"Ahh, good morning to youz, now let me see, you must be Mr…"
"Smith," said the man, standing in slippers and plaid house coat in his hallway, the door now wedged open by the large, shiny shoe of the balding man stood on the doorstep. Steve "Monkey Boy" Ballmer was making house calls, and here were some new people in the neighbourhood. It was always best to make sure these people understood how it worked.
"And this must be your lovely wife…"
"Of course," said Monkey Boy, holding both hands out in greeting, "and may I say what a pleasure it is to make your acquaintance Mrs… Smith. That floral pattern you got goin' there — lovely. Just lovely. Now me an' my boys here, we just come around on this beautiful morning — ain't it beautiful? — to welcome youz all to our neighbourhood an see if there's anything, anything at all see, we can do for you."
"That's very kind of you — isn't that kind of him, honey? But, you know, I think we really are ok."
"Hey boss, ask him about his computer."
"Thank you Dennis," said Monkey Boy, in a terse tone as Dennis "Bone Crusher" Bonsall suddenly winced in pain.
Monkey Boy put on his broadest smile. "Sorry about my boy Dennis there, Mr Smith. He's a bit… en — thuse — iastic. But, see, he wants me to ask abut the computer you bought from my shop."
"Well, how is it? I mean, is it performing to your satisfaction and all?"
"Hey honey, you know more about that than I do, it works fine doesn't it?"
"Oh sure, honey. Except for the viruses. And the spam. And the Trojans. And the hackers. Do you want me to go on? Oh, hi sweetie," she said as a little girl appeared from the kitchen. "What's that you've got there? Oh, a sweet little penguin! Where did you find that...?"
"OK honey, thanks," Smith interrupted, as Monkey Boy began to clench a fist. "I'm sorry Mr Ballmer, she likes it, really she does, it's just that it does seem to be a little, well, insecure, sometimes."
"In. Se. Cure." Monkey Boy turned to Bone Crusher Bonsall and slapped him around the head. "Did you hear that? Insecure! The lady says that software you sold her is insecure! You been sellin' insecure software again?"
Monkey Boy took a deep breath.
"Now, Mr — and Mrs — Smith. I feel I must apologise for my boy Dennis here selling you insecure software. I feel it incumbent upon myself and the boys to see if we can't help you out. Now, let me ask, if I may, how many times did youz pay for that software that you and the lovely Mrs Smith are running there?"
"What, well, once I guess. I that right, honey? Yes, once. Why?"
"Well, see, that’s your problem. Now my boys here, they got a problem too, and if you can help me fix their problem then maybe they can fix your problem and we'll all be happy. Now how does that sound?"
Mr Smith looked puzzled.
"See, if you only pay once, then my boys' kids they go hungry. So what I want to do is to help you here, and to help little Jimmy. You know little Jimmy? He's got a bad heart. Hey Brad, tell the nice man here about little Jimmy."
"Ok that's enough. But you see, if you only pay us once, you is taking the food ouda the little children's mouths." Monkey Boy wiped a tear away.
"Now my boy Giuseppe here…" he said, thrusting a lean-looking Italian forward by the elbow. "He's got something here that will help you. Show him Giuseppe."
"Sure, you'rrre-a de boss," said Giuseppe, rolling his rrr's. "Herrre-a you go, boss, yourrr-a OneCare," he said, holding out an open violin case.
"I'm a what? A what? What did you call me? Dennis, what did he call me?"
"Yourrr-a OneCare," repeated the hapless Guiseppe. A shot rang out, and Guiseppe was dead before he hit the ground.
Monkey Boy regained his composure once more and now held out the violin case himself. "See? OneCare. One. Care. It's all about us. Taking care of you."
"What do you mean, 'taking care of'?" asked Mr Smith, glancing nervously at the body.
"Anti-spyware. Firewall. Antivirus protection. The right to get a live support person. Now, you don't pay, how we gonna keep that support person live? Well we ain't, that's how. And you do want protection right? For you lovely wife an' all?"
"Well, sure, but why don't you just give us protection?"
"Why don't we just give you protection? Dennis, tell him why we don't just give him protection! No! I'll tell you why we don't. Because! Because…!"
"It's OK boss," said Dennis, putting his OneCare back in the violin case. "Come and sit down. Now breathe. One, two, one, two. See what you done now?" said Bone Crusher turning back to Mr Smith. "You shouldn't go asking the boss questions like that. You'll just upset him!"
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to…"
"Hey, it's OK, now do you want protection or not?"
"Well, I guess… How much does it cost?"
"Hey, let's not get disrespectful here and start talking about money. Just make sure you have the money ready when we return."
And with that, Bone Crusher helped Monkey Boy into the waiting Oldsmobile. Mr Smith watched the car speed off with a screech of tires, he closed the door and walked back into the kitchen where his wife and daughter were playing with a small fluffy penguin.