Reader discretion advised: This story uses the language one would expect from a character of this sort. Each story in the collection is told through a different character’s perspective, and the voice and language in each story is appropriate to the voice.
Trust me, you don’t want to deal with the public. The public sucks.
I do fences, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been screwed. People don’t pay. Half the fences I put in when I first got started, people dicked around with me one way or another.
I don’t do nothing no more without they sign a contract. I have it all spelled out there—half up front and the balance on completion. If they don’t pay, I have a right to charge them interest and yank the fence out if I have to. You can imagine I don’t want to do that, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let some fucker get away with screwing me and keeping his fence. No fucking way. I’ll yank it out if I have to.
And women, oh my God, women are the worst. They treat you like you’re some kind of trained dog, like they want you to jump when they snap their fingers.
I work for myself, see, so I don’t have to put up with that shit. Some woman wants to give me a hard time, she don’t know it, but it’s like Shoots and Ladders, and she can cool her heels at the back of the line. Not that there is ever a line, but they don’t know that.
Cell phones, see cell phones are a great thing because you know who’s calling, and you don’t answer if you know it’s the bitch that’s been busting your balls about putting in her dip shit fence because she doesn’t like the looks of her neighbor. Like her not wanting to look at his hot-rod is some kind of an emergency.
Some jobs you just got to walk away from because you get so pissed, you just can’t deal with the son-of-a-bitch, not for any amount of money. This woman I’m telling you about, I wouldn’t build her a fence no matter what she paid me.
She’s not bad looking in a tight-lipped, middle-aged sort of way. Right off, you can tell she’s used to getting what she wants. She’s got to have her fence put in by Friday because she’s having a party on Saturday and the kid next door has moved home with some pimped-up car he’s always working on.
She doesn’t balk at giving me a check, and I tell her I’m taking it straight to her bank to cash it. Otherwise, you don’t know if the check’s going to bounce or your bank’s going to hang on to it for two weeks till it clears.
It would have been fine if the transmission hadn’t gone on the truck the very next day. I lose a day’s work to the truck in the shop and I have to use her down-payment to get the truck out of hock.
I could have made it up in a couple of days. I do it all the time, but she pissed me off by calling the very next day. “I thought you said the materials would be in the yard. Where are they?”
Nobody and I mean nobody expects a job to be done the very next day. So I tell one of the boys to go park the trailer in her driveway, figuring that will get her off my back for a couple of days, but by Wednesday she’s calling again and I tell her I’ll do it Thursday. But as luck would have it, it’s raining Thursday and I look at the weather channel and it’s got rain clear through Friday. Does that put her off? No. She calls and starts in on ‘You said you’d be done by Friday.”
“Lady, it’s raining.”
“The job needs to be finished by Friday or you need to return my money.”
Like hell I do. I don’t care what she says, I’m not sending my boys out to work in the rain.
I could just about hear her stomping her foot at the other end of the line, spoiled bitch. Like it would kill her to have her uptight friends catch a glimpse of a muscle car in the yard next door. Like it’s going to rip their panties off or something.
I may not be rich, but it’s a free country and I don’t got to do nothing I don’t want to. So after that I stopped answering when I saw it was her. I mean why bother when you know it’s going to piss you off and ruin your day.
But she got smart and called from anther phone and caught me.
I was raised not to be rude, so when she starts in I tell her I’ll do it tomorrow.
“All right,” she says like she doesn’t believe me but doesn’t know what else to say. “You’d better.”
About a week later she calls and says she’s going to sue me.
Like she has any clue what she’s talking about. You know what I say? Let her. Chances are she won’t bother and if she does, the worse they can do is make me pay back her money, and it’d be worth it for the pleasure of putting her through all that grief.
But she won’t. Trust me. They never do.