This is a story about a sexual FANTASY written for consenting adults. If you're not both of those, don't read it. Characters in a FANTASY don't get sick or die unless I want them to. In real life, people who don't use condoms and other safe-sex techniques do get sick and die. You don't live in a FANTASY so be safe. The fictional characters in my stories are trained and experienced in acts of FANTASY - don't try to do what they do - someone could get hurt.
If you think you know somebody who resembles any of the characters here, congratulations, but you're wrong - any similarity between the characters in this story and any real person is purely coincidental, since all of these characters are figments of my dirty little imagination.
This is my story, not yours. Don't sell it or put it on a pay site. You can keep it and/or give it away with all of this information intact, but if you make money off of it without my permission, you're breaking the law and pissing me off.
When the software industry shipped its work to India and China, I was too old and too expensive to compete for the scraps of software jobs remaining in the US. When I finally realized that my career in that industry was over, I had to find something else to do to bring in some money. I had discovered, during my forced vacation, while looking for work, that I had a talent for, and thanks to the teachings of my father, fair knowledge of, most of the things required to maintain or improve upon my home. "Why not" I asked myself, "sell those services to those who don't have the time or knowledge to do it themselves?"
I was musing on that very question over a beer one day at my favorite watering hole, when in walked the stereotypical soccer mom, blonde ponytail sticking out the back of her baseball cap, impeccably dressed for jogging in a name brand outfit. The delicate perspiration stains at armpits and neck attested to the fact that she had, in fact, been working out.
"That looks good!" she said, eyeing the moisture running down the side of my glass. "Give me a cold one, please!" She told the barkeep.
Reaching into the pocket of her outfit, she brought her hand out empty, cursing. "Damn! I must have left my billfold at home!"
I looked her over, but she didn't seem to be faking it, so I raised a finger from my glass and when Fred looked my way, I nodded in her direction. Fred had gotten to know me pretty well over the last couple of years and didn't bat an eye. When he put the beer down in front of her, soccer mom pushed it away.
"Sorry!" she said, "I thought you heard me. I forgot my wallet."
"It's on Hank." Fred nodded in my direction, as if the bar were full of people instead of just the three of us.
For the first time, Blondie turned to look at me, instead of my beer. "Thanks!" she said, "What can I do to repay you?"
I looked her up and down, but instead of what I had in mind to say, I answered, "You got something needs fixing around the house? A deck you want built? Curtain rods you need hung? If you've got work for a handyman, and pay my bill on time, that would be payment enough."
She returned my assessing look, toe to head. "You any good?"
"I'm not a pro, yet." I told her honestly, "So I'm slow, but I'm a perfectionist. I estimate the job up front, and that's what you pay, if you like my price. If you're not satisfied with my work, I fix it, no charge."
"What if it costs more than you estimated?" she asked.
"Still costs you the same." I told her. "That's the price I pay for learning how to estimate better."
"What if it costs less than you estimated?"
"Still costs you the same." I replied. "No haggling, no fuss. If you get a better estimate, take it. If mine's the best, and I make a little money, what's it to you?"
"You know where Emerald Glen is?" She asked, writing on a napkin.
"Yeah." I answered, checking the address she had written.
"I need an estimate for my countertops." She said. "Be there at ten tomorrow."
"Hang on." I got out my PDA and made a show of checking the calendar. Tomorrow, the whole week, in fact the whole month was clear, except for the meeting in a couple of weeks with the divorce lawyer. He was just going to tell me how little I had left and that wouldn't take long, but I shook my head anyway. "Can't do it at ten. How 'bout between two and three?"
I could see the wheels turning, as she tried to remember what her day would look like tomorrow. "Okay, but not a minute past three."
She polished off the rest of her beer and left. If she had jogged this far from Emerald Glen, she was in pretty good shape.
I pulled up to the guardhouse at Emerald Glen at 2:45 the next afternoon, my brand new magnetic signs gleaming on the sides of my old pickup. "Hank the Handyman" they proclaimed, "I fix everything but broken hearts."
