“We’ve got a special project today,” Crew Leader Carl said, as we were driving across town. “It’s a one-time deal, but it should be pretty easy. This guy with a bare yard just needs us to drop by and clear out all the weeds.
“With all five of us pulling and hoeing, we should be able to knock it out in no time,” he said.
Soon enough, we arrived at a newer house. Like Carl said, the front and back yards were bare dirt with no landscaping. Knee-high weeds had completely taken over.
Stan, the crew’s newest member, looked out the window and frowned. “Man. That’s awful. You think the guy will hire us to landscape his yard, as well?”
Carl killed the engine. “He didn’t say anything about paying us to landscape. He just needs the weeds removed. I think the homeowners association must be on him, or something.”
“I could never live with a bare yard,” Stan said, as we all climbed out of the truck.
Carl shrugged. “To each his own. Some people are just cheap.”
We all pulled on gloves, grabbed individual trashcans, then got to work yanking the weeds from the ground. Carl and Stan both lit cigarettes, which dangled from their mouths as they worked.
The front door to the house opened and closed, and an elderly man hobbled out. “Glad to see you boys are here.”
“Yes, sir,” Crew Leader Carl said.
The man stood on his stoop and watched us while we worked. His continual gaze made me feel awkward.
After a while, walking around bent over started to take its toll on our backs. Stan paused to stand up and stretch. As he did, he sucked his cigarette down to the ash, then flicked the butt to the ground.
“Hey!” the old homeowner yelled, pointing. “You stupid bastard! You’re messing up my yard!”