I wrote this version of the story, then had it critiqued. I have since fixed all of the grammatical errors, but I am still in the process of rewriting it. The new story will be very different, but I like this version (and this is the version that was adapted to film), so I am posting the version of the story with fixed language, but imperfect plot. Afterwards, I will post the video. Without further ado-
Bang Bang Bible Salesman
Knock knock knock.
A pause, then another knock knock knock.
The door opened wide enough for a plain-looking woman to look out of her suburban North Carolina home at the plain-faced man on her front porch and the briefcase that rested between his long legs. He wore a black suit with a white shirt and a too-perfect bowtie, all underneath a black bowler hat.
“Hullo, miss. I trust you are having a good day. What might I call you? How are the kids doing, if you don’t mind me asking?” The Bang-Bang Bible Salesman removed his hat with his left hand, revealing a large bald spot on the left side of his head, while at the same time he extended his right hand across the door’s threshold. The woman assumed she was supposed to grab a hold of it and shake it, and so she did, with a considerable amount of anxiety and suppressed aversion.
“I guess I am… I’m Catherine. The kids are fine… how did you know I had kids? Are—Are you trying to sell me something?” Her thoughts were divided between her two children playing upstairs and the best strategy to get this man off of her porch as soon as possible.
“I sure am! I have a nice set of Bibles here and I’m just sure you’ll be interested.”
“Oh! No, thank you, we already have one or two in the study,” she gestured with her arm towards the bookshelf in the nearest room. “And besides— we really aren’t the praying type in this house. Thank—”
“Perhaps your husband is home?” he forced, trying to keep the conversation rolling. He would not be leaving this home until they owned another Bible. One of his.
“No, he’s—no, please, I have a lot I’m trying to do today, okay? Good luck with your sale!” She sighed as she closed the door, or at least she tried to close the door. It stopped about four inches from the frame. She looked down. A black loafer impeded the door’s trajectory.
Suddenly, the man’s clean-shaven jaw thrusted its way into the room.
“Really, Catherine, you’re going to love them, I know it. Just take a look!”
“I’m really, really not comfortable with any of this, I—” She struggled to catch the opened briefcase that he pressed into her stomach, with his arm underneath, apparently doing some kind of awkward holding maneuver. The case was full of Bibles. Bibles of varying sizes and colors, some brand new, some deteriorating and probably antiques. Still, none interested her and she was not one to be pressured into a purchase.
“This is a very nice collection, sir, but I am afraid I’m not interested.” She extended her arms away from her, hoping that he would receive the case and turn out the door, but in moving it she only uncovered what he had been holding underneath. A Colt .45 revolver hung firm from his arm. Catherine shuddered in fear, and her astonishment glued her hands to the case. She looked up into his blank face and back down at the barrel.
“You’ll notice some of my products are much newer than others— they’re hot off the press!” He never took his eyes off hers.
“Uh— oh Lord help me.” Catherine was rooted to the spot. Every muscle in her body was flexed tight, and her mind couldn’t fathom an escape— all of her ideas felt like they were crashing together before they could complete themselves.
“Yes! Yes, see? Now you understand. The Lord is here to help. And I can see from the look on your face— it’s a look I see quite often with my customers, indecision manifested— that you could use a little help deciding. Let me guess, you want them all! Ha-ha!” The corners of his mouth pulled back and his eyebrows rose, but what happened to his face was anything but a smile. “Perhaps… perhaps that new red King James? I picked it up only this morning. How does, oh, twenty-five dollars sound? Quite the deal, I’d say.”
Before he had finished, Catherine had already frantically removed the wallet from her back pocket. Still staring at the gun, she took all of the bills she had— she remembered there being a few twenties and a couple ones— and laid it on top of the books.
“There— There! I gave you the money! Please, leave! Please!”
“Woah there, miss! You can’t forget to take your product! The book!” He pulled the red Bible from the briefcase and, in three large steps, crossed to the bookshelf in the neighboring room. He had recognized the brown leather spine of a New American Standard from the doorway, and as he arrived at the shelf he pulled the brown book and replaced it with the red King James. With the gun still in his other hand, he approached Catherine, who had dropped her empty wallet on the floor in order to grasp the briefcase more carefully. She had decided it would be wise to not drop his case.
He inserted the New American Standard in the space left open by the King James and closed the case.
“You know, I usually charge much more for fresh books, especially first time customers,” he said as he pulled the briefcase from her arms and onto the porch, “but I give great discounts to my repeat customers, and I have that feeling in my gut that you’ll be making many purchases in the future.”
He finished, turned, and was almost off the porch before he heard the door slam behind him, followed by a scream. The new prop had taken some practice, but since he had given up the nice-guy salesman pitch, sales had gone through the roof. Of course, there had been some mistakes along the way, but he was certain that he had stomped out the kinks and the business was surefire from here.
He had a few minutes before the police arrived, if they were coming at all— definitely enough time to share his Bibles with another friendly homeowner. He arrived at the next house.