Freudian Slips: The Little Drummer Boy

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

December 19, 2004

The Little Drummer Boy

This is a holiday story about a little drummer boy who received presents in time for Christmas. But it started out as a series of unfortunate events. We bought living room furniture on Aprils Fool Day 2001. Shortly thereafter, the fabric on the chair started to shed. The contagious disease spread to the couch and loveseat. For years, I fought the furniture company to stand behind their product. I finally filed a lawsuit and represented myself in court as a pro se counsel. Forget legal representation. Nobody has more invested than the wronged party. I won a decision in court but big business decided to get cute. They still wouldn’t pay me, even after a series of certified letters. After orchestrating some detective work on where this furniture company banks, I filed a motion to freeze their assets. I froze 1.2 million dollars! Only now does the company’s vice president start ringing my phone off the hook because I found a hatch into Fort Knox. Incredulously, the shrews still try to convince me to do a reselection of their existing inventory. All the legal forms I had to learn how to complete by candlelight, the trips to the post office and the cost of postage, patiently waiting for justice for three years, the unreturned phone calls, the unanswered letters, unaccounted for faxes, and they wanted me to remain a loyal customer? When the vice president asked me to reselect furniture from his company, that was the single most disgusting thing I had ever heard on the telephone. Let me temper that emotion by saying, I have never dialed up a pay by minute sex hotline either. The furniture company’s attorney finally calls me in to her office for a nice cup of coffee along with a “Please accept our apologies. Please accept this check for payment in full, and, oh by the way, would you mind signing this affidavit so the Judge can release our 1.2 million dollars before an entire furniture company collapses? I wind up with my money back and leave the attorney’s office as the reimbursed victor. To the lawyer, your coffee wasn’t that good either! I wrote an eight page short story entitled Consumer Reports chock full of humor and perseverance about this folly. For the readers of my short story, bear with me because this posting begins where that short story ended.
My wife hounds me to spend the money on this, that, and the other thing. We argue. I put my foot down and hide the money in the floorboards. If I single-handedly fought and won a three year legal battle with a corporate America Goliath, David, not his wife, would have the final say in where the money would be allocated. David had it earmarked to buy replacement furniture. The mitigating problem was how to get a living room set to match its surroundings? I had color matched and accessorized the entire room around the sage green defective furniture. Obsessive compulsive me had matching tables, lamps, picture frames, even the wicker baskets. I even handpicked the floral arrangements at AC Moore to match. The room’s former splendor would have brought pre-incarcerated Martha Stewart to a knee. Now the room was an eyesore and Martha was in jail.
Last week, my wife and I returned home from a full day of Christmas shopping. We had both taken the day off from work and had been away from home the better part of the day. As we pulled into the driveway, we couldn’t help but notice a thirty year old man ringing our doorbell. A 75 foot trailer idles in the cul de sac.
“What does this guy think he is doing?” I ask my wife.
“I don’t know.”
With it being two weeks before Christmas, my wife checks with me to see if I was having a new car delivered to our home with a ribbon around it.
“No.” I answer rhetorically. The Pat Conroy’s of the world answer a question like this oppositely, a struggling writer without royalites answers with negation.”
Our van rolls to a stop. I exit with curiosity and approach the man, who meets me halfway down the grassy knoll. “Can I help you?” I ask.
“Do you live here?” he asks.
“We are the homeowners, were you expecting someone else?”
“I have furniture….”
“Let me stop you there…you have the wrong house.” I said dismissively. We didn’t order furniture.”
“It’s not like that at all, sir. We have Thomasville furniture on the truck. Do you want to take a look?”
I look at the long trailer with Thomasville signage. “Humm...what style of furniture?”
“All Thomasville and all brand new. No scratch and dent. On the truck are mostly odds and ends, some matching items. A lot of discontinued prints but good furniture, nonetheless. Thomasville gives us rock bottom prices to move this stuff. Whatever me and the boys make above and beyond is ours. We have been doing this for three years. We travel from the Carolinas up and down the east coast.”
Irony is what this website is dedicated to so I ask, “And you just happened to stop at my house?”
He smiled. “You could say that. Do you want to take a look?”
I had my guard up but something told me to climb aboard the magic truck. “Okay.”
