This is topic The Salesman (for now) in forum Character Interviews at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by wcoditwgth (Member # 10431) on :
Brief description: Mysterious would be a word to describe an amateur in his profession. Calling him mysterious would be akin to saying the Sun is like a mild flame on a matchstick. In fact, he would probably be amused at your insulting attempt to describe him, though he would still probably have you beaten for your insolence.
He has no friends, only clients and workers. He wears no mask, hood, or any sort of disguise, yet all who ever had the misfortune to meet him cannot ever recall what he looks like. Magic, fear, and a hint of wine have hidden him from people's memories.
Going by no name other than the Salesman, his lineage is unknown. When asked about his name, the only reply you would get is a smile and a wave of his hand. And that is when you should be afraid.

Short Intro:
I am the Salesman.

My clients know me as a gentleman caller who always knows what's going on in the city. My enemies think me a bastard thief, criminal, and overall low piece of life who would sell his wife for a piece of paper. And my brother calls me an idiot, fraud, and worse. I care not for their foolish impressions. I am the Salesman and I rule this city, for now and till all eternity. Heed my whispers and you may yet be worthy to work for me. Fail and you may gain my permission to die screaming after, and only after, I burn off your toes.

I am the Salesman.

(Note from author: I won't be able to reply often for him, partially because I'm fairly busy already, and second because I feel it would fit more with his calculating mind. Sorry in advance!)

(*Edited to fix the a spelling mistake in the Salesman description. I have a feeling I'm going to commit this mistake often. Hurray for my poor proof-reading skills [Razz] )
Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
"Salesman, where you gonna go, to sell all your of your goods today...?"

If you ask him a serious question, will you get a serious answer?
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
Is that a toe fetish, Salesman? What they say about toe fetishes -- oral fixation.

Salesman, enigma though you know you are, you're shallow, flat -- monodimensional, so predictable. The locale hereabouts has your like. They are by daylight pols and swells. I know their closet skeletons -- who they bed with on the sly, and are abed with for abuse, corruption, exploitation, and greed, at least.

The underboss, the boss of them all -- the individual is highly placed and squeaky clean, apparently. A multidimensional individual. I've got that individual's number, too. Proof? I don't need no smelly proof. I'd be dead soonest if I did and not one real way to do thing-one about you (except a sure knowledge time wounds all heels). I've got reasoning and circumstantial evidence you are a crook, though you pass laws that support your thefts and use thirdhand, or more, stringers for anything crooked else.
Posted by wcoditwgth (Member # 10431) on :
Well, Robert, if I stabbed myself with a knife, would I bleed salty syrup for the masses to feed upon? I would expect not, but I cannot just simply believe without trying. Where's a pointy stabbity object when you need one? *Stabs self in shoulder* Well, besides the excruciating pain I'm feeling at the moment, I do believe I am leaking out a red liquid that tastes mildly salty. So then I suppose the answer is yes, I do bleed salty syrup when I stab myself. Whether it is for the masses to feed upon, now that requires further experimentation. I shall need to find some volunteers.

I used to simply slap peoples' fingers around when they disappointed me, extrinsic, but it got boring after a while. You know how it goes. Doing the same thing repeatedly while hoping for some deviance. I suppose the same thing will occur with the toes eventually. Perhaps I'll start focusing on noses next. And something not to do with fire, burning toes has left an awful stench in my art gallery.

If I am monodimensional, it is because it works thus far. Predictability, much like being somewhat chaotic, is a cherished part of my reputation. After all, the locals fear the stagnant and stationery while resisting the mutations and variables of living under my rule. That's why they continue to live here. They are paralyzed with indecision and fear.

A crook? I could, would, and should be amusingly offended. Or offensively amused. I am not just a crook, I am a purveyor of goods and information. I deal with more issues than a choleric narcissist who happens to be insanely powerful and rich in a city populated with glowing rats and stinky snails. Oh wait. No I don't. I would know, after all. Irritating how snails somehow keep slipping into my morning tea.
I guess I am a crook.

(Note from author: A serious question might get you a serious answer. It also might just lead to random gibberish. Ask away and see what you get!)
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
At least Salesman's perception is he's, what, noble, fights the good fight. What does he hear his enemies think of him? The nitty-gritty. More than he's a thief, etc.

The underboss hereabouts believes his enemies are ripe suckers and skylarkers. If he didn't rule from absolute leadership, they would all erupt a street war for succession. Criminal enterprise would no less persist: less rule-bound, less organized, less controlled, and more troublesome for the blissfully naive individuals unaware of the bleak viscera-side of life. That's what he thinks of his enemies, conspirators, acquaintances, allies, consumers, and everyone else. He keeps the things in line the law wolves cannot. How selflessly noble.

The neighborhood klan dink with a petty resell circuit, not yet caught by the powers that be, who wants the limelight, him and his grease-neck tow truck front, he and his china-platter moll believe they are more noble -- and the underboss is a lace collar dandy.

[ July 20, 2015, 11:06 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]
Posted by JSchuler (Member # 8970) on :
Thankfully I was born without toes, so no killing me. All those years of being called "flipper boy" pay off!

