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A day in the life of Mr. Frugal – Short Story - Chapter 2
By Josiah531
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Chapter 2

The next stop was Summer Fields Dairy, the dairy farm down the road. It was a full fledged operation. They processed their own milk and made cheese and milk products. They were usually self sufficient, but Rodney worked for them during certain times of the year. The owner Mrs. Levey liked Rodney. He was always ready to help and was a hard worker. So they setup Rodney with a portable milker and allowed Rodney to trade his milk there for some of the end products (like milk, butter and cheese) or for medicines for his cows.

Rodney had brought just under 14 gallons to trade today. The foreman made the notation in his accounting program which tracked how much Rodney had brought and numbered the batch. Rodney would call in the balance in the ledger at a later time. He needed to get a small setup at the farm so he could process his own dairy products, but he had to prioritize the equipment purchases where he could. He said his goodbyes and hoped back into his small truck.

It was about 9AM now and Rodney pulled into the home of Ms. Lisa Hughes. It wasn’t much to look at, but the small single wide mobile home was home for her and her young daughter. Lisa worked hard, but had a little help in the area.

The breaker had popped again and the company she bought the mobile home from was covering the cost of the repair and sending a electrician out. The bad part was the electrician said he would be by between 9AM and 11AM to change out the breaker to see if that was it. Lisa HAD to be at work. She had only one vacation day left and she was saving it for Christmas. She was quickly introduced to Rodney through a friend and he was hired to house set while the electrician was there.

Before Rodney stepped out of the truck he turned on the RCA Small Wonder Camera. He looked at the camera and started talking. “It is November 19th 2008 at 9:02AM. I have just arrived at the Hughes residence and will make my way inside.” He left the vehicle and retrieved the hidden key in the flower bed under the medium sized stone. He opened the house door and went inside.

He sat the camera on the counter next to the door pointing back to the room and then stood in front of the camera for a moment. “Here is the time.” He showed his cellular phone to the camera and the time on the phone as 9:04AM. “I see here on the counter that you have my payment for the house sitting.” Rodney looked on the counter and saw a pack of four AAA Energizer rechargeable batteries with a note.

He sat on the sofa and removed his jacket. The note read, “Rodney, Thanks for house sitting for me. I can’t believe you won’t let me pay you something. The breaker panel is in the back bedroom. Thanks again. Lisa”

He pulled out a pen and then wrote the following on the bottom, “Lisa, You did pay me. The batteries are really needed. Thank you. Rodney”

He returned the note to the counter and picked up the batteries. He sat back down on the couch. Rodney made sure to sit in full view of the camera and removed a book from his jacket to read. He sat on the couch and read. It was paperback book of Rodney’s favorite author that he had picked up at the thrift store. He had swapped three older dress shirts for it.

After about 45 minutes there was a knock at the door. He went to the door and looked out the peep hole. “Who is it?” he asked.

A middle aged man holding a tool satchel stood at the door. “Yes sir. Electrician for Top Hill Manufactured Home. You have a problem with one of your circuits?”

Rodney opened up the door and showed the man where the breaker panel was. After about 15 minutes the man called out that he had found a loose connection. The electrician added that he would repair the connection and replace the breaker. Rodney walked to the back with the camera and asked the man to show him so he could show the home owner. The electrician showed him where the wire was a little loose and Rodney continued to film for a few moments while the electrician restriped the wire and secured it back into place.

Rodney interjected, “I am sure that Ms. Hughes would want you to check everything. Could you look at all of the connections while you are here? That way you don’t have to make a return trip.”

The electrician smiled and said, “Sure. I was just about to do that.”

After another 20 minutes the man was finished with the panel and was out the door. Rodney filmed himself leaving the key on the counter with the note and locking the door behind him. He got to the truck and showed the time on his cell phone once again and the stopped the camera. He would burn the video to a DVD so Lisa would have record of what happened and what was said.

His next stop was Jimmy’s Bar-B-Que, a larger bar-b-que restaurant that was always busy at lunch. The manager allowed Jimmy to work on the busy days at lunch, but he did not work for the manager. The servers were up in arms about getting a bus boy so they could spend more time with the customers thus making more tips, but the manager didn’t want to hire one.

