The Trampoline Salesman [short story]

Story by Craig Boehman

5,400 words

Buck White’s favorite saying was, I’m going out on top, Jack! He wore a gray flannel

suit with cuff links, white shirt, and red tie. Sometimes he wore a matching hat,

sometimes not. The word from the bird was he was stuck in the 1950’s.

Buck White was a trampoline salesman at Flyboy Machines. He had it made in the

shade these last fourteen years, number one in sales since he hit the streets at age twenty.

He sold his future boss a trampoline before he even got the job. That was his interview.

His boss had remarked, “That’s one crazy son-of-a-bitch. He’s a walking commercial;

never seen anything like it. The kid’s a goddamned machine!”

Buck White was one-of-a-kind. His heels were always on fire, Jack. He preferred the

hustle and bustle of going door-to-door and closing the sale with a toothy smile and a

lightning quick handshake. “Thanks for choosing Flyboy Machines,” he’d say. “Your

little ones will have a blast.” He’d turn away and douse his gums with a shot from the

flask. He’d split with an offbeat comment like, “Think fast, wet rag.” Sometimes they

heard him, sometimes not. If they did, they had no idea what he was talking about. His

kind of talk was radioactive half a century ago.

One more sale, he told himself. The mirror smiled back at him. He rinsed his face and

dropped his hat on the floor. He performed the Fred Astaire trick he learned as a kid. He

kicked it up into his hand and plopped it down stylishly onto his jelly roll. He spun

around and tapped out a snazzy rhythm. “Time to get kookie,” the mirror told him. “Time

to meet or beat Roger Allen.”

Roger Allen was a slug. He slimed around all day at the big outlet stores next to the

bikes and punching bags and assorted workout equipment. His post was a cheap fourteen

footer trampoline on which he occasionally bounced without enthusiasm. It didn’t matter.

The kids couldn’t miss the three-hundred pound behemoth making animal noises. The

worst one was his monkey call. They could hear him all the way over in the women’s

undergarment section. Mothers lost their children then. They lost their little squids to a

two-bit sharpie that wore adult diapers that could withstand up to twenty-five times their

dry-weight, water-proofed with polypropylene backing. The man was a cheat and a

fraud. His diseased heart wouldn’t last two houses going door-to-door, Buck White

concluded. The perennial stench of the man’s britches should earn him a diaper change

by adult-protective services. Buck White hated Roger Allen. His kind was about

depreciation. His kind had no work ethic. His kind was taking over and Buck White

resented it.

Roger Allen, just one sale ahead of Buck White—only two hours left in the entire sales


“Meet or beat Roger Allen,” the mirror repeated.

Something had been nagging at him for several years—623 Sycamore Drive. “Put it

out of your mind, Bucky boy,” Buck White said. “Fertile grounds across town. Twenty

nine sales last week, all high-end stuff.”

“You’ve got just two hours,” the mirror reminded him.

Buck White always knew the time.

The van could be loaded with a couple kits and he’d be across town in twenty. He’d

have time for two visits tops. Trampoline sales took time. Buck White had all the skill

sets of a highly effective salesman. He also had a few tricks of his own, the kind they

don’t teach you at sales training seminars. He didn’t like speaking to customers through

screen doors. He didn’t like standing on the front porch. Talking to each other like real

human beings could be accomplished within the confines of the home. Buck White’s

policy was when the door was answered he’d just go right in. And by-and-large, they let

him do just that. So many people just letting him walk right by and into their homes like

they were trained that way. More often than not, Buck White would be inside the home of

his customers before they knew his name. Like they were trained. The same way

television commercials were uninvited. It took training and plenty of it. Most consumers

were trained real good. Commercials on, inhibitions off. Commercials were consumer’s

two-dimensional houseguests. They told them when it was time to buy. And they never

went away. Buck White was a human being. He wasn’t a walking commercial like his

boss said. That was where the lines were blurred. Buck White would leave.

