The other day the world came and took a shit on our front door.
Wow. Have I mastered the art of the literary opening or what? -Ed.
Anywho, we came home and found a flyer had been stuck in the front door of our house. Just like I documented recently, our house is always Under Siege.
Yes, sadly, so far we haven’t been able to raise the money for guard towers with machine guns and snipers. Maybe I should list my modest home defense project on KickStarter? How much would you donate?
It was an 8-1/2″ x 11″ piece of standard printer paper. This flyer was done on the cheap.
For those keeping track, that’s two warning signs already and we haven’t even talked about the content of the flyer yet.
Already hating the guts of whoever was responsible, I finally took a look. It was a B&W ad for a landscaper dude. It was amateur hour all the way. Even I could have done a better job. And the most prominent part of the ad? A blown up and grainy closeup photograph of the dude’s face. Maybe he was part real estate agent, too?
Strike Three! Strike Four! Yer outta here, chump!
I googled the guy’s name and found that he had been cited by the state for landscaping without a license. Yup, yup.
That’s about the time my wife muttered something about needing yard work done, picked up the phone and gave the guy a ring.
HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!
The call didn’t go too well. She got the bad vibe. Something didn’t seem quite right. So naturally she set up a time with the fellow to take a look at our situation and give us an estimate.
A few days later the meeting took place. The guy was 45 minutes late. My wife had given up on him and muttered something about things had probably worked out for the best. That’s about the time he finally showed up.
She walked him around our massive 5,000 square foot lot. No, that’s not the size of the house. That’s the size of the lot. Apparently that’s the city’s idea of hometown living. Along the way she gave very precise instructions about what she wanted done, like how she wanted the bushes trimmed.
Anyway, he didn’t seem to be the world’s best listener, was more than a little off, and quoted $250.
My wife didn’t think she’d use him, which is why she said out loud that he wouldn’t be able to do the job until the Saturday after two more Thursdays (when she got paid). She also mentioned, “Don’t call me. I’ll call you.”
I have to double check my math, but I think it was almost exactly two Thursdays later when I came home to find my wife waiting for me. “Did you see what happened to the front of the house?”
Erm. No. Why would you think that? Just because I parked in the drive after a long day at work and took the path to the front door, how the hell would I ever see the front of the house?
“Oh, well, it’s just that all of our bushes are gone.”
I went back and looked. Yup, yup. Those bushes had done been hacked down. To the ground. Face down. Just like an episode of Cops or something. It was pretty much the exact opposite of what she had said she wanted done.
“You hired the guy after all?” I asked. I was more than a little surprised. And confused.
“Nope. I told him I’d let him know.”
Apparently the guy had just showed up. Without confirmation. Without us giving him a call. Without him giving us a call. At least we assumed it was him. There was no note, no bill, no invoice. No evidence of any kind.
I just shrugged. If it was him, I figured, he’d probably be wanting some money. We’d most likely see him soon.
The very next night I was home alone when my house was Under Sieged again. This time it was the doorbell. I jumped to my feet and stomped to the front door to see who the fuck dared. I had been in the middle of something important, too, and my cats were now in a tizzy.
It was him.
“I guess you did some yard work for us, eh?” I said pithily. He nodded. “So what’s the damage?”
Yup, yup. We’d just gotten fucked and were now being asked to pay for it. I guess that must us the john. He also explained he had lost my wife’s phone number which was why he had this habit of just showing up. Professional.
“Incidentally,” I inquired, “how long did the job take?” He said six hours. Not too shabby. The dude made way more money than me.
Sadly I had to turn him away empty-handed. No checkbook. I told him we would contact him on Saturday and my wife would handle the payment.
Later, on Saturday evening, my wife had neglected to make that call. It was about 9:45pm. Our porch light was off. We were in the front room watching a movie. Suddenly the cats sensed danger. What the hell was going on?
My wife is quicker on the uptake than me. “I bet it’s the gardener.” Moments later came the doorbell.
Argh! Who the fuck creeps up on a dark house at 9:45 at night?
My wife leaped into action. She didn’t mince words. I heard her tell him it was supposed to have been Thursday. His quippish reply? “But it was on my schedule for Thursday.” Those seemed to be the only words he knew. The guy seemed to be just a little Forrest Gump. My wife finally gave up on reasoning with him. She got the checkbook. She wrote the check.
I told her, “Please reinforce the idea we never want to see him again. We’re not paying for anything else!” I just hope he understood.
My wife complained about her bushes now missing from the front of our house. Bushes he had whacked away contrary to her instructions. He could only say, “They’ll grow back. They’ll grow back.”
Why do people put flyers on homes? Because sometimes it pays off. Try to remember that. If at least you learn that much then perhaps some good can still come of this.
With that, he was gone from our lives, hopefully for good. If he comes back I may have to do a little weed whacking of my own.