Do you have any bigger ambitions besides just ruling a city? Granted, it is a nice city with the pungent hot beverages and the natural lighting at night in the sewers and alleyways. But is there something more that you want?

Also, how much for a can of peas, a leather coat, and your darkest secret?
Posted by wcoditwgth (Member # 10431) on :
From the sounds and words that emanate from the sink drain next to me, I would believe that my enemies are in need of cheese. And peanuts. Their illuminated furs make it so difficult to sleep. Imagine trying to sleep in a decadent bed with a nice bottle of cognac next to you, only to see an insistent glowing spot scurrying on the ceiling. I knew that it was a bad idea placing hooks there, but how else would I have been able to string up my nooses? Empty nooses, of course. Wouldn't have been proper to have the corpses of my foes hanging around me while I was sleeping. Think of the poor baby rodents as they climbed around on the hooks! How would they be able to get about while the dead swung about in the breeze?

I hear that my enemies think I am a straw boogeyman, a grotesque monster, a glorified clerk, a putrid piece of refuse, and a pus-filled slug that deserves to be popped. Of course, this is also what they want me to hear. As to what they really think of me, well, let me go down to my art gallery and ask a couple of them. Some of them still have toes.
*Comes back an hour later*
Well, after a most thorough study, I have concluded that, of my sample size of five enemies, there has been a common trend of screaming and yelling. 100% of my subjects utilized their vocal cords to put out an unintelligible variety of words, but there were a couple trends. I believe the most commonly used phrase was, and I quote, "No, oh god, no!"

Now, as a person of some degree of propriety and manners, I did ask them prior to my experimentation. Alas, they did not seem to understand my questions.

I know that not all my enemies think or say the same things as my sample size, but I do believe that this test does give a very general impression of what my enemies think of me. I must apologize for the small amount of subjects, as there was simply no time to go round them up.

Perhaps it would be good to mention that I'm single and alone. Ladies? Gents? Lady-Gents? Gent-Ladies? Any takers? I should warn those of you who are considering my offer, I do have a strange tendency to wake up covered in blood and innards. Just for your information.

Do not worry about your lack of toes JSchuler, we can simply make some for you! All we need is a very sharp knife and a large bottle of anesthetic, and voila, we can give you the experience of having a set of toes to light aflame! Of course, I would require a headless chicken and three eggs for such services.

Ruling the city of glowing lights and smelly drinks was never my ambition. It just happened. I didn't mean to trip and push the mayor of city out a window, nor accidentally run over the head priest. Those were not planned, I assure you. However, just because I didn't plan them doesn't mean I didn't purposefully do them. I willingly rule the city. It is just another step to my ultimate goal.

What do I want? That is a fantastic question of you to ask! Are you sure you don't want to have that toe surgery?

What I want now is a tea that doesn't have a slimy smelly slug writhing its death throes. What I want in the future is a manor full of bed cushions, candlelit dinners, and an end to my current position as ruler of the city. Alas, I fear I may never reach such lofty aspirations.

A can of peas would cost you 6 bronze pennies, a small kid, or a bent silver spoon. By kid, I mean a baby goat, not an actual human child. And I when I say a bent silver spoon, I do mean a bent utensil. If you favor your toes, I had better not receive a straight spoon.

Leather coats are not in fashion right now. The going price for them is a bottle of purified water, twenty gold coins, or a very large cask of beer. If you do decide to pay using the beer, I would ask that you give a flavorful stout. I have a client in need of such a beverage.

My darkest secret is quite cheap. All I require is that you get rid of all the glowing rats and stinky snails that plague my life. Oh, and your life as well.

Note from author: Next reply will likely be more serious than the current ones thus far.
Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
You seem to live in an interesting world. But it's hard to make sense of what you're saying about yourself.
Posted by Disgruntled Peony (Member # 10416) on :
Originally posted by Robert Nowall:
You seem to live in an interesting world. But it's hard to make sense of what you're saying about yourself.

I've actually garnered a fair bit from the seeming nonsense so far simply because I've played characters who are similarly twisted. It's simply a matter of weeding the metaphors out of the crazy.

Why do you want to give up your position as The Salesman? Have you always had a tendency to wake up covered in blood and innards, or is that a hazard of the job? On a related note, how long have you been collecting for your art gallery?
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
How are eliminating "glowing rats and stinky snails" pertinent to a mob boss's criminal enterprise purposes? Okay, they spoil the fun, all right. Maybe spoil the goods and services, too, diminish value. Spoliation by pests is problematic, though an effectual exterminator should be able to successfully reduce their influences, right? Hey, Orkin man!

Seems to me, though, the inherent desire is for a life of idle, luxurious leisure at the expense of swags and straights' life's blood, sweat, tears, and heartaches. Meanwhile, keeping a semblance of order for the underworld economies of theft, coercion (protection and bribery and graft and blackmail), servitude (prostitution), obsessive compulsion temptations (gambling and illicit drugs), mayhem, murder, and the rackets thereof. Speaking of pests.

