For another second Allison is safe. She’s outside the Wingerts’ house, and the front door is still shut. But Janie Wingert is coming down the hallway, her tasteful heels clicking on the terra-cotta tiles, and Allison has dressed up as a traveling saleswoman, though she doesn’t know why. She has no products. Why didn’t this occur to her before now? It seemed like a great idea when she was in her bedroom, not raking her shag rug the thing she was supposed to do when she got home from band practice. It seemed like a great idea to root the frosted-blond wig out of her mother’s stocking drawer, where her mother hid it after the Lions Club Mardi Gras party. It seemed like a great idea to jam it on her head and walk across the street.
Janie Wingert opens the door, holding her orange cat, Mr. Teddy. Janie is in sales, real sales, important sales that include clients, accounts, quotas, and jumping on planes, and this occurs to Allison, the unreal salesperson, too late. Janie looks at Allison in her band blazer and the black funeral skirt that she filched from her mother’s “occasional wear” drawer.