Salesman by Accident
By: Jess Mercer
(© 2011 by the author)
The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's
consent. Comments are appreciated at...
It's a Thursday afternoon, and I've just had lunch with my old college roommate, rather unexpectedly. Being the newest employee of the firm I work for, no matter that my official title is Assistant Director of Public Relations, the end result is that I'm the flunky that gets those jobs no one else wants to tackle. So here I am some two hundred miles from home and making calls on a few of our clients to smooth ruffled feathers caused by a major screw-up in the shipping department.
I was not far from the town this morning when it dawned on me that this is where my former college roommate lives, so I pull out billfold, hoping I've still got his number. After a search through what should be declared a disaster area, I find it, and whip out my cell phone, just on chance. Lank and I got along so well it was almost like we were brothers and we swore to keep in close touch, but time takes its toll. It's been a year and a half now since we were drinking beer and celebrating our graduation.
Lank was always just regular people, so I had my mind blown when I found his home. It's a mansion set in a manicured garden, and the butler who opened the door finished it off, but Lank came running down the hall and grabbed me in a hug. "Damn, it's good to see you, Mat. Come on in. What'cha been up to?"
"Trying to calm down some griping customers. Don't guess you know how that is."
His grin is huge. "Been doing a lot of bitchin' myself lately. Damned company lawyers are driving me nuts. That's why I started working from home as much as I can. I can always hang up on 'em when they call."
He drags me into the dining room, and continues to chatter all the way through lunch. When I insist I must get back on the road, he makes me promise to come back tomorrow and spend the weekend with him. "And I swear I'm won't say a word about business, buddy. It'll be like old times."
When I start to get in my car, a neat little convertible I never thought I would be driving on company business, I see the gardener ride by on a mower. He smiles and raises his left arm in a salute, only it's barely half an arm, ending just below the elbow. I drive slowly to see him on the return pass. He's no older than I, and darn good looking. I'm wishing I could stay and maybe strike up a conversation with him, but I've got to get going. I'll dream happily about him tonight, for I've always been attracted to an amp. But fate has another surprise for me. As I pause between the gateposts to wait for a break in traffic, I see another gardener raking fresh mulch over a flowerbed next to the gatepost. Damn! He's even cuter, and has a peg-leg. Given a choice, I'll go for a leg amp any time. Where does Lank find these studs? I ask myself.
My fantasies are so wild, I can hardly keep my mind on business when I make my next call. I just hope those guys are working tomorrow when I come back for the weekend. I want to see them up 'close and personal', as they say on TV.
I spend the night in a good motel, and drift off to sleep with visions of two beautiful amps dancing in my head, thinking I should have a camera with me, just in case dame fortune smiles again.
I'm up in time to grab a bite of breakfast from the complimentary buffet off the motel lobby when I remember that I have a new digital camera in the boot of my car to show our special clients. I rush through my last meeting and hit the road back to Lank's.
My luck holds, for the gardeners are about to return to work after having their lunch. I stop in the drive and ask if I can take their pictures, getting a broad smile. The guy that was riding the mower has on shorts, old sneakers, nothing more, while the guy with the peg leg is wearing tattered jeans, also bare chested. Both have great looking builds.
I take several individual shots, and a couple of them standing together. When I thank them, the one armed guy says, "Hope we see you again. It's nice to be admired the way you do it."
I guess I was almost drooling, but who wouldn't at such beauty. I drive on up to the house.
"Where the hell did you find your gardeners?" is my first question to Lank.
He grins. "Thought they'd get your attention, buddy."
"Huh?" I tried to play it cool around Lank the whole time we lived together.
"Come on, Mat. I saw you look at that one armed guy on campus any chance you got."
"Hell! And I tried so hard to keep you from noticing."
His grin grows bigger. "Guess you didn't ever notice that I took a few looks at him, too."
My mouth drops open. "You ? you're a devotee?"
"I didn't know it then, but I've found out since. Did we ever waste time, buddy! I wish I had known then what I know now. We're going to have a great weekend. I might even surprise you a time or two."
I follow him down the hall to his office, and gawk at the four large monitors, but Lank walks over to a guy sitting in front of one pecking away at the keyboard and leans over to kiss him. "Told you it was quitting time, babe. Shut down and meet my roommate from college. Mat, this is Dan."
When the guy turns his chair, I can see he's young, blond, and even more attractive than the guys in the garden. I gawk again, because he's a DAK, but he grins and holds out his hand. "Nice to meet you, Mat. Good to see Lank having company for a change."
