Renner and Steve were carpet cleaners. Years ago they devised “one helluva plan,” as Renner put it, to dirty the rugs of party hosts by paying the incoming guests ten dollars each to spill drinks all over their floors and then leave their “REST EASY” business cards between couch cushions and under furniture. The deflated home owners would find the cards the next day and in a haze of desperation brought on from the ruined state of their rugs quickly call the strangely convenient phone number. In no time Renner and Steve would zoom through the house, ply their trade, then leave their customers smiling and unsuspecting to the entire ruse.
Renner and Steve found their livelihood to be honest and cunning, similar to the kind of work that was done by Lead Hands and pet store owners. Their clients would always end up adoring them. Renner was a real charmer, or a sandbagger as former client had pegged him. And Steve’s musical ear and his knack for rearranging people’s furniture in a comfortable manner, made it so even the worst sinner would never dare treat the entrepreneurs as anything less than saints.
After a few lucrative years, and much persuasion from Renner’s wife Maggie Stewart, the duo decided to up the ante on their business venture and became home developers, this time generating customers by burning down people’s homes. After the arson was committed, Renner and Steve calculated that they would hang out in the hotel lounges where the deserted guests would be drinking away their sorrows, and in their vulnerable inebriated stupors Renner and Steve would sidle up beside the freshly homeless, order a couple more rounds, and before they knew it they would be drawing up blueprints on cocktail napkins and rejoicing in the fact that this new home would be everything they didn’t have in their old home. It was perfect, everyone would win.
The transition proved difficult. The potential clients always seemed to have close relatives and friends that would offer accommodations while the insurance details would be getting worked out so Renner and Steve were left with hardly any chances to seize available business.
They were short on cash and had sold all their carpet cleaning equipment in order to buy power tools and company T-shirts with the “REST EASY” logo printed across the lower back. Luckily, the t-shirts were snug enough that they could be sold to college coeds as team uniforms for an ironic pub crawl, but Renner had glued work gloves onto the handles of all the power tools because this way Steve wouldn’t have to remember to wash his hands before using them. In theory it was a great plan but the tools were practically worthless now since all the gloves were fitted to Renner and Steve’s hand sizes.
Then a fire they set which was supposed to burn down a half duplex ended up spreading to the majority of the building and left the opposing neighbour that had just moved to town without any place to stay other than the Town Inn, located downtown.
When Renner and Steve found out which room Marcia was staying in they brought a pizza to her door and played it off as a delivery mistake. It seemed perfect, and it was, as Marcia was none the wiser to the multiple person delivery. She invited the mistaken deliverymen right in for a slice of Hawaiian pizza in which the ham was substituted with chicken.
It seemed Renner and Steve found their first client. Accept, Marcia was a stunning beauty. Both Renner and Steve were completely taken by her. Now the two business partners and best friends were pitted against one another to compete for her love.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays Renner would take Marcia out to the Chinese food buffet on 5th and Lexington. On Wednesdays Steve would take her for Italian and to any restaurant of her choosing on Mondays. Saturdays they would invite her over to Steve’s loft to watch movies, eat popcorn, and make ice cream sundaes. In five weeks Marcia gained thirty seven pounds and both Renner and Steve stopped calling her.
Kris Kantrud is a freelance writer. If you have any questions, comments or complaints send them to firstname.lastname@example.org