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by Bruce Harris

“Mr. Stinson, can I see you in my office, please.”

I followed Henry Thomas III up a curved flight of stairs, through a plush maroon-carpeted hallway, and into his private office. I’d been working at HT Clothiers for the last year selling only the finest in men’s fashions. Racks of suits, nothing priced south of four figures. The best cashmere sweaters, dress shirts, ties, slacks, shoes, and overcoats all priced not to sell. There were two reasons the sales staff was called into the Third’s office; it was either to be promoted or fired.

The pompous asshole took a seat behind a massive antique mahogany desk. “I hope I’m wrong, Mr. Stinson, but did you just talk that last customer out of a sale?”

I looked straight into his gray eyes. “We didn’t have his size. He needed a 42-long, and we didn’t have it in stock. I checked. I offered other styles, but he was set on the blue pinstripe.”

Henry Thomas III placed his fingertips together, forming a pyramid. “A 42-regular would fit the man fine enough. That was a nice sale you had in your back pocket and you let the customer walk empty handed. Are you a salesman, or a fashion critic?”

“With all due respect, Mr. Thomas …”

“Stop! I don’t want to hear it. We’re here to sell clothing. Period. This isn’t the first time you’ve let a customer leave HT Clothiers without a garment bag.”

I guess I wasn’t in his office to get promoted. “Mr. Thomas, I pride myself in fitting each and every customer so that it appears as though the item is custom made. Surely, this gentleman will respect my honesty and come back in the future when he needs something else. What’s more important than properly fitted clothing? If you don’t mind my asking, would you ever consider purchasing anything that wasn’t a 40-slim?” Before he could respond, I interjected. “No. That’s your size. Size matters.”

Henry Thomas III pounded a small fist against the desk. “You were hired as a salesman! That means, sell! Now, you’re being fired as a salesman. How does that suit you?” The bastard chuckled.

“I could not in good conscience sell that man a suit that didn’t fit …”

“Get out! I said you’re fired!”

He got up, walked to the door, and opened it. “Out!”

I did as told, but not before grabbing the obnoxious snob from behind and placing his arm in a hammerlock.

“What the hell do you think …”

I jerked his arm up. There was a sickening crack.

“Damn!” he screamed. “You son of a …”

But I was down the hallway, stairs, and out the door.

***

Henry Thomas III stood on a small, roundish platform facing a three-way mirror. A young salesman, less than a month on the job, said with shaky voice, “Let’s see, Mr. Thomas, I think this 48-husky sports jacket is just the thing. It fits quite nicely over your sling and no one will think …”


Bruce Harris is the author of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson: ABout Type.

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