Carl was a bit of a curmudgeon, or as the other people in town liked to call him, “the miserable old man at the top of the hill”. He was wealthy and eccentric, an entrepreneur and a recluse.
One day Carl was tirelessly working, when there was a solid “knock knock knock” on his front door. He ascended out of his massive home office to discover who the interrupting visitor could be.
A young man with spiky blond hair and a loose-fitting tie around his neck stood before him.
Carl eyed him up and down in distrust. “Yeah, what do you want?”
The young man started immediately speaking in a rapid voice. “Hello there, sir! Can you believe that mortgage rates are at a historic low right now? I can get you a refinanced quote at a fixed 4.25%!”
Carl stared at him quizzically then pointed to a large metal sign posted in the porch entrance that read, “No Soliciting. Violators will be deleted.”
“Well sir, I did see the sign. It’s cute, but I didn’t think that you would want to miss out on these incredible interest rates. You will thank me later! You can save as much as $3,516 per month with one low closing cost.”
Carl pushed a button on the wall and the young man with spiky blond hair and a loose-fitting tie vanished into the air. He closed the door and retreated back into his solitude and work.
About an hour later Carl heard another “knock knock knock” on his front door, the echoes of the nuisance reverberating through his head.
He got up and advanced to the disruption, brows furrowing in distrust. He threw the door open and glared at the middle aged woman wearing dull reading glasses.
“Hello sir, I have a wonderful opportunity for you that you will not believe! If you forward this message on to ten of your friends you will receive an absolutely free $25 gift card to Hungry Hunters Steakhouse!”
Carl had to think for a moment if he even had ten friends or not. He pushed the button on his wall and the woman disappeared.
He closed the door muttering how the world was going crazy around him. He started to walk back to his office when a sudden pounding “knock knock knock” startled him in mid-mutter.
“What in the blue devil!” he cursed. He turned back and threw open the front door in a fury.
Immediately he was assaulted by a near choir of conflicting voices. There were four people before him at his door each trying to speak louder and faster than the others. He could only understand random phrases from each invasive voice.
“Get amazing abs in five minutes!”
“Earn your on-line degree in three short months!”
“Enlarge your manhood by six inches now!”
“Be a stay-at-home mom and earn $5,000 a week!”
Carl flinched backwards as if slapped across the face. He quickly jabbed his finger against the button on the wall and one of the people at his door vanished. He pushed the button again twice more and two more of the people vanished. He stared at the last person standing before him, a no-nonsense business woman in blazer and a helmet of hairspray who continued rattling quickly and loudly as if still competing against the other three solicitors that had moments before been standing next to her.
“Home businesses offer a legitimate and lucrative opportunity for struggling single mothers!”
“Where do you people come from?” Carl asked and pressed the button before any response could be heard. He continued his introverted muttering. “I’ve got to do something about this.”
Later that afternoon Carl ordered a home security agent who promptly arrived. “Knock knock knock”.
Anxiety set in at that intolerable sound, but Carl opened the door and there before him stood a bulky imposing man of Slavic features. He wore a tight black T-shirt and his chin jutted out further than his nose.
“Hello. I am Norris. I am your new home security agent.”
“Great, thank you. Keep these solicitors away from my house.” Carl looked past Norris and saw two figures hurrying along the sidewalk to his house at a brisk pace. “You can start working now!” and he slammed the door.
Blissful silence ensued for that afternoon… until, “knock knock knock”.
Carl thought, “Well, this must be important if Norris let the person through”. He got up, made the tiresome trek to the front of his house, and opened the door.
There before him stood a stunning and statuesque young lady with exotic features and wearing only delicate lacy lingerie.
With a seductive smile on her lips, she spoke quickly, “I am so bored and lonely in your town and just want to have a fun time. Please, won’t you chat with me and who knows what may happen next?”
Carl stared at her for a moment in wonderment, before snapping, “Norris, what happened?! Get her out of here! I thought I said to keep these solicitors away from my house!”
Norris ran to the door and grabbed her by the arm, stammering and flush in the face. “I — I’m sorry, Mr. Carl. I let her through. She told me she was the girl next door and that she’s been waiting for you. I mean, I thought maybe you had a date or something. I’ll take care of this right away!”
Norris pulled her away from the house back towards the sidewalk and Carl could hear her receding voice. “My girlfriends are really bored and lonely too. They’re even wilder than me. Maybe we can make it a group party. I’m up all night long.”
Carl hurled the door closed in exasperation. He returned to his office and resumed working.
All was still and quiet throughout the night and Carl woke early in the morning refreshed and in an unusually peaceful mood. He brewed a pot of coffee and went to check on how Norris was doing today.
He opened the door and found his home security agent sprawled out on the porch. His bulk had mysteriously diminished and Norris now looked rail-thin. He was shaking and quite transparent in appearance. Carl could even see the wood slats of the porch through him.
“Norris, what happened?”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Carl”, he wheezed. “That girl that I escorted out yesterday. Well, she was just so tempting. I — I explored her site. I contracted a virus. I don’t think that I can work any more.”
Icy dread surged through Carl. He looked past Norris and saw hundreds of solicitors, thousands of solicitors, lined up on the street waiting to come knock on his door.