The Salesman’s Umbrella


Tani DeBoucher (CC / Flickr)

“I’m just on my way,” I said. “On the bus. With you in no time.”

No I wasn’t, I was striding the hotel lobby with my phone in one hand and a slice of toast in the other, hoping I wouldn’t be as late as I expected to be. I couldn’t even remember picking up my umbrella. I was focusing my attention on not sounding out of breath.

I half ran on to the street. It was raining so hard it was like walking into a cold shower, and there wasn’t a taxi in sight. Twenty minutes’ walk if I hurried.

I pressed the button to open the umbrella. A spike shot out of the top. I stopped for a moment, staring stupidly at it. I was keeping a client waiting. I took off again, nearly stabbing someone coming the other way. That was no good. I couldn’t make my pitch looking like a bedraggled Yorkshire terrier. I fiddled with the umbrella, hoping the canvas wasn’t purely for show. Umbrellas are awkward contraptions. Wouldn’t it be easier to convert an actual umbrella than disguise a murder weapon as one?

It snapped open. I wished I knew the name of the patron saint of itinerant salesmen so I could offer a prayer of thanks.

I wondered who it was that would be wanting their umbrella back.

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