How to Sell a Car

By Natasha Blade

He had never seen anything quite so green before in his life.

He sniffed the cookie.

“Rebekah!” He spun around, brandishing the offensive cookie. “Why is the filling so green? It’s not supposed to be this green.”

“Yes, it is, Mr. Cole.” Rebekah took the box from his hands and passed it on to…Martha? The one playing the mother.

“I want it MINT green! They were not this green last night!”

“Mr. Cole, stop it. Everything is in place and everybody is ready. The milk isn’t spoiled and the cookies aren’t stale. I know what I’m supposed to say, when to say it, and everybody knows their cues. Lines won’t be forgotten, the cameras will work, the rug isn’t stained, Phil won’t flip out of the rocking chair, Sarah won’t fall down the stairs, Martha won’t drop and spill the milk, Cornelius will remember his line, the fridge will not fall on anyone, Anna will not chew on her dolls or dunk them in milk. William will not gargle, lose his tooth in a cookie, or eat the crayons. You are panicking without reason, and I won’t allow it.”

“I have plenty of reasons to panic!”

“Then keep them to yourself and count boxes of cookies.” She turned her back on him and started lining people up.

Cole trailed along behind her, counting people, making sure everyone who was supposed to be there was there and ready to go.

One boss? Check.

One employee? Check.

One co-worker? Check.

One policeman? Check.

One fireman? Check.

One teacher? Check.

Six noisy neighbors? Check.

One mother-in-law, four grandparents, one uncle one aunt, and three cousins? Check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check.

Two little boys, one little girl, and a teenager? Check, check, check, check.

A mother, father, and cameramen? Check, check, and one large check for all the cameramen.

He started counting again.

One boss? Check.

One employee? Check.

A nine year old boy, whose role was to pretend to read a book until cookie eating time came, had a queer look on his face.

One co-worker? Check.

One policeman? Check.

The boy held his stomach.

One fireman? Check.

One teacher? Check.

Neighbor number one? Check.

Neighbor number two? Check.

Neighbor number—

The boy threw up.

Cole took three huge breaths, ready to panic full on.

“Rebekah? You can fix this, can’t you?” The green boy was being hurried away from everyone. “He’ll be fine in time, won’t he? I won’t have to cancel, will I? Rebekah?”

“No you won’t have to cancel, but he won’t be on stage.”

Cole gaped. “No on stage? We can’t lose him.”

“We’re losing him. If you want a replacement, Martha has a nephew here who can fill in.”

Cole wasn’t comprehending it. Not on stage? Replacement? FIVE MINUTES BEFORE LIVE PERFORMANCE??? He nodded. “Sure. A replacement.”

She nodded and headed off to take care of it.

 

The boy was about the right age and he seemed to understand when he was supposed to eat the cookie and show his appreciation of it. Everything would be fine. All he had to do was sit on the couch, pretending to read a book until the mother came in, then accept the cookie, eat the cookie like the cookie, show appreciation of the cookie and then fade into the background so as not to get in the way of anyone. Perfectly simple.

Cole took his seat in the front row. Ninety seconds until they were supposed to start. Ninety seconds until the three minute commercial started its live performance.

Only eighty seconds until Cole’s fate was decided. Would everybody hate the cookies? Or would they make him rich so he could retire and never have to panic like this again?

Seventy seconds.

“And that is why I will never buy anything from another salesman ever again.”

He turned to glare at the person who dared interrupt his worries. “PLEASE be quiet!” He hissed, “It’s about to start!”

“Have you ever been EXTREMELY annoyed by a salesman before?” The woman glared at him. “If you haven’t, then you have no right to speak to me like that.”

Cole glared back. “Annoyed?” he asked. “Annoyed?! Annoyed doesn’t even BEGIN to cover my feelings for salesmen! Never have I hated a vacuum so much in my life!”

“You say he was selling vacuums?”

“HE said that; not me! As far as I could tell he was trying to make me but a dead car!”

Thirty seconds.

“A car you say? Was he tall, skinny, too full of energy and have a blue name tag that never said the same name twice?”

“Be quiet!”

“What did the car look like? My salesman said it was one of a kind, special car for secret agents.”

Ten seconds.

“I think he might have also said something about it being able to fly. Is that possible?”

“Shut up!”

The curtain opened to reveal a sparsely furnished living room.

 

Jeffery flipped the pages, looking for the story climax, or at least something MILDLY entertaining. The book seemed intent on disappointing him, so he abandoned it. He looked out at the audience, but the lights made it hard to see anyone.

Rebekah stepped onto the front middle of the stage.

“It’s hard to find a treat that the whole family will enjoy. A treat that you can easily pack and everybody enjoys. A treat like that isn’t easy to find. Which is why we decided it was about time that someone MADE one, so that we wouldn’t all have to keep looking for it.”

The door behind Jeffery opened, drawing his attention. It was Aunt Martha with a plate of brown cookies stuck together by white filling. Oreos, they called them. She also brought milk.

He twisted around in his seat, bored. Both Aunt Martha and Rebekah had told him, quite clearly, though Aunt Martha was the only one who had threatened him, that he was not to leave the couch until the other children started toward the cookies. Then and ONLY then was he allowed to move off the couch.

He wiggled around and stared at the two children playing on the rug, trying to make them move.

