The Salesman

Shannon said on the car ride home, “Tommy, let’s discuss how the television set was perfect.”

“Yes,” her husband agreed as he continued to drive straight. “You’d think the salesman saved the best for last to show us.”

Shannon took the complementary pen out of her breast pocket at the mention of the kind, generous salesman. “The screen, thin and big. And those color tints—so bright!”

“Yellow. Pink. Happy,” Tommy added as his chin dimpled.

“The rabbit ears! So fitting, complete. That’s got to help with the reception.” Shannon gathered the flyers and pamphlets Jeff the Salesman had given her and laid them neatly in her lap.

“Alien­like. High­tec. The future is today.”

“Yes, dear,” Shannon nodded with a smile. “What a reasonable price, too!”

No one said anything for a moment. Cows blurred by in the vast fields next to them—black, white. Tommy took one hand off the wheel to adjust his sweater. “Well, you know…I don’t exactly remember the price. Did he ever say? I’m sure.”

“Well, he must have. Though personally, I don’t remember the price either, but I’m positive it was a good deal. Nice man,” Shannon pointed out.

“Great guy.”

“Jeff the Salesman is the type of man that we all need right now. Tall. American. Big forearms. Classic. He has kids, I would think—sons that he might take a week off to drive up to the lake with while it’s still sunny out. He’d teach ‘em to fish, I bet. His boss wouldn’t mind—he’s the model employee, after all. And he’d show his sons how to bait a hook. Show ‘em how to gut a fish. And with their blond hair gleaming in the sun, they’d cheer, ‘Thanks, Dad! You’re the best!’ Yeah…Winners, all of them.” She closed her mouth abruptly and looked away.

Neither of them spoke. Tommy gripped the steering wheel and his jaw tightened. Shannon’s normally healthy posture slumped and she looked into her right shoulder, facing away, as if embarrassed. She pressed her body close to the cold car window, close to the streaking rain that wiggled like sperm against the glass. She breathed out shakily.

Tommy spoke gruffly now. “Well, we got the TV—that’s all that matters.”

“And two more to spare. Persuasive man. Charming guy,” she said quietly.

“Manipulative.” Tommy turned sharply into their driveway, their empty home.

Amina Aineb is a student in San Francisco and is currently majoring in creative writing at the San Francisco School of the Arts. Besides writing fiction, she enjoys the company of cats and taking long walks.