The Salesman Meets Jesus by Horace Wilcut

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Standing behind a counter there with his nose in the air like a bloodhound is the salesman. He is committing colorful propaganda to memory. A sedan parks outside the store. He assumes position, casual repose.

A man with a dark beard enters. The salesman leans onto the counter to shorten himself. Some bird chirrups outside, distracting his wolfish smile.

The bearded man asks for the scissors. The salesman glides across the floor, gestures towards the rack. The bearded man chooses decisively. A pair of yellow craft scissors. They walk to the register, side by side. A credit card is proffered.

The machine stalls. The salesman taps his fingers.

”Do you like this job?” Asks the bearded man.

“Of course. I love selling craft supplies to the artists of America.”

“Wouldn’t you like to be an artist?”

He turned from the machine. “No… I don’t have that gift. And besides, you can’t make much.”

“Much what?”

“Money, of course.”

This looked like it hurt him. “Do you have a family?”

“No, I can”t.”

“Why not?”

“I would have a hard time supporting a family.”

Judging from his innocent black eyes, an explanation was needed.

“I don’t make enough money to have a family.”

His eyes didn’t change. He asked, ”Are you happy?”

To which the salesman replied, “Yes, of course.”

The credit card machine spits out receipt paper. The salesman pulls it against the steel teeth, and extends it. He’s opening those scissors, the man with the beard. On the counter lay the package, fingers straying over the plastic casing, delicately removing them from the package, grasping his beard with left hand, lifts the shears to his beard.

”Woah, man, hey.”

Soft like a plastic bag in the wind. Still his eyes haven’t shifted.

The salesman is confused. He asks, “Why would you do that?”

And the man replies, hair in hand, that he has a job interview.

The salesman stood stoned after he had left, till the cry of a paraquet, at which point he exclaimed, “Artists these days.” And went about closing the store.


Horace Wilcut is a writer from Oroville, California. His hobbies include smoking indoors and wondering whether he said that out loud.

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