The Art of the Deal
by Alan Berecka

My friend Pete Merkl’s dad sold copiers.
A salesman’s salesman, the old man’s smile
could turn any stranger into a friend.
His patter was so smooth he could smooze
a Temperance Leaguer into a booze
of the month subscription. I asked
him once why he plied his trade
selling inferior products. He told me,
“Alan, a Xerox can sell itself, but it takes
a real pro to sell an A B Dick copier.”

The church where Pete baptized his first child,
had gone all out on its baptismal fount.
Water streamed over its massive bowl,
pooling into a small stream that collected
into a tiled pool that filled the church’s foyer.
In front of this holy water-ing hole,
old man Merkl had a brood of grandkids
lined up. He fed them a pocketful of small change,
telling them to make wishes as the pennies,
nickels and dimes kerplunked and splashed
into the pool of cool, gurgling holiness.

Not wanting the guy to catch hell
from some zealot or the Merkl women,
I walked over and let him know
that the posh baptismal fount
wasn’t a wishing well. He blushed
and dismissed the disappointed munchkins.
Then he flashed me that grin, put his arm
around my shoulder and whispered,
“Alan, you know it can’t hurt. Sometimes
all it takes is a little spare change to seal
a deal with the big shots upstairs.”

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