Sammy Tigertail patiently stood beside him as the man extended one arm, aiming the camera back at them. Sammy Tigertail was wearing a fleece zip-up from Patagonia, a woolen navy watch cap from L.L. Bean and heavy khakis from Eddie Bauer, none of which would be considered traditional Seminole garb. Wilson asked Sammy Tigertail if he had one of those brightly beaded jackets and maybe a pair of deerskin moccasins. The Indian said no.
At about the same time, in a trailer not far from the fishing docks, a boy named Fry looked up from his dinner plate and asked, “What is this crap?”
It was not an unreasonable question.
“Salisbury steak,” Honey Santana said. “It tastes better than it looks.”
“Did you get fired again?”
“By the way, Mr. Eisenhower, what is your supervisor’s name?”
“Miguel Truman,” Shreave said dully.
“And his supervisor’s name?”
“Because I intend to speak with them,” Mrs. Santana said. “You sound like such a nice, decent fellow—does your mother know what you do for a living, Mr. Eisenhower? Harassing strangers over the phone? Trying to talk folks on a fixed income into buying things they don’t need? Is this what she raised you to be, your mother? A professional pest?”
At that moment, Boyd Shreave should have calmly apologized for inconveniencing the Santanas, and then disconnected. That was the drill at Relentless: Never argue with people, never abuse them, never lose your cool. Do not under any circumstances give them a reason to complain to the feds.
Those on the receiving end of Boyd Shreave’s grating sales calls had at various times called him a deadbeat, a maggot, a polyp, a vulture, a douchebag, a cocksucker, a shitbird, a pussbucket and even a rectal ulcer. Never once had Shreave replied in kind.
And most likely he would have held his composure on this particular evening had Mrs. Santana not touched a sore spot by referring to his mother, who had in fact expressed bilious objections to his move to telemarketing; who herself had pelted him with unflattering names, each preceded by the word lazy.
So, instead of hanging up and moving down the list to the next call, Shreave said to Mrs. Santana what he had longed to say to his mother, which was:
“Go screw yourself, you dried-up old skank.”