The Chimney Guy was wading through a swamp, and a particularly nasty swamp, at that. The sun barely shone through the thick canopy of trees overhead. He knew if he could just find some high ground, he could rest a bit. The highway was supposed to be somewhere to the east, the way he hoped he was headed. But he had been slogging along for hours, it seemed, and still no highway. In fact, it looked like he had gone past that one huge cypress tree before. He was so tired.
Suddenly his gaze was riveted on a ripple in the still water, headed his way. What was it, a snake? A „gator?
Slowly something rose out of the icky water, covered with swamp slime, and his face twisted in horror. It was his High School English teacher, Miss Swinford!
He screamed like a girl and clawed his way backwards, trying to get up a giant cypress. Slowly the hideous Miss Swinford (never very appealing, and the swamp slime did nothing for her) came ever closer, brandishing a pen and a notebook filled with Latin verbs and the phone rang. It kept ringing.
“Thank God!” he cried as his hand stabbed out to grab the phone from the nightstand.
“Eloise, I have never been gladder to get one of your late night calls!”
“Wow, that‟s great. I almost didn‟t call you, because I thought I might be making a pest of myself.”
“No, no, no, of course not, perish the thought! What can I do for you?”
“Well, I‟m here at this bar with my good friend Ethel, and she‟s a bit down tonight. I was hoping you could
talk with her and do your usual magic.”
“Yeah, she‟s got a big problem with a chimney and I thought if anybody could help her with it, you could.”
“OK. I‟ll do my best. Put her on.”
“Hello? Mr. Guy? Is that you?”
“Hi Ethel, what can I do for you?”
“Well, I have this escrow and the house has a prefab chimney and the buyer had it inspected and the chimney inspector said it was old and should be replaced and it would cost a LOT of money and the buyer wanted the seller to pay for it and the seller said she couldn‟t pay for it and they want me and the other agent to take it out of our commission and we‟ve already had to give up some of our commission on this deal and I feel like I’m working for nothing!”
“That‟s awful. Did the chimney inspector say anything else about the chimney, like, were there rusted out parts?”
“Were there any damaged parts that they couldn‟t get replacement parts for?”
“Was it missing key parts that they couldn‟t get replacement parts for?” “No. He just said it was old and should be replaced.”
“OK. Well, you tell that inspector that he needs to show you something in
the local code, or in a national standard, like the NFPA 211, that says a prefab system should be replaced when it gets old. And he should also show you something in writing from the manufacturer that says exactly how old is „old.‟ I’ve never seen itfrom any manufacturer. If there is no damage to the system, or if replacement parts are available to replace damaged parts, then you DON’T have to replace the whole system. OK? I‟ll be glad to inspect it for half price and give you a report on it.”
“Oh, I‟m SO relieved! Thank you! Now I don‟t have to get plastered.”
“My pleasure, Ethel. If I can help, I am at your service. Good night.”
The Chimney Guy returned to his slumbers and slept the sleep of the just.