It was early morning. We had just loaded the truck and were pulling out of the shop.
As we rumbled through the yard, we saw the company owner, Benito, standing at the gate with his hands on his hips, blocking our path.
“Oh, crap,” said Crew Leader Carl, letting off the gas. “The day hasn’t even started, and he’s already pissed off.”
“If you gun it, you might be able to take him out,” Slim suggested, as he puffed on a cigarette.
Carl rubbed his chin, as if pondering the suggestion. But instead, he came to a slow stop beside Benito.
“I get two complaint last night!” Benito screamed, his face red. “You no pull weeds or pick up all the garbage!”
“Sorry, Boss,” Carl said. “Which customers complained? We can return today and give their yards a once-over.”
Benito wagged his finger at him. “You never mind who complain! I complain! I no like your work! You all idiots! Stupid, stupid idiots! Now get out of here!”
He threw his hat on the ground and stormed off, kicking rocks. We all watched as the hat tumbled along with the breeze, bouncing over the gravel road.
Carl sighed. “Great way to start the day.”
Later that afternoon, as we were driving between jobs, Carl’s cell phone rang. He glanced at it and then set it back down. It continued to ring.
“Aren’t you going to answer that?” I asked.
“Nah.” Carl shrugged. “I don’t recognize the number. It’s probably just a scammer.”
Later that day, as we were driving to another job, Carl’s cell rang again.
He glanced at the screen. “Hmm. Same number.”
“Maybe it’s a customer?” I suggested.
“Maybe. I guess I’ll take it.” Carl pushed a button and put the phone to his ear. “Hello?”
He listened for a moment or two before hanging up and setting the phone back down.
“Anyone you know?” I asked.
“I don’t think so,” Carl said. “It was just some angry-sounding foreigner screaming at me. He couldn’t speak English.”
“Are you sure it wasn’t Benito?” I asked.