The Vacuum Cleaner Salesman
VERNON EDWARD NELSON boarded the north bound number six State Street bus at ninety fifth and State Street as he did every morning except Sunday at eight-thirty. He carried his demonstration Kirby Vacuum Cleaner in his left hand. Three morning newspapers were tucked under his right arm. With a little effort, and a lot of practiced dexterity, he pulled a dollar bill and some coins out of his right pocket, and dropped his fare of one dollar and fifty cents into the fare box. And, as he did every morning except Sunday, Vernon Edward Nelson greeted the bus driver Joseph Malcolm with hi usual:
“How you like them bears Joe?”
“Whut’s up Mr Nelson! Hey, them bears is four and oh! They’s superbowl bound!”
“The eternal optimist! That’s what I love about you Joe!”
Vernon Edward Nelson took his usual seat on the front occupancy bench seat behind the bus driver. This was his favorite spot. He could see everyone who got on the bus. He could turn his head to the right, and see the back door of the bus, and everyone who sat in the double occupancy seats stood in the bus aisles all the way to the back of the bus. He needed to know where everyone was positioned on the bus and which way, front or back, offered him the fastest and easiest way of escaping from the bus if he had to.
The font bench seat was also his favorite because it allowed him to sit with his back to the buses window. The front bench seat allowed him to look across the aisle at the four occupancy bench seat that faced him. Many of the young business women, in a hurry to get to their downtown office jobs, sat on the bench seat across the aisle from him. In the summertime, as it was on this hot August day, their short skirts, and tight shorts offered him a most exciting glimpse of succulent thighs, and plump knees. And the low slung, deep cleavage tank tops!
He shuddered at the thought of being able to reach out and pinch scome of the taunt nipples that peeked at him through the diaphanous cotton fabric. For now, the seat across him was empty. What a shame. He was confidant though that some pretty young thing would get on the bus at the next stop and settle her voluptuous—what was it that the young black guys on his block called it? Oh, yes. Booty! Set her pretty round booty into the seat.
The bus lurched forward to begin its run north on State Street to Madison Avenue in the center of Chicago’s business district. He watched the taverns, cleaners, restaurants and homes along the bus route swish past the window opposite him. It was a beautiful day, blue sky, no clouds, brilliant yellow sun. The weather man on the radio this morning said it would reach eighty five degrees today.
‘Much to beautiful a day’ he thought ‘to be demonstrating vacuum cleaners indoors.’
What did his schedule hold for him today?
Vernon Edward Nelson pressed his vacuum cleaner between his knees to prevent it from falling over. He sat his three newspapers down on the seat beside him, took a small black leather appointment book from the inside pocket of his purple-brown Harris Tweed suite coat and flipped through its pages.
August eleventh, 10:00 am.
His appointment was with Sheila Vandenberg. He remembered Miss Vandenberg being about thirty years old, blonde, blue green eyes, dimpled cheeks, and tits the size of honey dew melons. His mouth began to water.
‘Lovely’ he thought. ‘Simply lovely.’
He’d made a note in his book that she attended night classes at Kennedy King Junior college, and that she was singe, and lived alone. Perfect!
He’d blocked off a half an hour for this appointment with Miss Vandenberg, but as he wiped the spittle from the corner of his mouth he decided he must give her at least an hour of his demonstration time.
The bus pulled to a curb at eighty seventh and State.
An elderly gray haired black man, supporting himself on a walking cane, wearing a black and red flannel shirt, and blue jeans held up with suspenders, climbed the steps onto the bus. Vernon Edward Nelson watched the old man flash his senior citizens card then slowly inch his way down the aisle towards a seat. The old man stopped at the bench across the aisle from Vernon. Vernon’s heart skipped an anxious beat. He hoped that one of the young tender lovelies that usually sat on that seat would occupy the empty space. The old man glanced over at Vernon, nodded, grunted an almost inaudible.
“Morning sir!” said Vernon. “Beautiful day don’t you think?”
“Tolerable,” the old man grunted as he continued down the aisle and took a seat at the rear of the bus.
‘That was close,’ thought Vernon.
Vernon Edward Nelson picked up his copy of the morning Chicago Tribune. His eyes scanned the front page news of terrorism in Iraq, President Barak Obama passing a 1.4 Trillion dollar stimulus bill, and an earthquake in Haiti.
‘Boring!‘ he thought.
He turned to page three of the newspaper. The headline at the top of the page caught his attention.
Southside woman found dead in bathtub!
Chicago police were called to the home of Virginia Mattingly Sunday after neighbors in the six flat apartment building located at 7722 So. Ingleside found Mattingly dead in the bathtub of her second floor apartment. Englewood Police District Detective Leonard Robinson said the twenty seven year old Mattingly was fully clothed.