He packed the van with a cheap twelve-footer and a deluxe, 16-foot Sky Lark. He still

wasn’t sure where he was going to go. Next door, at 623 Sycamore Drive, somebody was

home. A suburban was in the driveway. He thought he heard children.

Buck White shut the van door, took a shot from the flask.

To compete against commercials and slugs, he had another survival tool at his

disposal. This trick was never taught at sales seminars or business schools. It was only

taught at the Buck White Door-To-Door University. He adopted a tactic from his

adversary, The Commercial—

Stay until they change the channel.

Professor White would have taught his students that the Golden Rule of Sales is to stay

until they change the channel. When all the students would raise their hands, he would

call on the biggest troublemaker to satisfy everyone’s sadistic urge to protest a new way

of doing things. “Johnny Smart-Ass, you have a question?”

“Stay until they change the channel? You’re not supposed to piss people off, Professor

White,” he’d say. “What if they don’t want your cruddy trampolines? You’re supposed to

move on and sell to someone who is receptive,” Johnny Smart-Ass would say. “You gotta

be pragmatic.” The students would all agree, nodding their heads.

“Wrong, wrong, wrong! Mister Smart-Ass,” Professor White would begin. “If you

want to be pragmatic, you make the sale the first time around. You stay until they change

the channel! You want to be a slug like Roger Allen? You want to end up a writer of

commercials? Make the sale at door number one.” Professor White spelled it out for

them, Jack:

Do not leave a home until you hear something like, ‘I’m calling the cops if you don’t

leave.’ Or something like, ‘If you don’t leave I’m going to kick your ass.’ There are

endless variations, but the keywords are ‘cops’, ‘kill’, and ‘kick’. There are subsets for

cops, such as ‘call’, ‘police’, and ‘9-1-1’. For kill, one could safely include ‘murder’,

‘mutilate’, ‘blast’, ‘shoot’, and ‘destroy’. And for kick there were also words like ‘beat’,

‘punch’, ‘bash’, and ‘fuck-you-up’. The general rule is if there are weapons pulled or any

of the key words spoken, then it’s time to move on.

If you heard, ‘I think you should leave now’ or ‘please leave my home’, then it doesn’t

count. Neither does ‘get out of my house’ or ‘get the fuck out’. There were always gray

areas. Once Buck White entered a very large man’s home. The man didn’t say anything

until the salesman finished his spiel. He stared at Buck White with a homicidal look and

said, “Suck my cock, freak show.” Buck White considered the channel changed. He

learned that the threat of cops and bodily harm were the only reasons for leaving a home.

Anything else meant, ‘please tell me more about Flyboy Machines trampolines, Buck


They don’t teach you these things in sales seminars. They also don’t teach you that

commercials killed the door-to-door salesman. Commercials were more offensive than an

army of Buck Whites. Commercials never leave.

Homeowners at 623 Sycamore Drive never stayed very long. Why is anybody’s guess.

Two years was usually the tops. This was right next door to Buck White, understand. The

only home on the block without a trampoline in the backyard collecting a layer of crud.

Buck White had never sold a trampoline to any of the residents at this address. The

closest he had come was when a bunch of stoner-bubs lived there. A young man had

answered the door. He tried to shield his bloodshot eyes from the sunlight. Buck White

helped him out by stepping inside and closing the door. “Let me shut the door for you,

neighbor. I live next door and I noticed from the alley you were the only home on my

block without a trampoline,” Buck White said. The smell of cannabis filled the air. “My

name is Buck White. I sell trampolines for Flyboy Machines.”

“Umm, yeah,” said the stoned man.

Buck White helped the man into the living room where the others were. They were all

stoned beyond stupidity. He did his presentation without interruption. When he was

finished he asked for the sale. No one responded. Maybe they couldn’t respond. One of

them finally muttered, “We don’t want any trampolines.”

“I’m not feeling that here,” Buck White beamed with delight. “I’m feeling a room full

of enthusiastic bouncers!”

“Trampolines are for kids,” A girl told him.

He knew what she really meant. Tell me more about Flyboy Machines trampolines,

Buck White.

