Gil Hoy is a Best of the Net nominated Tucson, Arizona poet and writer who studied fiction and poetry at Boston University through its Evergreen program and The Writers Studio in Tucson, Arizona. Hoy previously received a B.A. in Philosophy from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. Hoy is a semi-retired trial lawyer. His poetry and fiction have previously appeared in Bewildering Stories, Literally Stories, Tipton Poetry Journal, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Chiron Review, The Galway Review, Right Hand Pointing, Rusty Truck, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, The New Verse News, The Penmen Review, Misfit Magazine and elsewhere.


By Gil Hoy

        Bill was a born salesman. His mother and father never tired of telling how, as a newborn, he so charmed the doctors and nurses with his gummy, toothless smile that they couldn’t stop talking about him for weeks. Most babies don’t crack a smile until they’re at least two months old. Bill came out of the womb with a smile on his face that never failed him.

        When Bill was a boy, he trekked down to the softball field near his home on weekends to sell soda pop. He lugged a cooler with both hands, filled with ice and 5 or 6 different kinds of pop. Sometimes he was able to lighten his load by selling a few bottles on the way. He charged his customers a fair price. Bill always set up shop next to the busiest game being played that day. He particularly liked to work on hot summer days when ball players were thirstiest. Bill liked to jingle the change in his pocket after a sale and he played upon his tender age to get more sales. He dropped off flyers every week at residences abutting the field announcing his hours for the weekend. He individually signed the flyers: “Billy, Third Grade, Lincoln School.” Bill was so excited when he opened up his first bank account to deposit his soda pop profits that he couldn’t sleep at all that night.

          While most of his college friends were out socializing, Bill studied his sales courses. He liked to read biographies about the most successful salesmen in the world. He wanted to emulate what they’d done. Bill frequently headed downtown to visit shops that were thriving. He watched the salesmen talk to customers to learn the best techniques to close a sale.  Sometimes he got so close to them they would politely ask him to move.

          Bill eventually opened up his own furniture store. He worked every day of the week. The first year, he sold more furniture than any other furniture store in his city. He soon opened up furniture stores in other cities.  Many of them. All of the stores carried his name.

          Bill had quite a few employees.  He visited a different store every Christmas and met as many of his employees as he could. He befriended many of them. Bill trusted his employees and they trusted him. He built them modest but comfortable homes near the stores where they worked. Bill paid them an honest wage. He provided them with comprehensive health and retirement benefits and generous maternity and paternity leave. Bill never met most of his customers.

         Bill enjoyed the process of growing old. He didn’t regret not marrying or having any children. His employees were his family. For Bill, opening up a new store was like having a baby. When Bill died, red fluorescent signs dotted the skylines of cities across the country, illuminating his name.