Outwitting the Great Pretender
“There is no respect for others without humility in one's self.”— Henri-Frederic Amiel (1821-1881); Philosopher, Poet, Critic
NOT all exceptional deeds and noble intentions lead you to graciousness, but sometimes badge you down to the pavement of humiliation.
Last week, my wife and I were humiliated by a charlatan and very turgid man, in spite that we helped him by letting him stayed in our second real property here in Red Deer.
Instead of thanking us for giving him shelter while looking for a job here in the city, he demanded us to provide him TV, laptop or computer with internet and a stove.
And when we tried to remind and explain him that he would only stay in our home for couple of days, he even threatened us to call the police authorities so that he would file a legal action against us.
The bad thing and really pissed me off was when he shouted at us with invectives!
This unappreciative man was introduced by a gate crasher “friend” in a birthday party of a Filipino friend held at “Barkada Grill,” a Filipino restaurant in the North side of Red Deer.
According to the interloper, this man just moved-out from Saskatchewan, and he planned to stay in Red Deer for good.
He was looking for shelter, and if we have spare room in our home, he can temporarily stay for couple of days until he’ll find a job and home to stay permanently.
One of the two rooms in the basement in our property was temporarily vacated by our cousin who went for vacation in the Philippines.
With our Samaritan demeanor with my wife, we offered the vacant room for couple of days only.
“Hopefully, you can find a home before my cousin will arrive this week-end,” I said.
So we agreed that the man would stay temporarily in our house for couple of days only. He wouldn’t need to pay us. The most important for us was to help him.
But after two days, he called up my wife and asked for TV set; wanted us to provide him computer or laptop for the internet and a stove.
“If you cannot provide all of these until tonight, I’ll leave this house and you need to bring back my money for the rent!” he shouted at tirade words. “You have to comply, or else, I call the police, right now! I sue you!”
My wife astounded and panicked.
Here was the man whom we helped to stay in our home for free!
But all of a sudden, he demanded and threatened us.
And the worse, he was asking for his money for the rent!
“What money you are talking about?” my wife asked.
“The one month rental and my down payment that I gave to your friend!” his voice remained in high tone.
My wife and I were shocked.
We didn’t realize that the “gate crasher friend” who recommended this guy took a down payment and one-month rental pay from him!
Our kindness and Samaritan hearts were abused by these deceitful people!
“We didn’t receive any money from you!” my wife said. “You have to pack your things, and leave our property right now! If you don’t, I’ll call the police!”
“You don’t have the right to do that to me! I paid for my stay here!” he insisted. “I sue you!”
“For what ground?”
“For abusing my rights as a renter!”
“You are not our renter! Our home is not a rental property!”
“I’ll leave but you have to give me back my money!”
“You didn’t give money to us. You have to ask the man whom you gave your money!”
“He told me that he gave it to you!”
“He didn’t give any money to us! We told you in front of him that you stay in our home for only a couple of days for free! If you gave us money, we would definitely give you official receipt and let you sign for a contract. Now, do you have official receipt as your evidence?”
“We cannot give you what you had demanded. We are not obliged to give you because you are not our renter. You are only staying for a couple of days, as we agreed upon. So, it’s better for you to pack your stuffs and leave immediately!”
“I’ll do if you give my money back. I am ready to leave once you are here and hand me my money!”
This was our first time to meet a person like him in this first world country.
We didn’t realize that there are people like him here!
There was no way that we can solve the problem on the phone, so we decided to go to our house and talk to him in person after my work at the publishing company in the afternoon.
We arrived in our second house at around 3:00 PM.
From the glass window with screen in his basement room, I saw the man nose-picking while looking at the ceiling; and he was smiling at something.
My wife pushed the buzzer of the basement.
The man was surprised; and upon realizing that we were there, he immediately threw his lanky body onto his bed and pretended to sleep.
My wife buzzered up two or three times more.
But the man took his blanket and covered himself from head to feet. He pretended to snore! (I heard it because the window was little bit opened.)
“You cannot wake up an already awoke soul!” I laughed.
I took our spare key and opened the basement’s door.
