I always answer my door. Our driveway is a quarter mile long. We live kind of in the middle of nowhere special. It takes an effort, a real effort to knock on my door. Consequently, I entertain the idealistic dreams of politicians running for office, the promises of door-to-door salespeople, the carefully choreographed presentations of the Jehovah's Witnesses. No kidding, two just left my house right now. I took their tract politely and answered their questions, but was that insincere of me to accept their literature when I have no plans to read it? I don't know...
So I receive a fair share of proselytizing, pimping, promoting and parroting. Which leads me to a funny store from the Green Girl Chronicles. A tale trotted out to entertain folks at bonfires, at public taverns, at family gatherings and at neighborhood parties.
Green Girl and the Meat Man
It was a blistering hot July day when the doorbell rang. Green Girl answered it, wiping the glean of sweat from her forehead. Before her stood a young man who greeted her enthusiastically and gesticulated to a van behind him. "I work for a meat wholesaler--I sell meat to different restaurants and businesses in your area. Boy, it's hot out today. My van's overheating and the cooler in back is broken. I just got off the phone with my manager over in Bigville and he gave me permission to sell everything in back at a discount. Practically at cost. I'm not going to make it back to Bigville and I need to get rid of this meat. Can you help me out?"
Green Girl married a carnivore and together they'd enjoyed many a cut of beef over their charcoal grill. She thought a moment and agreed to look over the Meat Man's brochure.
"See, it's all Grade A cuts of meat, premium quality. Like you'd get at a nice supper club. Each is individually packaged and flash frozen for maximum taste. They're super convenient." Meat Man pulled a box of steaks out of the back of his van and opened it to demonstrate. "Each case gives you cuts of bacon wrapped filet, sirloin, porterhouse, T-bone... every one in your family can choose their cut, just like in a restaurant. They cook up tender and tasty at every meal."
Green Girl considered the attributes of the case of meat.
"I've got cases of pork, beef, chicken and fish." He dug out a order form and a pencil, scrawled a few numbers and looked up at Green Girl. "Fifty percent off. That's what my manager told me I could sell them at."
"Tell me about the chicken," Green Girl said.
"Each case has different marinated chicken breasts and breaded chicken nuggets. I bet your kids love chicken tenders. These are the best I've ever eaten. There's teriyaki, honey-mustard..." Meat Man pointed to the colorful brochure in Green Girl's hand. "Your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you decide you don't like the meat, we'll come pick it up and reimburse you for whatever you don't eat."
Green Girl thought this made his business sound on the level.
"And after a year, we'll replace any cuts you don't eat with fresh meat. We stand 100% behind our product." He paused and shot her a pitiful glance. "Do you mind if we stand inside? Can I get a glass of water? It's really hot out here." He looked worriedly at his van. "I've been driving around since six this morning and I've got to get rid of these last 10 cases before I can head back home."
Green Girl escorted Meat Man into her kitchen where she poured him a glass of water. She felt safe, Lefty was nearby with the kids and Lefty was a big kid. He'd protect the family if anything got funny.
Mr. D loved meat. Green Girl imagined his delighted surprise to find a freezer full of delicious cuts of beef, chicken and pork. And at half price! He'd be happy and proud of her clever bargain. "Ten cases, you say?"
Meat Man nodded earnestly at her. "That's all I've got. Like I said, it's a steal. It's less than what a restaurant would pay, but my manager said..."
"I'll take them."
Meat Man and Lefty hauled 10 cases of meat to Green Girl's basement. They managed to pack frozen packages of meat into the basement freezer, the upstairs refrigerator and when they ran out of freezer space, filled the top of the beer fridge in the garage. That's a lot of meat, Green Girl thought with a twinge of worry. Then she turned to Meat Man who handed over the bill. Oooh, that's a lot of money. Even at 50% off, this was an expensive purchase. She and Mr. D had agreements about how much money they could spend without checking in with each other. The bill in Green Girl's hand violated that agreement.
But, she looked at the Meat Man, all the meat had been taken out of the cases and now sat in three different freezers throughout her house. She looked at Lefty, who gulped a glass of water and studiously avoided her gaze. The pressure. "Fifty percent's the best you can do?"
Meat Man nodded.
Green Girl wrote him a check and prayed hard that Mr. D loved meat as much as she hoped he did.
After Meat Man drove away, Green Girl called Mr. D to prepare him. "I bought you a surprise today," she said.
"Meat! You love meat and this guy in a van ..." she related the story to Mr. D.
"But honey, I just ordered a half a cow from Our Favorite Butcher. What are we going to do with all this meat?"
Oh dear. "But we love meat! We're carnivores! We'll eat it." Green Girl said with false confidence.
Mr. D went straight to a ballgame that night and talked to Lefty. "I hear my wife bought some meat today."
Lefty avoided eye contact and nodded.
"How much did she buy? Like a hundred dollars' worth?"
Lefty never answered. Instead, he took off running to the dugout, the palor of fear draining color from his face.
Later that night Mr. D came home and saw the freezers. Then he saw the checkbook. Then the yelling started. "How could you?"
"I don't know." Green Girl sat down and covered her face.
"What were you thinking?"
"I wasn't." Green Girl began to weep.
"Where will I put the half a cow?"
"I don't know."
"I don't understand. You're smart. You don't do things like this. Why? How? Why?" Mr. D shook his head and stared dazedly at the checkbook again.
"I don't know," Green Girl moaned.
A week later Mr. D had a brand new chest freezer delivered. Lefty hauled half a cow to the basement and Mr. D instructed him to load it into "Freezer B." Green Girl tried desperately to sell the meat at cost to all of her friends and neighbors, but had no takers.
In a final blow to her ego, Green Girl heard the women at golf league talking about the man selling meat, his van was breaking down and his manager had given him permission to sell the last ten cases at half price. "Was it some kind of a scam?" "Maybe, but I bought a case?" Another woman had bought three, a few others bought four. Even with her sorry math skills, Green Girl could add it up: she'd been suckered.
The meat was delicious, even though Green Girl's carnivorous family and friends could not eat it all. Mr. D still refers to "Freezer A" and "Freezer B" and has banned Green Girl from selling anything sold door-to-door--especially meat.
Two years later the Meat Van pulled into the driveway. Green Girl was ready for him this time. She'd role-played her response to his pitch. "My brother-in-law just opened a butcher shop, so we're good," she lied.
But we're carnivores, baby, she says to Mr. D every time they grill a steak. And they laugh.