Stuck under the competition

I’m not fat by any means and I used to say I could fit into almost any crawl space or attic there was, I used to anyways. Just a couple of years ago this was put to the test and when I tell people this story I can’t help but empathize with Forrest Gump. He’d tell his tales on that park bench and people were either fascinated or walked off in unbelief. I assure you this is true but I’ll understand if you raise an eyebrow.

Our office took a call from a management company that pretty much uses my company for anything pest related. This call concerned termites which was normal but the building they were in was anything but. This infestation was in a building that one of my fiercest competitors rented from the mgt. company and to say the least they were not to happy to hear I was coming out to measure it up.

Now I can understand that they wanted the job and they did give a bid but there price was extremely high and even if I wasn’t a preferred vendor I don’t think they would have landed it. I can also see why they asked me to come out after 5 and park in the back so as not to cause a stir with potential customers passing by on this very busy road. What I did not like was the way I was treated as if I were a spy sent in to tap their phones and steal their files. Their mgr. followed my every move and proceeded to grill me on every detail of what and how I would do the job. I don’t mind when customers follow me so much but getting the 3rd degree is something I’m definitely not fond of.

The building is probably 50 years old and had a few quirks to say the least. The front wall was actually two brick walls about 3 feet apart with no access except from the roof, a couple of doors to nowhere and to boot their sales room where I did peek at a few names–my bad– was a wooden ad on built right on the soil, joists and all. The grilling or should I say the “I’m smarter than you” tour was not my best performance as I was taken aback a bit with the complexity of the structure and just the whole situation. He was surprised I knew it was a crawl when I asked him where the entry was but unfazed he took me outside and we went behind yet another fake wall in which I found a very small entry where the bricks had been busted out for some a/c lines. There was no way I could fit and he swore that was it as far as getting under & I certainly didn’t see another door.

No more was I back to my office & I had a message from the management company, apparently I didn’t make a great impression on my not so friendly competition and he let em know. I won’t go into all that was said but the guy wasn’t very nice. After 5 minutes on the phone both the owner & I agreed the guy was nuts and he told me to schedule the job. The day was lined up but Mr. Happy Pants was having none of it, he said the work would have to be done on a Sunday so no one in town would know. Trying to keep my client happy I agreed and the story just gets weirder.

Bright and early Sunday morning me and my chipper were just about to start when Happy Pants showed up. He hardly said two words stuck pestcemetery.combut I could just feel the joy in his heart. Unfortunately my joy too took a walk when I saw that because of the pipes and joists that were in the way I couldn’t make the hole much bigger at all. I’m not sure if I was delusional or just upset with this whole job but I decided to try and fit in this entry with the little extra room I created. I normally go head first but on this one I backed in and sort of felt my way with my feet. I got down to around my rib cage and it was getting very very snug. Right about then Happy came around the corner and took one look and stormed off. I think he was mad because I was actually making my way in which I’m sure he was betting it was impossible. About a minute later I saw his vehicle pull away and for the first time I felt a little relieved but that didn’t last long.

By this time I was almost in but my chest and arms couldn’t configure no matter what I tried. I could tell that this was a losing effort so I decided to climb out and see if I could somehow chip just a little bit more out of my way. That’s when I realized, I was stuck. Wedged like a sardine in a can I just couldn’t move and neither arm was free since I had contorted one underneath me and the other was flailing helplessly pinned to the brick foundation. I tried digging my toes in to push myself forward but the sand gave way each time. I could feel my cell phone in my pocket but couldn’t even get my hand to it. I’ll admit I started to panic and at this point I would have given anything to see Happy Pants again. It seemed the more I struggled the more panicked I became and after I’d say 20 minutes I finally just had to lay there and gather my thoughts. I decided to try and relax with deep breathing and let my body go as limp as possible. It worked, with a slight push from my foot and a forward nudge of my shoulder I moved just ever so slightly. I repeated the process and eventually my arm was free and I was able to pull myself out.

I was worn out by the ordeal but still needed to figure out how to get under this bldg. I went around the perimeter again and couldn’t believe my eyes. There, on the opposite side of the structure was a cut out panel that was very well disguised and if I wasn’t so desperate I might never have seen it. When I unscrewed the panel it opened up into the crawl like a huge spacious cavern big enough for a bear. I was able to treat it just fine and the job actually was easier than I thought. The front fake wall was reachable because of large vent holes and the brick foundation had termite shields all the way around.

Before I left for the day I figured Happy would be calling so I put a lovely note on a pier about 10 feet away from the hole from hell. You could see it from that entry but it was far enough away that he couldn’t say I just put it there by reaching under and not accuse me of anything else. I buttoned up the secret passage and made it looked like I never used it and I really hoped that he would call but he never did. I renewed the account for 2 straight years until I got a call from the mgt. company to tell me to cancel the contract. It seems they raised holy cain every year when I came and he just couldn’t take it anymore. I’ll admit was was kind of glad to get rid of them too but I never took the note away and I’ll bet it’s still there to this day, still there, stuck under the competition.

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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  • That was a great story and good for you. We all want the work but some days it’s just better to walk away. Some days you’re the bug and some day you’re the windshield.