“You have a knack for that kind of thing, I guess. Your father was like that too. I’d have to wash his clothes out,” his mother told him. “Usually took three washes after one of his things.”
Some kids grow up wanting to be just like Dad, do what Dad did, be a fireman or a cop or take over the family store. Fredericks had been one of those kids. When his father was put to death in the electric chair upstate, Fredericks was lost but figured out pretty quickly he’d only find himself again by following in his father’s footsteps. But he never felt he could take a complete breath after that. His father left him behind, all alone, with his mother, a hell greater than he could ever have imagined. Fredericks’ killing accelerated, like a ‘66 Chevy Super Sport with a four barrel Holley.
As Fredericks walked toward the house, the left side of his face started to jerk. He detested cold calling but had gotten used to it after thirty years. His company was one of the remaining few in the country maintaining a staff of door to door salesmen. From the scuttlebutt Fredericks heard though, nothing was certain about the coming year. A new computer system was being installed back at H-Q that could change everything. Fredericks didn’t care all that much. He had been fairly successful living in the present and he felt it might be right around that time to retire and everything that went along with that. The hard sell did make him nervous as a squirrel but worse than that, Fredericks did N-O-T with a capital N like being told no. And on some days, more so lately, he wanted to stay in his hotel room, just write a Western on the old typewriter he kept in the trunk of his car. He never found time to give into that urge though. Writing Westerns just wasn’t meant to be. The paper he bought was still in its box, the best there was at the time, the Executive, watermarked bond. All of it had begun to curl and yellow the last time he checked. For whatever reason, sales opportunity had knocked on his door all those years ago and he hadn’t looked back. It suited his lifestyle to be fair, suited all that he needed to accomplish. Besides, Fredericks well knew Westerns weren’t written on typewriters any longer, as well as that most of the time, people just can’t have your cake and eat it too. You have to pick one thing over the other.