He walks ahead of us, giving me just enough of a buffer to whisper instructions to my wife. “Keep your cell phone on, in case I get knocked over the head with a sawed off Queen Anne Leg.”
Aboard the truck, I look around for furniture and danger. All I see is gorgeous furniture. My neighbor comes running over in bedroom slippers and my wife held her at bay in case there was a Red Light special. One guy hands me a laminated Thomasville brochure. I make a move to sit down on the sofa in front of me when I notice it’s a very regal looking piece. It appeared to be sage green in the dark confines of the trailer.
“I think that sofa will match our living room perfectly.” concludes my wife.
Diane is pointing to the very couch I almost sat down in. I ask to take a throw pillow inside to match colors. They cut the plastic and hand me the pillow. I climb down and we carry the pillow inside. The tassels on the homeless pillow wag like the tail on a doggie in the window. My wife and I squeeze the pet pillow against everything in the living room. It passes color control by matching everything to a Tiger Woods tee. I ask my wife to stay inside the house. She is pure emotion and that can cost money in a business deal. She likes the pattern though and that is what matters. I ask the trio to pull it off the truck so we can sit on it about the same time it started to rain. They recover it in plastic and the crew hauls it into my garage.
It even looks nice in your garage.” one guy says out of breath.
How many homeowners have taken the time to wall-to-wall carpet their garage, I have no idea. I had to admit that the cream carpet contributed to the showcase feel. “I think it matches the carpet.” I snicker. “Too bad we aren’t buying furniture for the garage.”
My wife emerges from the house and sits down on the couch. I join her as three Carolinians watch us nuzzle on the couch in our carpeted garage. The couch proves firm yet comfortable. My wife makes nice about the sofa and goes inside. I excuse myself and follow her inside leaving three Carolina strangers access to any tool in my double car garage. Inside, Diane has fallen in love with the sofa. Jimmy comes home from school about now and I order him to stand by the phone and dial 911 if he hears a Queen Anne leg hitting skull. Poor kid didn't know what was going down.
“Do they have a loveseat and chair?” Diane asks me.
“I’ll be right back.” I reply. “Hold that thought.”
Back in the carpeted garage, they are certain there is a matching loveseat way in the back of the trailer next to a few recliners owning a manly pattern that grandpas from Raleigh never had the opportunity to fart in. But no side chair…
“How much to release the two pieces from Carolina captivity?” I knew the retail prices in the brochure had the sofa and loveseat at just under $2500.00
“We want $875 for the sofa and $675 for the loveseat.” the head honcho says.
I go inside to discuss a deal closer with the wife. “But there are only two pieces, Joe. Drive a better bargain.”
I mastermind a plan. I say, “That is the beauty, if I can get the two brand new Thomasville pieces for way under market value then the lawsuit money I won impersonating Perry Mason, we can use the surplus to buy the Baby Grand piano you always wanted.”
“Oh, Joe.” Diane moans heroically.
I go back to the garage wondering if this is the real deal or whether one of my long handled shovels was going to be my instrument of death in a home invasion. I didn’t know what would hurt most, the Queen Anne leg club or a pointy shovel. I wanted no parts of either. The entry door closes behind me. The guys are milling about. Jimmy stands at attention near the Bat phone.
“Sorry to disappoint you. I thought we had a deal but the wife wants three pieces for the living room…” I started the good cop/bad cop negotiating ploy. “But if you want to let the two pieces go, $1200 is our absolute limit.”
“$1300.00.” the head honcho negotiates, as his cronies look on.
“How about $1250, if I give you cash? We’ll split the difference.”
“It’s a deal” he finalizes.
As we shake hands, I get in a word edgewise. “That is provided the loveseat coming off the truck is undamaged and the patterns match.”
“Can you move the diseased furniture in the living room into the garage. Loks like the garage is getting furniture after all?”
He said, “Sure.”
“Boys,” he announced, which must be a code word for action in the Carolinas. They gently move the furniture, unwrap the plastic, and set up the furniture. My wife positions the throw pillows and we don’t even know where the lumbar pillow should come to rest. The furniture looked made to order and fit for a king. We still needed to throw a leather sectional in the basement so I asked the boys to call me first instead of just stopping over the next time they are in the State.
If there is a moral here it is one of perseverance. When opportunity knocks even at your front door, please listen. Now it's time to sit around and wait for an unannounced piano deliveryman. Knock. Knock. Who is there? Baby Grand Piano. Baby Grand Piano Who?



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