The dog with the pink tail.
On occasion I am called in to consult. Generally, it's because the company I work for has loaned money out on a construction project. They send me out to see if their loan is being used wisely... they want to know if their money is coming back.
One such project was in San Diego... a 3,800 square foot, two story French Colonial style home in an upscale neighborhood. The way it was brought to me was the original owner owed the bank a little over nine hundred grand in exchange for this beautiful building. In an effort to keep his home and after months of pleading with the bank to lower the payment it was lost in foreclosure.
Then, as faith would have it, the bank put the house back on the market and sold it right away... for $350,000.
Needless to say this news quickly found its way to the original owner. In a moment of passion he bought a gallon of gas and found himself standing in the driveway trying to make up his mind. Having kicked the front door open, he made his way upstairs to look the old homestead over one last time... splashing the gasoline about everywhere, trailing it down the stairs and walls a like to the front door and with a fond fair-well... lit a match.
The police caught him just outside of Vegas.
After 14 months, the company bought what was left for $51,000 and sold it, as is, 3 days later for $125,000 and 50% of after sale profit. If that weren't enough, the company also sold a copy of the blue prints that I had gotten for free from the original developer, for an additional $25,000. That's why I work for them instead of the other way around.
As it turns out, it was immediately apparent the new owners had no idea which end of a screwdriver to hold onto... they were in way over their heads.
Having planned for this house to be the corner stone to an early retirement, they hired the worse people possible to handle their project... family. A prodigal son who's construction experience suffered from excessive pharmaceutical enhancement. Interestingly he made the same mistake as those that hired him when he hired a helper... his wife.
Usually my evaluation runs it's course in two or three days. At 9:00 sharp the first day the pair appeared from their trailer, parked at the job site, and made their way upstairs.
The first to reach me was Larry; somewhere in his early 30's, unshaven, his fly away sandy brown hair looked like every photo I had ever seen of Einstein. He was shirtless and wore a dirty pair of cut off jeans with a full on tool belt held in place with an orange pair of suspenders. I was stunned to see he wore a ratty pair of flip-flops instead of work boots.
Behind him was his wife, Jill. She wore a pink pastel summer dress and a very large straw hat with a pink ribbon that trailed off the back end nearly to the center of her back and flip-flops as well.
My mind reeled as I fought with myself as to what to say. Technically they didn't work for the company so I had no dress code I could or even would try to enforce.
Then, as I was finally getting my head wrapped around these two, following them up the stairs was a dog. A small, white dog of questionable breed... white that is except for the fact that its ears and tail had been dyed a bright pink.
I was stuck. I didn't know how to begin or what to say without sounding like an ass. I tried several times to voice an opinion but no sound would come out as I pointed at the dog.
"You're not from around here, are ya?" Larry asked with a thick southern accent.
Before I could formulate an answer, Jill removed her hat revealing the same shade of pink that adorned the dog.
I couldn't help myself and gaped openly between the woman and her canine.
"What? A girl likes to coordinate," she said with the same southern drawl.
"Cute dog. What's her name?" I asked weakly, trying to recover.
"Why, Margaret of course," she returned.
"That's funny," I said without thinking, "That's what I call my truck."
Instantly, both looked to the other and then to me. Larry grabbed Jill's arm guiding her several feet away.
"He name's his truck," she whispered harshly. The two now looked at me as if I had two heads and stepped back yet again.
I had no choice... I killed the contract that afternoon, opting for a different contractor... one without a dog with a pink tail.