Door to Door - by Mizeta Moon

Jamus Carbunkle looked down the pothole laden street at a row of ramshackle homes and sighed. So this was his new territory? Once upon a time he’d been the crackerjack lead salesman for Super Duper toilet bowl cleaner and had his own office. That was before he got the boss’ daughter pregnant. He tried to do the right thing and marry her but she didn’t love or want him and chose to have an abortion. The boss was furious about being cheated out of a grandchild, legitimate or not. As a result, Jamus was offered a choice. Get fired or join the door to door sales squad and accept the scruffiest beat the company served. He objected to such treatment but was reluctant to start a new career, so he packed up his office and went to the warehouse to  claim his sample kit and a map of his territory. 

As he approached the first house, he was nervous but also concerned. Did the residents even need toilet bowl cleaner? From the look of the place they might have an outhouse. Meeting his sales quota could be impossible in such an impoverished area. Failure would lead to him residing in similar circumstances so he had no choice but to put a smile on his face and a spring in his step. A skinny dog lie on the porch and he was concerned about being bitten but stepped onto the rickety stairs hoping the dog didn’t have the energy to confront him. Thankfully, that was the case. Knocking on a rickety screen door led to a slattern woman in a cotton housedress asking him what he wanted. Before he could get halfway through his well-rehearsed spiel the woman started laughing and shooed him away. 

So it went as he worked his way down the street. Some people showed him the courtesy of letting him complete his pitch, but still turned him down. Most of them had never heard of Super Duper toilet bowl cleaner and couldn’t afford to buy any. Several of them took free samples and his card but he didn’t expect them to call in an order. It was possible none of them had a telephone. He didn’t see many overhead wires on the street. By mid-afternoon he was tired, despondent, and hungry. Counting the change in his pocket he calculated he could afford a hamburger and a coke at a cheesy-looking stand attached to an auto repair shop. Carrying a webbed plastic basket full of greasy food, he asked a man sitting at a tilted picnic bench if he could join him. That request changed his life forever. 

While he ate, the other man finished his chili dog, then poked a finger in his mouth and fished out a partial denture. “Damn thing,” the man declared. “Always getting food stuck on it and hard as hell to clean. Used to have some of them tablets but I ran out. Now they’re getting stained cause I can’t clean em proper.” It dawned on Jamus that dentures were porcelain. “Mind trying something?” He asked as an idea flooded his mind. 

It turned out the local water was corrosive to natural teeth and most of the residents who could afford them wore dentures. His lunch companion was amazed when Jamus pulled a toothbrush from his pocket and squirted one of his free samples onto it, then scrubbed the partial to a gleaming whiteness. Three days later he was the talk of the town and completely out of free samples but walked into the warehouse with a pocketful of orders for what he would secretly relabel as Dr, Carbunkle’s magic denture cleaner. His sales increased so rapidly the boss rethought his position and granted Jamus three adjoining territories that always yielded poor returns. Eventually, Jamus bought the company and marketed Super Duper toilet bowl cleaner as well as Dr, Carbunkle’s magic denture cleaner using the same formula. After he grew rich the boss’ daughter decided he was worthy of consideration, but by then he’d figured out he was gay and moved his headquarters to a city where he could enjoy the fruits of his labor and hopefully meet the man of his dreams.    

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