I was no further than three steps in the door before a salesman jumped out at me from the shadows cast through the glass storefront from the mid-afternoon sun. He was tall and thin, and boasted a huge, veneered smile. I groaned inwardly, casting away my hopes for a solo shopping trip. The guy was just doing his job, but I could tell already that he was a bit too aggressive for my tastes.
"Welcome to the Big and Bigger Suit Store!" he cried jubilantly. "How can I help you?"
"I... uh... I need a suit," I said, for lack of anything better to say other than the glaringly obvious. I had been to a couple other suit stores already, but none of them carried anything that would accommodate the particular kind of girth I was sporting without tailoring. To further accent the obvious, I lifted one hand and pointed weakly at a nearby rack.
"Well," he said with continued over-enthusiasm, "you've come to the right place. What kind of suit are you looking for?" The salesman, after giving me a once-over with increasingly wide eyes, placed a bony arm around my shoulders and lead me to a section within the store.
"I need a suit for a regional conference at work. I'm shooting for a promotion, and I've got to look the part. Nothing too flashy, but nothing that looks like I picked it up second-hand, either. I also don't have time to get it tailored, so I'll have to find something that fits at least reasonably well off the rack."
The salesman nodded his head fervently, and looked as if he was formulating in his mind what would best... er... suit me. The thought of him possibly mentally undressing me got to be creepy after a few moments, so I broke the silence.
"I was thinking something dark blue or gray," I said haltingly, waiting for him to cut me off. "I have a lot of-"
"Oh, I've got just the thing," he said, his face lighting up. "How tall are you?"
"Don't move," he said, holding out his index finger. He spun on his heel, and went to the back of the store, and disappeared into the obligatory Back Room. He came back a minute or two later with a garment bag in each hand, his shoes squeaking on the linoleum floor as he approached. He beckoned me towards a three-way mirror in front of the changing rooms, and hung the garment bags up on a hook. He looked excited, and I tried my best to appear interested. Shopping really wasn't my thing, but hey, I needed a suit.
I turned down the first one he showed me because the particular shade of blue reminded me too much of a Navy uniform. The other suit was a much more understated grey color, and I took a liking to it. I shrugged into the jacket, and it fit like it was made for me. Full arm movement, and no button puckerage in the front.
I stepped behind a curtain in a changing room to try on the slacks. They, too, were a good fit. The salesman, while decidedly odd, was good at his job. The suit felt like it was tailored to fit me, and it was straight off the rack. Just what I needed. After giving myself another scan in the mirror, I pulled back the curtain and stepped-
A brisk hand slapped me across the face. I rocked back on my feet, stunned. After righting my glasses on my nose, I looked up to see just what was going on.
A man of average height stood in front of me, dressed in a white t-shirt and khakis. He had his arms crossed in front of himself, and the mustache on his upper lip curved down in a grimace.
"What the heck was that for?" I ask, rubbing my face.
"The suit," he says in an accent I can't quite place.
"What about the suit? I like it. Very much, actually. I would like to-" His hand is a blur as it snakes out and slaps my other cheek, hard enough to send spittle flying.
"No suit for you," he says briskly, and begins to pull the jacket off from my shoulders. I resist, holding onto it as much as I can, but this guy is strong. I look up to the salesman, and see him standing off to the side, wringing his hands nervously.
"What's up with this guy?" I cry. The salesman shrugs uselessly, and looks nervously to the front of the store. The man in the white t-shirt continues to pull on the jacket, and finally I give up. He shakes the jacket out and hangs it up.
He gestures to the pants I'm wearing that match the suit. I open my mouth to say something, but he cuts me off before I can manage anything.
"NO SUIT FOR YOU!" he yells, and then lunges for the zipper fly. I do what I can to protect my self, and manage to fend him off for a moment or two. "NO SUIT FOR YOU!" he cries again. "NEXT!"
At the last word, he jumps in the air like some crazed stuntman and grabs me around the waist. I stumble back into the changing room, and hit the wall. Hard. Things go black for a moment and then-
I sit up on the couch, startled awake. A trickle of drool runs down my cheek, and I palm it away mindlessly. My surroundings are coming to me, but slowly. A dream. It was a dream, one that changed from normal to unreal all because of a late-night rerun of Seinfeld playing on the TV. Thanks, Jerry.
This is what I get for an overactive imagination.
Have a good weekend, everyone.