"Get your butt in gear, babe, swim time, then drinks before dinner." Lank tells him.
"Jeez, buddy, you turn gay, too?" I ask as we're walking upstairs, Lank's arm around my shoulder.
His look sobers. "Took a while, but I finally figured out I'm bi. I fought hell out of admitting it to myself, but the company shrink helped me when I came back home. My attraction to men has always been stronger than to women."
"That's why you were always finding reasons to touch me?" He never missed a chance, but his touches were those of an extremely friendly person.
"Yeah. You pissed off at me now you know?"
"Just about this much." I grab him in a hug, and kiss him. "Damn, I hate to think of how we wasted our time together."
He shakes his head. "I was so confused back then I'd of likely busted you one if you'd tried anything." He returns my kiss. "I'm sorry, Mat."
"We can start making up for it this weekend. I've always found you attractive."
Lank pulls away and shakes his head sadly. "Can't. Dan and I are together."
"Lucky dog. Guess I'm the rejected lover this weekend."
He smiles. "I wouldn't necessarily say that. You might see something more appealing than me. I've got an idea you like 'em younger than you."
My grin returns. "Long as they're not jail bait."
"No sweat. All over eighteen, buddy." He gives me an evil grin. "Now let's take that swim and cool off. This talk's raised the temperature."
He takes me into his room to change, and tosses me a speedo. "This should fit you, buddy. Everybody else wears them, too."
Everybody? Damn! Is he going to sponsor an orgy as entertainment? My imagination is going wild, because Lank pulled some crazy stunts in college. I guess it was only his grades kept him from being tossed out a couple of times. I look around at the luxury, or maybe his money.
When we get down to the pool, Dan is already there, talking to the two gardeners who are wearing speedos, also. Lank introduces me. "Mat, this is Rich," he points to the one armed guy, "and Ben."
Ben grins. "Mat was drooling over my peg, Lank, so Rich and I posed for him."
"Didn't waste any time, did you, buddy?"
"Hell, no! Not with scenery this nice. Didn't think I'd get another chance. I gotta get my camera."
I run back into the house and get the digital and box of the chips that fit in it. Each chip will hold only eight shots at highest resolution, and I'm not using anything less for once-in-a-lifetime shots like these. I'm hardly back at the pool when a kid that can't be past high school comes swinging up on his forearm crutches. He's so beautiful I'm stunned.
"Tink! Glad you made it. This is Mat," Lank says.
Tink turns that gorgeous smile on me. "Hi, Mat, nice to meet you." He looks me up and down, then says to Lank, "You sure know how to pick a guy I'll like."
"Got to keep you happy, Tink. Be hard to find another guy like you." Lank turns to me. "Tink's our trouble shooter in residence. We call him Tink because he taught himself computer repair by tinkering with them as a kid."
Lank pats Tink on the shoulder, giving him a broad grin. "You'll like Mat, Tink. See how he's already drooling over you. Tink has a slight ego problem. He likes to be admired," Lank says to me.
I blush when the others laugh. "Plenty there to admire." The words are hardly out of my mouth when Tink pushes me into the pool, and the others follow.
By the time the butler appears and sets up a bar, then lays out hors d'ouvres we're all getting tired, as much fun as it's been. We sit on the patio chatting quietly over our drinks. The warm air has pretty much dried us by the time we go up to shower and dress for dinner. I'm surprised when Tink follows me up to my room.
"Do I get to stay, or not?" He asks.
"I've only one problem with that," I tell him.
He looks surprised. "What?"
"We've got to dress. Of course, if we ate dinner in the nude, I would probably forget to eat for looking at you."
"That comes later." He hugs me, then strips off his speedo. "Let's shower together."
Everyone wears nice slacks and knit shirts to the table. An art lover might say only a major gallery holds so much beauty, but for me the beauty gathered around this table beats any art gallery in the world. The food matches the beauty.
When we're having our coffee, Lank tells me he wants to see the camera I was using. I run up to get it, and hand it to him. He looks it over carefully and, after a few questions, tosses it casually to Tink, almost giving me a heart attack. This is a handcrafted experimental model I'm supposed to show to a select few of our clients. But Tink catches it easily and opens it up before I can object.
He finally looks at Lank. "Pretty good, boss. Best design I've seen."
"Well, Mat, I said we were going to relax this weekend, but how do you feel about conducting a little business on the side?"
"Whatever." I figure he wants me to get one for his personal use.
"Let's talk in the study. We can finish our coffee there. Excuse us, guys. We won't be long."
