Standing alone in the CEO’s reserved parking space you suddenly feel like a trespasser on this massive compound even though mere moments ago you were in the belly of the beast and witnessed it’s heartbeat, something very few get to see. The man in the white shirt and tie now notices and walks toward you while checking his clipboard as if to see if you were a forgotten tech without a truck. You take quick steps towards the street and you can hear the service mgr. calling out for you to hold up. With no ghost to guide you, you’re now stuck between the busy street of fast moving cars and the now insistent supervisor closing in. With nowhere to go your mind searches for a way to explain why you were so deep in the mega pest controls compound. Just then, you hear honking from a 7-11 parking lot across the street and you see a woman waving for you to come over. Just then you feel a tap on your shoulder and you spin around resolved to beg for mercy when your eyes are met by a strikingly pretty blonde pest control technician.
The Medium Sized Firms
“Looks like you’ve seen a ghost” she chuckles with a smirk on her face. “I’m your second visitor but I’ll try to be more pleasant than the first.” She invites you to check out her brand new ride and speaking a mile a minute, begins a guided tour. “This is truck # 33 of the fleet and it’s a 1/2 ton Chevy King Cab with a Reading bed loaded to the hilt for any pest job imaginable. You got your 8 foot and 20 foot extension ladder racks on top of one tool box and these long tubes on the other side hold dust and aerosol poles. This bin has an electric reel with a 300 foot 5/8ths hose while this tiny reel underneath has only 150 feet of hose. That’s so you don’t have to run repellants and non repellants through the same hose. I got this whole section just for rodent, here’s a bin just for concentrates and this section is water tight where I keep my lures, pheromone traps, glue boards and insect baits. Now I have a 100 gallon split and two 25 gal pony tanks. All diaphragm pumps and a top of the line Honda GX 240 to run it.”
As the truck tour goes on you’re struck with what a fireball this ghost is. The first spirit hardly said a word but this one is on a roll. Although her hair is pulled back into a ponytail, sleeves rolled up and her hands are somewhat calloused, she is a very pretty girl. Almost as if she has to prove her worth she painstakingly whips out more knowledge about every item on the truck and you kind of feel a little stupid because you’ve never used let alone seen some of these tools. It’s obvious she’s a ‘company tech’ (eh-em, ghost) and she is driven to be the best. At last she tells you about the custom truck wrap as she comes around to the front of the truck and she just stops and goes silent right there. You come to the front as well to see what’s got her attention and you see two large indented scuffs on the bumper. Inquisitively you asked what happened and she says with disappointment, “Just a misunderstanding with a tow truck today, somehow this new truck ended up on his repo list, that’s why I was late.” With that she scurries behind the wheel, starts it up and shouts, “let’s go, I’ve got to get you to your destination, The owner you’re going to meet has a very important interview today.” And off we went.
Home Sweet Home
Pulling into the parking lot you’re struck by the beautiful home that has been converted into a pest control office. The big back yard is graveled over and there must be 20 or more personal vehicles of the employees. Along the back vinyl fence you see a large boat and very nice RV, the kind made to double as a hauler for dirt bikes or ATV’s. There are a couple of brand new company trucks tucked away in the corner adorned with killer rigs and professional hi-tech equipment. They were numbered 31 and 32. You see a man going in and out of a large, freshly painted storage building with a 24 foot chemical supply delivery truck backed up to the door. The landscaping around the business was immaculate complete with a koi pond and waterfall that was the center piece of the employee outdoor break area. At that moment a car pulls in and parks in the reserved guest spot and your ghost says in a now direct manner. “That’s the man doing the interview, you have to hear what he has to say.”
Inside the office you wouldn’t know this was ever a home. The receptionist with a phone to her ear smiles behind her custom desk and points to the hall on the right as if she knew ahead of time who the man was and who he was here to see. The smell of fresh brewed coffee fills the air and you stop and look at a large retouched photo of the founder of where you stand today. “That’s my Grandpa” says a man who has his hand extended ready to shake, You thought he was speaking to you but the interviewer reached out and greeted this somewhat nervous looking owner. “He started this company in the 50’s- I’ll be happy to give the whole run down. Would you like some coffee?”
