I miss Florida. Rainbows were cheap to put together in Florida. Plenty of sunshine, truckloads of water. You could have an entire beach town smiling their dentures out for less money than a new Cadillac. If I tried to hustle dough like that for a bow here in Reno, they’d laugh me all the way back to Pensacola. We ain’t got those kinds of stakes, mister. Besides, we got ourselves into a hundred-year lease for these damned sunsets.

Jerry owns Pensacola now. Before I split town, he took me aside in our office.
We stood in the shade of the awning watching gulls circle the parking lot.

“Hey, kid. You look tired.” I leaned against the brick. Jerry took a step closer.

“How is the bow contract for the waterpark coming along?”

“The superintendent wanted us to cover the cloudy day insurance, but I pushed back. They folded. We’re closing on Tuesday,” I said. Truth be told, whispered promises were made over a steak dinner. Delicate and furtive negotiations followed on a moonlit section of the Gulf.

“Nice one, buddy.” Jerry slapped my shoulder. I winced. “Let’s get you a cold one.”

Inside the cramped confines of Jerry’s office, we cracked open a couple of beers. Jerry fanned himself with one of our brochures. I eased myself into a chair across the desk.

“So kid, I been thinking.” Jerry dropped the pamphlet on his desk. “Last couple of deals we’ve made for new bows; they were nothing big, but they were good earners.”

I think of the double loop bow package sold to the theme park in Orlando. Of the lariat bow deal that I cooked up for Dallas. Even threw in an automatic vapor vacuum.

“I like you, kid. You give a good show.” Jerry leaned back in his ratty swivel chair. “You’re good with the numbers, always getting us the edge on these packages you’re putting together.” I took a sip of my beer. “Thanks, Jerry, if you’re happy, I’m happy,” I said.

“Oh, sure, kid, I’m happy.” He raised his hands. “I’m over the moon.” Jerry threw his hands skyward. I nodded, taking another pull off the beer.

He brought his hands together. His beer sat untouched.

“But I’m sitting here wondering: is ignorance really bliss?”

“Jerry, what are you talking about?” I sat up straight.

“I figured you were a good kid, ya know.” His desk drawer slid open. “One of those hey diddle diddle, right up the middle types.” Jerry slammed a thick folder down.

“No cops on this,” Jerry says. His hand covered the folder.

“You gotta go quiet, though.”

“What’s in the folder, Jerry?” I already know. Every deal, every package, every bow I sold this year and the year before. Every brightly constructed pre-arranged and exclusive offer with no strings attached. My dependable crowd-pleasing double bows, triple bows, and moonbows. “It’s all about the optics, kid,” Jerry said on my first day. Shimmering mirages of accounts and wire transfers, watering schedules, and solar diagrams. All that is solid melts into air.

6 Comments

  1. Bud Smith

    This part was amazing “Every deal, every package, every bow I sold this year and the year before. Every brightly constructed pre-arranged and exclusive offer with no strings attached. My dependable crowd-pleasing double bows, triple bows, and moonbows. “It’s all about the optics, kid,” Jerry said on my first day. Shimmering mirages of accounts and wire transfers, watering schedules, and solar diagrams. All that is solid melts into air.”

    All that is solid melts into the air is such an incredible way to close out this story.

    and just the concept of monetizing sunsets and rainbows .. YOUR MIND <3

    "I miss Florida. Rainbows were cheap to put together in Florida. Plenty of sunshine, truckloads of water. You could have an entire beach town smiling their dentures out for less money than a new Cadillac. If I tried to hustle dough like that for a bow here in Reno, they’d laugh me all the way back to Pensacola. We ain’t got those kinds of stakes, mister. Besides, we got ourselves into a hundred-year lease for these damned sunsets."

  2. Benjamin Niespodziany

    “Rainbows were cheap to put together in Florida. Plenty of sunshine, truckloads of water.” A stunning and dreamy landscape. What a concept. Double bows, triple bows, and moonbows. I’d like to see more of the assembly, or how it was all put together. The process of such a process. Great conversation and opening into this surreal world, something I’d reach much more of.

  3. Saxon Baird

    Silas… what a concept! But also such a cunning move to pair the selling of rainbows with the sort of hard-scrabbled salesman/developer speak of men just interested in the bottom line. Totally deflates all the saccharine cliche stuff out of rainbows. Like what if all of us out here pulling over to the side of the road and whipping out phones every time we see a rainbow are the passive consumers of a well-managed and planned sales team creating those things. lol…

    This line: “If I tried to hustle dough like that for a bow here in Reno, they’d laugh me all the way back to Pensacola”

    Love. I dunno….this might be done, but I might try to see what it’d look like bringing it back to Reno for a line or two. Just to bring us back to the melancholy state of the narrator.

  4. Bill Merklee

    Love the idea of weather as commodity. Great opening paragraph, especially: “We ain’t got those kinds of stakes, mister. Besides, we got ourselves into a hundred-year lease for these damned sunsets.” Great closer, too. Send it out.

  5. Rachel Pollon Williams

    I mean now that you bring it to the fore, who the hell IS in charge of rainbows and why are they so stingy with their appearances? Are smiles in response to them the currency? Damn.

    Super inventive subject matter and could see it spooling out into a whole world where this scenario makes absolute sense. Cool!

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