When we're settled in, he looks at me seriously. "I know this is probably something brand new, because Tink has researched the digital camera market carefully. I can tell he's excited about this one."
"He didn't look it."
Lank smiles. "That's Tink. You have to learn to read him. Can that camera be adapted to feed a closed circuit directly?"
"It's not video."
"Don't want video; we have that. We need a single shot picture that can be fed directly to selected monitors."
"Most of 'em do that."
"I know. Can we connect this to my computer and take a look?"
"If you want."
Lank goes to the door and yells for Tink to get in here. When he comes in, Lank hands him the camera. "Plug this in and let's take a look at some of the shots Mat made."
I pick a chip at random and hand it to Tink. He inserts it and brings the monitor up. From the way he handles the camera, I can tell he's had plenty of experience, despite his young age.
The picture is the one I took of Ben and Rich together in the garden. Tink gasps, "God! Look at the depth of field. The resolution is so good this monitor sucks. I'm betting it equals film."
"Are you sure, Tink?"
"Damn right! I've never seen anything to equal it." He looks at me. "Where'd you get this?"
"The engineers at the company I work for designed the chip. You have our first sample. We're showing it to a few people to see if we should go into production. It's going to be damned expensive."
"Well, Tink?" Lank asks.
"Yeah! No question." He brings up the other seven pictures, looking at each in awe. When he shuts the system off and hands me the camera, he says to Lank, "Lock Mat in the cellar until he sells you some."
When Tink's gone and Lank has shut the door, he looks at me. "You heard Tink. When can I have 'em?"
"I could probably get you one in a week or so."
"One, hell! I want twenty of them to start with."
Twenty! He hasn't even asked the price. "Do you realize these things will cost you eight thousand apiece, because they'll have to be handmade one at a time?"
"Write my order up, buddy. And I want 'em yesterday."
"Never been more serious. Damn I'm glad you came back for the weekend."
"Let me get my briefcase." I run out to my car, my head swimming. My boss is going to shit his pants when I show up with this. Hell, I'll stay over Sunday night and drive back to the office on Monday. He'll never notice.
As soon as I've written the order and Lank has signed it, he hugs me. "Now we've got business out of the way, let's enjoy the weekend."
"Enjoy, hell! You've got me floating, buddy. Nothing's going to surpass what I've already gotten here."
"Maybe not, but let's make that good feeling last."
"Can't get no better. Can I ask you something?"
"Where the hell you come up with a bunch of guys like those?"
"When I took over the company, I noticed we had practically no employees who are physically challenged, so I instituted a new policy. I couldn't use looks as a criteria, but my search team knew what I wanted. Only Tink is local. A guy I hired from the community college tipped me to him. Tink hated school and was going only because his parents made him. After I interviewed him and saw him at work, I hired him and gave him a flat over the garage when his parents threw him out for quitting school. The team found Ben and Rich just finishing up horticulture school. I really didn't need two gardeners, but they're a couple and have been since they met when they started school. Would you believe I found Dan through the employment service? They couldn't place him. My good luck, because he's damn sharp, and it didn't take long for me to make him my personal assistant." He grins. "And lover."
Lank grins. "I can find a job for you if you want, but I'd be cutting my own throat. I've heard your company is doing some serious research, and if the camera is any example, I don't doubt it. I'm serious now, Mat. I want first knowledge of any new product your firm has nearing the end of the experimental stage. You're in a position to give me that. I'm not asking for inside information, just a chance to be your first customer for anything I like."
"Another order like this, and the boss will make you my only contact."
Lank gets up and hugs me. "I'll hold him to that, because if those cameras work the way I know they will, I'll probably want at least thirty more. Besides, if you're my contact, then you'll have to make more calls on me, won't you?"
"Not sure I can stand that, buddy."
"This is all too overwhelming. I may have a heart attack."
Lank grins. "After you spend a night with Tink, you might well. He's so choosy he's only been with one other man before, but I can tell he likes you a lot. I can't have you breaking the heart of my best tinker, and you sure aren't going to steal him from me, so you've got to be here a lot to keep him happy."
I didn't know my boss had been trying for three years to get a sales rep in to see Lank, so my reception in his office late Monday afternoon is nothing short of a full scale riot when I hand him Lank's order. After he's called Lank to confirm the order he can't believe, I get a private office near his, and I'm the only one allowed to talk to Lank. Oh, yeah. I spend Thursdays and Fridays talking with Tink and the engineers about their prospective needs which we might provide for. My weekends are all spent with Tink. Life can't get no better than this.