Pretzel Logic

It has been too long a time since Barney ate a hot pretzel. He, once-upon-a-time ago, passed a man with a cart on the corner of 1st Street where his office building was located. Every afternoon, he’d walk by and say, “Good afternoon for a walk”, tip his brown derby and continue on for three more blocks, turn around and when he reached the man with a cart again, said, “That worked up an appetite for a pretzel, I’ll take one”, paid him, thanked him with another hat tipping and continued back to his office.

This became Barney’s weekday routine, for four years. For four years, he greeted the man with the cart with his usual spiel, a tip of his hat and bid him a good day by buying one of his pretzel’s. Then Barney got a pink slip. On his way home, he passed the man with the cart, handed him a five dollar bill and asked for a pretzel. He told him that he would no longer see him. He told him that he no longer had a job, waved the pink slip, told him to keep the change, and walked away with pretzel in hand.

Barney went home and began looking through the help wanted section of the newspaper. He was determined to get another job. This became Barney’s new routine. He looked in the paper everyday. Every day he made telephone calls and once-in-a-while, went on an interview. Meanwhile, the man with a cart on the corner of 1st Street, went into the nearby bodega and purchased a lottery ticket, then went to the office building and motioned to the receptionist to find out if she knew where the man with the, pointing to his head, brown derby lived. She did and wrote the address on the top of a business card for him. After a full day of pushing his cart, the man went to the address and rang the doorbell.

Quite surprised when he looked out the peephole, Barney swung open the door with the kind of smile you give to an old friend. The man smiled back, handed him the lottery ticket and began to walk away. Barney was dumbfounded by this gesture and called out to him, but the pretzel man kept walking.

The next morning, Barney went to get the morning paper and remembered the lottery ticket and thought he would look up the winning numbers before pounding the pages for work. Wouldn’t you know, the numbers on the ticket matched the numbers given in the paper. Barney won, but didn’t know how much, so he decided to go to the address of the ticket seller to find out. As Barney got closer to that address, he realized that it was the bodega near to where he used to work and thought he would stop by the pretzel man’s cart to thank him, but he wan’t on the corner. A bit puzzled, he went into the store anyway. The owner was standing near the cash register and Barney figured he’d ask him where the pretzel man was. As he handed the winning ticket to him, he inquired about the man. Pietro didn’t know who Barney was referring to, but smiled and handed him five thousnad, twenty-three dollars. Barney smiled back and said the money sure came at a good time, and gave Pietro a one hundred dollar bill.

When he left the store, Barney looked left, then right, but he still didn’t see where that pretzel man was. He wanted to give him half the winnings. Barney was beginning to feel discouraged about finding him. He didn’t even know the man’s name to try to look him up.

When he arrived home, there was a message on the answering machine, it was about a job. Barney thought he was on a roll with good luck, so he called, wrote the address on one of the one hundred dollar bills, the only thing he had to write on, and left for an interview. When Barney arrived at the address, he saw the name of the building which stood out from all other signs, it was a school for the deaf. Upon entering, he noticed a larger than life photograph of the president, who he had an appointment with. You will never believe who was pictured? The man who sold pretzels! I kid you not, Barney couldn’t have made this up, he was being interviewed by the pretzel man to head the Human Relations department, all because Barney never looked down upon, nor spoke ill of this quirky man, who happened to be deaf, though unknown to Barney, who also liked to be with people, which is why he sold pretzels from a cart on the corner during the summer months, when the school was closed.

What a strange, but delightful, turn of events for Barney, getting this job, now more than eleven years ago. I’m telling you this true story, because last night, Walter died. And to commemorate his life, Barney bought and ate a hot pretzel,, the first one he had in years.

-dld January 26, 2011-
T10 -Words, Inc., Wednesday: ticket, top, true


3 responses to “Pretzel Logic

  1. Just love this story…could be a short subject film. 🙂

  2. enjoyed that

  3. Thanks Charles and Pete! I think I had more fun with an appropriate title – and you have to agree that it fits perfectly!!!

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