The Salesman (short story)

Friday 1st December

Oh my God, how could I have been so stupid?  Why didn’t I see it coming? Too blinded by those sparkling blue eyes, I suppose.  But what a nightmare.  This can’t be real.  This really cannot be happening to me.  How on earth did I end up here, in this miserable grey Police cell?

And the day had started off so well.  It was a Friday and I was looking forward to the weekend.  Just one more day’s slog to go.  I was going to jack in the wretched job soon anyway.  I must have been stupid to think I could ever be a Salesman, but it had all seemed too easy when I started.  Okay, so it was only minimum wage, but the commission was good, and I had the blind confidence of the young.  I’d packed in my apprenticeship a few years ago, and had drifted from job to job.  I had the gift of the gab I suppose.  I could talk myself into any job, so I thought selling stuff would be easy.  But a few hundred slammed doors in my face later and I soon changed my mind.

But then it all changed, and with it my luck.  That morning around ten, it was sunny too, I remember thinking how nice it would be to just go sit in the park in the sun somewhere.  Looking back, I should have done just that.  Bur I drove the car into a quiet cul-de-sac of modern two-bed houses with tiny gardens.  Two houses and no-one in, and the third a flat refusal and the door closed before I could start my patter.  Only one house left and no car in the drive, but I knocked anyway.  And she was beautiful.  Stunning, I would say.  And those eyes, they just entranced me.

“Oh, what are you selling?” she said, looking both ways round the porch and almost dragging me in. “Come inside, I don’t want the neighbours knowing all my business.  This way, into the kitchen.  Bring those with you.” She said pointing to my case of samples.

And that was me hooked.  She was so enthusiastic.  But I couldn’t be sure if it was the kitchen gadgets or me she was really interested in.  I went through my usual schpeel, the demonstration we had been taught in training.  It was really the expensive ‘Kitchenmaid’ food processor we were meant to sell, the set of knives and tin-openers and other utensils were just the eye-candy, and at almost give-away prices too.  ‘Get them to commit to a couple of cheap utensils and then show them the ‘Kitchenmaid’, once they have bought something cheap they may have relaxed enough to buy the biggie’….that was how the game was supposed to work.

I couldn’t stop looking at those sexy eyes.  Well, all of her really, I must admit.  She was bloody gorgeous, a fabulous figure too, and I was sure she was giving me the come-on.  Just as I thought I was about to seal the deal and sell the “Kitchenmaid” she changed her mood and was bundling me out of the door, she told me she had to talk to her husband before she could spend that much money.  “Come back at two and you might be lucky.” And she gave me that sly suggestive smile again.

“But I can’t leave the ‘Kithenmaid’ and the other stuff.” I protested.

“Don’t be silly” she smiled at me, “They’ll be safe with me, I promise. Come back at two and I’ll make it all worth your while.  Just you see if I don’t.” And she shut the door, hesitating at the last minute to pucker up those gorgeous lips into a half kiss.

I returned to my car in a daze.  I knew I should really have gone back and insisted on collecting the gear – sale or no sale.  But, that hint of a promise had set my blood racing.  Could it mean what I thought it might?

And yes, it did.  I couldn’t believe my luck.  I had a couple of pints in the pub and a whisky chaser and couldn’t wait to get back to those sparkling blue eyes, and the rest of her of course.  What a fool I was.  She opened the door with a huge smile and not much else.  She had a skimpy short silky wrap on which left little to the imagination.  And my imagination was racing ahead anyway.  She almost dragged me in, and straight into her arms.  “I’ve been waiting for you,” she said between kisses “I can’t wait to get you into bed.”  She turned and practically dragged me up the stairs, her gown falling open to reveal her splendid tits.  Okay, I was more than willing.  What young man wouldn’t be?  I thought I had won the lottery.  And she was fantastic in bed too.  Everything a young man could wish for. She even whispered in my ear “You can come inside me.” And I did too.  Which of course was part of my downfall.

When we had finished she asked me to get her a glass of water from the kitchen.  I grabbed her short dressing gown and happily strode down the stairs feeling like a king.  But – oh my God, what I found in the kitchen.  The blinds were drawn and I groped for the light switch but felt something warm and sticky between my toes. And that strange metallic tang in the air.  As the lights came on I blinked in disbelief.  There, in the middle of the kitchen floor was a body.  A man.  Her husband, I later discovered.  And sticking out of his chest was a knife.  There was blood everywhere.

Stupidly I panicked and bent down to see if he was still breathing, getting blood all over myself in the process.  I saw with horror that the knife was one from the set I had been showing her earlier, and had stupidly left behind.  I grabbed it.  Why, I can’t say.  I was scared, I was shaking.  I just wanted him to still be alive.  I dropped the knife and tried to staunch the wound with a tea towel but I could see by then that he wasn’t breathing at all.  I panicked and ran to the back door.  I had to get out of there, and quick.  But it was locked.  I turned to leave the kitchen but the kitchen door was locked too.  She must have slipped downstairs after me and turned the key.

Within minutes, while I was desperately trying to open the kitchen window, also locked, the Police arrived.  She must have rung 999 as soon as I left the bedroom.

I was covered in blood.  My DNA was on the knife and inside her.  She had unlocked the kitchen door before letting in the Police, with the story that her husband had come home and discovered us in bed, he and I had fought in the kitchen and I had stabbed him.

And I have been here for two days of questioning.  They don’t believe a word I am saying of course.



2 hours later

I’ve just been called back by one of the detectives.  Apparently, a neighbour, the one who had closed the door on me, had watched me calling at the house opposite earlier in the morning, and told them that she had seen me taking in the ‘Kitchenmaid’ but not bringing it back out, which she thought was strange.  She had seen me return in the afternoon and was watching from her bedroom opposite as the police arrived.  She hadn’t seen the husband return at all.  In fact, she seemed to think he usually came home for lunch an hour or so earlier….

The detective had always been concerned that there were no real signs of a struggle in the kitchen.  It all looked too clear-cut and obvious.  They had brought the wife in for questioning yesterday and she had broken down under interrogation, not quite confessing, but saying that she had actually stabbed her husband by accident in his struggle with me. They haven’t actually released me yet – they are waiting for the pathologist’s report giving a more accurate time of death, but I am no longer the prime suspect. They are continuing to question the wife, hoping to find more flaws in her story.

I have obviously been incredibly stupid.  I have lost the damn job, I think they were more angry about me leaving the “Kitchenmaid” than my being arrested, but there you go.  I won’t be a Salesman ever again I can tell you, and I never want to fall for a pair of sparkling blue eyes again either.