And toxins under the tree



“Hello, is this Mr. Brendel?”

“Yes! Did I win?”

“Uh, I beg your pardon?”

“Did I win a tree?”

“Win? A tree? What?”

“Aren’t you calling from the Marini Farms Christmas Tree Jubilee?”

“No, Mr. Brendel, this is Brandon calling from Kill-Safe Home Services. I hope you’ve been having a nice day. Can I talk to you for a few minutes?”

“Oh, rats. I thought you were calling from Marini’s.”

“Actually, rats are the reason I’m calling you! Kill-Safe can help you eliminate the rodents in your life. Our system uses a poison that kills rats and mice so quickly, it qualifies as humane.”

“Look, I really need to get off the phone. I’m waiting for a call from the Jubilee. I put $50 in tickets on the Ipswich Maid Services Christmas tree, the one mounted on a Roomba.”

“I understand your concern, Mr. Brendel, but our Kill-Safe poison is completely safe for your house pets, because it comes in a dispenser too small for them to get into.”

“I’m not interested, thanks.”

“Unless you have a Great Dane or some kind of Mastiff — in which case, to keep them from wolfing the whole thing down like a Chewy Purina Milk-Bone Sausage, we offer a super-sized version that’s huge instead of tiny. This is a foolproof way to poison only the creatures that deserve to be poisoned.”

“No, no, no! I bid on a Christmas tree at the Jubilee to benefit animals at the Ipswich Animal Shelter! I’m not in the mood to talk about poisoning anything!”

“Ipswich, yes. I understand there’s quite a serious rat problem in Ipswich. What part of Ipswich do you live in, Mr. Brendel? Some neighborhoods are being more heavily infested than others.”

“I’m hanging up now.”

“Mr. Brendel, let me send you a sample of Kill-Safe at a terrific 75% discount.”

“I can’t miss the call from Marini’s! Good-bye!”

“Mr. Brendel, I realize you have many pest-purging options these days, but Kill-Safe comes with a 100% money-back guarantee.”

“If I win, they call me — If I don’t answer the phone, they’ll move on to the next person!”

“Mr. Brendel, as you may know, rats and mice are vermin.”

“I gotta go.”

“Mr. Brendel, vermin can carry rabies, and if anything is sure to ruin your property values, it’s an outbreak of rabies.”

“I’ll risk it! I had a feeling at the Jubilee. I felt like that Roomba tree was mine. It spoke to me.”

“Mr. Brendel, I’m happy to report that Kill-Safe is an award-winning home services company. This past year in the National Vermin Eradication Competition, we won the Angel of Death Award in the Creative Contaminants category.”

“Stop! Stop! Stop! Not interested!”

“Mr. Brendel, I have good news. We’re running a special today exclusively for residents of towns adjacent to Rollee.”

“I think you mean Rowley.”

“Rowley, yes. Mr. Brendel, to introduce our excellent product to you and your family, I can send you a sample of Kill-Safe, completely free of charge, with a 73% chance of driving your rodents across the town line.”

“Gah! I never pick up the phone. I only picked up the phone because it’s the night they call the Tree Jubilee winners!”

“Mr. Brendel, this free sample won’t cost you a dime.”

“It’s costing me a fully decorated 6-ft. Christmas tree mounted on a brand-new Roomba!”

“Mr. Brendel, let me just confirm your street address.”




“Mr. Brendel?”

“Yes! Did I win?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Aren’t you calling from Marini’s Tree Jubilee?”

“No, I’m with the Ipswich Tele-Danger Alert Campaign. We’re warning our neighbors about the possibility of telemarketers taking advantage of the Marini Tree Jubilee.”

“Sheesh. You got to me too late.”

“Well, we tried and tried to get through.”

Doug Brendel lives on outer Linebrook Road in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and never answers his phone, so don’t bother. Follow Doug’s exploits phone-free at

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