Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Chickinsurance (StoredStory #14)

The man was wearing a slate blue suit and a wide navy blue tie with red diagonal lines. We all sat in the living room as the man opened his briefcase, pulled out papers, and began asking my parents questions.

I usually hated sitting through family business transactions, but for some reason I was glued to the seat for this one.

Our life insurance agent used to make house calls to renew insurance policies. I don't know if this still happens, but in the late 80's when it was time to re-up, this man appeared, ugly suit and all.

Perhaps what drew me to the scene was the man's name. He was called Delmice, a name I've never heard since, but one that struck my fancy. (There should be some fictional Delmice living in some gothic southern tale).

Delmice also drew me in because he seemed rather flirtatious, yet mysteriously held back. There was something up his sleeve. I must have sensed his flirtation with my mom because when he asked my mom her age and she jokingly said she was thirty-seven, I intervened.

"Ma, you are not! You're forty-four!"

Seven-year-old children are still quite honest. I don't remember how the rest of the interview process went, except that Delmice got really hungry during his visit. Mom had made fried chicken earlier, and there was still some chicken legs sitting out on the dining room table.

Delmice somehow weaseled his way from our living room to the dining room where he noted how good that chicken looked.

Obligingly, Mom offered a leg. He began eating it and remarking how good it was. Then, like a gremlin, he took another leg, and another, and another. I watched as a pile of bones began to stack up on the plate. He sure liked my mom's cooking.

Delmice finally left, but his visit was now forever inked onto my brain. He returned years later when I was older, sassier, and had my own jocular repartee with my mom over his impending visit.

"Delmice is coming, Ma! You gonna make him some chicken?"

At thirteen, I reveled in rubbing my mom the wrong way through jest. So, she heard about Delmice all damn day long.

"Your boyfriend is coming!" I would cackle.

Unfortunately, Delmice was just not as entertaining as I had remembered him. He was a diminutive man suited in some unremarkable color. His thin mustache remained in a straight line during his visit. This time he seemed serious, cautious, maybe even a little sad.

There was no chicken that day.

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