[ July 21, 2015, 06:39 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]
Posted by wcoditwgth (Member # 10431) on :
My profession has become tiring and relatively boring. Hearing the same gossip about different people is frankly quite monotonous. 'Mr. and Ms. is having an affair with Ms. and Mr.' and so on and so forth. I wish for something different to move on to. And no, I don't mean I wish to pass to the next life. I would just like some peaceful moments to regain my energy.

Waking up covered in blood and innards is mostly just an annoyance now. It has happened so often in my life that nowadays I have to place two spare changes of linen next to my bed before I sleep.

Of course, there are also the times when I am dreadfully tired and nod off at my desk, only to wake up covered in gore. Not my organs, of course. Usually, the remains are of some unrecognizable person, though there have been exceptions. One time I woke up in a farm on the outskirts of the city covered in chicken feathers and egg yolks.

Sometimes I awaken to blood and innards due to my job. Occasionally I fall asleep during my questionings of my foes. Other times, I'm lying in my bed trying to nod off in the cool night breeze only to be suddenly rained upon with a shower of hot guts. When will my enemies learn that trying to kill me at night is a foolish endeavor?

I have been collecting art for a two years, during which I've bought, stolen, and dueled for a variety of items. My personal favorite is a swamp water painting of a white rose. Its simplicity and clarity in purpose continues to astound me to this day. Of course, my art gallery isn't only filled with great pieces. Sometimes, a sacrifice must be made. For the good of humankind itself, I have undertaken a quest to remove terrible art from the purview of man. A noble quest, do you not agree? Besides, it serves an alternate purpose. While my enemies await their turn at toe flaming, they can enjoy my magnanimity and understand how truly selfless I am in protecting the world's eyes from offensive physical pieces of art.

extrinsic, who is this man you call an exterminator? Orkin? How thorough is he? I must procure his services immediately, for the good of myself and the city.
*Speaks into a pipe that goes through the floor*
"Henry? I need to you look for a man named Orkin. Find him and bring him to me. Alive. And not mutilated. Bring his equipment too. And disregard the normal procedures this time, I don't need to see his feet." *Pauses* "Oh, and would you kindly tell Margaret to prepare a cup of tea for me? Remind her to make sure that there isn't a single snail in it. The last one had three of them!"

The rats and snails are pests indeed. They chew up my letters, poop and slime over my statues, spread pestilence throughout the city and, as I continue to mention, have a terrifying and irritating ability to exist in my diet. Why, but just yesterday I was about to take a forkful of iced salad into my mouth when I saw a furry paw nestled underneath the leaves.

I have begun to consider the possibility that this is but a new tactic by my enemies, an elaborate plot to make me go mad. But I haven't read or heard of anything regarding such a ploy. Perhaps I am just cursed by nature and the gods to live like this.

Having an ordered underworld does allow for greater efficiency through organized competition. It wouldn't be right for the House of Commerce to willy-nilly burn down private banks just to remove threats. There are formalities and rules that need to be passed first, such as first putting in a formal request to burn a building down rather than doing a far more controllable demolition via ropes and stones.

Note from author: Taking a hiatus. Despite being fun to write, I believe this character has been fleshed out enough for the story I'm finishing. The Salesman is not the MC.
Posted by Jed Anderson (Member # 9863) on :
Do you consider yourself sane or crazy?

If you consider yourself sane, how can you bring proof to this?

If you consider yourself crazy, does that make you sane by realizing you're crazy, or does that simply make you a sociopath?
Posted by wcoditwgth (Member # 10431) on :
Whether I am sane or not is an unanswerable question because of the conundrum you previously stated. I suppose I could label myself as crazily sane or logically crazy, but what would be the point? It would not clarify my current state of mind now, would it?

Perhaps the answer to the question of my sanity is for me to answer a question and then compare the results to a 'sane' person's response. Of course, the issue now goes to whether the 'sane' person is truly sane, or whether the result the person did was logical or statistical randomness. Oh, the fun of questioning everything about your own mind!

However, in regards to whether I am a sociopath, I may have to lean on the "I'm a sociopath" fence, mainly because no one else seems to have my tendencies. No one in the city seems to believe that there is a Cheese monger who resides in my house, nor the existence of a rat army that is amassing in the sewers. How do I know this? Letters, gossip, a little bit of creative interrogations, and an ear next to the bathroom sink inform me of such. But how else would my special cheese arrive in my bedroom every day I awaken? No servant enters my room, leaving only those who wish me ill or a mysterious cheese trader as the culprits. I would be very surprised if the cheese was brought in by assassins, though I do suppose it is a possibility. I should probably be more concerned about how someone keeps entering my room without my knowledge as well, but prefer to add a bit of mystery to my morning milk product.

I heard the scrabbling of tiny paws, along with squeaks of varying pitch, in the walls. One day on a whim I decided to follow the sounds, which led me to a sewage pipe. Now, my hearing is usually pretty clear, so you must imagine my surprise upon hearing the telltale sounds of tiny hammers ringing upon metal. If this isn't the beginning of a rat army, then what could it be? Do not worry, though, for I have begun to implement defensive measures. When the rat army comes, and they will come, I will be fully prepared to defend my city.

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