Clayton cared very little for his co-worker, Donald. As a matter of fact, he downright hated the man, if he could even be considered human. Donald’s short stature and common stance was more akin to an old chimp seen on some National Geographic documentary. His stomach pooched out and his hands hung low to his sides with his palms slightly facing up and his fingers curled. He stood on two hairy legs and turned his entire torso instead of just his head to gaze about when he took in his surroundings. Clayton knew the odds were good Donald was attempting to recall what he was supposed to be doing.
Clayton had worked with Donald and his significant other, Flo, at the campground going on four seasons. If he had had his way, he would’ve fired them after the first two weeks, finding them both inept, lazy, backstabbing liars. They couldn’t seem to learn how to do things properly and definitely couldn’t take orders, despite Donald claiming he had been part of an elite top-secret military force.
To Clayton, he assumed the man should be accustomed to taking and following orders, but Donald only took offense and reacted childishly when told what to do.
Clayton doubted the man ever was in the military, especially after hearing all the tall stories Donald told him and the customers, attempting to make himself appear as if he were perfect in every way. The stories ranged from him being a football hero, playing defense and offense while scoring a record-setting number of touchdowns in a game, to the story of his knack for sinking a hole-in-one on any golf course the first time he played it.
The lies extended to Donald’s job, telling the boss he had completed certain tasks when, in reality, he hadn’t even started working on said project, or he performed a half-assed job and Gerry-rigged something to get by. Duct tape was his bestest buddy.
Clayton tired of having to go behind Donald and Flo to fix or complete a job. He’d rather had just done the task from the beginning, deciding it would be much easier than correcting their mistakes.
The couple also lived on-site, being provided a house to live in rent-free, and a company truck to use for work. Regardless, they drove it for all their private transportation while the company paid for the fuel. Still, that wasn’t good enough for Donald. He insisted on selling things under-the-table when the boss wasn’t around, taking in cash and failing to report it to the IRS.
When the campground went up for sale, the couple lied to many potential buyers, telling them they were part of the deal and came with the property, but it wasn’t necessary to keep Clayton. They scared off many buyers. Finally, after three years, a couple did purchase the campground. They let Flo go and kept Clayton and Donald. It didn’t take the new owners long to discover Donald lied a lot. They constantly found him sitting around, eating and watching TV in the office instead of doing the work they had ordered him to do.
One day, an argument broke out. Incensed, Donald cursed at the new owners for suggesting he didn’t perform his duties. They gave him two weeks notice. The mood around the camp was dark.
The weather followed suit. A storm brewed and torrential winds and rains sliced through the camp, tearing down trees and flooding the creek up to the bridge, temporarily trapping campers and employees alike.
The next morning, after the storm had subsided, a tree was found to have fallen on one of the cabins. Donald was told to go cut the tree down and check the cabin for damage. Instead, he managed to keep himself busy with other menial tasks and never cut the tree down. He left his job a week early and moved away with Flo.
Clayton heard from a friend that Donald had returned to town a week later, needing an estimate for his truck, an old vehicle that hadn’t been driven in some time. It seems, while working on his new property, Donald had to cut down a tree. Inattentive to details as he generally was, Donald misjudged the way the tree would fall.
It came down fast and hard, crushing the cab of his truck.
I smiled and kicked back with a brew. Karma is a bitch.
Ethan Nahté worked several years in TV/Film/Radio. He is an author, journalist, screenwriter, photographer, & musician. He has over three dozen published stories, two story collections, and three novellas, including an earlier story in The Daily Drunk. He resides in the mountains of Arkansas where he enjoys hiking, camping, and fishing.