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There I was happily minding my own business on a Metro train two weeks ago when a rather pretty woman sat opposite me gave me a very inviting smile. I thought Christmas had come early! But then I saw the nice shiny plastic badge she was wearing. It said ‘Sister *****’ and under her name was that of ‘Some Obscure Religion or Another’. Oh well and I looked away.

I happened to look back in her general direction a minute later and she was watching the lady next to her who was taking a book out of her shoulder bag. A similarly inviting smile was beamed on automatically and she asked the woman what the book was about. The lady cheerfully replied but after a couple of minutes she realised she was getting the sell so she began to look uncomfortable. Sister ***** got off the train shortly thereafter and I did likewise two stations further on.

During the walk home my mind wandered back to the time, 15 years ago, when I was woken up at about 9am one Sunday morning by a knock at the door and unwisely decided to drag myself out of bed to see who was there, despite the fact that I had a Sunday morning hangover.

I opened the door to see an absolutely ravishing young lady standing before me on the doorstep in the porch. I thought Christmas had come early! But my hopes were instantly dashed when she earnestly asked “do you ever think about the unemployed?” It was then that I saw the Dragon. She was a colossus of a woman who looked to be about fifty. Drably-dressed, arms crossed almost menacingly and with a stern look, she looked like she could rip the head off a doberman with just one bite.

Okay, I get it people, it’s a couple of people from one of those religions which send their people out to preach on other people’s doorsteps. Now I have nothing against this practice as long as they are not too insistant, but 9am on a Sunday morning? Oh come ON!

I looked at the girl. She was impeccably dressed and was wearing one of those shiny-red would-be femme fatale lipsticks. It was absolutely pouring down with rain behind her although she was protected for now in the porch.

And I said to her in a friendly voice “no but seriously, so I’m looking at a beautiful young lady who is wandering around the streets at 9am on a Sunday morning selling religion in a downpour? Listen, I’ll tell you what lovely young ladies like yourself should be doing right now if I may. They should be snuggled up in bed and sleeping peacefully next to their husbands or boyfriends or, if they are awake, making love like there’s no tomorrow. In fact, if you don’t have a man I’m available if you like and my bed is just through there” and I gestured behind me.

At which, and before the young lady could say a word, I heard an indignant “Harrumph! and “you are disgusting”. Yup, it was the Dragon. She instantly got hold of the young lady’s arm and dragged her almost forcefully away and back out of the porch where they put up their umbrellas and trudged slowly off down the street under a deluge of rain and dirty scudding clouds before disappearing around the corner.

I think about that incident from time to time and each time I do I ask myself a question I wish I had the answer to – “What would the young lady have said if she had been able to reply to me?”

Whatever her reply would have been, I am tongue-in-cheek presuming that it wouldn’t have been to accept my invitation because she never came back alone, and the moral of the story is *ahem* that selling is a difficult profession.