Buck White spelled it out for them in plain English. He told them he believed

marijuana was still illegal. He explained to them they weren’t going to call the cops. His

second point was that none of them were physically capable of removing him from their

stoner-bub dwelling, totally incapable of harming him for that matter. Too stoned to shit.

His final point was they were stuck with Buck White for the duration of the day and

possibly into the wee morning hours, so no more movies, musings, or sitting around

taking up space. Buck White would be talking. Buck White was going to be their shaman

on an all-night ride through the trips and munchies. Trampoline talk only, thank you very

much. Who wants one, Jack?

Technically speaking, no goods or services were exchanged that day at 623 Sycamore

Drive. And for his hour-plus visit, no trampolines were purchased. Instead, a collection

plate in the form of an empty nachos bowl was passed around the group. The stoner-bubs

emptied their wallets and purses. The fundraiser took in one-hundred and twenty-three

bucks. The compromise was to pay him to leave. Buck White was a reasonable man.

“You got off easy,” he said at the door. “In the next hour you’ll be brainwashed by some

commercial. It could be the one about that grossly oversized burger. It could be about a

car, a technical college ad, or adult diapers. It could be about the latest pizza special. This

special commercial—whatever it may be—will infect you. Get right underneath your

skin. You’re all brainwashed cattle with disposable incomes.”

They had nothing to say to any of that.

“Think fast, wet rags.”

This was right next door.

And that was the closest he had come to selling a trampoline to a resident of 623

Sycamore Drive. Close doesn’t cut it, Jack.

There were too many commercials.

There were too many Roger Allens in the world.

0 for 9.

First attempt was with an elderly couple. The husband could barely hear him. Clutched. Second attempt with some white supremists, also clutched. Junky, dropout,

drifter, fugitive—clutched, clutched, clutched, and clutched. Another junky, clutched.

There was the delusional woman who believed she was abducted by aliens she called

Grays. These aliens were small like midgets with long, twisty penises. She was fucked in

zero-gravity every night aboard a flying saucer. She didn’t need any trampoline.

Clutched. The stoner-bubs paid him to leave. Close, but no cigar. Clutched. Clutched to

the ninth degree. The word from the bird was Buck White couldn’t crack 623 Sycamore

Drive. This was right next door.

“I’m going out on top, Jack!” shouted Buck White. He put the van in gear, passed the

suburban in the driveway to get a better view into his neighbor’s home. The shades were up. The glow of a television set. Shadows of moving bodies. Somebody was home,


He took a very long swig from the flask. Jack Daniel was his motivational speaker.

“Take a right at the next right and go back,” Jack Daniel said. “Crack 623 Sycamore

Drive and meet or beat Roger Allen. Two victories, one trampoline, Jack!”

The van took a right at the next light. It sped down the road and banked sharply into

the alley. Buck White yelped like a coyote. He drove past four homes with trampolines in

the backyards. Kids were never seen on them. Only the footprints of trespassing squirrels

and cats. Sometimes critters left little chocolate surprises. Leaves and dust also collected

atop these abandoned Flyboy Machines. But that was okay. Someone would come along

and clean it all off with a garden hose every Sunday. That was the kind of neighborhood

this was. It was straight out of a commercial for everyday people in everyday middle class


He parked the van, unloaded and assembled the 16-foot Sky Lark trampoline in the

backyard. No one took any notice.

No one was answering. Buck White could hear the television blaring inside. He tried

the door and found it unlocked. This was no different than seeing a welcome mat. Inside

he went. “This is your neighbor next door, Buck White.” No reply.

In the living room, a woman in her thirties, slack-jawed, gaped at one of those reality

shows. Her children, a boy and a girl of some nondescript age, were typing away on their

laptops. They didn’t notice Buck White standing in the room.

“Hello,” Buck White said.

“Hi,” they all mumbled.

“I’m your neighbor, Buck White. Your door was open. Thought I’d make sure

everything was okay.”

“My realities,” the woman said.

