I always try to be as honest as possible on this blog and B.J. Novak has inspired me, with his new book “One More Thing”, to write more short stories that may have absolutely nothing to do with anything going on in my life. Since I’m writing this on a Thursday, every Thursday from here on out will be Short Story Thursday until I can think of a better name.
So without further ado…
“…but it’s so small.”
“Yeah, but it gets the job done and that’s all that really matters.”
“I know something small that gets the job done,” a third person chimed in.
“Marty, stop. No one wants to hear these dumb jokes you created and tell your ‘friends’ down at the pub at night. We’re car salesmen, probably the most honorable job you can have outside of being a crossing guard for an elementary school in rural Pennsylvania.”
Brian had a way about him that would intimidate other people. He was the kind of guy you would go to if you needed a sale. He was the closer, the Mariano Rivera of car salesmen. His desk was littered with awards that his office gave to him and he displayed them proudly so his customers could see they are dealing with one of the best.
“So what is it?” Marty said.
“It’s a Smart Car. The idea behind it is to make people believe they need a small car in their cities so they can park it easier. The reality is that if you go over 40 MPH on the highway it’s more than likely that you will skid out of control, hit the guardrail and spin uncontrollably into traffic.”
There was a slight pause.
Brian eventually finished, “the margins are INSANE and we are going to make a ton of money off of it.”
The day was dragging though. The truth of the matter is that no one knew if the marketplace actually existed for this type of automobile. This isn’t the type of frivolous vehicle that people would buy to look cool in, people would only purchase this car if there was a need for it.
Of course people would stop in to see it. The flyers have been scattered all across the town and in seedy men’s bathhouses that Brian would frequent.
“There really isn’t as much sex as you would think in those places.”
Brian would try and convince the other guys to join him, but the stigma around town and the stories were too much for the others to get around.
A young couple stopped in and specifically asked for Brian.
It was no surprise, the dealership all but made him the face of Smart Car.
There were billboards, print ads, advertorials in newspapers, interviews, and even a seminar where Brian would teach you how to sell like the pros.
Smart Car knew what they were doing when they poached Brian from the Kia dealership. Hell, if that guy can sell those cars he can sell anything.
“Hi, Brian, my name is Christine and this is my husband Jonathan.”
Brian did what he always does when meeting people for the first time. He shook both of their hands, looked them straight in the eye, and picked out a personality trait about them that would help him remember their names.
Christine = Cheery
Jonathan = Jolly
Hey, they aren’t all great.
There was something off though. When Brian looked at Jonathan he saw something in him that reminded him of someone else. It was almost as if he knew him intimately.
As the couple rambled on about the car and it’s features, Brian became more and more focused on figuring out where he knew Jonathan from.
“…and the trunk, you said that can hold a good amount of groceries?”
“yeah, probably a weekly haul.”
“Hey, listen, this is weird but I feel like I know you from somewhere.”
“I don’t think that’s possible, I’m from San Francisco and I just moved to New York last week,” Christine said.
Brian hadn’t realized that Jonathan snuck off and was on the phone outside and was engaged in what appeared to be a heated discussion.
“He’s really fired up out there.” Brian said.
“Yeah, he’s talking to his Dad. They get like this sometimes. They are both very stubborn.”
Suddenly Jonathan bursts back into the showroom.
“…yeah, I’ll tell him you said hi.” Jonathan said sharply as he hung up the phone.
“So it appears you and my father have a history with each other.”
That’s when it hit him.
Jolly! He’s used that name association before.
Oh shit! John from the bathhouse! The old high school friend of his who he recently started a romantic relationship with.
John, Jonathan, that must’ve been why he used Jolly.
“He said to mention his name.”
“Heh, yeah, well, uh…”
“I’m not going to lie I want this car, but I’m not leaving until you give it to me for $99/mo with zero down.” Brian said.
“If I give you this deal you’ll walk out of here right now with the car?”
Jonathan and Christine hugged as Brian walked away wide eyed and almost in tears. The walls were starting to crumble around him. Soon all of his lies would be exposed.
Forget about the family picnics, the days on the golf course, and, of course, poker nights.
After Brian got all the paper work done he handed the keys to the happy couple.
“Tell John I said ‘hi’ for me, will ya?”
“Oh,” Jonathan gave a quick chuckle, “I’m Greg’s son, he said you went to high school together. He did tell me that you and my Uncle John were close buds back in the day though.”
Brian let out a big sigh, he closed another sale, but, more importantly, like Mariano Rivera did so many times in his career he saved his deep secret.
He quickly grabbed his phone and called Phil, his boyfriend.
“Honey, I’ll be home a little later. I just closed a sale and I’m going to have a drink with the guys.”
After a quick conversation that ended with an ‘I love you’, Brian texted John “bathhouse?”