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Is Ruth Costello at Home?

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Is Ruth Costello at Home? ~ A Short Story by Allen Kopp

He knocked and waited. A man with a mustache came and regarded him through the screen door.

“Hello, sir,” the knocking man said. “My name is Les Good. I’d like to speak to Ruth Costello, please.”

“Wrong house,” the mustached man said.

Mrs. Ruth Costello.”

“I don’t know who that is.”

Les Good stood back so he could see the number on the house. “Isn’t this 737 Windermere Lane?”

“That’s right.”

“And Ruth Costello doesn’t live here?”

“No.”

“Well, I think there’s been some mistake. My information clearly indicates that Mrs. Ruth Costello lives at 737 Windermere Lane.”

“She doesn’t.”

“And you live here, sir?”

“Yeah.”

“And you don’t know a Ruth Costello?”

“No.”

“Well, isn’t that funny?”

“Did you have important business with her?”

“What?”

“I said, did you have important business with Ruth Costello?”

“She called me and asked me to drop by and speak to her about some insurance.”

“Oh,” the man with the mustache said. “You’re an insurance salesman.”

“I’m an insurance agent.”

“Well, no Ruth Costello here. Sorry.”

“And you don’t know anyone named Ruth Costello?”

“No.”

“May I ask your name?”

“It isn’t Ruth Costello.”

“Is your name Costello?”

“No, and it’s not Abbott either.”

“Well, I wonder, since I’m here, if I might speak to you about your insurance needs?”

The mustached man sighed and said, “I don’t have any.”

“Don’t have any what?”

“Insurance needs.”

Les Good laughed his infectious laugh that had opened many doors. “Come, come, now, sir!” he said. “We all have insurance needs.”

“I’m not Ruth Costello, so I think there’s nothing more to be said.”

“May I ask if you have a wife and children, sir?”

“No.”

“So, you’re a single gentleman?”

“I didn’t say that. I said you may not ask if I have a wife and children.”

“May I ask your profession, sir?”

“No.”

“Could I have your place and date of birth?”

“No.”

“Your social security number?”

“No.”

“What kind of vehicle do you drive? I take it you’re an insured driver?”

“I’m not Ruth Costello.”

“What about health insurance? Do you have coverage with your employer?”

“I’m not Ruth Costello.”

“If you would just give me your name, I think we could get all this straightened out in a jiffy.”

“I think it’s time for you to leave,” the man with the mustache said.

“Before I go,” Les Good said, “I’d like to leave some brochures with you that explain our services. After you’ve had a chance to look them over, I hope you’ll give me a call and we can sit down and discuss all your insurance needs.”

“I don’t want any brochures.”

“At least take my card.”

“All I want is for you to get away from my door and off my porch.”

“I understand your hesitation, sir.”

“No more words. Leave now.”

“Well, it’s been lovely talking to you, sir, and I hope you have a wonderful day!”

Les Good wasn’t easily discouraged. At the next house over, a woman answered the door. He flashed his thousand-watt smile.

“Hello, ma’am,” he said. “My name is Les Good. I’d like to speak to Ruth Costello, please.”

“You have the wrong house.”

Mrs. Ruth Costello.”

“Nobody here by that name.”

Les Good stood back so he could see the number on the house. “Isn’t this 739 Windermere Lane?”

“Yes.”

“And Ruth Costello doesn’t live here?”

“No.”

“Well, I think there’s been some mistake. My information clearly indicates that Mrs. Ruth Costello lives at 739 Windermere Lane.”

“She doesn’t live here.”

“This is your home, ma’am?”

“Yes.”

“And you don’t know a Ruth Costello?”

“No.”

“Well, isn’t that funny?”

“What was it you wanted to see her about?”

“She called me and asked me to drop by and speak to her about some insurance.”

“I see.”

“Well, I wonder, since I’m here, if I might speak to you about your insurance needs?”

Copyright © 2017 by Allen Kopp

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