Well I guess I shouldn't shame down on Pat's game too hard since he's wavin' his shingle pretty steady, always out hawkin' whatever new sublingual amaranth blastocyst paste or bio-available hoombacha he comes up with. It's the basis of Ages that a folk (this is the singular of folks) got to hustle, got to see what bucket of knots or larvae or Irish-flavor coffee creamers the hand will dip into.
But it is a Moment in the grocery store when you see a fellow don the apron and card table and go against all that is decent and peaceful about tryin' to buy a ham hoagie and personal-size bag of original Lay's, unmolested. It's like, we all came up kids, all the same, and we all came up wary of the salesman and the peddler, but there one of us went and did that thing. We know there's dishonor drippin' from places in his rig, even if the product is fairly decent. We know the hawker passed his greedy mind over the idea of us, and pegged how much markup we could handle before we realized an enemy-type situation, then added ten percent.
So good for Pat, he's on the hustle, wise black support shoes and doctor gloves and embroidered company logo baseball hat with too high of a crown and all. I ain't havin' none of it of course because this man punches my sass ticket like a conductor with a tic, so I walk all up (I believe I actually sauntered but nobody would probably assess that it looked that way) pretty prepared to get damn
enquestionated about what he's slingin'.
ME: [Walks toward Pat, still maybe ten feet away, he sees me then continues arranging his samples]
PAT: [Doesn't act at all like I have known him for twenty years and some, and have gotten his ass out of some icky slings, and witnessed him at basically the full low shenanigans of man]
ME: Oh uh hey Pat how is your demo going
PAT: [Keeps looking down at samples, spot-polishes a part of the vinyl tablecloth that has nothing on it] Roast Beef.
ME: So uh Hey Pat what you got out for the public weal
PAT: Bohannon's Macchisandra. [He says this fast and quiet like how a kid vandal caught red-handed might give in and tell his whole name to a cop]
ME: Well damn! I am highly dissatisfied with my current Bohannon's Macchisandra! Always got that thin milky layer on top.
PAT: Hush! Hush. Don't make a mockery of this. It's not for people like you.
ME: You tell me exactly what you got goin' on here or I'm gonna tell the manager you threw a snit about these hell
of GMO potato chips! [Holds up Lay's]
PAT: [Becomes suddenly animated] Alright! Alright. No need to involve the promotions manager. No need. I'll tell you whatever you'd like to know!
ME: Because some vendors might just be on probation with the various stores where they demo, due to past outbursts.
[A lady wheels up and stands across the aisle from us, examining a large assortment of canned tomato sauces]
PAT: [Nervously] Heh! So! Sir! Have you, or anyone you love, ever tried Bohannon's Macchisandra, made from ancient Chinese botanicals, camellia sinensis, and the energy-rich nectar of deep underground aquifers?
ME: Let me parse that out loud for a moment
PAT: Let me parse it for you! This elixir is decocted from hand-selected ingredients which are known for their fabled abilities to combat depression, weight gain, and lethargy. Try a sample!
ME: Fables, huh? That's the main quality?
PAT: [Drills into me with the defeated but angry eyes of a wolf looking up the hunter's barrel; smoothly and with a practiced hand draws his lips down to re-sheath any exposed fang]
LADY: [Continues to intently compare labels]
ME: I mean, so this liquid can basically save America? Can it also make road workers not perform deep sewer replacement at critical intersections until after rush hour? Because tell me that and I am sold! Heh!
PAT: Ha! Ha! [His mouth laughs but there are not the genuine creases around his eyes that betray happiness]
ME: [The perfect unblinking look with unbroken eye contact]
PAT: Heh! Maybe...maybe next time!
LADY: [Typing on phone, seems to be sending pictures of labels to someone]
ME: You know what, I'm sold. That's it. I got to have this. You are amazing.
PAT: Good, good! Here, take our 36-sachet pack. You won't be sorry.
ME: Oh, I better take two.
PAT: [Glances over at lady, picking up what I am putting down] [A little louder] Thank you! Thank you, sir! Here, here's a packet of free...macadamia nuts! From the big island! Taste Elvis himself, riding around under the stars! [Mimes giving me macadamia nuts while the lady isn't looking, I mime keeping my hands in my pockets]
LADY: [Sighs while looking at phone, seems crestfallen, wanders off]
PAT: God damn it.
ME: Dude that stuff about Elvis was so awful that you should get jaw-caught in a pitching machine
PAT: Shut up!
ME: Hey can I uh actually taste this stuff
ME: [Takes sample, it is flat and thin and stale] Ugh dude this is just cheap dried ginger and bulk oolong of a sawdust nature
PAT: I don't suppose you're actually going to buy those packs, are you.
ME: I don't suppose a lot of things are gonna happen but for six bucks I'll drop these in other folks' carts and maybe they check out maybe they don't you dig
PAT: [Sighs, hands me a five and a one]
ME: Street team, reporting! [Salutes, leaves]
- - -
So, that was my deal with Pat today. Not one of his higher-integrity products, so I felt all right to drag it on the chain a bit. End of day, I made six bucks, which I promptly dropped over at Pho Dac Biet for some of that top round pho, and rice noodle for the long life.