Felix Gets a Job
a tale of love and fortune
Once upon a time two friends happened upon a vacant house with a perfect dog. Life has never been the same.
HOUSE WANTED. 2 beds, not necessarily in different bedrooms. A full tub, not just a shower. Fireplace, with gas logs. Coffee maker. Wifi. Screened-in porch. Sidewalk neighborhood. Dog, inside, trained, must cuddle.
"That's a lot of non-negotiables, ma'am," the travel agent said. "Is there anything you might be able to do without?"
"No." She held the phone waiting to hear computer keyboard clicking on the other end. But there was only silence. "Well, I suppose I could forego the gas logs."
"OK," the agent drew out the two syllables. And finally, "Oh here! I do see one. An airbnb, three blocks from the shore. 2 BD 1 BA. Definitely a tub. I could send you pics before we lock that in for you. It was the third week in July, correct?"
"Yes. The third week in July. Sunday to Saturday, please."
"Great. Where should I send the photo, at least the one of the bathroom? Oooh, not just a tub, a jetted garden tub. You're going to love it."
"No. No house pics needed," she said. "Just a pic of the dog."
"Yes, the dog. INSIDE, TRAINED, MUST CUDDLE."
"Well, ma'am, vacation rentals don't normally come with a dog. I had just assumed you'd been describing YOUR dog. I did filter our options by PETS ALLOWED."
"I DON'T HAVE A DOG."
"You don't have a dog?"
"NO. That's why I always put in for one on my vacations."
"Um," the travel agent hesitated. "Could you hold for a moment?"
"Yes. I can. And I will."
The travel agent was quite perplexed, considered getting the manager, but before he did, he had an idea.
"PSST. Jeremy," he whispered to the agent in the next cubicle. "You got a dog, don't ya?"
"I got one of these crazies on the phone. Says she wants a vacation rental that comes with a dog."
"That is a new one."
"I ain't kiddin', Jer. Is your dog an inside dog?"
"OF COURSE MY DOG IS TRAINED."
"Love to cuddle?"
"Hey now, I see where you're going with this. You ain't getting my dog just to meet this month's rental quota."
"What if there was something in it for you?"
"Hold on. I'll see what I can hook her for. You just text me that dog's picture."
"Yes, still here."
"I have that photo for you."
"Perfect, I have my laptop here. Send it to [email protected]"
"Puppy lover. Huh, that's cute. You really do like 'em, don't you..."
"OH MY GOSH. He is ADORABLE. This works!"
"Well, I gotta tell you. There is a slight upcharge for the dog."
"Oh, of course. I understand."
"What I mean to say is that we'll have to collect this in two separate payments. One for the house and another for the dog."
Jeremy wheeled his chair over to the transaction cubicle and began waving his arms. His coworker was undeterred.
"How much for the dog?" the lady asked.
"If you could hold just one more time. I promise, I'll have all the information for you. Just one sec."
Jeremy was whispering to him. "My wife. My wife is going to kill me. She loves that dog."
"Dude, it's a deal already. Figure it out, man. You can basically name your price."
"THE DOG IS PRICELESS." Jeremy was not budging.
Neither was his work neighbor. "We can make this a great fit for everyone. What's something your wife wants real bad? Something you haven't been able to give her?"
"Well, she's always wanted to go to Normandy,"
"Normandy? You mean in France?"
"With our salary? I can see how that will not be." The agent pulled open the second desk drawer on the right. "I do love a history buff." He smiled and pointed to half a dozen mason jars filled with sand. "That one right there."
"What are you talking about?"
"What I'm talking about is." He picked up one of the jars. "Would she settle for a jar of sand, straight from the beaches of Normandy, from the exact spot where the Allies first set foot?"
"Nah, I do not think that's gonna fly."
The agent was unfazed. He unmuted the phone. "It looks like the dog is going to be another $750."
"No problem," the lady answered.
Jeremy heard her answer. His eyes got big as saucers. "I get half," he mouthed.
The agent nodded.
"Number now, please. VISA?"
Jeremy was already back in his cube searching online for a proper font for the sticker he planned to print out for the jar of sand. FROM THE BEACH AT NORMANDY.
"Hey," his coworker interrupted. "I wonder how many folks would want a dog with their vacation rental?"
"I don't know how many weeks my wife's going to go for this."
The agent pulled open another desk drawer. Mason jars filled with water. "Is she perhaps, a religious person also?"
"WHY?" asked Jeremy.
The agent pointed. "HOLY WATER," he explained.
Jeremy began to smile. "You know, I believe every rental, every one of them should come with a DOG."