As published in Jest Magazine
Careers: Huyak Nanook
By Kyria Abrahams
Hi. I'm Huyak Nanook and I'm a goddamn Eskimo. I walk, talk, and dress like your stereotypical Walt Disney "It's A Small World After All," bona fide, Inuit igloo dweller. I also sell compact, top-of-the-line, indoor refrigeration and air conditioning units, and right now I happen to be the number one salesmen in the city.
Sure, I sent my parents packing on an ice float when they got too decrepit to suck oil from a whale with their shriveled lips, and yes, I DO eat blubber, but let's get to the point: Air conditioning is not a choice, it's a right. And I don't mean that nauseating "central air" crap, either. That's just a cop-out for yuppies and veteran's hospitals. I'm talking about self-installed, semi-permanent window units. I'm talking real, freeze-your-nipples-off cold.
The bottom line is this - you don't want one of my units until I tell you that you want one, and I will never tell you that you want one. I will wait for you to feel it in your bones. I will plant the seed in your mind one night, perhaps at a bar. We meet briefly, you ask about my mucklucks, I buy you a Brandy Alexander. That night you're back home, fucking your wife, when you notice it's quite humid in the fifth floor walkup. Between each guttural thrust you wrack your brain to remember - what exactly was the man in the furry hood talking about again...? That's when I've got you. My shadow under your skin like ringworm. I'm there in bed with you. I'm screwing your wife. I'm pulling the strings.
Is it getting hot in here, or is it just my sealskin parka?
One of my direct competitors, Charlie, once confided in me that he wished he had my business sense. What could I tell him? It's not that the customers don't enter his store. Oh, they enter! But they do not buy. They look, they touch, they fondle but they do not buy. They bow down before his product, arms akimbo, embracing the temperate air before them, but they DO NOT BUY! And why don't they buy!?
Because Charlie sells air conditioners. And that is his primal mistake.
Charlie has colorful strands of paper which wiggle back and forth under the breezy chill of his functioning air units. His strobe lights and interest-free financing betray him, the pathetic bastard. Oh yes, Charlie has all the right moves. Or so he thinks.
When a customer enters my store, there is no one at the counter to greet them. Often, the front door is locked. A sign that says "Out of Business" is hanging haphazardly from the front window. The lights are off, and the units, if there are any, are all unplugged. I have an empty store.
When you enter my building, you will see me sitting in the corner, skinning a seal, blood smeared across both my cheeks. I will refuse to sell you a goddamn thing. You will beg and plead with me, "Oh please! Please, won't you sell me an air conditioner? Why do you refuse to sell?" I do not respond. I am stoic, a patient cheetah, knowing that you will come back. And when you do, I will still refuse to sell you an air conditioner.
It is July as I write this, and already I have sold more units than all of my competitors combined for the last 17 years.
People said I was crazy when I opened my shop on 5th Avenue almost thirty years ago. "You'll never make it in this box-fan laden town!" they screeched. "What about the Chinese mafia? What about Sears?"
I didn't listen.
With friends like that, who needs ex-wives? Actually, I know three blonde nymphettes you could ask that very same question of. They'll tell you I was the asshole, and I guess I probably was. But not one of them will ever accuse me of being neglectful where it really counts - in the panties.
What is it that makes a man a good lover? Is it the smell of rotting fish wafting across his genitals? Is it a detail-oriented attention to nose rubbing? Is it just plain life-sustaining body warmth? I think it's all of these things, and also none of them. This is what I do when I sell my air conditioners, I make love to the customer.
And, I don't.
I'll be honest, this whole "Eskimo" gig hasn't hurt my business. People see an Eskimo selling air conditioners and they think, "Hey, this guy knows about pussy," right? Maybe that's why 97% of my customers are female and the other 3% are gay. Am I a tease? Listen, if people buy my product because in the back of their mind they think there might be a little Eskimo pie in it for them later on, is that my fault? As long as I can fill their gaping void with metal and freon and a 5-year manufacturer's warranty I've done my job.
On the wall behind my desk I have a locked wooden cabinet. This cabinet contains keys to the apartment of every woman I have ever sold an air conditioner to. Sometimes the key will be wrapped in a twenty and discreetly palmed off to me at the end of a transaction. Sometimes I'll reach into my whalebone pouch, only to find that my own keys have been replaced by a dozen roses, a bottle of champagne, and tickets to Sweeney Todd.
Sometimes I'll come home to find that my apartment has actually been replaced by another apartment, all of my furniture rearranged by some dame to look like I'm in the wrong house. I'll discover the client in my/her kitchen, eating ramen noodles out of an aluminum pan, acting surprised to see me. But there will be no tunnel-ride on the Inuit Express tonight. Get out, Delilah, and bring me back my couch.
Bottom line. I'm not selling air conditioners. I'm selling happiness. I'm selling the final sunset you see just before you die. I'm selling the guilty pleasure of sticking your dick into the family cat one night, just for 5 seconds, and really liking it. When you purchase a unit from me, you'll sleep soundly for the first time since you were bathed in the amniotic fluid of your mother's womb. I will be your mother's womb fluid, lulling you towards rebirth.
I'm proud of what I've accomplished here as a stereotypical Eskimo. Growing up, we lived on a rusty fragment of an oil tanker that floated out into the middle of the frozen sea. My brothers and sisters were carved from ice; my best friend was a pair of snowshoes. Now I live on a rusty fragment of metal in a penthouse on the Upper East Side.
I have received honorary diplomas from Yale and Harvard Business School, yet I cannot even read! Next week I start my book tour at City Lights where I will be reciting excerpts from my memoir entitled, "I Can't Write In Your Language, But Here Are Some Primitive Etchings Of A Polar Bear I Made With My Sharpened Incisors".
America has been good to Huyak Nanook, but Huyak Nanook has been equally as good to America. And by the way, don't ask me again if you can buy an air conditioner.
The answer, as always, is no.