Not so long ago it was often the case that nondescript men would stand for hours and sometimes even days ringing the doorbells of their own homes trying to get inside, while crowds outside passed by watching and wondering why, but otherwise paying little attention to the matter save for the occasional comment, “Did you try the doorknob?”
And our nondescript man was just the sort of nondescript man described above. He excelled at nothing. He held no grand features that set him apart from any other man of his time or anyone else on the bustling street. Except, of course, for the fact that he stood endlessly ringing his own doorbell and was holding a large bag of buttons he had purchased from one of the faceless girls at the market who sold buttons because the Pell grant had yet to be invented.
“Did you try the knob?” yelled a passerby.
Of course I have, winced the man, not having actually tried it, but feeling a bit torn at attempting the obvious with so many people now gathering to judge his every move.
And the commotion of the crowd and the repeated bell ringing and the few damns thrown out to explicate his condition awoke a small, foreign-looking, talking animal that was sleeping in a nearby trash bin. His eyes popped out clear and bright from his furry skull like a question about things going on around him might be on his mind.
“Is there some sort of problem?” asked the little animal as he knocked away the half cracked egg shell from his head that kind of looked like a hat because his head was so small, but which was really a speck of the garbage he’d been sleeping under.
“Well, I think it’s quite obvious that I’m standing on the street, trying to get into my house, but failing to do so because of this much locked door”, said the man.
Having had this conversation so many times before in days past, it took the man several minutes to notice that he was talking to a small, foreign-looking, talking animal, who might be very capable of granting wishes.
“Oh my! Sweet Lordy! Little animals like yourself can’t talk. Are you the devil? Did I, at some point during the day, die and miss that fact”, the man asked feeling for his wallet to check if he were dead.
“Not at all. Do you feel you’ve done something wrong? Some bit of guilt you might like to get off your conscience?” said the little animal.
“Well, nothing I’d discuss with a little talking animal who lives in people’s garbage cans. So, if you’re not the devil then go! Eat out of somebody else’s trash.
“But don’t you want to get into your house?” ask the animal.
“Absolutely. Without question. You’ve hit the nail right on the head. I’m on the street. I want to be inside” said the man.
“It doesn’t seem so difficult to me” said the animal.
“Well, of course not. You’re some kind of magical wish granting animal that grants wishes and can do magic. So, I’m sure this whole situation seems quite easy to you. With all your magic. And wish granting” said the man.
The little animal rolled its eyes at its own incredible wish granting abilities.
“Yes, I am ever so magical. If you’ll just hand me the bag of buttons you hold, I shall show you the amazing wonders I possess”, said the animal.
“So, it’s like a trade? I give you some buttons, and I get…” asked the man stymied at just what in the deal for him.
“Inside the house! Hand me the damn buttons, and you get in the house!” said the little animal.
“Really? That seems a bit of a pushy stance for someone living in a garbage can” said the man.
The little animal was deeply hurt by the comments on his personal hygiene and wanted to explain that he’d only been nestling there because someone had thrown out a very nice warm jacket and that small animals were always drawn to nestling places that were jacket based during the depths of winter.
But before the little animal had a chance to finish, the man thrust out the bag of buttons, because after so many hours of standing and ringing his own bell, he needed to use his own bathroom and ceased to care for the content and/or usage of the bag which he possessed.
“Here!” yelled the man thrusting out the button bag to the little animal.
And there in his palm, where the button bag once lay, the non-descript man saw he was holding the keys to his front door.
“It’s magic” he yelled loudly at the passing crowed, who paid little or no attention because people were always yelling something or the other was magic in those days. And he opened the door and entered to see his wife standing firmly in the entryway, tapping her foot and asking if he’d bought the buttons she’d sent him out for so many long hours ago.
As the little animal scurried away, he heard a small argument ensue.