Only it was a commercial now for shampoo. The woman ran her fingers through her

hair. She couldn’t look away from the commercial woman lathering up her commercial

hair in the commercial shower.

The young boy looked up. “Aren’t you the guy who sells trampolines?”

Buck White smiled. “Would you like to see one?”

“I guess,” said the boy.

“Can I show your kids the best trampoline in the whole wide world, miss?” It wasn’t a

question coming from Buck White. It was a declaration.

“My realities,” said the woman.

“But mommmmm,” began the little girl. “I’m chatting online with Amanda!”

The Internet was Buck White’s enemy.

“My realities,” repeated the woman.

Buck White was all about problem solving. “Why don’t you kids bring your laptops

with you? I’ll show you what a blast trampolines are.”

The little girl looks to her unresponsive mother then to her brother. “But I can’t get a

signal out there!”

The little boy said, “Yeah you can. You just gotta sit by the barbeque grill.”

That settled the matter. The kids followed Buck White into the backyard. The Sky Lark

trampoline should have inspired awe. This was one of Flyboy Machines’ top-of-the-line

models. You could have a birthday party on that thing. The safety net around the unit was

seven feet tall to keep the little ones safe. The vinyl pad was black with sleek geometric

shapes etched into it. It was out of sight, Jack! There were two-hundred springs (most in

the industry) which made up Flyboy Machines patented shock-absorption system. It

could be tuned to a single individual weight of one Roger Allen or to a combined weight

of up to one-thousand pounds.

The kids looked it over, big so-what expressions written all over their faces.

“Mom’s not going to like that in the backyard. She has her reality parties out there,”

said the little girl. She took her laptop to the grill and tried to pickup the internet again.

The boy was more receptive. “Is it ours to keep?”

The boy was in the bag. The girl needed convincing. Then there was mother to deal

with, Buck White’s real challenge. She’d be the one writing the check today.

“Let’s go check it out! What do you say?”

“Okay,” said the boy. He followed Buck White over to the best trampoline in the

whole wide world. They bounced together like father and son. Or at least like uncle and


“Isn’t this a blast?” asked Buck White.

“Yeah,” said the boy.

The trampoline salesman needed two yeahs and one check made out to Flyboy

Machines, Jack.

The girl set up a webcam on the grill. She talked to her friend that way—through a

cheap camera. Buck White cringed.

But then the Bright Idea Light went ON.

“Watch this.” Buck White jumped up real high and did a perfect flip. That was about

all he could do on a trampoline. One trick executed like a gymnast sticking the perfect

landing on the dismount was better than a bag of stunts done half-assed. The boy’s eyes

got wide. “Go ahead, give it a try!”

The boy tried to mimic the stunt but landed on his back.

“Think fast, wet rag!” Buck White laughed. “What’s your name, son?”

“Noel,” said the boy.

“What’s your sister’s name, son?”

“Nikki,” said the boy.

“Keep trying, son. Takes a little practice. I know you can do it, son.”

It was time to take charge. Time and lack thereof called for Buck White to become a

surrogate daddy—Papa Squid.

A papa squid gulp from the flask.

Sell to the parents. Know the parents. Sell to the parents. What do they want? Find it

and deliver it. People don’t buy goods. They buy dreams. They buy delusions. They buy

their own chrome-plated realities. And the mama squid on the couch in there needed a

reality show starring her two little squids.

“Hey!” cried the little girl squid. Papa Squid had unfastened the webcam from the grill

and repositioned it to face the trampoline.

“Nikki,” Papa Squid said. “I want to show mommy you and your brother having a

good time on your new trampoline. We’ll call it the Nikki and Noel Show! What do you

say, little miss?”

“I was talking to Amanda!” she protested.

“I’ll give you twenty dollars.” Buck White needed her vote.

“Twenty dollars?” she asked.

“Make it fifty.” Papa Squid pulled out his wallet. “Go bounce with your brother and

I’ll give it to you. But don’t tell him. Our secret, little miss.”

