We asked several people round for estimates, five turned up. Estimates varied from $1,000 > $1,200 > $1,400 > $1,500 > $2,000. My friend, Bully Boy, came in at $2,000. I said no, “No thank you,” I thought most politely. But he wouldn’t go. He was a very large man, super aggressive, and towered over me.
“It’s the best deal you’ll get,” he told me. “I won’t take no for an answer.”
“You already have ‘no’ for an answer,” I told him. But he still wouldn’t go.
“Mind you,” he said. “We’ll do a good job. We’ll tear up this, and that. It will all cost money. But it will be worth it, when you sell the house. Sure, $2,000 is the initial price. but it may rise. $2,400, $2,500, maybe $3,000 … we won’t know until we see what needs doing.”
“No,” I said. “No thank you. No,” But he still wouldn’t go.
“Look,” he said. “Those other guys are cheap-skates. They won’t do a good job. Me and the boys, we’ll dig down till we find something, then we’ll repair it. You won’t regret it. We’ll do a real good job, me and my boys.”
Two equally big louts climbed the back steps and knocked on the door. They opened it and let themselves in.
“How’re you doing, paw?”
“Great, kids, great. We’re just about to pen a deal here, aren’t we?” He thrust a piece of paper into my face, then put it on the table. “Just sign here.”
Bully Boy passed me a pen, almost stabbed me with it, and leaned over me as I bent to read the document.
“No,” I said. “No. I’m not signing this.”
“Why not? It’s the best deal you’ll get.”
Bully Boy and his sons crowded round me. I felt like I was standing at the bottom of a deep well and they shut out the light.
“I hate doing this … ” Bully Boy said, rolling up his sleeve to show an arm knotted with muscle and fat..
“Me too,” I said and whistled. My two Rottweilers came at a rush, stopped at my hand signal, and sat.
“Growl,” I said, and they rose as one and growled a deep, throaty, chuckly, mad-dog growl.
“Show your teeth,” I said and pointed at Bully Boy. The two dogs pulled back their lips, leering and drooling as only Rottweilers can.
Bully Boy and his sons vanished out the back door faster than they came in.
Now, your mission, should you choose to accept it: multiply those prices by ten (that’s thousands of dollars), multiply me by a thousand (there’s a lot of people in my situation out there), subtract my Rottweilers (not everyone my age has a trained guard dog, let alone two large, protective pets), and remember, I am a small man, seventy-eight years old, and this was a very large team of con artists.
You too will age and shrink. You may not have any pets. Your tablets may make you muddled. Now, if you live alone, like me, think about my story, and be scared … be very scared.