Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Riding in the back of a cab as it headed north up State Street, Wallace saw another ad for Amos' Carpet Cleaning posted on the inside of a bus shelter.  Asking the cab to pull over, he jumped out, snatched the flier and jumped back in, his patent leather shoes barely squeaking as he whirled.  Amos had a lot of nerve making off with his Kinko's card in the middle of the afternoon and then using it to advertise a barely existent business founded largely on constantly borrowing Wallace's upright carpet steamer.  

Wallace's own carpets could use a good cleaning, he fumed, as he stared at the block letters handwritten with sausage-sized Sharpie markers and poorly spaced so that the phone numbers crowded together at the right hand of the page.  If Amos had ever so much as learned to turn on the iMac, he could have made a much more professional flier.  On the other hand, then he probably would have used all the ink and paper in Wallace's aging printer, which would have coughed and sputtered and frustrated even Amos until he gave up and took the salvageable copies to Kinko's and still used all the money on Wallace's card.

Wallace ground his teeth and kicked the seat in front of him.  Swearing in Swahili, the driver turned to glare at Wallace, still moving forward in traffic.  "I know those words, you know," cried Wallace, gripping his armrest, "I ran track with KENYANS!" he screamed the last word as the car coasted to a stop inches from a bicyclist.  The driver turned back forward, but glared at Wallace in the rear view mirror.  

"What?" Wallace sneered.

"Wamos Brothers Cleaners," the driver replied, "They are not nothing.  AND there is one brother. It makes no sense."

Wallace frowned down at the flier and then held it up to the light.  "AMOS," he said, "Amos... Brothers."  He pointed at the A.

"Wwwamos," nodded the driver, "with a double you.  Funny name!" He laughed and threw his head back as he changed lanes.

Wallace squinted at him and then at the flier again, and finally he saw it--a large, flowery W before Amos' name, which he had mistaken for a decoration.

Staring out the window he thought very hard about the name, about his copy card, and about his upright steam cleaner.  He came to no conclusions, but he decided he wouldn't ask Amos about the card at dinner tonight after all.  


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