They didn’t even notice him and continued to play until Phil raised his glass of milk and toasted the cookie, then they abandoned their toys and skipped over to Aunt Martha. Jeffery silently scorned them and deliberately laid the book upon the couch and slowly walked over to Aunt Martha. He looked condescendingly at the cookie as Rebekah continued to speak.

 

Cole bit his fingernail too low and it started to bleed.

The boy hadn’t tried the cookie yet. He was just looking at it. No one else seemed to notice.

“What about secret compartments? Did the car he was trying to sell you have any secret compartments?”

He nodded, trying to get her to shut up.

“Did any of then have guns? I didn’t check mine but the salesman said the car came with one free gun and he would only tell me where it was if I bought the car.”

On stage Sarah joined the younger children at the cookies. The boy still hadn’t tried the cookie. Instead he was squishing it and making the filling ooze out.

“I, of course, said no, I would never accept a weapon from a STRANGER.”

Relatives started filling the stage as Rebekah continued speaking. “Oreos can also be enjoyed by your extended family. The cousins, the aunts, uncles, the grandparents, and even your mother-in-law!”

The boy licked a smidgen of filling from off his finger.

“He offered bullets, but no gunpowder, which is just ridiculous!”

The boy made a face and Cole slumped. “I’m doomed,” he moaned.

The woman shook her head at him. “You aren’t doomed until that salesman tries to sell you a ‘Vacuum’, then you’ll know what it’s like to be truly doomed.”

 

Jeffery spat the white filling into his hand and looked at it. What was there to enjoy in this? He pulled the cookie apart and bit into the chocolate bit.

He spat it onto the ground and made a face. He was supposed to like this?

 

Cole slumped in his seat and moaned again.

“I don’t even think the car could have started, I can’t imagine how he got it up to my doorstep.”

“He didn’t like it.” He hid his face in his hands. “Nobody will ever like them.”

She patted him on the shoulder. “I promise to like them better than I liked that salesman.”

“ANYONE could promise that.” He moaned. “Anyone at all.”

“I’m not anyone. I’m someone who has dealt with him.”

 

“You can give them to unexpected company.”

Great way to ensure they don’t come back,” Jeffery muttered.

Aunt Martha glared at him.

“It’s true.”

“Forget about giving an apple to your teacher, give her Oreos!” She displayed her cookie and Jeffery gave her a look.

“Why? That is the WORST idea I’ve heard since I was last spoken to. If I gave MY teacher Oreos I’d get an F!”

Someone in the crowd sniggered and he spun toward the noise. “You think I’m being funny? It’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever had, and I’ve eaten squash, Brussel sprouts, squid, sushi, and raw egg. Believe me, it’s disgusting.”

“Try me!” The man hollered.

Jeffery launched a cookie in his direction. “They’ve even got mint ones in the back and they smell like toothpaste!”

Cole hid his face. “Please, no more. A commercial, an explosion. ANYTHING.”

“I thought this WAS a commercial.”

“Then a terrorist attack.”

“He said the car would prevent terrorists attacking whoever owned it.” She frowned. “I’m not sure HOW, though.”

 

“They’re better than doughnuts!” Cornelius had taken great pains working on only saying his line and not that, in his opinion, ANYTHING was better than doughnuts, and he didn’t care if a bunch of extra lines had just been added, he had heard his cue and he said his line loud and clear.

Jeffery turned on him. “Only the week old ones. Have you SEEN the list of ingredients for them? Even if you aren’t allergic to wheat, milk, soybean, egg or treenuts there’s still lots of other stuff that you probably won’t appreciate them slipping into the cookies. I can read the ingredient list to you if you want.”

Cornelius shook his head soundlessly. He only wanted to say his over-worked line.

Dorian marched to the front of the stage, refusing to be out-shone by Cornelius.

He bellowed into the microphone, “I like Girl Scout cookies, but they pale in comparison to Oreos!”

Cole tried to disappear into his seat.

“Shortening is terrible for you and they put it in twice. Not to mention the fake salt and corn syrup. Oreos aren’t TREATS, they’re poison!” He flung a box to the audience so they could judge for themselves.

Rebekah raised an eyebrow at Cole: Should she say her line If she did they could close the curtain with some sort of ending, but saying it directly after what Jeffery had just said wasn’t the best idea.

He wouldn’t meet her eyes. He wouldn’t even look up at the stage. From where she was standing it looked like he was trying to be eaten by his chair.

She made her decision and looked right into the camera with a huge smile. “So try Oreos! A treat for the whole family!”

The curtain closed and she saw Jeffery being tackled.

 

In the silence that followed her voice could be clearly heard, “The price was quite a reasonable one, considering the car used to belong to a secret agent.”

Cole closed his eyes and wished for death.

The crowd laughed.

Cole opened his eyes to see a tall, skinny, dark haired man walk out into the middle of the stage, dragging a vacuum behind him.

His blue name tag said William.

“This vacuum may not look like much and you’re right, it isn’t much, but I have a special deal for you.”

He pulled the curtain aside to reveal a rusting Aston Martin DB5 and now his name tag said Lancelot.

“This car can go zero to sixty in four seconds flat.”

“YOU DON’T COUNT AS A COMERCIAL!!”

 

Epilogue

Jacob had no end of offers for the car over the next year and he made so much money selling and re-selling it that he got to retire to his childhood dream of being an insurance salesman.

THE END

 

(The song which was used for inspiration in this story was Peter Hollin’s Oreo Wonderfilled Song)

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