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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 19 page 09


But George would have to sell a large amount of goods here to meet his targets and cover any damaged stock. That would keep the bean counters happy. Unfortunately, he remembered this house from last year — the fellow who answered the door was keen to see the goods but his partner had been hostile. George recalled the screaming and crashing sounds as the door closed on him. A sale here would be impossible.

It was getting late. Transport arriving at seven sharp. Sunday tomorrow. Hopeless. Impossible. Never — ever — give up. Think. He could hide overnight near those trashcans and start early in the morning on a few houses on the next street. Or maybe some passing trade? — If he stood near to the road, maybe some drivers would stop.

Think. Think. Think.


Brad opened the door to see a brightly lit rotating head.

“Don’t you dare buy anything!” Susan waved her news sheet aside so she could see what Brad was doing. He had the front door half open already but his body was attentively arched backwards towards Susan.

“Sure, sure...” he told her.

“You know those random callers, just don’t speak for fifteen seconds and they’re programmed to go away.” Susan waved the news sheet back in front of her and continued to read her article.

“Honey, relax, I’m not gonna buy anything, OK?”

Susan glared towards the patio window at the irritating wind chimes Brad had bought the last time he wasn’t going to.

“Good afternoon sir! My name is George.” The brightly lit head stopped rotating and changed to a pleasing shade of orange. Its kind, if slightly sad, face smiled gently at Brad.

“I have no intention of disturbing you — please let me know if you wish me to return at a more opportune moment, sir.”

“No, no, it’s fine,” Brad smiled.

“No, it damn well isn’t fine,” echoed back from the living area.

Brad was the perfect gentleman when it came to any interactions. He was courteous, polite, friendly and just wanted everyone to be nice to each other, mostly because he hated any kind of confrontation or unpleasantness. His wife had another phrase for those traits, which was “weak-minded fool.”

Susan was right of course. All one had to do was remain silent for fifteen seconds and the sales droid would by law have to leave the premises immediately. But Brad thought such an approach was not only rude but a little unkind as well. This George had such a faded paint job and shabby clothes, he definitely had seen better days. He was maybe an old hybrid model or perhaps, sadder still, a re-build. The least Brad could do was to let him go through his sales pitch and at least make him feel — worthy.

George raised his wooden tray and held up a cloth. “Now sir, may I show you some square anti-static amber cotton polishing and cleansing sheets?”

“We’re OK for dusters!” bellowed Susan.

“Hey, George, we’re OK for those, thanks,” said Brad.

“Well sir,” continued George undeterred, “here are a few small household items we have new this month — some ion-resistant foam cleaner for all your screens…”

“Thanks George, we seem to be alright for foamer this week.”

“Then how about some non-rechargeable fusion batteries for your domestic appliances, guaranteed to last several lifetimes?”

“Ah, yes, we just went wireless solid on all devices. Thanks anyhow.”

“I have ninety three different types of cleaning fluids, stain removers and surface polishes, sir!”

The voice from inside the house boomed and echoed round the walls. “If he doesn’t go away right now I’m going to electrocute him with a cattle prod.”