Friday, January 27, 2017

Welcome to the Business

An Introduction

GD Exterminators, its listed in the phone book if you still had one. All of them. Every phone book in the US has a listing for it. Its not something you'd notice, no one uses a phone book, but if you looked you'd notice this small ad in the G's for an exterminator. The slogan "You'll see our work and go God Damn!" the only other text other than the phone number. It's not even a toll free number. If you called the number you'd speak to a nice woman named Doris, who will ask you some questions, and either refer you to another exterminator she knows can get the job done, or you'll talk to Gilbert. Most people who call GD don't speak to Gilbert. They don't know the actual work he does, and how direly needed it is in America. Their eyes are shut, but one person is about to have them opened, and see the world in an entirely new way.


Ellensburg Washington, most people think of it as a rest stop. The kind of place you gas up the car, get a bite to eat, and move on with life. There was a college there, but even then, it was still a rest stop. You went to college, learned a skill, and moved on with life. That was Clarissa Sheeply's hope, she was studying biology when the money ran out. Her parents had cut her off, tired of her throwing her life away on every cause and protest under the sun. They wanted her to find her feet like they had fictitiously done in their own life. So they stopped paying for school and told her she had to find a job and make her own way in life. She hadn't believed them when they said it initially. She thought it was the usual bullshit from her parents. Just ignored it up until she was thrown out of her campus apartment. All she had left was an old suv, and ten dollars. Not even enough money to pay for gas to get home. She had been crying in her car when she saw the sign.

It was in the window of a stucco building all by itself down some back road she hadn't remembered driving down. She originally had been parked on campus to sleep for the night and beg her friends for help in the morning, but the campus police had told her to move on and so in the dark she'd driven wherever she was now. The sign said "help wanted", through her tear streaked eyes, she took it as a sign from up above. When she got out of her car and made her towards the building she noticed it was an exterminator's office, and that was better for her, she had studied biology, she could do this or at least work there long enough for her parents to start paying her bills again.

"Campus people normally handle your extermination needs Ms." The old lady behind the counter had spoken it as soon as Clarissa had stepped through the door. The woman was wearing the kind of church suit that seemed to be standard issue for women over a certain age. The only difference was the name tag on her right breast. It had Doris with little self added beads on both sides.

"The sign out front said help wanted?" Clarissa didn't fault Doris for thinking she was a student, she was one until the day before and still wore the uniform of a student in ripped old jeans a t-shirt for a band that broke up ten years before she was born.

"You want to be an exterminator?" The polite old woman voice was gone, Doris now sounded like someone from New Jersey.

"Well I just need a jo..."

"GILBERT GET OUT HERE YOU HAVE AN APPLICANT!" She screamed into the back hallway behind her. There wasn't a response at first, and then a large man emerged. Gilbert was tall, when Clarissa saw him he had to duck under the door way leading to the hall. He was dressed in a tan workman uniform. Gilbert in an unadorned name tag was on his right breast. The uniform was short sleeved so Clarissa could see he had some kind of military tattoo on his right forearm, though it was faded. He was black with fading black hair and clean shaven aside from a thin mustache. Clarissa was surprised such a large person would do extermination work, she thought it involved a lot of crawling under things.

"Thank you Doris, you don't have to yell." Gilbert's voice was soft like a radio DJ, "Hello Ms, Gilbert Dunkley, I own this shop." He had come out from behind the desk and extended a hand, Clarissa shook it as best she could even though his hand dwarfed hers.

"Clarissa Sheeply." Gilbert looked her over for the first time it seemed to her.

"Been a while since someone came calling for a job, but didn't folks used to dress up slightly better for it Doris?" Clarissa felt her cheeks go red.

"Don't mind him honey he's just old fashioned." Gilbert nodded.

"Well you want to be an exterminator?"

"To be honest Mr. Dunkley."

"Gil, most people call me Gil, I'm not going to do that song and dance about how Mr. Dunkley was my father, but I've always liked Gil."

"Gil, I'm just looking for any kind of job, times have been tough lately." Gilbert nodded again, looked to Doris, and then looked back at Clarissa.

"You'll have to cut your hair, nothing against long hair or dread locks, but hair gets into things, and you don't want that stuff in your hair if you catch my drift." Clarissa nodded at that, she hadn't even thought of her hair being an issue.

"I can cut my hair, I can cut it right now if you have a sink?"

"That's not necessary Ms Sheeply, I'm just saying it'll have to be cut before you go on a job, this way please." Gilbert showed her down the hall he had come from, she found it funny he owned the building, but hadn't fixed the doorway so he didn't have to duck underneath it. She almost wondered if it was a way to intimidate people with his size.

"Clarissa, I've never been a Ms. Sheeply."

"Fair enough, mind if I smoke?" He had taken a pipe out of his front pocket, she hadn't even noticed the outline of it.

"Aren't you worried about the smoke messing with the chemicals?" Gilbert laughed as he opened a door to his office.

"I don't use chemicals." Clarissa looked inside and lost her ability to breathe. She had expected all kinds of things in an exterminators office, but nothing like she saw in front of her.

"What kind of exterminator are you?"

"A good one." Gilbert showed her in and closed the door.