I work as a door-to-door salesman in rough Chicago neighborhoods. Part of my job is interacting with people I consider to be abusive and degenerate. I usually don’t express my negative opinions. Scolding people for their lack of character is generally pointless, because confrontations rarely inspire evildoers to stop hurting people.

Rodell gives me a guided tour of his dog cages and fighting pit. I simply nod and say “that’s interesting”. I do not tell him that people who force pit bulls to fight to the death give me the creeps. That would be worse than pointless. Rodell would waste my time telling me why I’m wrong. My condemnation might spoil our rapport, blowing the sale out of the water. I don’t tell Dashanique that it bothers me when she calls her four-year-old son a little nigga. I pretend I don’t hear her.

Nothing sort of stomach-turning moral revulsion will make me turn my back on a paying customer. I’m talking about the kind of situation where I leave for fear that if I don’t, I may not be able to control myself, lashing out in violence. This happened twice.

I was in University Park (I know that’s not the city) putting the finishing touches on a sale when my customer asked me if I wanted to have sex with her daughter, Tracy. Tracy was a teenage-looking, black albino girl with a severe speech impediment. I felt shocked. It took a while for my brain to register what I was hearing. Tracy’s mother was going on and on about how Tracy “couldn’t get no dick” because she was a freak. Tracy’s three small brothers, along with her father, were mocking her. They said, “Goddamn, Tracy. Don’t nobody want yo ass! Not even the door-to-door guy will fuck you! Hahaha!” I felt sick. Tracy’s mother must have asked me three times if I would care to take her daughters virginity. When I said no, no and no, Tracy snuck over and whispered in my ear, “Why don’t you like me?” I returned the credit card and left without speaking.

I walked out  on  another sale when a woman in South Holland (I know that’s not the city either) began punching her down syndrome afflicted son in the face over and over again because he wasn’t cleaning the coffee table well enough.

I hope everything turns out okay for these kids. That’s about all that I do, though. I don’t have time to be a hero. I’m just a salesman.