“Okay,” she said. She joined her brother on the trampoline and they bounced together

like regular little squids. None of this real gone, talking to cameras crap. Noel attempted

flips and Nikki attempted being happy for money. Buck White gave the little squids a big

thumbs up. He whistled the theme to the Andy Griffith Show as the squids bounced

enthusiastically for the camera. The check was as good as his.

“That’s a wrap!” Buck White announced.

The little girl ran to the couch and deposited the laptop on her mother’s lap. “Look!

Look!” The little girl said. “It’s the Nikki and Noel Show!”

Buck White stood with the boy behind the couch. “Good job, son.” He ruffled the

boy’s hair.

The woman’s phone was pressed against her head. “The line’s been disconnected!”

She exclaimed. “I want to vote Jake off the show! He’s such a perve!”

Sadly, Buck White knew what was going on. The woman was watching a rerun of a

reality show. The number flashing on the screen—disconnected years ago. Reality as a

Rerun, brought to you by Crappy Baby Formula and Bung-Be-Beautiful Soap.

The girl played the footage. But her mother’s preoccupation with voting Jake-the

Perve off the show was getting in the way of Buck White’s last sale of the year. So he

explained to her what the deal was, the whole Unabridged Deal. He talked mostly about

commercials, how commercials were never the same in reruns. He could tell it was a

rerun because daytime commercials were geared towards mama squids, the jobless, and

society’s losers at large. Then came the network news. Then the pharmaceutical

companies took over and peddled their pills to the largely geriatric crowd. Car ads were

big too, during news time. Buck White listed the commercials she’d already seen, ads for

baby formula, diapers, hair care products, technical college ads, feminine hygiene and

cleaning supplies. Soap. If she wanted to see ‘current’ reality shows, Buck White

explained, she’d have to send a clear signal to Corporate America—no more cash from

the cow until they put something better on the idiot box, Jack! Everyone had to stop

buying. Politicians don’t make policy. Corporations do. Corporations have their ears to

the ground. They really listen to their consumers. So she needed to quit fussing about

which joker was on the ballot and quit buying products on TV. Flat-out say no more,

Jack! Quit buying products advertised in newspapers, magazines, billboards, and the

Internet. Quit buying period. That would bring all the bullshit to a stop real quick.

“Consumers buy the goods that leaders come to serve,” Buck White added after

consulting with the flask. Democracy was failing fast and consumers had to reign in the

horses, to reclaim what used to be their birthright. Commercials were killing consumers

in far away lands fighting wars to power gas-sucking chariots. When all along, the enemy

was the consumer. Consumers blamed everybody and anyone but themselves. The Arabs,

big oil, automakers, the government, the liberal media, the conservative conspiracy,

terrorists. They were all scapegoats for the way the world was. Politicians fanned the

flames, the elected ones. The voices of the consumer for the consumer. In order to form a

more perfect something-rather. Any politician worth his weight in lies had those lying

lips of his wrapped around the shaft of some exhaust pipe. Oil in, oil out. Oil in, oil out,

Jack. The consumer has spoken, so let it be heard. Commercials, the biggest little snuff

movies ever made. Commercials, killing off humanity one bullet, one bomb, and one

breath at a time. Mass-suicide by mass-consumption. One way or another, commercials

would eventually kill us all.

Commercials already killed the door-to-door salesman.

The woman listened to Buck White’s sermon in sulky silence.

Buck White’s footage of The Best Trampoline Action in the Whole Wide World,

starring Nikki and Noel, failed to impress mama squid. “This,” she said, “This is in my

backyard!” She got up and headed from the room past her squid son and the trampoline


“I want my fifty bucks,” said the little girl squid. Buck White only had five bucks. He

offered it to her.

“Five now, forty-five more when your mama cuts the check.”

“But you said!” protested the little girl squid.

“You’ve got twenty minutes to close the deal,” said Jack Daniels.

4:40 PM.

Buck White always knew the time.

