A Perfect Marketing Campaign
"So, Mr. Johnston, about your wife..." says Mr. Delver, putting down the napkin he has just finished using.
Finally, the theme I've been waiting the whole afternoon for him to tell me about. It's a strange man, this Mr. Delver. He said he had info about my wife affairs, and recommended a restaurant for the reunion. He then proceeded to chat about trivial matters while eating all the menu had to offer. It better be worth my time, this info, as it will surely not be worth the money.
"Mr. Johnston, are you hearing me?"
"Oh, sorry, I was just thinking about something. What were you saying about my wife, again?"
"I said I'm sure I know the reason why Mrs. Johnston–"
"What did you say?"
"Gesundheit. It's German for 'health'."
"And why did you say that?"
"Didn't you just sneeze there? It is said when you sneeze."
"I didn't sneeze! I said 'Schwann'."
"Oh, I see. I must have misheard. Anyways, onto the topic of Mrs. Johnston–"
"I didn't sneeze! I said 'Schwann' again!"
"I knew, I just wanted you to stop interrupting me when I say 'Mrs. John–'"
"Oh, for the love of- why do you keep saying 'Schwann' whenever I say John–?"
"Schwann. My wife is called Schwann. Mrs. Schwann. She didn't change her surname when we married, although I never knew why."
"I see. Then that explains a lot."
"Sure. It explains why the woman I was following seemed to have not two but three different lives. She must have been not your wife, but a different Mrs. Johnston."
"Wait, so you have been following a different woman all this time? Didn't you notice she and I never met?"
"I knew something had eluded me! Well, she did have an affair, at least. Do you still want the info?"
"Do you want me to hit you?"
"All right, I understand. I screwed up, had the wrong Johnston. I'll just use the restroom and leave, now. Sorry I couldn't be of any help."
I just stare at the little man as he stands up, bows and leaves for the bathroom. I can't think of anything else to do here, so I call the waiter, pay the bill and leave. What a waste of time...
I spend ten minutes on the bathroom and then, considering Mr. Johnston may be gone already, get out. I then spot Mrs. Schwann table and approach it...
"So Mrs. Schwann, about your husband..." says Mr. Delver, putting down the napkin he has just finished using.
Finally, the theme I've been waiting the whole evening for him to tell me about. It's a strange man, this Mr. Delver. He said he had info about my husband affairs, and recommended a restaurant for the rendezvous. He then proceeded to chat about trivial matters while eating all the menu had to offer. It better be worth my time, this info, as it will surely not be worth the money. Especially as I have already paid the bill.
"Oh, I beg your pardon, Mr. Delver. I was just lost in my own thoughts."
"Were they about me?"
"Somehow, yes; it was about you, my husband, and me."
"Holy– I'm sorry but I don't share beds with other men, though I'll be certainly willing to accompany you tonight."
"Mr. Delver, please! It was nothing like it!"
"Oh. So your husband's a female, then? In that case, you are both welcome to share the bed with me."
"What– just forget it, will you, Mr. Delver? My patience is short. And anyways, weren't you here to tell me about my husband?"
"About that, I have prepared an extremely interesting report on his affairs, of which I'll tell you a specific piece of data now. The rest, obviously, will be delivered after you pay."
"Okay then, I'm all ears."
"Gross! I much rather prefer you were all va–"
"Stop it, Mr. Delver! It was a figure of speech! Just say what you wanted to say so I can leave this blasted rendezvous behind."
"Sure thing, Mrs Schwann. As it happens, your husband, Mr. Johnston..."
"...still hasn't figured out..."
"...that you have adopted the last name of Johnston. He thinks you are still called Mrs. Schwann, Mrs. Schwann."
I don't know what to answer, so I choose to remain silent.
"I'm sure you are fazed by this info, Mrs. Schwann, as it may be possible not even you knew you were now called Mrs. Johnston. If you want more, it will only be a million dollars."
"I certainly am fazed; never in my life had I met an idiot such as yourself, Mr. Delver. I'll just take my leave now."
"Wait, don't go yet! I'll make a counter-offer: you sleep with me, and the info will be all yours!"
I stand, his last comment not even deserving an answer, and get out.
The waiter and I stare at each other. What an inconsiderate woman she is, this Mrs. Schwann; she left before I dashed to the bathroom! Still, I spend ten minutes in it, because such is my custom, and then get out. I spot Mr. Schwann, and approach his table.
"So, Mr. Schwann, about your wife..." says Mr. Delver, putting down the napkin he has just finished using.
Finally, the theme I've been waiting the whole night for him to tell me about. It's a strange man, this Mr. Delver. He said he had info about my wife affairs, despite I having no wife. I told him that, but he just answered with a quizzical "You thought you didn't have one". He then recommended this restaurant as a meeting point to discuss it further. Since I arrived, however, he has been chatting about trivial matters while eating all the menu had to offer. It better be worth my time, this info, as it will surely not be worth the money. At least I hope this proves to be a funny way to end the day.
"Mr. Schwann, are you here with me?"
"Sorry, I was just divagating. You were talking about... what, exactly?"
"Your wife, of course, Mr. Schwann."
"Yes, the beautiful Mrs. Schwann. The one that has a double-life with Mr. Johnston. That wife. Do you have any other?"
"Then it is settled! I'll give you a sample of the data for free, and then we'll discuss the price of the complete report. Is that okay with you?"
"Well, it is okay with me, so here goes your tip: Mrs. Schwann is living not only a double-life, but a triple-life, without neither you nor Mr. Johnston knowing it, under the fake alias of Mrs. Johnston. Heck, not even she knew she had adopted the name of Mrs. Johnston, she believed she was still Mrs. Schwann."
"Yes, it is shocking indeed. Now, the price for the full dossier will be a million dollars, and I assure you it will be even more shocking than this. Will you pay cash or with credit?"
"Listen, you moron, I don't have a wife! I'm single!"
"Oh. Okay then. I don't usually do this, but if you are single... I'll give you a special fifty-percent discount!"
I slap him hard on the face. Not that it shuts him off.
"Last offer, just for you: sleep with me, and–"
I slap him again, which does shut him off, and then a third time just for the fun of it. After that, I pay the bill and leave.
I wash my face in the restroom, the slaps Mr. Schwann gave me still aching after ten minutes. The man has palms of steel, apparently. I hear the door open behind me as the cook comes in.
"Well, Mr. Delver, it seems your plan was a success."
"You say it like you even doubted it, Mr. Grunge."
"I guess you are right, I never doubted it. Still, I do wonder if this will really be that good, in the long term."
"Well, I sold three full menus today, just by myself. And the people that came will be hard-pressed to forget about this joint, which will undoubtedly make them subconsciously recommend it to their friends. But the best part is that all of this was done with some info I found on the internet about some Mrs. Johnston and three idiots I plugged from the phonebook at zero cost. So there you go: a perfect marketing campaign!"