This owner must also be a fan of the local ‘all you can eat’ cuisine but he has an energy and bounce that exudes confidence. His hands are clean with no callouss, his large gold watch and shiny wedding ring sparkle in this well lit office. He gives a quick tour but almost dismisses each room he displays as nothing special. The sales room has that same big board and although not high 6 figure numbers, the months totals are certainly impressive. He introduces the service manager, the secretaries, and the new hire who is watching a training video. Each person is so polite and happy to take a moment out of their busy day to say hi and chat for a moment. The owner has nothing but kind words to say about each and even brags about their off hour endeavors as a little league coach or their child’s heroic touchdown at last weeks game.
The boisterous entrepreneur points to his office and says to take a seat as he skips back to the kitchen to get that hot cup of Joe. The back office wall is a large built in wall unit and obviously custom made. But instead of sales awards or plaques commending his great pest control career, the cubbies are filled with Little League trophies and pictures of his family on grande vacations. The rest of the tastefully decorated office boasts taxidermic heads of some exotic animals he’s bagged on his world excursions and many autographed photos of him, his kids and some really high profiled athletes still in their uniforms. In fact, the only remnant that would remind you this was a pest control owners office at all was a black and white picture on a shelf and a small ledger book behind it that had to be 60 years old.
The picture caught the interviewers eye and as he stared at it, the owner walked in. “That’s a picture of my Dad and my Grandfather, he said, Grandpa started this company in the 50’s and my Dad took it over in 72, but it’s been me since he died in 1991.” With that the questioner took the ledger from behind the picture and said, “I knew your Dad, he started about the same time I began my career, I’ve never had the occasion to interview him.” The boisterous owner began to shake a little and quickly set down the coffee cup so as not to spill. The examiner continued as he perused through the old account book. “You know why I’m here today, I don’t have good news. We’ve been through your books and I don’t see anyway we can satisfy your creditors. You’ve spent to much and you don’t have enough coming in.” At that point the ghost directs your attention to the window outside. You see that the chemical distributor man going in and out of the shed is only taking things out, not in. As you gaze in amazement a tow truck pulls in the yard. The ghost elbows you and says, “That’s the same guy who almost got me earlier.” He checks the vin number on the dash of the other two new pest trucks and RV and even the boat. He reaches in his cab and radios the find in. His system volume was on high and the words echoed across the lot. “More units are being dispatched now.” The owner was now visibly shaken and he toyed with a fossilized rock he brought back from Egypt that he used for a paperweight. He stammered for words and tried to explain his new expansion plan and if he only had more time he was sure he could pay off all his debts. “You grew to fast” the assessor stated in a matter of fact tone never looking up from the book. “Your Dad had all kinds of financial challenges in his time but he never once lavished himself with expensive things, never once missed paying a bill. Like I said, I knew your Dad, I admired his sacrifice, his hard work and the solid company he built upon your Grandpas foundation. It’s just too bad you won’t be able to keep the tradition going. I’ll need your keys.
Just then you and your ghost are standing in the front of the building. Fog had moved in and it was suddenly a dark and dreary day. Weeds have taken over where the once groomed plant beds looked so nice. A foreclosure sign is taped to the inside of the front window and a large rusted chain keeps anyone from the big back yard. The once pristine company now stood abandoned, broken and betrayed. The ghost suddenly spoke slowly, directly and with sadness in her voice. Her face looks older, wrinkled and sullen, her hair a bit gray and her hands cracked and dry. Her voice cracked as she said “Nothing left but it was a heckuva ride for awhile. You see, I was around with Sr. and things were different then. Our trucks and equipment weren’t so fancy but they were dependable. And the old man was always there, 60 and 70 hour weeks with very few vacations, I think he practically lived in this place. He died never hitting it big, but….she stammers as she continued, my brother, he finally landed a huge account that my dad had been working on for years and it was a rocket ride from then on. That was the problem, it was too fast, too much and my brother rode that fast track right into the ground and all of us with it.Please, be careful how you grow.” With that she turned and disappeared into the mist.