I agreed to pay someone else’s exterminating bill today. Under the circumstances, it was the least I could do.
The customer in question is a former client of mine. A few months ago, he hired me to review terms and conditions of use for a proposed website to market photos and videos. He didn’t provide details about his contemplated business, however; and I never saw the actual website.
During one of our conversations, the guy mentioned an ant infestation at his home. I volunteered that my exterminator does an excellent job and undoubtedly could resolve the problem. After I provided contact information, he hired my pest control provider to remedy his ant situation and also to perform quarterly preventative treatment. Wendell – the technician who services our house – got credit for the company’s new customer. He also was assigned to service the man’s account.
Wendell thanked me for the referral. At least, initially he did. When he phoned this morning, he didn’t sound nearly as appreciative.
As he explained, today was the first quarterly service at my former client’s residence. The customer, whom Wendell described as “a man of few words who wouldn’t look me in the eye,” strangely directed his new exterminator to forego any pest control behind two closed doors upstairs. He tersely instructed Wendell not to enter either of those two rooms for any reason.
Wendell had completed his services upstairs and begun walking down to the first floor when he heard an enormous crash. Moments later, as he rounded a bend in the staircase, he came face to face with the business end of a pistol … held by a Georgia Bureau of Investigations’ agent. Wendell happened to be wearing a belt containing the tools of his trade, one of which superficially resembled a sidearm. The GBI agent spotted the “gun” and immediately shouted at the suspect to put his hands behind his head and drop to his knees. Before Wendell could say a word, the agent roughly subdued, cuffed and “disarmed” him.
The next thing Wendell knew, he’d been dragged to the living room for an interrogation that commenced with the angry question: “What do you know about kiddy porn?!!”
His succinct answer – “It’s bad” – failed to assuage the agent’s suspicions. Consequently, when GBI officers arrested the homeowner and confiscated all the equipment for his child pornography business, they arrested Wendell as well. He subsequently used his single phone call to ring me. Only, I don’t practice criminal law, so I had to locate an attorney capable of obtaining his release from custody. It took me most of the afternoon, but I found someone. Wendell should get out of jail shortly. In the meantime, realizing it may be years before his customer is in any position to pay today’s pest control bill, I called Wendell’s employer and agreed to pay the invoice myself. As I said, it’s the least I can do.