We’d just finished Bini’s homework (Write the words “brown, black and blue. What is different with these words?”) when the doorbell rang. Bini and Jones ran for it. I figured it was Timmy and Nora, Bini’s new neighborhood BFFs, so I didn’t hurry to chase after him. Then I heard a deep voice say: “Can you get your mom or dad?”

It was Luther Bradley, going door to door to sell magazine subscriptions to better his life. He showed me a business license of the organization that is helping him better his life, and I went inside to Google it. Legit, although a woman who was also going door to door to better her life stabbed a bunch of people in Houston.

Luther seemed nice and unarmed, and I also have a pit bull that may or may not bite people who try to stab me. Luther admitted to getting involved in “distribution” in Georgia. He was given a choice: Probation and get your act together, or jail. He chose door-to-door magazine sales. He also went to barber school, and will use his earnings to get his license. He was very respectful and professional, and I didn’t have anything else to do. Luther told Bini and I about how he’d sold magazine subscriptions from Vallejo to Oregon and had been in Washington for three months. “It’s really nice here,” he said. “It doesn’t rain that much.”

Call me a sucker, but I bought a damned subscription from him. Maybe it’s because I drive past the homeless guys  with my kid in the back seat asking “Is he poor? Does he not have a family?” Maybe it’s because two of my neighbors, people I think aren’t suckers, bought magazine subscriptions from this guy. Maybe it’s because Luther asked me how I’d gotten started in the world, and if anyone had given me a chance. I know these are all techniques — I’m Vince Mellone’s daughter, after all, and we trust NO ONE. But the sun was shining and hell, Vince Mellone needs a three-year subscription to The Atlantic. So I bought it.

I earned Luther Bradley 400 points. I hope he uses them well, and that he meant what he said. If not, I got three years of The Atlantic for $101.

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