“Ms Mattingly’s next door neighbor, Alice Paulson found Mattingly strangled to death with what we surmise at this point was a pair of her own pantyhose.” said Robinson. Detective Robinson said there were no suspects at this time.”
Vernon Edward Nelson sat the Tribune aside.
‘What a shame,’ he thought. ‘A woman so young to lose her life. The world is so violent these days.’
The bus pulled to the curb to pick up people at seventy first and State Street. A black teenager wearing a blue and gold Tilden high school sweater got on board. The boy carried some books and he had shoulder pads and a football helmet slung over his shoulder. The boy paid his student fare and came into the bus. He stopped at the open bench seat.
Vernon Edward Nelson held his breath.
“Hey Bobby! Come back here!” A white boy, also wearing a Tilden high school sweater called from the back of the back of the bus. The black boy went to the back of the bus to be with his friend.
Vernon Edward Nelson breathed a sigh of relief.
A swarthy skinned Hispanic woman got on the bus and paid her fare. He found her very attractive. Long black hair. Big brown eyes that twinkled with youth. Dimpled cheeks. A white linen V neck peasant blouse pulled down off her olive brown shoulders. Her white linen skirt was A-framed, loose and knee length. The morning sunlight peeked through the cotton fabric. He strained to see what he hoped he was seeing. The outline of her thighs beneath the fabric of her linen skirt.
She came into the bus; stopped at the open bench seat across from him, then turned to speak to an Hispanic man behind her that was paying his fare.
“We can sit here Carlos.” said the woman sitting down on the bench seat across from him.
Damn!” mumbled Nelson beneath his breath.
The man named Carlos sat down next to the Hispanic woman. Vernon Edward Nelson looked at their hands. The ring on the third finger of her left hand, and the ring on the third finger of the man’s left hand told Nelson the couple was married.
He tried not to look at the woman’s petit knees, or her shapely olive legs. He found her little ankles cute. He liked the way her little feet fit into the gold braid toe-less sandles she wore. The red polish on her toenails made his mouth water.
‘Lovely…lovely!’ he thought.
He looked away from the woman. Heaven forbid that her husband would see him ogling his wife and become angry and jealous. Heaven forbid! Vernon Edward Nelson picked up his copy of the Sun-Times newspaper. The front page headlines screamed at him.
Beauty Salon Owner Murdered!
The nude, badly decomposed body of forty five year old Latrice Benson was found yesterday in a dumpster behind her business, “Latrice’s Beauty Salon” located at 3717 So. Ashland Avenue. Detective Leonard Robinson of the Englewood Police District Homicide Division said police have recovered the murder weapon.
“Ms. Benson was strangled with a pair of pantyhose that we think belong to her.” said Detective Robinson. “We are examining the pantyhose for fingerprints.”
Cook County Medical Examiner Magenta Ayers said Ms. Benson was dead at least three days before city garbage collectors discovered the body.
Vernon Edward Nelson folded the Sun-Times in half and sat it down on top of the Tribune Newspaper next to him.
‘Naked!‘ he thought. ‘Lovely.’
He looked across the aisle at the petit feet and bright red toenails of the Hispanic woman. Spittle oozed from the left corner of his mouth. He quickly wiped his mouth clean, thinking.
‘Don’t look to long, her husband might see.’
He allowed himself a furtive glance at the red roses that embroidered the top of her peasant linen blouse.
‘Lovely, lovely,’ he mumbled.
He gripped the handle of his vacuum cleaner hoping to clam the eruption erupting in his loins. He needed to look away, to calm himself but just then, she looked at him with doe like brown eyes that twinkled an innocent greeting. Her thin red lips parted with a smile, and she nodded her head at him in recognition.
He erupted, a scalding geyser! Erupting!
He tried to remain clam, flapping his thighs about his vacuum cleaner, nodding his head in greeting, saying faintly, hoarsely.
“Morning madam,” and to the husband. “Sir, how are you this morning?” Carlos nodding a greeting, his eyes rebuking.
Sweat on his forehead, sweat trickling from his armpits and down his back. He was relieved and saddened that his eruption was done. The bus slowed, and eased toward the curb.
“Sixty third and State street! Sixty third street!” The bus driver called out.
The man named Carlos and his Hispanic wife rose from their seats and left the bus. The four occupancy bench facing him was empty again. Good. He looked at his watch. 9:14. There was still time for the right cutie, with the right booty to get on the bus, and take a seat across from him. She’d have to hurry though. There were only three more stops before he was to get off.
