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Help Wanted: A Salesman

A bit of clarification…Three winters ago I had to spend a few days in bed, suffering from the gout. While amusing myself the idea came to me to compose this small play, which is completely frivolous, but by which I wanted to immortalize certain names and places in our region.


As for the three characters, the first is a product of my imagination, but the others existed. Change-Cabane was a fisherman nearly a century ago (I don’t know his real name at the moment) and Passiac, he lived at the Baie Sainte-Marie. -Désiré


Ligouri Ludovic Letourneau: President of a newly founded company seeking a salesman.


Jean-Pierre de Change-Cabane: The man who would like to be this salesman.


Passiac: Mr. Change-Cabane’s assistant.


The scene

A simple play centered around a table where Passiac sits as Mr. Letourneau enters the scene.


A simple play centered around a table where Passiac sits as Mr. Letourneau enters the scene.


Letourneau:

Do I have the honour of greeting the representative of he who recently applied for the position of the salesman we seek?


Passiac:

I do not know if it really is an honour, but, yes, I am he.


Letourneau:

Delighted to make your acquaintance, Mr. Passiac. I am Ligouri Ludovic Letourneau, the president of a new company we have recently founded. At this time, I could also say that I am the vice president, the treasurer, and the secretary of this company, in addition to being its president.


Passiac:

Therefore you are a man of several notes, Mr. Letourneau.


Letourneau:

In a way, yes. As for the name of the company, we wanted it to reflect our surroundings. We called it: La Compagnie des Arêtes de Harengs, Incorporée. Its headquarters are located at the Petit Madashack of the Great Pubnico Lake; and our telephone number is easy to remember. It is 12345678.


Passiac:

My boss will be happy to learn this last detail, because he sometimes has trouble remembering numbers.


Letourneau:

Hum! In any case, that’s our humble company in a nutshell. Personally, I come from a very well-known family in these parts. My grandfather was son of François à Eudes Dulain, nicknamed “Tâchine”. They commonly referred to my grandfather as “Frac à Tâchine”. He originally came from France and had fought under Napoleon’s legions.


Passiac:

You don’t say!


Letourneau:

Ah, yes! Remember now, Mr. Passiac, that during those times many of these men from France who settled in our country had fought under Napoleon. I could name several. There was old Jacques de Villers who was initially at the Haut du Lac, then at the Butte des Comeau. There was François d’Auteuil who went to establish himself around Concessions, in Digby County. There was Louis Lefèvre, called “Piflet”; also, Jean-Marie Blanchard, both from the Haut du Lac. That leaves Philibert Jacquard of Quinan, and a wealth of others. All these men, I maintain, had fought under Napoleon, and it is even said that the large French General had declared one day that if all its soldiers had been Dulains, de Villers, d’Auteuils, Lefèvres, and Blanchards, they would not have lost the battle of Waterloo.


Passiac:

That’s incredible!


Letourneau:

But enough about me. About your boss, Mr. Change-Cabane, where is he from?


Passiac:

That’s a tough question to answer, Mr. Letourneau. In fact, he doesn’t even know the answer himself. But I believe him to be of nobel descent.


Letourneau:

Why do you say that?


Passiac:

Because of the long litany of names given to him. We always called him Jean-Pierre de Change-Cabane but he was baptized: Onésime, Joshué, Chrysostome, Magloire, Eustace, Casimir, Égide, Nazaire, Cyprien, Avite, Zozime, Jean-Pierre de Change-Cabane.


Letourneau:

Mr. Passiac, the priest who baptized this man must have had good lungs.


Passiac:

But you must understand, Mr. Letourneau, we quickly abandoned all those lagging threads.


Letourneau:

Good, now let us get to work. (They take their seats at the table). Mr. Passiac, you said a few moments ago that your boss doesn’t have the best memory. But can he read?


Passiac:

Can he read? Well, Mr. Letourneau, not only can he read, but he can read any way at all.


Letourneau:

Any way at all? What do you mean by that?


Passiac:

Well, one day as he was taking the train, my boss started reading a newspaper that someone had just passed him. A large gentleman beside him saw that he was holding the newspaper the wrong way, that is upside down, and he couldn’t keep from informing Mr. Change-Cabane of his error. Do you know what my boss replied?