Emerald Glen is where CEOs and other high mucky-mucks stashed their trophy wives in multi-million dollar mansions to give them the illusion of security while their bread-winners were away winning platinum plated, diamond encrusted bread for them. You had to have permission from a resident, phoned in to the guardhouse, to come into the place, but there were so many landscapers, painters, roofers, carpenters, pool cleaners and other service industry types running around out there that there was no way they could keep track of everyone who entered those gates.
Well, if they wanted to believe that their golf club membership bought them security, it was no skin off my nose. I gave the address to the guy in the guardhouse and he checked something on his computer, then pushed the button that raised the flimsy wooden barrier that was supposed to keep me out if I was a bad guy. I checked my MapQuest printout and found the place without too much trouble, pulling into the semi-circular driveway so that my signs could be easily seen from the street.
Soccer mom was dressed in some sort of loose, lounging outfit that did more for her firm, uptilted breasts than the sports bra from the day before.
"It's almost three!" She griped. "Where have you been!"
"I said between two and three." I told her. "It's between two and three. Would you like me to leave?"
"No." she said irritably. "Since you're here, you might as well do what you came for."
Sweeping ahead of me into the spacious kitchen, she said, "I just had these countertops redone, and they were supposed to match throughout the house, but look!"
I looked at the splendid marble countertops - real marble, mind you, not the plastic stuff. They looked flawless to me, but I took a couple of shots with my digital camera, just in case.
"And?" I asked.
"And this!" she said, sweeping into the downstairs bathroom. "See how these look green compared to the ones in the kitchen?"
They DID look a bit green. I took a couple of shots there and in the other bathrooms. Then I took some measurements, inspected the underside of the marble where it was readily visible, and happened to find the name of the vendor that had sold the tops, while giving myself a quick lesson in how they were mounted.
"Have you talked to the vendor, or whoever installed them?" I asked.
"Yes," she sighed exasperatedly, "and they refuse to do anything. They keep telling me it's my imagination, that they CAN'T be different colors, so I have no choice but to get someone else to change them out."
"I'll do some research and get back to you with an estimate early next week," I told her, visions of dollar signs flashing through my head as I thought of the markup and labor charges I could soak her for.
I got her name - Courtney Collins - and number and took off for home.
At home - thank God the mortgage had been paid on the place by my parent's insurance when they died, before I married the wicked witch of the west. Neither the house or its furnishings were community property and it burned her up that she couldn't get her talons on them.
I popped the cap on a Pacifico Clara and sat down in front of the computer. I uploaded the digital shots I had taken for a side-by-side comparison. Much to my surprise, I couldn't detect any color difference in the photos! Even looking at the spectral histograms of them showed no significant shift toward or away from green. Then I realized what must have happened. All of the shots were taken with the flash.
Damn! There went my profit. Sure, I could have done the whole thing anyway, but it wasn't in me to actually cheat one of my customers. I didn't mind making a profit off of them, but I was damned if I was going to start business by running a scam on my first customer.
I called Courtney to tell her my conclusion.
"Collins residence, Courtney speaking!"
I didn't know anyone still answered the phone that way.
"Ms. Collins, this is Hank, the Handyman." I told her. "I've got your estimate ready."
"So soon?" she asked.
"Yes." I replied. "The problem is not with the marble. It's your lighting. All you need to do is change the lights you've got in the bathrooms and the marble will look the same as the kitchen."
I thought I was prepared for the next question, but what she said was not what I was expecting.
"Good." she told me. "You passed my little test. You're both smart enough to have figured it out, and honest enough not to try to cheat me. If you'll come back tomorrow, I'll show you what I really want you to do."
"Not so fast." I told her. "You owe me fifty bucks for the time I wasted on a bogus estimate."
"Add it to your estimate for the new cabinets I want you to build." She replied.
.... There is more of this story ...