The bus pulled away from the curb, weaved into traffic, got to about thirty miles an hour, then suddenly lurched forward as the driver slammed on the brakes. The sudden stop caused Vernon Edward Nelson to slide to his left along the seat and bump his shoulder into the back of the bus driver’s seat.
“Whoaaa Joseph! What’s happening?
“I passed up a lady on the curb back there,” said the bus driver looking through his rear view mirror. “Here she comes now.”
The buxom woman that climbed the steps onto the bus made Vernon Edward Nelson’s heart palpitate like a pebble skipping along the surface of a placid pond. She was an adult “Little Orphan Annie.” Long locks of blonde hair hung to her shoulders. She demurely dropped coins into the fare box then kind of tip toed down the aisle in a cute pair of white cowboy boots that made the calves of her legs, sensual, svelte, and athletic. When she sat down on the bench across from him, he watched her tight fitting blue denim skirt spread out across her plump thighs giving him a tunnel view of the pink panties at the “V” shaped end of the tunnel.
“Lovely! Simply lovely!” thought Vernon.
“Did you say something?” asked the woman. “Were you speaking to me?”
“I said it’s a lovely morning don’t you think?”
She sat up straight and pulled her shoulders back in such a way that the white buttons on her tight fitting red blouse seemed incapable of restraining her breast.
“It is beautiful,” she said. She shook her head causing her golden curls to bounce like so many springs. “It’s a shame I have to work inside. I’d rather be at the beach.”
“Me too,” he said. “I have to pay the bills, so to work I must go.”
“What do you do?” she asked.
“I’m a salesman.” He touched the handle of his vacuum cleaner. “Vacuum Cleaners. I sell Kirby’s. They’re the best.”
“I was wondering why you were carrying a vacuum cleaner.” she said.
She crossed her left leg over her right. Her thighs ballooned. The muscles her her calves drew taunt.
‘Lovely! Lovely!’ he thought.
“Kirby? My mother had a Kirby. They’re great machines. You can just about clean up your entire house with one. But why you on the bus? Don’t you have car?”
“It’s in the shop. Transmission trouble. So, I’m out here this morning, making my way to an appointment on the bus. A man’s got to make a living you know.”
“Tell me about it. You got a card?”
Vernon Edward Nelson reached into his inside suite coat pocket.
“Sorry, I seem to have left home without them. Not a good way to drum up new business right?”
“Right. I’m having a birthday party at my house this weekend for my mother. Like your car’s broke down, my vacuum cleaner is on the bum.”
“That’s a shame,” said Nelson. “I wish I could help.”
“You can. Can you come by and give me a demonstration of your Kirby. I pretty much know how they work, but if the price is right, I might buy one.”
Her Sapphire Blue eyes implored him to say yes.
‘She loves me,’ he thought. ‘Lovely, she loves me.’
“Eighteenth and State street!” called out the buss driver “Eighteenth street!
“My stop is coming up.” said Nelson. He tucked his newspapers under his arm. He clutched the handle of his vacuum cleaner and stood up.
Standing up now, he could better see down into her blouse, to the luscious recess of her white fleshy bosom. He hoped no one would notice the drool dribbling from the corner of his mouth. He watched the woman reach into her purse, take out a pen and paper, and write something on it. She gave him the paper she’d written on.
“Here’s my phone number and address. The name’s Victoria Gregory. Call, come by say Thursday or Friday I’d like to take a look at your Kirby. Lord knows I need a vacuum cleaner to get my house in order for the party.”
Vernon Edward Nelson felt the bus slow, and begin easing toward the curb.
“Here’s my stop. Thank you Ms. Gregory. I’ll be sure to call. Thank you.”
Vernon Edward Nelson picked up his vacuum cleaner, turned and made his way towards the bus’s front door.
“Oh mister! You dropped something.”
He turned and looked back. Victoria Gregory held out a pair of Beige-Sandlewood pantyhose to him.
“Ohhhhh my god!” said Nelson. “I’m sorry you had to see that mam.” He took the pantyhose from the woman and put them into his suite coat pocket. “My wife must have stuffed those in with my clothes when she was doing the laundry.”
The bus pulled to a stop at the curb.
Vernon Edward Nelson stood in the front door of the bus waiting for the front door to open. He looked back at Victoria Gregory.
‘Lovely! Lovely!’ he thought as he wiped the drool from the corner of his mouth.
“Have a good day Mr. Nelson,” said the bus driver.
“You to Joe. Don’t dream to hard on the Bears getting to the super-bowl.”
“I won’t.” said Joe laughing.
Vernon Edward Nelson stepped down off of the bus and made his way to his 10:00 am appointment.