The Wanderlust Lady and the Door to Door Salesman - 6
August 31, 2012
The next day, I decided that I should make my move and visit the
police station in town, to acquaint them with my theory, and see if they
thought it was a likely idea - that these kids who did the door to door
selling were actually getting information to hand on to the gangs that
had been stealing from the neighbourhood. After all, the note I'd had
through the door had said to be alert and let the police know if anyone
thought anything was suspicious.
Walking the town is the main part of my life - and although I know
full well where the police station is - I've had never had any reason to
go inside before. For some reason, it makes me nervous. I went past
the library - saw the station there on my right - but decided to make a
tour of the park before I ventured in. And while I made my rounds, I
found all sorts of excuses to stop and sit and look at things - avoiding
the actual trip through the door of the police station for as long as
By 7 it had cooled off considerably, and I was getting hungry and
knew it was time to make my way back home. I still hadn't made it into
the station to report the trap Stan and I'd dreamed up for the gang of
thieves. "Maybe I'll write them a note and drop it off tomorrow," I
thought, as I made my way across the park back to my home. I was just
crossing Stockport Road, and because my mind was on other things, I
really didn't see the van that was racing up the hill until just before it
hit me. And then it was too late.
After a fairly lucrative day, I made my way to the pick up point at 6
p.m. But to my surprise, there were two vans there, and my boss, Sadie
was standing outside hers. "Maybe she's come to pay me my bonus in
person - this being the first time," I thought.
And sure enough, Sadie said she wanted me to go back with her
rather than with the others as she had something to discuss with me. As
I was the last back, I didn't get a chance to notice if the other guys had
received anything from her - but after all, that wasn't any of my
I was not at all worried when Sadie had me sit on my own in the
back of her van. I guessed she didn't like the idea of one of the workers
getting special attention - and that was why she hadn't invited me to sit
up in front with her. But again, due to the enclosed nature of the van, I
hadn't any idea where she was taking me. Out for fish and chips again,
But when the van stopped a few minutes later, and Sadie came to
open the back of the van and let me out, we were in the middle of the
countryside. It had started to rain, so she now invited me to sit with her
in the front of the van.
"I suppose you're wondering why I picked you out," she started.
"I expect it's about the bonuses. My first month's done now, and
maybe you need to explain to me about how much I'm getting."
"Well, we'll come to that later. But first off, I need to tell you Stan,
that you aren't really pulling your weight in this job."
I was startled - as being told off was certainly not at all what I
"I sell as much as I can every day," I said. "It isn't my fault if people
don't want to buy our junk."
"Well, if that's your attitude, no wonder they don't buy anything,"
said Sadie. "Most of the guys bring in £100 or so each day - and you
seldom get much above £50. That doesn't mean much for you to live
on, after you have your cut - but it also doesn't give me much of a
profit either. I could hire ten guys to replace you. I just need you to
know that if you don't buck up - you're out.”
"But what about my bonus? You said you'd get to that later. I've
filled in the forms you gave me each day - and some of them had lots
of stuff written about the places. You said I'd get £5 for each one that
was useful. So I reckon that you owe me somewhere around £100 for
"Oh, Stan, you are so naive. Oh, I'll give you something. Here's £10.
But if you think that those little bits of information you put on the
sheets were useful - then you haven't caught on to this bit of work at
all. Like take the one you turned in yesterday. It was half scratched off.
I guess you decided that something that you'd first of all decided was
useful, somehow was no longer so. You know what I'm talking about,
"Yes," I said, suddenly worried that instead of the lucrative finish to
the evening that I'd been anticipating, this was going to be a disastrous
"You scratched off something, but I could half read what it said.
Something about a key under a flower pot, is that right?"
"Yeah. I decided that wasn't the sort of thing I should put down."
"Why did you put it down in the first place?"
"I don't know. She mentioned it. I just wrote it down and then
thought better about it."
"You said there was nothing of value in the house and it was pretty
much a dump - and then you put in that she got the money out of the
coffee container in the kitchen. Why did you put that in it?"
I was getting uncomfortable now. "It was just something I noticed.
A big roll of notes that she kept in a can in the kitchen."
"Do you know Stan how this sounds to me? It sounds to me like
you're getting ready to rob that old lady."
"What me? Oh, no. You've got that all wrong. There's no way that
I'd rob anybody?"
"Well you know she has money, you know how to get into her
house, you know she's a defenceless old lady who's out all the time. So
if I hear of 16 Oak Lane being robbed, you'd be the first one I'd suspect
"No, I tell you. I like the old bird. She was interesting even though
she is very odd. I don't want to take her money. I'm not a thief. If you
think that, maybe you'd better stuff this job. I'm not going to do your
dirty work for you."
"Hey, hold on a minute here. First you're defending yourself, and
now you're accusing me of something. I've heard enough of you.
You're fired. Give me the money for today and then get out of the
van." She was practically spitting and I was really scared of her. I
handed her notes and the £30 from my sales, minus my cut.
“Get the Hell out of here, you rat,” she shouted.
I opened the door and got out. "But I don't even know where we
"Go tell it to the cops," she shouted, "when you go to them and say
how I'm setting you up to rob an old lady." And she reached over to
slam the door shut and sped off.
I looked around, wondering which way to go to get back to where I
lived. I seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. Maybe I could catch a
lift into Romiley or Woodley and then walk home to Hyde. I knew the
way - but I reckoned it would be several hours' walk.
I got to the main road and stuck out my thumb. Car after car went
past. Nobody stopped. So I figured I might as well start walking down
the hill back to Marple. We hadn't driven far - so I must be within a
mile or so of the town where we'd been selling this week. I was so
tired, and my feet hurt, and I was hungry.
An hour later, back in Marple, I decided I needed food before I
made any other decisions. I had £40, my cut from the day's work in my
pocket plus the bonus. I went to the Co-op and bought a sandwich -
and went out into the park to eat it. I didn't know anything about
Marple - except that it was considered a pretty wealthy area with lots
of rich widows who were willing to part with their cash and buy the
junk that I sold. That I used to sell. I didn't even have my bag any more
- it having been inside the van. Calling me miserable was putting a
glossy coat on how I felt. No job. Only a bit of money. My rent is due
on my room tomorrow, the first of the month, and I was counting on
that bonus to pay it. It would take almost every penny I'd earned this
month to settle that bill - and when and where would I get another job?
Hyde, where I live, is about 10 miles away north, I thought. There
were trains and buses from here to there, but nothing was cheap these
days. It would cost me a few pounds even just for the bus fare - and I
didn't know where to catch the bus to Hyde - never having had to do it
before. I didn't even know where the train station was - but I
remembered having seen a sign for it. Nothing much was open. The
Co-op was closing at 8, shortly after I got my sandwich. And to make
things even worse, it was starting to rain again.
Then I had a brain wave. “I think I can find my way to Minnie's
house. Maybe she'll put me up for tonight at least.”