After a discussion, Rodney was hired by the servers themselves for two hours on the three busiest days of the week to work lunch as a bus boy. Each server gave Rodney 10% of their tips which they immediately saw spike tremendously because the servers were now freed up to actually serve the customers. Rodney was doing all of the dirty work.

The servers all waved to Rodney as the shift ended and Rodney pocketed twenty two dollars for the two hours of work. He was now sitting in his truck eating his left over fried chicken and butter beans from the night before. The thermos full of sweet tea was still slightly cool and it was refreshing from the last two hours of bouncing around the restaurant.

Rodney continued to eat and watched the cars leave the restaurant. One by one they pulled into the street. He shook his head while he remembered the plates as he picked them up. Most of the people in the store had ordered the larger portion of food and each had at least some wasted food that wound up in the trash. They could have bought half orders of their dishes and not wasted so much food. What if hard times were to come? Rodney suddenly had flashbacks of his mother saying, “Clean your plate! There are starving kids in China…” Rodney grinned at the thought.

He finished his food and packed up the lunch bag nothing was wasted. The two paper towels he got from the restaurant were saved to be used in the stove when he got home. He grabbed his backpack, a 5 gallon bucket, his 32” reacher (a device that could pick items up without bending over) and secured the truck. His next stop was only three quarters of a mile away. “Why waste the gas?” he thought.

The walk was relaxing. He looked around on the ground while walking. Rodney occasionally paused to pick up an aluminum can or two. He crushed the can with his foot, picked it up with the reacher and dropped it into the bucket. The current payment for recycled aluminum was sixty cents a pound. At thirty two cans a pound each can was like picking up 2 pennies. Rodney shook his head as he imagined people throwing pennies out their window as they drove down the road.

After about 25 minutes Rodney made it to the destination. The Second Hand Thrift Store was Rodney’s home away from home. At ten thousand square feet of space the thrift store had everything from tools to socks and from clothes to furniture. As soon as Rodney walked in he knew he would be spending some of the money in his pocket because as soon as he saw David smiling at him he knew he had something to show.

David operated the thrift store and looked after his “regulars.” He nodded Rodney to the back of the store and came out from behind the counter. “Rodney McKaleb as I live and breath. Got a couple of things you might like.”

“Really David? What might those be?” Rodney asked as he followed him to the back of the building.

David pointed at several boxes as he said, “Well, the family of someone who died brought these in. They must have been a farmer. It appears to be some farming stuff.”

Rodney looked through the first box and secured his first find of a cast iron grain mill. The next box contained clothing, a pile of scrap leather, a leather punch and sewing awl. Rodney claimed the leather, punch and awl. However, the major find was a High Wheel Garden Cultivator with a bit of rust on it and a broken wooden handle. It would be easy enough to fix and was still be worth a good bit. Rodney turned to David, “How much for these?”

One of David’s eye brows raised a slight bit and then he answered, “I can’t take less than forty.”

“Done,” answered Rodney and pulled out twenty from the money he just earned at the restaurant and another twenty was pulled out of his backpack. He handed David the money when they had moved the items to the front of the store. David and Rodney said their goodbyes and Rodney left pushing the cultivator and carrying the rest in his backpack. It was sort of weird with the handle broken on the machine, but it was manageable. Once again he walked back to the truck, but this time he was on the other side of the road and he continued to pick up the cans that he found.
 

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Knocked Down But Up Again
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There's more, right? Right?
Next to Stephen King, you and Jerry are my favorite authors!

Claudia
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There's more, right? Right?
Next to Stephen King, you and Jerry are my favorite authors!

Claudia

::blushing:: Me and Jerry? Oh boy, at least I am in good company. Never heard of the King fellow. :)

:::whispers::: Yes, there is a chapter 3. (It has a weird hook on the end though.)
 

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Knocked Down But Up Again
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Ah, just what a girl needs; a weird hook! ROFL!! I don't suppose that weird hook is on the end of a serial killer's right arm? Just make sure it's a FRUGAL serial killer or you will be off-topic. :D
 
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