he had completely forgotten his dreams, as he always did.
it took him a few seconds to remember where he was and what had happened to him in the last twenty-four hours. actually in the last twelve hours.
he wished the things that had happened had not happened, but what was done was done. there was no sense crying about it.
that was his attitude, and so far it had always served him well.
he took stock of his situation. bob had brought him here, presumably to do some work - what else would he have brought him here for?
the work probably had something to do with the horses he had seen the night before. joe didn’t know much about horses but he was willing to learn.
as long as they fed him. right now he was hungry.
he decided to go looking for bob or june - preferably bob.
he pushed himself off the bed. he had fallen asleep in his clothes without even taking his shoes off so he did not have to get dressed.
he noticed the books on the table beside the bed but did not look at them.
he remembered that he had not been told about this room but had discovered it on his own - he had been told by bob to sleep in the stable with the horses.
could this be a problem? joe thought some more. actually bob had told him to “just find a place” and that is what he had done. so there should not be a problem.
he opened the door and headed back down the corridor to the stable. as he did it occurred to him -
what if the stables weren’t there?
what if bob and june weren’t there?
what if nothing was there?
all his life joe had been afraid of waking up and finding nothing there.
when he was five or six years old a babysitter had read him a story. or maybe she made it up herself and told it to him.
he had never forgotten it.
the strange adventure of the bottle cap salesman
ed brown was a salesman, who lived with his wife and newborn child in schenectady new york.
ed’s father and grandfather had been salesmen before him.
they had sold toothbrushes, door to door. and other things too, like bars of green soap and bottles of ladies’ red nail polish, that they carried in their cases.
they sold them from utica new york all the way to grand rapids iowa, door to door, one or two sales at a time.
ed had planned to follow in their footsteps, but times were hard and the toothbrush company was sold to another company and ed was laid off.
but ed was a go-getter and he quickly found another job.
selling bottle caps.
ed’s dad and granddad were somewhat perplexed.
“darn it, ed,” said his dad. “how are you going to go door to door selling one bottle cap at a time?”
ed explained that he was not going to do that. instead he went around to bottling plants and tried to sell them thousands of bottle caps at a time.
ed’s granddad scratched his head. “you mean you travel around with thousands of bottle caps in your case?”
“oh, no, i just show them a sample and if they like it they put in an order for as many thousand as they want.”
ed’s dad shook his head. “that don’t hardly sound like being a salesman at all to me.”
“more like playing the numbers, or betting on a horse,” added granddad.
ed sort of agreed but what could he do? times changed.
ed’s boss told him to go to evansville indiana and sell some bottle caps to the bottling plant there, of a new drink called pearlie dew which was attempting to crack the midwestern market for soda pop.
ed went down to the station to buy a ticket to evansville indiana.
old fred harris was at the ticket counter.
“well, “ he said to ed, “guess you will be making all the stops on old lulu- rochester, erie, pittsburgh, cleveland, akron, mansfield, toledo, fort wayne, indianapolis and terra haute.”
ed explained that he was not making any stops and was going straight to evansville.
fred was astonished but quickly regained his composure. “darn it, son, you don’t want the local, you wan’t the special if we got one . let me just check if we got any kind of special to evansville. “
as ed waited, fred looked through his schedules. “looks like we got just the thing. a special going to st louis with just two stops - first one in evansville. how does that sound?”
“that sounds good, fred. thanks, you’re a white man.”
“don’t leave for four hours, so you got some time to kill.”
ordinarily ed would have gone around the corner from the train station to the greek’s place to get some pie and coffee, but with four hours to kill he decided to just wander around, find someplace new for a change. maybe someplace he had never been before.
as dusk settled over schenectady he ventured out onto main street.
he was never seen again.
the moral of the story: it is best to do one thing at a time.
joe reached the end of the corridor and pushed the door open.