Saturday, April 14, 2012

Just Say No

It was a nice day. Cloudy breezy cool. We were working outside and I sat on the front porch watching Camille play in the yard while Shiloh ran for supplies. A man pulled up across the street. He got out of his car and was already half way across the street before I saw him. His hands were pressed together and he said

Please please let me mow your yard. Please...please...?

I uh well would you mow it for? Just the front I added quickly.

He looked around.

He named a price.

I told him I would text Shiloh and see if he wanted him to do that.

And then as we waited (and waited) for a reply he went into a long winded explanation of how he is starting a new job on Monday. It's in Mesquite. He has to commute. It is at a produce place and he would be delivering produce. This sparked an interest in me because we were just putting in our own garden that same day. I asked if it was organic produce he would be working with. He said yes. He needed gas to commute for a week until he got his first paycheck. He lived one block over. He lived with his disabled mom. His rent is 475 a month. His mom gets one paycheck from the government each month. He's been out of work for 3 month. He was clean. He smelled nice. His goatee was trimmed. He looked....healthy. He pleaded. PLEADED for the work.

I took it as a man doing what he needs to do to get by. I told him I wasn't SURE Shiloh had any cash and we don't keep checks. He was persistent. He insisted. I told him where our mower was. He had his own gas.

He came right back saying he couldn't start it. It was broken. That's kind of true. We just rig it up when we need to use it. He told me he could get a mower.

I asked 'You have a mower?'

He stated again 'I can get one.' Then he asked for a pencil and paper to write his friend a letter (his word not mine) because he was just going to help himself.

I swear. If you give a mouse a cookie...

He wrote his letter and left. He was back in minutes with a mower. I had checked on the kids in the back since he had walked back there and the rooster promptly attacked Camille. I finished cleaning her owies and went to look out of the window.  I watched him. He was speed mowing. Motivated? For sure. I saw a cigarette in his mouth and began questioning his motifs. The whole 'If you are so desperate for cash why do you spend it on cigarettes' thing rolled through my mind. I told myself maybe he was just using what he had left. I almost believed myself. But then THEN a second car rolled up. He shut off the mower and went to the car window.

Hmmmm his mower friend? They spoke. They got louder. It sounded like a woman now. His mom? Maybe disabled meant unhealthy. Not crippled old lady as I had imagined. Who knows. After they yelled a bit the car drove off. He continued mowing. I frantically texted Shiloh to please hurry home dear so I don't have to deal with this anymore. 

I watched in awe. This was certainly the fasted mowing job I had ever witnessed.

Shiloh came in the back door. I barely had enough time to explain the whole situation before Mr. Speedy Mcmower knocked on the door.

Shiloh went out to talk to him. He offered him the 7 dollars he had in his wallet,explained that we didn't have a check and offered to go to the gas station to fill up his tank for the rest of what we owed. I had told Shiloh I was now doubting weather or not the money we would pay him would indeed go toward gas.

I peeked out the window.

He wanted none of that. He wasn't angry. He just simply took the 7 dollars and left.


You don't want free gas?

Thought so.

Maybe I should have known when he begged and pleaded. Or when he told me to explain to Shiloh that if he would maybe overpay him he would re-imburse the extra after he earned that first paycheck. Or when he added in the sob story of his mother and how he her only noble son lived with her to care for her. Or when I saw a little something flash on his face just before he answered that 'yes, the produce is organic'

Uncertainty. That is what it was. I can see it now. Uncertainty of how he should answer.

I'm not very quick on my feet. It took me time to figure out that most probably he wanted some quick cash for a certain habit. But by that time he was half way finished.

All I know for sure is we got what we paid for,he has my pencil,our rooster will be leaving us in the near future and we STILL need to mow.


It was a good pencil.


Laura said...

OH man. What a story!!!! It's hard to know if people are for real sometimes, isn't it? I get it. Tough stuff.

heather said...

Such a sticky -somewhat slimy- surely sad, strange situation.

The very last line truly sent me into a belly laugh, though! I was totally enthralled by every aspect of your fantastic storytelling and the dismal truth behind the story...then you pulled the best one-liner ending...ever!

Courtney said...

Laura-It really is. I just wanna help a brother out I don't want to have to THINK it through. :)

Heather- You made me Smile. ;) Thank you for the nice complements. It WAS a good pencil. You have your favorites you know?

Anonymous said...

Was it a short, fat pencil?

Darn those speed mowers with penchants for good pencils.

Courtney said...

It WAS a short fat pencil! Either the purple or the green (they are both missing) Which is why I need you to bring me more. :) Welcome to blogville!