Today wasn't a great day. Story is sick, I'm not feeling good, work was a little overwhelming what with all the actual work to do after a week of secretive Internet surfing and two hour lunch breaks, plus today was payday which for most people is a good thing, but for me it just means I tap my feet all day and take deep breaths that make passers-by think I'm getting exasperated with them, all because I'm so anxious about paying the good people who provide our electricity, phone service, cable, and water, then pocketing the eight dollars that's left over - for emergencies. My day was not so bad as Justin's though. I didn't get stood up by a guy I was supposed to meet to get my paycheck for the past month of work, I didn't run out of gas on the interstate after said meeting, and I didn't get held hostage by Mr. Rickle.
Mr. Rickle is a mail carrier a county over from us. He has a yard full of stumps (notice my use of the present-tense) and asked Justin to come out and give him as estimate. So after getting rescued from the side of the road and given a little bit of money to hold him over until no-show-guy mails a check, he went to Mr. Rickle's house to measure the stumps. Estimates are free in the stump-grinding world, so spending two hours in the heat measuring tree stumps makes that price drop because the thought of doing all that for nothing is unacceptable. The figure Justin came up with was substantial, but it's about the best old Rickle is going to get for that many stumps. His wife didn't have a problem with it when Justin quoted it to her and she was ready to go on the whole deal, she just wanted to call her husband to run it by him. Justin was surprised when she handed the phone to him, but didn't think anything of it when Mr. Rickle asked if him could hang out for about 15 minutes, he was on his way home and wanted to talk to him, presumably stump grinding. Justin sat on the back porch and chatted with Mrs. Rickle and drank some sweet tea and was again surprised to see Mr. Rickle storming around the side of back porch accusing him of taking advantage of his wife. Apparently, after the shock of hearing a figure higher than about $30 and a one-minute phone conversation, Mr. Rickle was able to deduce that Justin is a crook, what he does for a living with his "glorified yard tiller" is a joke, that he was quoting an inflated price to Mrs. Rickle because she's a woman and wouldn't know any better (stupid women), and both he and Mr. Rickle knew it. About that time Justin got up to leave, saying that obviously he wasn't going to get this particular job, and that he didn't want to continue wasting Mr. Rickle's and his own time, only to find that Mr. Rickle had blocked his truck in by parking behind him - perpendicularly. As Justin was asking him to move his truck Mr. Rickle was threatening to call the Better Business Bureau, and Justin explained that in order for him to lodge a complaint, they had to actually do business, and in this particular situation he was the only one out time and money that he would never get back. But Mr. Rickle wouldn't let him go, kept insisting that he was not going to move his truck. His reasoning behind keeping him there neither Justin nor I can figure out, unless it was just to wear him down with accusations of indiscretions with his wife and being a crook, then, with Justin in a weakened condition, steal the stump grinder for himself (it's an enviable machine) so he can charge people "extravagant" amounts of money for doing hard labor all day long in ninety-degree heat. Mr. Rickle never did move the truck. About the time Justin was threatening to either take out the truck behind him or the flower bed in front of him Mrs. Rickle moved the truck, and here I thought women shouldn't drive. Justin left and that was it for Mr. Rickle. I assume he just went back to work (insert postal worker joke here). Justin came home dirty, penniless, and defeated. And I thought I had a long day. (Names have been changed to protect myself from getting in trouble by the Better Business Bureau).