As I pulled into the parking lot today, the New Maintenance Guy (NMG) waved me over. I got out of the car and walked up to him. “Your guinea pig was bad today…” he said plainly. No greeting, no ‘how was your day’ just, “Your guinea pig was bad today…”
I sighed at the statement and asked, “Is the toilet at least fixed?”
“Oh, yeah,” he said quickly, “just a loose handle…”
“Ok,” I said bracing for the latest fiasco that Alfalfa had caused. “What did the beast do?”
NMG didn’t miss a beat when I called Alfalfa by one of his many nicknames. “Well, he was loud…really loud.”
“Was he screeching at you?” I asked already knowing the answer.
“Yeah,” NMG said and smiled, “But I fixed that!” he declared with a lot of pride in his voice.
“You fixed him? Or you ‘fixed’ him?” I asked with shock. “What did you do? Hit him with a wrench?”
“NO,” NMG said, “I considered it…” There was a pregnant pause before he continued with a sly smile, “I gave him some grass!” NMG beamed at me.
“Did you wash it first?” I asked.
“Of course!” NMG said with a bit of disdain.
“Oh, good,” I said finally smiling back at him. “So, are you two now best buddies?” I asked sarcastically.
“Well, that worked…until he was done…” NMG said looking down at his feet.
I finished his statement, “And then he started to screech at you again?”
“Well, yeah,” NMG said and then looked up at me with a huge smile. “But I fixed that too?”
“Oh?” I asked. “Does THIS fix involve a wrench?”
“Tempting,” NMG said scratching his chin, “But no. I got him more grass!”
“Wonderful,” I sighed, “Now you are spoiling my guinea pig.”
“No,” NMG corrected, “He was really, really hungry. You should feed him more.”
“Whaaaat?” I asked. “He has a ton of food every day. Have you seen how big his butt is lately? That thing NEEDS a D-I-E-T!”
“Well, then why was he yelling for more grass five minutes after his second serving?” NMG demanded.
“Because he’s addicted to it and you were giving it to him…” I argued.
“Oh,” NMG said and then went quiet.
“Wait?!?” I said. “You didn’t give him a third serving of grass…did you?”
“Well,” NMG said.
“WHAT?” I said.
“Was that wrong?” NMG asked.
“Yeah!” I exclaimed.
“Why?” MNG asked with a bit of sorrow in his voice, “Is that bad for him?”
“Well, other than the fact that you are enabling my already spoiled guinea pig? And the fact that he has managed to train ANOTHER person to server his wants? NO. But it’s bad for my apartment…”
MNG tilted his head and raised his eyebrows asking an unspoken question. I explained, “That thing is going to be a pooping machine… My rug is going to be covered with beans.”
“Oh, but they are so cute,” NMG interrupted.
“I’ll give you the dust buster and you can find the hundreds of beans he’s left behind today… from all the grass YOU fed him!” I said pointing at NMG to make my words stick. “Then we will see how ‘cute’ those beans are…”
“Sorry,” NMG said turning a bit red from my words.
Seeing this, I back tracked a bit, “Listen, let’s make a deal… one serving of grass per visit…no matter how loud or annoying that thing is…OK?”
“OK,” NMG quickly agreed, “But I still think he doesn’t like me…even after I gave him all that grass…”
“Of course he doesn’t like you,” I stated plainly, “You’re the Maintenance Guy…”