My wife immediately knocked on the room of the man.
But he didn’t open.
Through her cell phone, my wife dialed the phone number of the man.
His phone rang, but he didn’t answer, as well.
I heard his bigger snores, instead.
I tried to knock on his door also.
But he only answered with his biggest snores.
With our spare key, I slowly and carefully opened his room’s door.
He didn’t realize that I opened his door already, and he continued to “act” for his Grammy Award.
I saw him covered with very thick blanket, but he was wearing a pair of shoes; pretending to sleep by demonstrating his “snored-lullabies” on the bed!
Inside me, I was tremendously laughing. I told to myself that this man is a great pretender, and probably, he was an artist, and “comedy” would be his genre?
“Sorry to disturb your sleep, sir!” I said slowly. “But we need to talk with you and solve our problem, right now!”
He immediately stood up and grabbed his cell phone on the bed and dialed it up.
“Just a sec,” he said. “I am talking with a client. I am a consultant in a certain huge company in Central Alberta, and I need to advise them with their current project!”
“We are waiting here outside,” I said. “I am giving you five minutes. I have to take my son from their school, and I cannot wait longer!”
“Just give me enough time to explain everything to them!” he said. “This is a multi-million project and if possible, I don’t want to put it in jeopardy! I don’t want my dignity as highly regarded consultant be ruined if I cannot give the most superb advices to them!”
Hmm, with what he said, I really smelled something fishy! As a writer, I am a keen observer, and I cannot only see, but smell, what’s happening in my surroundings!
My wife and I waited on the couch in the basement for Mr. Consultant.
We heard Mr. Consultant was advising someone on his cell phone: “You must remember that the deepest above the ground should be 63 meters, 200 inches and 3 millimeters only! If not the beams will not be firmed enough for that matter! Oh, yes! That’s right! Exactly! Awesome! I told you that would be the best! Ho-ho-hooo!”
I cannot figure out what he was talking about—but , evidently—all were baloneys!
“He looks like a comedian and malnourished being, but seems he is a big, extra-ordinary people?” I joked.
“No, he is a liar and silly!” my wife said. “He should leave our house, right now. He is not a good man!”
“If he is truly a consultant, we cannot just tell him to leave,” I laughed. “He knows his right, I presumed. We should talk with him in good and in diplomatic way…”
“He is arrogant! He told me in the phone this afternoon that he has a big house in Saskatchewan acreage and our house is only very ugly and shanty compared to his house! In the first place, we would not offer our home for him!”
“Just ignore him. If he will leave tonight, our problem will be solved! We’ll charge this experience as our lesson next time!”
We stopped our conversation with my wife when the man abruptly opened his door and slowly went to the wash room. He was still talking with “somebody” in his phone.
He stayed in the wash room for five minutes (I knew because I noted it with my wrist watch) while doing his “consultancy” advices on the phone.
When he was done inside the wash room, he stared at us and said: “Just a sec., okay? I am busy here with my client!” Then he went back into his room, and continued with his frolics on his very important “consultancy business.”
But I noticed that his advices were the same, and he was only doing “monologues!”
I smelled something really BIG fishy!
“Do you have his cell phone number?” I asked my wife.
“It’s here in my phone. He had lots of missed calls since this morning. Why?”
“Just give it to me, please,” I said. “I have a plan!”
My wife gave the man’s number to me. By using my cell phone, I immediately dialed it.
The man went outside from his room again and stood up in front of us while doing his “consultancy monologues” on his cell phone. He was really gaudy.
I knew he was applying at us a “delaying tactic.”
While dialing his number, I was thinking that if his “phone rings while doing his monologues,” meaning to say that he was not talking with somebody.
But if it’s busy, it would be another story.
And the man surprised and got blushed!
But he was really a good pretender because he immediately recovered his equanimity!
“Just a sec! I have to answer first another call from one of my clients!” he said. He immediately went back to his room, closed the door and answered my call. “Hello? Who is this? What can I do for you?”
I clearly heard him in my cell phone.
And I replied: “Hello, Mr. Consultant! I know, you are very busy with your clients! But we need to talk to you!” I stood up and went in front of his door.
