This is the first Flash Fiction Challenge that I am actually going to participate in, instead of just lurking and reading and being generally amazed at the awesome stories everyone posts. The challenge this week was to pick a photo from 50 pretty strange ones no one will ever use and write 1,000 words of flash fiction. You can look it up on Chuck’s site if you are so inclined. I was inspired by #26 – G’d up pineapple businessman. It’s a little over 1,000 words.
The Pineapple Peddler
Driving to work in his black Mercedes, listening to Zig Zigler’s voice coming through the stereo, Brian felt pumped. He was driving the car and he was dressed to kill, even if he was a little on the heavy side. That didn’t matter. He was number one and he was going to show them that he still had it!
“Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you learn to do it well.”
He wasn’t sure what to think of Zig sometimes. He didn’t have time to do anything poorly. He needed to get some numbers on the board, and fast. Every time someone rang the bell at work announcing a sale, he was both excited and dejected at the same time. Excited because the possibilities were endless. Dejected because he hadn’t put up a sale in weeks and his expenses couldn’t take many more two hundred dollar paychecks. He was getting desperate.
When he had opened his eyes that morning, he decided to shake off the cobwebs of self-doubt and shady nightmares that had been haunting him. Today was the day and he had purposefully dressed for success. He remembered hearing somewhere that purple was the color of royalty and nobility, which to him meant power! He had to dig in his closet, but he had found his “power” clothes – silk purple pin-striped button up, silk black slacks and lavender tie.
He imagined success and power were oozing from his pores, and energy was pumping through his blood. Nothing beats a Monster first thing in the morning. He pulled into the parking lot at work and listened to Zig complete his sentence before turning off the car. He banged his fist on the steering wheel a few times before opening up the door. He took a deep breath of fresh air as he got out and slammed the door shut. It was good to be alive! With that in mind, he walked purposefully inside.
There was a mandatory sales meeting each day before they hit the phones, and he took a place up front in the conference room. He didn’t really notice that no one sat by him. It didn’t matter. He was better than any of these guys.
The sales meetings were always the same. Motivation (or what they considered motivational) and accolades. It was always the same guys at the top of the board. “Give it up for Jim. He put up a $23,000 sale late last night.” Everyone clapped and the daily meeting dragged. Same old scenario day after day. He needed to get on the phone right now before he lost his edge.
Ten minutes later, he was making his way out of the conference room to his desk, excited to finally jump on the phone and make some dials.
“Dude, you have a funeral today or something?” He looked up and saw Jim and Andy standing by his cubicle.
“Nah, man.” Okay, so not everyone thought he was dressed for success. But he didn’t let that get to him. He continued to his desk, thinking they were going to walk away, but he was wrong.
“So, I noticed you’re blanking this week, and I thought I might be able to help. Do you have a few minutes? I have some tips for you that really helped me when I was first starting out and having a hard time.”
Andy sniggered. For as long as anyone could remember, Jim had been the top guy. Number one in sales month after month, year after year. Just like Brian, Andy probably couldn’t imagine Jim not being at the top of his game.
Brian was excited. He didn’t get to hang around with the top guys much and he really wanted some feedback. “Sure, man. Thanks!”
“I think it’s best if we go somewhere quiet. No interruptions, yah know? There’s an empty office down the hall.”
Jim and Andy led the way. As much as he wanted to get on the phone and start dialing, Brian was just as sure that talking to Jim and Andy could get him one step closer to a sale. And boy did he need it. He was only a few steps behind them as they walked through the office door, but as he passed through the doorway, two things happened at once. Someone grabbed his arms and pulled them behind his back and the door was slammed shut.
“What the hell, guys?” Just as the words came out of his mouth, something was shoved over his head. It was wet, gross and smelled like pineapple.
“We’ve decided that you are going to be the office mascot.” Laughter followed. He felt someone put something in his front pocket and whoever had his hands behind his back let go of one to shove something in it.
“We’re going to call you the Pineapple Peddler.” More laughter.
“Quick, where’s your phone? We have to get a picture!” He thought that was Jim.
He heard some clicks from the camera phone before he had much of a chance to register what was happening. He couldn’t speak with the damn thing over his head, in fact, he could barely breath. Finally, he got pissed. He threw whatever was in his hand at what he hoped was someone’s head and yanked his other arm away from mystery man behind him. He reached up to pull the pineapple off his head. It slurped and sucked and juices ran down his silk shirt. It finally released with a pop.
“You guys are assholes.” Blinking and wiping the juice and pineapple guts out of his eyes, he glared at his assailants. He could see now that Bob was in on it too. They were all laughing so hard he thought Bob just might fall down. Jim was the first to notice that he wasn’t laughing with them.
Reigning in his laughter, Jim walked up to him and clapped him on the back. “Lighten up, dude! The boss asked us to come up with a mascot for our office and we decided you would be perfect. Just go with it! You look awesome in this pic. You’re gonna be a hit, number one for sure!”