Roger Allen was about to dethrone him as top salesman. That slug that did nothing but

slime around all day in adult diapers making monkey noises to summon all the little


The Roger Allens of the world were consumers of the fast-food chains. Commercials,

his menus. Heart disease was the number one killer of consumers. That’s okay because

commercials showed you how to lose weight. Commercials told you how to trim those

thighs and firm those buns, Jack. Roger Allens don’t care much for that. Too much work,

Jack. Roger Allens preferred drugs to straighten out their medical conditions. Roger

Allens preferred adult diapers because there never was a toilet close enough. There never

was a TV-equipped electric chair fast enough to get to the bathroom.

Buck White consulted with Jack Daniels and told the little girl squid that she had better

get with the program, go find mama squid’s checkbook real pronto-like.

The deal was falling apart before his eyes. The woman out in the backyard, she

screamed like a demon. She kicked up grass at the trampoline like it was an umpire who

just made a bad call at home plate. Real dramatic-like she asked the sky, how could

anyone be so thoughtless? Whoever set this piece of trash up was trespassing, she

shrieked. She never looked at Buck White during her meltdown. She just ran around the

backyard bellowing questions at what she must have thought were hidden cameras. She

pleaded her case to her TV audience. She had her own reality show now. She went to a

shrub where another hidden camera was, her face all distorted with her mama squid

anger. The network would have to bleep out all her cuss words.

Cutting to commercial, Buck White would be there. He’d hold up the latest anti

depressant for the camera, Aren’t You Fucked Now, Jack? No question about it. 4:53

PM. Seven minutes to lift off to Planet Second Place. He didn’t want to be the one to pass

the torch to Roger Allen and his kind. No, that wouldn’t be happening today on his

watch. No sir, Jack.

The little girl squid brought him the checkbook. “Good girl,” Buck White said. He

looked through the woman’s statements. She didn’t have enough in her account. She was

some five-hundred short. “Pen?” Buck White asked. He filled out the check to Flyboy

Machines for the amount of fourteen-hundred bucks and forged the woman’s signature

the best he could.

“I want my forty-five dollars!” said the little voice. Buck White looked down at her.

He had to make this quick. The crazy lady in the yard didn’t need to be involved in these


“Hold on,” said Buck White. He tore out his check and pocketed it. He filled out

another one. “What’s your last name, little one?”

“Baker,” she said.

“Baker,” Buck White confirmed. He filled it out just as those hidden cameras turned on

him. The consumers in TV Land would have seen a big 4:55:26 timer clock underneath a

medium shot of Buck White forging that last check. The mama squid had Buck White in

her sights now.

“What are you doing?” she said.

Buck White looked around like he didn’t know a thing. And then he tossed the

checkbook up on the roof.

“What was that! What in the hell was that!” screamed the woman. She was upon him

like a wolverine in heat. She jabbed him. She pushed him. She hit at him. “Was that my

checkbook, asshole?” She saw the check in her daughter’s hand and snatched it away.

Without another word, she ducked back inside.

The little girl squid begun to cry. It was time to go. Another rule Buck White would

consider for future curriculum at Buck White University—GET THE CHECKBOOK,


4:58:15 PM.

Roger Allen would have to wait until next year to be the sole number-one cheese. All

that was left to do was call his sale in to headquarters. He was on his cell as he made for

the alley. Buck White told his boss about the sale. Boss said he would check the ledgers

to confirm his first-place status. “Just a second,” his boss said.

5:00:42 PM.

The year was over. Buck White wondered if it would ever end. This would be his last year. It was time to move on to greener pastures, wherever they may be. “I’m going out on top, Jack!” Buck White said.

“ASSHOLE!” said a voice. It was the woman. He could feel the hidden cameras on

him now. Down on the gate latch there was a hidden camera somewhere. It read his face.

It told the TV audience that he already had all he needed and telling off this woman

would be his final finale. Buck White turned to face the woman. “Bring back my check,”

she said. Her little squids stood behind her, both crying up a storm. Mama squid had a

shotgun in her hands. “How dare you steal from us! How dare you! You’re on private

property, asshole!”

“Bucky boy,” a voice said from his phone. “Bucky boy?”