“Who is this?”
“Me!” I opened his door. I controlled myself to stay calm. “We should settle our problem first before anything else. You told us on the phone this afternoon that once we arrived here in our home, you are ready to leave. We are busy people, and as much as possible, you have to pack your things and leave!”
“I was on the phone, but you disturbed me!” he madly said. He tried to intimidate me. “My dignity, as consultant, possibly put in peril because of what you did!”
“We are not stupid and ignorant, Mr. Consultant!” my wife flared-up. She was besides me already. “Just do what we said, and leave our house! Then we don’t have problem! Or else, I’ll call the police, right now!”
He bluffed us again. That he knew about rental policy. That if we insist him to leave the house by locking his stuffs inside, he’ll sue us, and other blah-blah-blah!
“In the first place, this house is not a rental property!” I said; controlling myself from eruption. “We just took you here to stay for couple of days for free because your friend told us that you don’t have place to stay in!”
“I have my right to refuse! I am renting, and I can only leave once my payment would be—!”
“You are not our renter! You did not pay any single penny!” my wife shouted at him.
“You know what? I have to call the police, right now! Fuck you!”
“Yeah, right! Fuck you, too!” my wife bravely said. “Shame on you!”
I was really boiled over already, especially when he was shouting at us with his harangue words.
I really hate people who are talking bad words, especially inside my own house.
Better my cell phone rang, and my attention was diverted from possible ferocious situations.
My son was the one calling me from their school.
“I was waiting for you here for so long!” my son said.
Instead of telling him to wait for me, I crafted a “psy-war” out from my own naughtiness, if not wittiness, and said with a loud voice—louder enough to hear by the great pretender: “Come here in our home for a very important matter! Tell to your uncles, friends, our relatives, including our neighbor policeman! We need to settle something here immediately. Okay, we wait for you here! Don’t waste your time! This is a matter of life and death!”
“What?” my son audibly surprised with what he heard from me.
In Tagalog, I explained to my son what’s happening by that time.
And as additional—when my son was not on the other line anymore—I uttered also words that ultimately pinned down the infinitesimal gallantry of the man: “That’s good if you are on the way already! Just enter directly here, but let the others stay outside for look out, or for help—just in case something will happen!”
“Who’s that?” my wife asked.
“Our black belter son!” I continued my psy-war. “They are on the way coming here with our relatives and friends, including our neighbor policeman! If bad scenario will happen here, they are forced to help us!”
My wife stared at me.
I secretly and meaningfully winked at her.
She understood me. And said: “That’s good! At least, we have back up!”
As I expected, the great pretender got panicked with what he had heard.
And he said in revulsion mood: “Okay! Okay! Please, call a taxi for me and I’ll leave immediately. In the first place, I should leave in hotel room—which I’ll do from here, damn it! Not in this freakin’ugly house!”
“Thank you!” my wife sarcastically said. “For staying in our freaking ugly; shanty-liked house!”
OBVIOUSLY, we horrifically outwitted the great pretender—no other else than “Mr. Consultant.”
But in my part, I am not pleased and idyllic with what happened.
Why they are ungrateful and treacherous people that in spite you’re enthusiastically lending them a hand, yet they are cunningly opportunists?
Why there are people who cannot realize that “thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude,” as the great philosopher and poet Henri-Frederic Amiel extensively resonant with one of his inspirational aphorism?
“If truth be told, gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.”
If we are only trying our best to live with gratitude and honesty, there would be no problem in this world.
Boastfulness is one of a hell that we cannot evade in our daily lives also.
There are always immodest people around us—that if we are not vigilant and witty enough to prevaricate, they guzzle us down.
With what happened to us from the hands of those ungrateful and falsehearted souls we once helped, we charged that to our experienced with my wife.
We are not lodging personal grudges into our heart, but instead, praying for them that hopefully, they will reform.
That they should also understand the other rousing dictum of Amiel: “Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the dark journey with us… Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”
Indeed, to transform from bad to good behavior is the greatest act we possibly all can do—and, I am absolutely sure: it’s not yet too late!