Essays — February 15, 2016 20:59 — 0 Comments

Job Tips: Selling Meat from a Truck – Paul Handley

First, get in a positive mindset. Then buy an unaffordable four dollar cup of coffee. Door-to- door salesman in our line always have a couple hundred dollars in cash to make change, so I would usually pull out a single to buy a lotto ticket along with my java. Next convert a shot in the basketball hoop installed in the warehouse with a difficulty level above five. Misses can be compensated by a weird bounce resulting in a satisfying wham into a meat-truck panel.

Another option is to drive a golf ball off an apartment in the new complex that was exhibit one and the only one so far, in the creeping gentrification, infringing on making a living in our cozy industrial park.

Next and perhaps most important, is getting stoned to deflect the dozens of various levels of no that we will receive during the day. These bricks of denial are built upon a foundation of negativity from thousands of past rejections to create an immense tower. It takes a strong psyche or lack of awareness to withstand what feels so personal because of the strong identification taken on with the product.

When a prospective customer says “we don’t buy our meat from a truck,” this is a nullification of not quite my core, but a peripheral satellite within my gravitational pull.

Although developing a positive mindset and a mind that’s too relaxed to think about putting your best foot forward appears contradictory, let’s remember that life is a complex journey.        What they both have in common is that we often listened to Scott Stapp of Creed sing about god while doing both.

Optimism is also reflected by purchasing enough cartons of frozen meat to fill the freezer on the back of the pickup with single serving, marinated, flash frozen, packs of flesh. A real go-getter would cram the freezer so tightly they would have to karate kick the door shut. The crates of meat were priced at what would be expected considering the mileage, customer convenience of doorway delivery, and psychic damage.

The number one sale’s accoutrement is the laminated, fake, comparison pricing list that we show to customers to demonstrate how much less our product is per piece compared to Sam’s, Costco and chain grocers. We never say how much the meat costs per pound, but suffice to say it was no more than average price of vintage five-year-old aged gouda.

With Creed ringing in my ears I would bust out on the road full of hope that I would be returning with an empty fridge. Heading for the residences of semi-countrified, tract housing; where a ride to a grocery store was a trip. The magic talisman was a refrigerator in a garage for extra storage. Then we knew we were gold.


Paul Handley's fiction has appeared in Gargoyle Magazine, Monkeybicycle, Gone Lawn, mojo, and Ostrich Review. He was the runner-up in the William Richey 2015 Short Fiction Contest judged by Aimee Bender.

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The answer isn't poetry, but rather language

- Richard Kenney