“Yeah?” said Buck White.

“Bring my check over here now!” she screamed.

“What’s going on over there, Bucky boy?” said his boss.

“Tell me I’m on top, boss.” said Buck White.

“Now!” screamed the woman. Buck White approached her.

“You’re tied with Roger Allen, Bucky boy.” said his boss. “I don’t know how you did

it. But you tied him. All you need to do is bring that check in, Bucky boy. Bring it in,

Jack! I’ll pour us a martini. You’re one crazy S.O.B! A goddamned walking commercial!

Did I ever tell you that, Bucky boy? You’re a goddamned walking commercial!” his boss


Buck White resented the comment but let it slide. He had a shotgun pointed at him.

“Put that phone away and give me my check,” said the woman. Buck White put his

phone away. The woman regained her composure for her close-up shot. She had a slight

grin on her face. She was in control now and she wanted her TV audience to know it.

“I threw it on the roof,” Buck White said.

“You’re going to go up there and get it down for me now, aren’t you?” said the


“Sure,” said Buck White. What else could he do? But once on the roof he’d make a run

for it. He’d toss the checkbook down. He’d make his getaway across the roof, out and

down through the front yard. He’d run around the block and call a cab.

The woman pointed to a ladder. Buck White went over and leaned it against the rain

gutter. “You try running and I’ll blast you,” said the woman. “You’re nothing but a

robber up there with my checkbook. That’s what I’d tell the cops.”

She had uttered two keywords, ‘cops’ and ‘blast’. And she had her boom-stick to back

them up. It was get-the-hell-out-of-there time. Buck White found the checkbook on the

faded shingles. He lifted it up for the woman to see.

“Put it in your front pocket,” she said.

This was not what Buck White wanted to do. He expected her to have him toss it

down. That was when he’d make his escape. She wanted the evidence planted on him.

She wanted to turn him in with the goods. She wasn’t as dumb as she looked.

“Now!” screamed the woman.

“I’m going out on top, Jack.” said Buck White.

She pulled back the hammer of the shotgun.

He flung the checkbook way out into the sky. It fluttered away like a bat with rabies.

“Think fast, wet rag!” shouted Buck White.

Buck White had to reconstruct the slow-motion footage of what happened next in his

mind. After the fact. It must have happened something like this. First, Buck White turned.

Next was the shotgun blast. Then came the pain and the collective gasp from the TV

audience. Then came Buck White hitting the roof hard. He must have come rolling down,

rolling right over the rain gutter. He hit the barbeque grill square on. That would explain

the smell of burnt charcoal all over him. Now he laid part way on the concrete patio, part

way on the lawn. There was pain. Plenty of that. And there was blood. Then a funny

thought occurred to Buck White as he laid there, dying. If a child bounced on a Flyboy

Machines trampoline in the middle of a forest with nobody around, would anyone care?

Buck White had to laugh.

The woman had retrieved the bloody check from his pocket. She stood there looking at

it in the afternoon sunshine. “I get paid tomorrow,” she said. “I’ll cover the check.” She

looked down at Buck White with a big grin. “I better rewrite it. It’s forged and all bloody.

Guess what I’m going to do, Buck White? Can you guess?”

“Call an ambulance?” Buck White said.

The woman just laughed. She instructed her little Nikki squid to get her camera. She

wanted shots of the trampoline. She wanted shots of the bloody check. And she wanted

plenty of shots of the dying door-to-door salesman, Buck White. She had plans for

everything, she told him. There were auction sites on the internet, oh yes. Someone

would pay her dearly for what she called ‘death merchandise’.

Another big little snuff movie, Buck White thought. Another commercial for some

consumer somewhere. He had no doubt someone would buy that trampoline again.

Perhaps in heaven they’d give him credit for two sales. Maybe he’d be the sole number

one dog at Flyboy Machines, after all. He’d plead his case to someone.

But for now, it was time for Buck White to leave. They had changed his channel.

And unlike commercials, Buck White would always leave, Jack.

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