The penguin

14b8931fccf64bb5a5600156e0f095c3Once upon a time, I had the pleasure and stress of being shadowed by a fellow sales rep during my training. Let’s call him Chris, because that was his name. Chris was young, and happened to be rocking the “Justin Bieber hair-side-swoop” that was 1 part cool and 3 parts strange when he suddenly tried to sell you something. He and I had a few good runs, usually uneventful. One of our last homes, not so much.

Sooo…. setting the stage…Chris and I standing on the porch of our designated home. No one seemed to be there, which happens on occasion, when down the street we hear “I’M HERE!” A slow-moving gentleman, wearing what appears to be a child’s backpack, is crossing the street, waving both arms in the air.

The man, in his Eastern European accent, apologizes for being late and invites us into the foyer. After a few moments of small talk he wanders toward the kitchen and indicates we should follow.

I’m really trying to figure out how to sum up this next part to maximize the creepiness- ever seen The Blues Brothers? Of course you have. Ominous nun, tiny dark room, hellfire, rulers, all that bit. This was no ordinary kitchen, this was some sort of Slovakian, born-again, recruitment dwelling.

Chris and I sit down at the tiny card table, my shoulder knocking into a massive canvas of a close up Jesus, wearing a crown of thorns and staring down at us. The placement wasn’t a coincidence. Directly across from me sat Chris and his new friend, Jesus sculpture on a cross. Unfortunately for Chris, the string supporting Jesus sculpture seemed a bit loose, allowing him to hang at a 45 degree angle, directly eyeing Chris’s haircut.

Sinking slowly in to the fold-up chairs, we held our bags to our chests and commented on the great decor. The customer stood directly over the two of us and mumbled something about his father coming home.

Pause. (In very thick accent) “Have you found God?”

…….

Chris and I: “Oh ya, definitely, yup, mmhmm!”

Customer swiftly starts in on spiritual dialogue, grabbing his Dora the Explorer attache to reveal a bible.

Papa customer then appears, poking his head around the door frame and giving us a confused smile. “Ahoj….?” He says in Slovak, and then continues on in Slovak because apparently, we looked like friends of his. *Note, even after we made it clear we did not understand him, he continues his questions with his hands raised up like he was saying “Ya, know?”

So to fast track this story- Customer all the sudden announces he has to move his car. “It’ll only take 15 minutes.”

Without ceremony, he leaves, instructing his father that he is to take us into the basement to take a look at the electrical panel. Still looking confused, papa customer smiles, and summons us toward a door in the back.

Speaking Slovak the entire time, he opened the door and started the descent. The staircase continued the theme of the home, completely papered with images of the virgin Mary and ending at what appeared to be a wall of boxes. Nope, not a wall, the beginning of a tunnel. An actual box tunnel. Reaching the ceiling. Box tunnel that reached the ceiling. Turning a corner, I remember looking back at Chris, who gave me a goofy smile and thumbs up, totally ignorant of the fact that we were, in fact, about to die.

Slovak. Slovak. Slovak. Blah Blah Blah. Papa customer points to the electrical panel in a space void of any boxes, but next to what appeared to be some sharp tools. As I nodded and leaned forward to take a look, I thought of Jesus sculpture upstairs and made number of quick promises in exchange for safe passage back to my car.

Success! Thank you sculpture Jesus! Emerging from below moments later, we relocated to a blue, plastic covered couch and smiled at papa customer until original customer returned. For some reason he decided to disclose he had bad credit, to which we responded “See ya” and left.

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