Johnny Roadside

taxJohnny Roadside
by David Macpherson
I got my big break with a job from Freedom Tax Return. They dressed me as the Liberty Bell and I stood at the edge of the street and waved to passing cars.
Couple weeks on, a guy asked me to work for his tax return shop for two bucks more an hour. So I left my liberty bell and wore something to make me look like an eagle. The place was Hawk Taxes. They didn’t have a hawk costume. I suppose one bird suit is as good as any other.
With just a couple weeks left to tax day, I got recruited to work for Unity Tax. They gave me three more bucks an hour and a rainbow costume.
After tax season, some guy told me I was the highest paid costumed greeter in the area. That when I worked, business was through the roof. When I was not out there waving at the crowds, no one stopped and came through the door. It was me. I was the hard sell. I was the deciding factor.
Next, I worked at a Mexican restaurant dressed as a taco and then as a burrito on alternating days.
Later on, my newest employer blinged me up with a bunch of fake gold chains and rings when I stood in front of a cash for gold joint. Folks streamed in with plastic grocery bags filled with stuff to pawn away.
Working that spot one day, a guy came up to me and told me he represented the cash for gold shop down the block. He didn’t offer me a job. He offered me a glimpse of the gun pushed in pants and said my services were no longer necessary. That was fine salesmanship and I left for the safer shores of corporate liquidation.
That’s where I stood with a big sign on the breakdown lane of the highway getting drivers to check out the Everything Must Go sale of the latest never-fail big box store to go bell up. The liquidators would first mark up all prices sixty percent so that the 40 percent discounts didn’t amount to nothing. Even I couldn’t help business there, and I moved on.
My reputation allows me a variety of job opportunities. I have waved my hand in front of travel agencies, off track betting sites and every kind of ethnic flavored burger joint. I have seen more grand openings then I can count.
Don’t ask why I have the gift. That’s why it’s a gift. It’s just me in front of shop, waving like I just don’t care, because I don’t. Businesses know me by name. Just ask any storefront start-up, they all know how to find me.
I am booked solid everyday of the week. Even on Sundays, like now. Which reminds me, it’s almost nine in the morning and I got to be at my new gig. That’s why I am dressed like this. Every work uniform has its pros and cons. I like the open sandals and the cool white robe they have me wearing, but this crown of thorns is going to be the death of me. But it’s work. It’s a job. And business is booming. It always is.

0 thoughts on “Johnny Roadside

  1. Ah, that cracks me up! Hilarious finale’! We had a guy here in our town who got dressed up like a ‘Liberty Bell’ and did this very funny dance in cowboy boots–and he had that same attitude like he had no worries in life, no cares…he was all smiles and waved at passers-by. And when he made eye contact, he pointed at you and it’s like you shared a moment with him. i didn’t think about taxes, i thought about how he had what many might consider a ‘lowest of the low’ sorta job but how he was making the best of it and was just happy to be alive making a few bucks. You could see it on his face and his demeanor. He infused people with faith, i think. But yes, a part of me always wondered about that whole line of work and the possibilities which lay therein as answered by this story. Loved it! Thx for sharing!

  2. I thought this story was instantly hilarious. I love stories that take the view of obscure characters. I see these guys all over Austin and feel sorry for them. Especially relevant since it’s tax time. Good work David. Very creative.

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