Homo Homini Lupus (Part 2)

Well, let’s pick up the story from where we ended last time….

I accompanied the couple back to their plot; the man was babbling how they needed someone responsible to perform the job; the woman was occasionally chiming in that the job would be on a regular, monthly basis. I listened nonchalantly, a bit amused about the fact that these two idiots were trying to flatter me by massaging my ego and sweetening the pot of a prospectively good paying job (yaaah! 80 bucks for a backbreaking week of pulling weeds and trimming a 150 x 90 feet lawn with only a machete is ssoooooo profitable an offer, I tell you). The moves these two were performing were the initial movements of what I call the ‘dance’, a time-honored weapon in the arsenal of every conman and snake oil salesmen everywhere. The ‘dance’ consists in that the potential conniving S.O.B. starts to prod around your defenses, hoping to find out what you want and need, as to determine what your weaknesses are. Then they would strike in force, baiting me with what they had found out. So far, these two believed they were dealing with me on a “someone so desperate to scavenge scrap metal will probably bend to our will” basis. The funny part is they believed that they testing me, without knowing that I was the one who was checking them out.

Well, at last we reached their land. Most of the terrain surrounding the couple’s house was a nicely manicured lawn, with some overgrown rough spots. It would had been quite a pleasant job to take care each month…. If it wasn’t for the fact that about 30% of the land was a hill that would make the cliffs of Dover look tame by comparison. The soil there was also covered by thick tufts of elephant grass (known locally as camelote). This grass is particularly nasty; its blades are covered with serrated edges that would put any ginsu knife to shame. Okaaaaay, now I had seen the prospective job. I was standing morosely there, not liking that veritable cliff side and with my hands deeply buried in my pockets and told the couple that I would take the job…. But keep in mind that I never said that I would perform it on a monthly basis.

Why did I take the job if the cliff looked so mean? Truth be told, I was a little needy on the money side, but the real main reason is that it was all in my plan to get these two out of my hair. Why? Why? WHYYYY!?!?!

Have you ever had a Chihuahua with its teeth clamped around your calf? Venezuelans are a bit like that; once they are on you, there’s no way you can disengage from them without losing a pound of flesh. The main trick, when dealing with my fellow countrymen, is to learn how to make the chunk of lost flesh as minute as possible.

“Ok, I’d do it,” I told them. “But not this week.” Of course, if you recall from my earlier post it was the 22nd, just a few days before Christmas.

The couple, who had been beaming at my acceptance, looked dismayed. The beaten dog look I saw earlier began to creep into their faces. “But we’re having visitors dropping by during Christmas,” they said, almost in unison. Oho, so it was going to be like this… playing the guilt card on me, as if they were Jewish Mothers or something like that. I demurred, carefully examining their faces; since I’m a competent writer and a knower of human nature, I was looking into their disappointed visages for something I knew would soon surface. Their expressions slowly turned into crafty ones, complete with the expectant, piglish eyes of a predator.

I shrugged my shoulders and caved in. “Ok… I’ll be here in the afternoon and start clearing the plot.” I said.

The beaming smiles returned to their faces.

Don’t switch channels… stay tuned for the conclusion of this tale.

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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