The Straggler


In the end, I didn’t do anything to the foreman.

I had fired him months earlier after one of his wiry henchmen tried to sue me, presumably for not taking a big enough portion of the money from the house construction project. I told him to talk to my lawyer. That turned him off, a good thing because I don’t have a lawyer. The foreman moved on to other targets for skimming – or shoveling – off the top to keep himself in designer clothes and to buy a new Peugeot 207.

So we settled into a quiet life.


One of the workers stayed on the job to help finish. He’s a good man, but not without his faults. He screwed up the polished cement floors. I thought of throwing him into one of the pits on our sandy lot and stoning him with the chunks of cement pulled up from his botched job. Instead, I fired him with still several thousand owed for the floor. I broke the news to him in the sandy lot.

“Nobody’s ever done this to me,” he said.

“That’s the way it is,” I said.

I had my father-in-law back me up. He has fists the size of sledgehammers compared with mine.

The worker left unpaid.

And we faced the task of finishing the house on our own, really on our own.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Pin on PinterestEmail to someonePrint this page

More stories on: Living Abroad
{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Andrea Parker May 7, 2010, 8:22 pm

    I love your descriptions. I feel like I can see what you are saying.

  • Charles Newbery May 18, 2010, 7:39 pm

    Many thanks.

Leave a Comment