Tuesday night I came home to two rowdy dogs, as is my typical work week. Dax (the well behaved one) went out and sniffed his favorite bush just as two people I had never seen before turned to walk down our cul-de-sac . I called Dax back into the house because while he is the well behaved one he isn’t an angel.
After I got settled into the house and began preparing dinner I saw the two people again, on the other side of the street going door to door talking to people. I hoped beyond hope that I would not be summoned and of course that was too much to ask.
Over an hour had passed since I saw the people and I really thought they had gone home, alas they were burning the midnight oil. When my doorbell rang the dogs began barking like two tiny Cujo’s, so scary. I went to a block party meeting a few months ago and this cop told us the importance of answering our door so robbers don’t think no one is home… it just escalates the situation. So against my better judgment I answered the door.
The dogs continued barking over the girl’s speech about kids, and helping kids, and trying to win a prize to go to Alaska (or something), the guy she was with didn’t say a word. He was tall with a tummy like Santa Claus, but he couldn’t have been more than 17 years old. ”If you want to help out today we would really appreciate it.” She said cheerily.
“Fine, what do I have to do?” I said without emotion.
“Well you sign up for a magazine you might want and then we get points from that.”
For some unknown reason I thought they could get points just for talking to me. I was wrong. So they convince me to come outside to get away from the Cujo’s and talk about nonsense while I pretended to look at magazines, all the while trying to outsmart them and get away without paying a cent.
“You can also sponsor kids; we will send magazines to them instead.” She said excitedly.
That made much more sense to me “How much will that cost?”
“Well, it depends on the magazines you get so just pick four and you can pick how many, if any, you want to do.”
So I pick four, she writes down the price after informing me that I would be sponsoring over thirty kids. $62, $65, $70, and $66 for a grand total of $263 … I … don’t …. think… so!!!!!!!!
“I cannot afford this.”
Then the guy started talking nonsense about words I said. He would just latch onto words and tell me stories pertaining to those words. Oh are we bonding or are you crazy?
“You can give us cash.” She suggested as she pulled out her wallet over flowing with money. “Any amount you want… $20, $25, $30… whatever you want to give us AND if you pay us we will give you a bug off sticker to tell all the other kids that are in this contest to leave you alone.”
“I will give you $20.” I turned to walk away when my nostrils inundated with the smell of weed. I rushed upstairs, dogs still barking, grabbed a twenty then back outside.
“Make her the bug off sticker!” The girl said stuffing my $20 into her wallet.
He wrote on the sticker and began to pull it off, but it wouldn’t come off.
“What are you doing?” She asked, then looked down at his work “Dude, you wrote that on the wrong side!”
“NO WAY… I DID NOT!”
A horrible thought rushed over me: my God I have funded two children’s drug habit, and so have all the people that gave them money before me.
She rewrote it and I put the sticker up on my door, not to tell the other people that clearly don’t exist in this “competition” to go away, but to remind myself of what happens when I answer the door for strangers. I really hope I am wrong about them; hope it was just the smell that comes from my neighbors house every once in a while, but I really don’t think it was.