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Gary, the Used Car Salesman


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It was a warm evening when the bus stopped at the corner near the subway entrance; the bench was dark, covered in grime, and smelled of urine. There stood Gary, an upright stocky man with thinning hair dressed in a suit without an outer jacket. His beaming smile and well kept appearance sharply contrasted his surroundings, indicating his position as an award winning salesman. Well, Gary thought to himself, soon to be award winning anyway. His unnaturally fixed grin, sculpted by years of struggle, beamed into the darkening twilight as the bus noisily slid into the side of the street, grating the already worn down concrete. Even as hot air blew into his face, Gary did not flinch. He knew that the key to being a good car salesman was a warm yet stoic demeanor that never surrendered to whatever misfortunes would occur. One day, he thought, his smile would soon take over the world and everyone, from the poorest beggar to the richest of royalty, could no longer resist heading towards the used car dealership to check out Gary’s amazing recommendations on used vehicles. He could see himself at the helm of a revolution, used cars becoming the most purchased commodity on the global market and Gary, now a billionaire, would write his memoirs and further inspire his followers. Yes, Gary thought, what a glorious day that would be. He had reached the point where he imagined his blissful retirement in which he retreated to his mansion made of used car parts accompanied by his harem of supermodels when a harsh voice interrupted his daydreams.

“Hey jack*ss! You gonna get on?”

Gary looked up at the bus driver, an anemic looking elderly woman who was filled with a slothful irritability one could only get when working in public transportation. “Oh!” Gary got out his wallet and made sure to focus his award winning smile towards her, “I’m sorry. Life’s delightfulness overwhelmed me for a moment.” The driver snorted in either disgust or actual illness as Gary deposited two dollars and walked down the aisle to search for a seat, which he found next to a sleeping construction worker. Gary took it after making sure that the man was asleep, and sat there, still beaming his amazing pearl white grin among the other despondent urban workers. After a while, the construction worker awoke. “What the hell!” the man erupted, “Who said you could sit here?” Gary maintained his composure, as always, and turned towards him. “What!?” shouted the construction worker at Gary. Gary continued to stare at him with a cheerful grin and empty eyes. “Get the hell away from me already!” roared the man. Gary kept his expression and remained silent, continuing to grin widely at his newfound companion. “Stop that! What the hell is wrong with you?” At this point the construction worker’s anger gave way to fear, “Stop making that face at me. I’ll kill you!” Gary had stopped blinking, and his shining visage had now reduced the construction from shouting threats to whimpering curses under his breath. Finally, the man could take no more. Breathing heavily, the construction worker pushed Gary to the side and moved to another seat. Gary sighed contently. No one could ever disobey his award winning grin. It truly was a god given gift.

The bus came to a stop near a worn down apartment complex. Gary nodded at the now half asleep bus driver as he got off and marvelled at the window he knew belonged to his room. Unlike the other windows, which were cracked and dirty, his window was immaculately clean and seemed to shine just like Gary’s pearly white teeth. Although he was of considerable girth, Gary skipped up the stairs with almost childlike lightness of being and reached his apartment on the fifth floor without any physical strain. After unlocking the door and entering his room, he dusted himself off, and then proceeded to rub himself with hand sanitizer from head to toe before taking a shower. If there was one thing Gary loved more than used cars, it was cleanliness. Gary took upon himself not only to make sure that all of his personal belongings were spotless, and also cleaned every used car he sold before presenting it. He had memorized every car air freshener scent from every brand and had one of each in his own apartment, organized alphabetically and strung amongst the walls like Christmas lights. Christmas, Gary thought as he realized the similarity, Christmas was when he decided to become a used car salesman.

It was the twenty-fourth of December, and a six year old Gary sneaked out of bed and hid in a closet in the hopes of seeing Santa Claus. He had been waiting for several hours, and had fallen asleep when he was awoken by a loud thud, and ended up sitting terrified in the closet as he watched a rather well dressed yet somehow scruffy man stand over his mother in a frenzied triumph. “Wh*re!” screamed the assailant in an unnatural tone, “Dirty wh*re! Get your sh*tty ass up, Now!” Gary’s mother, covered in bruises, caked blood, and tears, laid quivering on the floor. “Dirty Wh*re!” was repeated for emphasis, and after locating a cheap plastic jar, the man shattered it to pieces and took the money previously contained within it. The front door to the apartment was slammed shut, indicating that the attacker had left. Gary crept out of the closet. “Gary...” his mother murmured weakly, “Gary...no...” in a useless attempt to assuage his curiosity as Gary opened the door and began his pursuit. He found the man in a nearby alleyway fumbling with his car keys as he tried to quickly leave. Upon seeing him, Gary let out an unnatural yell out of both fear and anger. The man rushed over, using one brutish hand to grab Gary by the lips. “Shut the f*** up!” He hissed, “I’ll f**king kill you, you little s***!” Gary sputtered out a large gob of spit and escaped from the man’s grasp. “You hurt my mom! Why were you hurting my mom?” Gary blubbered noisily as his face covered with snot and tears. The man, panicking, stuck his hand into his pocket and pulled out a hundred dollar bill. “Will this shut you up?” the man offered. Gary stopped crying and gazed at the slip of paper. “Is that...” Gary wondered out loud as he began to calm down, “Is that a hundred dollars?” “I knew you weren’t retarded.” The man’s countenance changed from hostile to a sympathetic glow. “If you let me go, it’ll be all yours.” “Really? I’ve never seen so much money in my life!” “You want it?” Gary eagerly grabbed the bill and held it with astonished glee in his hands. The man patted Gary on the head, and then opened the car door. “Wait!” Gary cried out. “How did you get so much money? What’s your job?” The man paused, glanced in the direction of the apartment Gary and his mother lived, and a wide smile spread over his face.

“I’m a...used car salesman.”

“I wanna be a used car salesman!” Gary shouted after him, though he was cut off by the car speeding away. When Gary’s mother regained conscious, she found Gary in the doorway, still mesmerized by the hundred dollar bill in his hands “Look mommy!” Gary proudly proclaimed, “I got this from the used car salesman!” “Used car salesman?” Gary’s mother repeated confusedly, “Used car sales-” Her eyes grew livid and she ripped the currency from Gary’s hands, and Gary began to cry. “Gary!” his mother began to scold, “I don’t want you taking money from men like him! That’s very bad!” “Give it back!” Gary shrieked, “Give it back!” “No Gary!” His mother stood firm as she ripped the hundred dollar bill apart in front of Gary’s terrified eyes. In response, a helpless Gary turned his face upward and began to yell at the top of his voice: “Dirty wh*re! Dirty wh*re!” Gary’s mother’s face grew blank. “Dirty wh*re! Dirty wh*re!” Gary’s mother seized him by the hair and began to beat him, only inciting Gary to scream louder. “Dirty wh*re! Dirty wh*re!” Gary’s mother made an unintelligible noise, and began to roughly pull him towards the bathroom. “Dirty wh*re!” Gary defiantly continued to parrot, as he soon found himself face to face with the mildew stained tiles of his bathroom floor. Gary felt a sharp kick in his backside and fell over, and heard the door lock behind him. He continued to cry out in the dark for several hours before he finally fell asleep.

Still staring at the ornamental air fresheners, Gary’s smile seemed to fade. But all at once it brightened once more. That was no big matter, he thought. He had gotten out of that bathroom, he had left behind that life and there was nothing more to look forward to than to be the cleanest, most persuasive award winning used car salesman.



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