik.
Afraid I'm not in the artist mode right now, but that's a nice thought.

spyscribbler said...

I only get two door-to-door visits. One is for candy bars (god forbid if they don't have the rice krispy ones) which I eagerly buy, and the other is for people telling me what my religion should be. I take high offense to that. It's usually not pretty. :-)

Ric said...

We were bothered by persistent prostilizers one time. I finally posted note on door that said, "Warning! This dwelling occupied by cannibalistic pagens. Knock at your own risk!"

They didn't knock - and they didn't come back either.

Nice piece, Bernita. You have such a wonderful voice! Your sassiness rings true. The picture easy to create.

Carla said...

Great fun! (And doesn't read remotely like a whine - where did that come from?). Maybe you could make it a semi-regular series, like a humourist's column in a newspaper?

Carla said...

Ric's comment reminds me of an anecdote one of my relatives used to tell. She was brought up on a farm, and they used to do their own butchering in the traditional way. After having the door answered once by an eight-year-old girl in a greasy apron, with a bloodstained chopper in one hand and a length of dripping gut in the other, the Jehovah's Witnesses were strangely reluctant to call again. Nobody in the family can imagine why.

EA Monroe said...

Our Siamese cat peed on the Avon Lady while she sat on the leather sofa peddling her lipstick and potions. My mom was delighted.

Bernita said...

Spy, one person I knew claimed he once answered the door with "666" written on his forehead with magic marker.

Thank you, Ric.
Odd, that should have made them more eager to save you!

Carla, thank you.
I had the distinct impression that Steve felt the personna should have been more tolerant.
If inspiration strikes, there may be more, sometime.

Bernita said...

There IS something about a cleaver, isn't there?

Not fair, Elizabeth, since you let her in. Still, there's a delicious irony there!

raine said...

Very funny--and don't blame you one bit!
My community has a standing "no solicitation" policy. Good thing. I can be dangerous when disturbed...

Suggestions? Disconnect the bell. If they knock, take the dogs to the door with you & sweetly allow them to be as vicious as they like.
And if all else fails, hang a "Quarantined" sign on the door.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Raine.
In actual practice, as opposed to the fictional person described here, I do take the dogs to the door with me.
There's nothing like a straining 100 lb+ German Shepherd to discourage the inopportune.

Robyn said...

My husband loves it when Jehovah Witnesses or LDS comes to the door. He asks them what archaelogical evidence there is to back up the claim. We've lost count of the number of people who have said they'd be back who have never been seen again.

Bernita said...

Robyn, my husband likes to get into it with them too.
I can't be bothered.

Asa 1066 said...

I want to see one on telemarketers. Perhaps the best response is to ask them to hold the line, and never come back.

Tattieheid said...

In my younger days I had a few jobs selling door to door. The worst were Insurance and Encyclopaedias. It was soul destroying. Especially at the weekends. Our boss would drop us at a "quiet" estate he spotted during the week and disappear for hours. As soon as we walked round the corner they were there. Double glazers, religious fervents, house improvers and the boy scouts or girl guides. It became a race to try and be the first one to knock on a door. Those coming in third or fourth were risking life and limb. Frequently we would give up and go to the pub, at least the bar staff were pleased to see us.

Love the post. It's only these memories that stops me committing murder and mayhem on my own doorstep.:)

Ballpoint Wren said...

You are good, Bernita! I liked the doorframe shivering!

My best defense is a sign that says:

I do not discuss business, charity, or religion at my doorstep, unless I know your mom.

Scott from Oregon said...

A sign, Bernita. YOU NEED A SIGN!!

--All solicitors will be kidnapped and sold...

--I will hear what you have to say if you will wash my car...

--If you want my money you can mow my lawn...

--Don't come to my door looking to sell me an idea or a thing. Unless, of course, you are selling white choclate and macadamia nut cookies...

Those came off the top of my head. My hat fits again. See what your readers can come up with. I bet there is gold in them there shills...

Jenn on the Island said...

These guys really need to be careful when they approach people who live in the woods in the middle of nowhere. My husband almost took an axe to the one who asked "Do you want to live forever?" as he reached into his satchel.

We've got 5 acres of forest. More than enough to conceal any body...

writtenwyrdd said...

My fav was when the Baptists parked halfway down the block and sent their tweenies to my door to tell me about Jesus. I felt bad for the kids, even though I was working midnights and they woke me up; so I just told them that I wouldnt' accept their parents making them do their dirty work, that the parents would have to come speak to me and apologize for waking me up. I was very polite, but obviously unhappy and half awake.

They've never come back.

Bernita said...

A loud "NO" also works, Asa1066(and all that.)

Thank you, Tattieheid.
Think 'soul destroying' is the right word - something like a writer approaching agents....

Good one, Bonnie, though some will breeze right on by any sign not on four-by-eight plywood - they think it doesn't apply to them!

Um, Scott
~nervously~ don't go door-to-door selling signs about door-to-door salesmen, do you?
I usually rely on what my kids call my "Eyes of Death."

Oh, Jenn, I can see the response!
Something like
Carla's anecdote which needed no words.
Somewhere in the early archives is the story of my husband actually waving an axe at a couple of drunks who disturbed us about 3:00#$@#A.M.

They were double-rude since they didn't, Written.

writtenwyrdd said...

I should tell you about the one minister whose wife came to the door screaming abuse and four-letter words because my mom called the cops on her husband--who'd forced his way into our house and threatened us with violence because we told him to get out! Not kidding. My mother got a restraining order against that particular church over those incidents.

Southern Writer said...

Saw this over on Bonnie's Super Sabado and had to see what it was about. I have my own method for dealing with the religious nitwits who come to my door. I go out and give them an earful about my God, and don't allow them to get a word in edgewise or any other way. Do that a couple times, and they'll steer clear of your house from then on.

Bernita said...

That'll do it, Southern.
Turn the tables.
Thank you for stopping by.