Friday, February 10, 2006

Wristwatch Salesman Day!

You spend your days walking the city streets trying to convince unsuspecting pedestrians to buy one of the many knockoff wristwatches you carry on display in the lining of your trench coat. You meet all kinds of people and you hear all sorts of hard-luck cases, but today's is gonna take the cake.

"I'd like to buy a watch," a little boy in a torn winter coat with smudges of soot on his face will say.

"I don't sell no kids' watches," you'll tell him. You'll push your way past and flash your jacket lining at some Japanese tourists staring up at a skyscraper. The boy will catch up.

"It's for my Dad," he'll say.

Whip your coat open for the boy. "You see anything that would look good on your Daddy?"

The boy will peruse your selection. "Can I get a discount if I don't want the band? He's not going to wear it. I just want the timepiece."

"I sell wristwatches kid," say. "You want pocket watches you go to the east side. All kinds of freaky shit over there. You'll find what you need."

The boy will say, "It's not for his pocket. I just want to sit a watch on his gravestone. He used to tell me that the day I get my own job and make enough money to buy him a new watch, he won't ever be prouder than that day."

"But you never got the chance, huh kid?"

The boy will say, "It doesn't look like it."

Your heart will start to break and maybe ten percent of you will consider sending the boy on his way so he won't buy his dead dad a crappy knockoff watch. The boy will see the hesitation in your eyes. The boy will say, "I don't need to buy it today. He's not dead yet."

The boy will explain that his father's been kidnapped by some people who want to get their hands on his mother's loot. But his father and mother are divorced and his mother has decided, with counsel from an assistant district attorney, not to pay the ransom.

"So I can only wait for my Daddy to show up dead someplace after the kidnappers decide they've waited long enough. I wanted to get the watch just in case."

Ask, "How much money do they want?"

"Fifty thousand," the boy will say. "By midnight tonight."

You'll peek down at the selection inside your coat. You can do it. It's never been done before but on the right day, like today, when the weather's right and the holidays are far enough behind for people to start spending again, and when there's a little boy looking up at you and you can see in his eyes how alone he's gonna feel if his Daddy dies, you can do it. You can sell fifty thousand dollars worth of watches by midnight tonight. You can set that little boy's daddy free. You're that good.

Happy Wristwatch Salesman Day!