Letourneau:

No.


Passiac:

He answered that any idiot could read the other way. So, as you might have guessed, my boss can read any way at all.


Letourneau:

(aside) I doubt that a little. Enough about literacy. Can he speak in public?


Passiac:

Mr. Letourneau, you’ve neither seen such a tongue so sharp, nor a person who could speak for such long period of time without saying anything. One day, he addressed a group of people and before getting through half of his speech, about half of the group was asleep. However, when he had finished, everyone rose and applauded for at least ten minutes, as if they had understood everything. You must admit, not everyone can boast of such abilities.


Letourneau:

That’s something we’ll see. Another thing, does your boss hear well? In other words, has he good ears?


Passiac:

I don’t know if they’re good, but I know that they’re large. At least, they were for a certain time. I assure you, Mr. Letourneau, you’ve never seen similar ears.


Letourneau:

And what was the cause?


Passiac:

Onions.


Letourneau:

Onions!


Passiac:

Yes, onions. I swear, Mr. Letourneau, Mr. de Change-Cabane could sit at a table with a basket of onions at his side and eat them like fruit. And the onion smell was everywhere in the house! You’d pull a knob, and smell onions; you’d go down to the cellar, the smell of onions; you’d go up to the attic, the smell of onions. I tell you, Mr. Letourneau, I was so sick of onions they invaded my dreams.


Letourneau:

Wasn’t there a way to make him stop that?


Passiac:

Yes, one fine day I put a stop to that! As he was returning home with a full bag of onions under his arm, I ran to the door and said to him: “Mr. de Change-Cabane, if you take another step in this house with your onions you’ll see a pair of heels fly through the other door and those heels will be mine”.


Letourneau:

And he listened to you?


Passiac:

Yes, that was the end of the onion fiasco and his ears regained their original shape. What’s more, now I’m afraid that he hears too well.


Letourneau:

Mr. Passiac, you are a craftier man than I had thought. One final question: is your boss a reliable man, can he keep a secret?


Passiac:

Mr. Letourneau, if I understand you correctly, you wish to know if my boss would be a holey basket.


Letourneau:

Who’s talking about baskets? I simply asked you whether your boss could keep a secret.


Passiac:

And I’m telling you we’re both saying the same thing, because in the old days a person who couldn’t keep a secret was called a “holey basket”.


Letourneau:

A thousand apologies, Mr. Passiac. As you surely noticed, I’m not very well-versed in old expressions. In any case, what do you have to say about it?


Passiac:

It is my opinion that you have nothing to fear in that domain.


Letourneau:

How can you be so sure?


Passiac:

Because you can entrust any secret with my boss and it will remain buried in his memory for the remainder of his days. Didn’t I say that he forgets easily?


Letourneau:

You know, Mr. Passiac, I find your answers excessively difficult to judge. You allot a quality to your boss and almost in the same breath you deny it. How do you expect me to weigh the advantages against the disadvantages if you persist in speaking this way?


Passiac:

What else do you want, Mr. Letourneau? It’s in my nature. Moreover, if you’d give me permission, I could settle your question in two minutes.


Letourneau:

Well then, speak, I’ll listen to you.


Passiac:

It’s quite simple. Hire my boss as your salesman and I guarantee you that he will last as long as your famous company.


Letourneau:

(The latter, thrown a little by this sudden declaration, stammers some words then adds…): Very well, Mr. Passiac, I accept your solution. (The two rise and shake hands).


Passiac:

You know, Mr. Letourneau, you never did tell me what kind of goods you manufacture.


Letourneau:

Our merchandise? … Why, earrings!


With this, Mr. Letourneau makes to leave, but all of a sudden turns and faces Passiac advising: “You tell your boss that he must arrive at our offices no later than 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning and that we will pay him a dollar an hour.” Upon hearing these words, Mr. de Change-Cabane is dumbfounded.

Amirault’s Hill (Buttes Amirault)

Joseph Moulaison III (The Ancestor of all Moulaisons of Nova Scotia) The exploits of Joseph Moulaison at the time of The Dispersion are shrouded in mystery. A native of the Pobomcoup area where his fa

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