Johnny America


Too Much Pot Pie?


Illustration of a man bleeding pot pie.

“It this a house call or are you here on busi­ness?” asked the man who came to the door.

“It’s a house, isn’t it?” I point­ed out.

“It is,” the man acknowl­edged, “but since I run my busi­ness out of my house, it’s also a busi­ness, and there’s only this one door, with the excep­tion of the back door.”

“What kind of busi­ness are you run­ning?” I wondered.

At this point, I should men­tion that it would be use­less to describe the man. He was prob­a­bly in his mid-fifties or ear­ly six­ties, wear­ing sag­gy kha­ki pants, bald­ing beneath a lit­tle nest of scrag­gly hair the col­or of steel wool, and giv­ing off the impres­sion that he had very itchy skin that he spent a lot of time scratch­ing— and I guess I’ve just described him, haven’t I?

Also, I should men­tion that my fur­ther inter­roga­to­ries revealed that he ran a lock instal­la­tion and repair busi­ness. “Area Lock Instal­la­tion and Repair,” he spec­i­fied. “I came up with the name based on the fact that I serve peo­ple in the area, although for a rea­son­able fee, I’m also will­ing to trav­el out of the area.”

“Sounds like a pret­ty good rack­et,” I observed. “You charge peo­ple to install their locks, and then you charge them again when they break.”

“You don’t know the half of it. With a lit­tle smooth talk­ing, it’s easy as can be to upsell most of my cus­tomers on these fan­cy dig­i­tal doo­dad elec­tron­ic locks that cost five times as much as the old dead­bolts and knob locks, and then when those things break, they cost five times as much to repair. I’m mak­ing a killing.” 

“On the oth­er hand,” I point­ed out, “I’d imag­ine you need a lot of spe­cial­ized knowl­edge to repair a fan­cy dig­i­tal elec­tron­ic lock, so you must have made a large invest­ment in train­ing on the front end.” 

“To the con­trary,” said the man. “All I do is con­nect the fan­cy dig­i­tal doo­dad elec­tron­ic lock to this box that runs a diag­nos­tic to fig­ure out what the prob­lem is and then runs a pro­gram to fix it. I pret­ty much just stand there and then when it’s done, I dis­con­nect the box and col­lect my fee. Actu­al­ly, I col­lect my fee in advance, but some­times I man­age to get a gra­tu­ity out of the deal, espe­cial­ly from the rich old broads — par­don the expression.”

“A box like that must cost a lot of mon­ey,” I speculated.

The man snort­ed. “You can get one for fifty bucks off the internet.” 

“Fifty bucks! Why don’t your cus­tomers just buy their own?”

“Ah, but there’s the rub. You have to be a cer­ti­fied lock­smith to be able to place the order in the first place.”

“Wow,” I said. “That real­ly is quite a racket.”

“You still don’t know the half of it,” said the man. “With that lit­tle box, I can also break into my cus­tomers’ hous­es and rob them blind. I mere­ly plug it in, press a cou­ple of but­tons, and presto, the fan­cy dig­i­tal doo­dad elec­tron­ic lock opens right up. Of course, I don’t take any­thing of sig­nif­i­cance, or they’d real­ize they’d been robbed and start to think the fan­cy dig­i­tal doo­dad elec­tron­ic lock I upsold them on didn’t work so well, after all. But suf­fice it to say, it’s been a long time, a loooooong time, a looooooooooooooong time, since I’ve paid for my own toi­let paper.”

I filled my cheeks with air and then exhaled in an effort to demon­strate how impressed I was.

“So, what do you say?” said the man. “Can I inter­est you in a fan­cy dig­i­tal doo­dad elec­tron­ic lock? It’s the very lat­est in home secu­ri­ty technology.”

“Actu­al­ly,” I said, “I’m here about your lawn sign.”

“Which one might that be?”

In fact, there was only one sign on the man’s lawn — a sign the size and shape of the polit­i­cal signs par­ti­sans like to dis­play dur­ing elec­tion sea­son, but instead of bal­ly­hoo­ing some politi­cian, it sim­ply said: Enough is ENOUGH. Every day I drove past it on my way to the gas sta­tion to buy enough gas to be able to dri­ve to the gas sta­tion again the next day, and every day, I won­dered what the per­son who’d put the sign there had had enough of. 

“Today,” I explained, “I decid­ed to final­ly find out.”

“I see.” The man scratched the back of his neck, con­firm­ing my sus­pi­cion that he was indeed itchy, and then he said: “Pot pie.”

“Pot pie?” I was tak­en aback.

“My wife serves it every day,” the man said. “Break­fast, lunch, snack, din­ner, and fourth­meal should I hap­pen to stay up late enough to require the extra repast. It’s been like this for years and believe me when I tell you, I’ve had enough.”

“Hold on right there,” I said. “I’ve been around the block, my friend, prob­a­bly about as many times as you have, and believe me when I tell you, there is sim­ply no such thing as too much pot pie.”

“From per­son­al expe­ri­ence,” said the man, “you can believe me when I tell you that there most def­i­nite­ly is such a thing as too much pot pie.”

“In response to which,” I respond­ed, “I would point out that pot pie is itself a com­plete meal, includ­ing meat, veg­eta­bles, car­bo­hy­drates, and a mys­te­ri­ous gooey sub­stance, all pack­aged up for con­ve­nience inside a delec­tably flaky crust.”

“Vari­ety is the spice of life,” the man shot back.

“A pot pie,” I retort­ed, “is vari­ety incar­nate, with no lack of spice if it’s made properly.” 

“Think of my health,” came the man’s rejoin­der. “My arter­ies are as stuffed as ted­dy bears.”

“You can eas­i­ly rec­ti­fy that sit­u­a­tion with thir­ty min­utes of vig­or­ous dai­ly exer­cise,” I countered.

“Not with my lum­ba­go!” the man said, rais­ing his voice.

“Eat small­er por­tions!” I said, raised my voice right back at him.

“I’m hun­gry from all my lock work and bur­gling,” the man shouted.

“Ask your doc­tor for a cho­les­terol low­er­ing statin!” I hollered.

“I’ve tried all of them!” the man whooped. “They give me intense pain in my limbs!”

“I’m all out of argu­ments,” I howled, “but I con­tin­ue to insist that there is no such thing as too much pot pie!”

“And I that there is!” the man screamed.

“Is not!” I screamed.

“Is!” screamed he.

That was when his wife, wear­ing a robe and an apron and cov­ered from head to toe in a fine lay­er of flour, came hob­bling into the foy­er with the aid of a pol­ished stick. 

“What’s going on here?” she demanded.

“None of your busi­ness, you old crone!” the man snapped at her.

“You’ll live to regret say­ing that, you rust­ed out war-horse,” the woman growled, and with­out a moment’s hes­i­ta­tion began beat­ing him with her walk­ing stick. She beat him and beat him and beat him until he fell to the floor whim­per­ing. When she had retreat­ed again into the dark part of the house, I bent down low to exam­ine the poor fel­low, and noticed that instead of blood, pot pie was leak­ing from his wounds. 

On these grounds, I con­clud­ed that per­haps there is such a thing as too much pot pie. 

Filed under Fiction on November 18th, 2022

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Eli S. Evans wrote:

In my view, this could only be the work of a for­mer bodybuilder.

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