THE INVENTIONS OF DR. EDGAR EUPHONIUM: THE TRAVELING SALES PANTS

I was at home, minding my own business, watching Abbott & Costello Meet the Swamp Monster, eating Hawaiian pizza and enjoying the solitude when there was a knock at the door. Of course. No one else at home, a perfect day for lazing around the house, plus it was getting to my favorite part of the movie, so I really didn’t want any distractions. I decided to ignore it. Not very polite, sure, but I just wasn’t in the mood for company.
Unfortunately, whoever was at the door knew the meaning of persistence. I sat very still on the couch, pizza slice in hand, trying to act as non-existent as possible, so the solicitor would move on. No dice. After another minute of constant knocking, I decided it wasn’t worth the effort and answered the door.
What greeted me was a pair of jeans. No one inside them. Just a pair of blue jeans standing upright, with a pink flower embroidered on the right front pocket and a brown belt with the letters “TSP” on a big brass buckle. This was odd enough. Then the waistband bent toward me and began moving in a mouth-like motion. Creepy! And the voice of a teenage girl issued forth, saying, “Um, hello good sir, like, I’m trying to go to college?” I panicked and slammed the door. Maybe something hallucinogenic had been added to my Hawaiian pizza. Maybe it was a bad dream. Or maybe it was the likeliest explanation of all. This was confirmed by the sound of laughter behind me.
“How did you get in here?” I asked Dr. Edgar Euphonium.
“I was going to test out my new Matter Transference Footie Pajamas, which allow the wearer to walk through walls, but preliminary testing has been inconclusive and goggle-smashing. So I snuck in through the window.” He gestured to the living room where the front window was wide open, and a vase of Mom’s sunflowers was overturned and spilling onto the carpet. “I’ll clean that up.”
“I take it the Nightmare Jeans are yours?” I said, pointing at the door. I looked through the peephole, and saw the jeans were still standing there, looking bored. It was hard to describe, but the way the knees were bent and leaning to the side gave them the appearance that they wanted to be somewhere else. That we could agree on.
“Gottfredson, please, they’re not Nightmare Jeans. They’re Traveling Sales Pants. I got the idea from my protégé, Dr. Gertrude Steinway and her crooning galoshes .” He was beaming again, which was never a good sign.
“So, what, they sing?” I asked. I was eyeing the rec room impatiently, Abbott and Costello were about to do their classic Seaweed/See Weed routine, and my pizza was getting cold.
“No, no, no, my boy. Well, perhaps, but they have been designed to travel door to door, get this, selling pants. They literally sell themselves! Ingenious, no? Allow me to demonstrate,” he said, and before I could protest, he flung the door open. The pants appeared to be staring at the siding of my house. Dr. Euphonium cleared his throat theatrically, and they immediately stiffened up and turned to him.
“Um, hello good sir, like, I’m trying to go to college? And I’m selling jeans like myself door to door, so that I can, um, pay for it? I’m made of high-quality denim and come in, like, a variety of sizes and colors?” Everything the jeans said sounded like a question, like they weren’t entirely sure what they were saying was fact. I suppose there’s something teenagery and angstful about it, but it just annoyed me.
“Why, I’d be happy to buy some pants from you, my dear,” Dr. Euphonium said. “What are you, Floyd, a child’s medium?”
“I don’t want talking pants,” I said, backing away from the threshold. “Unless you’ve got something in tweed with no pleated fronts.”
“Are you infirm in the coconut, my boy? Talking pants will make you the hit of the fifth grade! Of course, they wouldn’t talk while you’re wearing them, that would be uncouth.”
“Um, hi? Would you like, like to like, buy some pants or what?” The jeans were getting impatient. I wondered what pressing engagement they were running late for- a pants pressing, perhaps? Or maybe they had a classic movie and pizza awaiting them, too?
“Of course, my dear lady-trousers! Mark me down for as many as you can sell,” Dr. Euphonium told the jeans, then turned to me and said, “I’m not certain how she’ll respond! Isn’t this fun? Like improv! Prepare for a ‘yes, and.’”
“Wow, mister, thanks! I’ll put you down for 96,000 pairs of pants.”
“Fabulous! I can’t wait to- how many?”
“And Dr. E, you’d better get started sewing, cuz like, that’s a lot of pants, and I promise twenty-four hour delivery. Gotta go!” And with that, the pants skipped off down the street, in the direction of the Sufficient Springs Shopping Center.
“Mother of Pearl! I didn’t realize I’d have to actually make more pants. 96,000 in twenty-four hours…” He made some calculations in his head. “Carry the three, divide by the hypotenuse… I’d better be off, Floyd; I’ve got my work cut out for me.” And with that, Dr. Edgar Euphonium left, once more through the living room window. “I’ll clean that later,” he said as he shut the window behind him. I shrugged. I didn’t mind cleaning up the spilled water and putting the vase back.
I just wasn’t looking forward to the nightmares of Traveling Sales Pants.

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