“Jerry look, you just gotta figure out a way to get along with this contractor in Hilton Head and get out of him what you need because no ones saying y’all have to be best buds, you just gotta get the job done before the client comes at me raising hell”, I say back to Jerry, my head elevator technician, in my best 1998 “coaching” voice.
You see, Jerry, the winner of my “best elevator mechanic of 1998” award isn’t looking through my telescope, he’s looking through his binoculars; and although he can’t abide my contractor in Hilton Head SC, I know Jerry has a good heart, he just forgets to look at from time to time.
Now whether the contractor has a heart or not is of no mind to me because Jerry holds all the cards. He’s my guy in the field, he’s my trust extension cord of promise to my clients that produces, “I got it and we’ll get ya’ done” electricity.
Thus, right now Jerry’s my only shot at success because although the “art of the deal” for most sales folks is to just close the deal, when you’re a control freak, dealing with male egos all day, only one of “me” in the office, soft hearted entrepreneur person like me, it’s my job to figure out how to get my donkey to calm down, focus on the prize and get to the finish line; without getting hurt, without hurting someone on the way, without cheating and without losing any of my money.
“Jerry, what’s the problem bud?” I say back to him in my best “I actually give a shit” voice.
You see, although Jerry’s a great guy, has a good heart and is a good mechanic, he’s a “little” bit difficult and he’s always hittin me up for more money.
I guess that’s what most “common” folks do when the economy is booming and unemployment’s less than three percent. I guess it’s what one might refer to as a “sellers” market. And I’m buying too.
Because gas is around ninety-eight cents a barrel, my 1996 Ford expedition is as smooth as silk driving between Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia. Im a twenty eight year young, high-energy, poor white girl from East Tennessee, gotta make my fortune, home elevator entrepreneur.
“Jerry look! What do you want me to do, do you want me to go down to Hilton Head and get Justin in a head-lock and beat the shit out of em? Because look I will bud, if that’ll make you feel better and if that’ll get you to finish the job, cause look Jerr I’m not saying Justin’s right but I’m saying Justin’s the only elephant that’ll get us to the finish line; and you might not think its pretty, but shit-fire Jerr, what choice do we have? Plus Justin doesn’t look like the type of fella that’ll hit a girl and god knows I probably out weigh em’ by about eighty-five to hundred pounds”, I plead my case with self-deprecating humor and a smile as I try to talk my donkey off my bench.
“Hell fire gal, you at least out weigh him by a hundred (Jerry says as he takes another drag off his 1972 Marlboro man cigarette). I mean gal none of these men mess with you the way they mess with me. And gal listen, I know you can talk a strawberry off a strawberry shortcake, but listen, by god I hate that son-of-bitch and I’m not going back down there, no way, fire me if you have to but I’m not going back down there!” Jerry says back in his most convivial voice.
“I mean you pay me well Michele but not that goddamn well!”, jerry takes a sigh of relief knowing he’s finally said what he’s come here to say.
“Listen gal, I’m not saying I don’t appreciate what you’re doing for me but listen gal I didn’t want to bring this up but nows just as good a time as any, look, its time for us to talk about that raise I’ve been promised, it’s time to sit down and look at “things” because Miss Carolyn and I, well we’ve got medical bills a pilin up and you know Michele, you know it’s just that time of the year, and I hate to say this but I’ve had a few phone calls, folks are looking for good mechanics right now, and this travelin you’ve got me doing its just hard on a man. It’s hard being away from my horses, my house, it’s just hard Michele, and listen gal I’m not saying I won’t do it but its just time for us to talk about my pay, ” he says without hesitation and with the all knowing sense that its time to renegotiate the cost of his seat.
About that time my secretary Jo Olive knocks on my door, Jo’s from the Bronx via Nashville TN and although Jo can be a bit on the “pissed off, yet Im a “victim” side of life, she’s the funniest fifty-eight year old I know and she reminds me of my grandmother Nonnie, cause she’s always smokin and cussin, two of my favorite character traits in women.
Jo comes barreling in my office,
“Hey Jerry what the hell are you still doing here?” She’s says, in her I use to be a lounge singer in New York City, who “entertained” a few good fellas but smoked too many cigarettes on their dates voice.
“I thought you’d be back down in Hilton Head by now, knee deep in shit and manure, trying to get that job done so that son-of-bitch Justin will fuckin quit callin here. By god Jerry if that mother fucker calls here one more time and tells me how much he can’t stand you, I might just have to put you down myself, because look Jerry we need that fucking money. I’ve got Hy on my ass about buying a new goddamn pool filter for the swimming pool and you know that Jewish mother fucker is not going to shut up until I buy it; so listen Jerry get your fucking ass back down to Hilton Head and get that job done so I can buy my yankee husband what he wants!” Jo says in her best third party voice,
Now about this time in my ‘conversation” I’ve decided it might be best if I pick up a Marlboro man myself, although I prefer marlboro ladies; I always keep a pack of Marlboro Lights in my desk for occasions like this and although I usually only smoke when I’ve had a drink or three, its time for the “walk” outside.
“Hey listen how bout a smoke, how bout we all step outside and choke one down”, I say back in my best “I really gotta get an end to this conversation”, cause, although Justin’s a client, he’s one of many calling for something from us today.
And just like that we head outside to get some fresh air in our lungs….