The Fraudulent Contractor

by Stredwick

The Fraudulent


Austin Mitchell


Miss Lela put her two hands on top of her head and uttered a shout. Then she
started crying. Weston Morgan, a contractor, had disappeared with two weeks
lunch money for her. This wasn’t the first time contractors were robbing her.
Weston was a contractor who built stone walls. Miss Lela is a woman having a
lunch kitchen on the road-side in the district of Nelson.  She sells
breakfast, lunches and sometimes dinner too. Another woman, Mervis, also sells
lunches too, but is not as generous with her credit as Miss Lela. Weston had
been building two retaining walls along with another contractor, Willis Redman.
Redman had credited his supplies from Mervis.

“I can’t believe it, Mervis. Look how the man promised me that as soon as he
got paid, he was going to come and pay me.”

“That’s why I don’t trust any of them. As for the one Weston, you see how fast
he talks and how small his eyes are. I could never trust somebody like that.”

All of the day laborers had come and settled their bills.

“That man is very wicked. It’s the little money I was waiting on from him to
finish paying off Mr. Lee for the goods I took from him.”

“I should never have let him owe me so much money. Imagine he owes me for
twelve day’s worth of lunch and breakfast.”

Meanwhile, Weston was in another community five miles away and he was drinking
and celebrating with his friends.

“Weston, I hope you settled with Miss Lela," a man named Wilson warned.

“Wilson, you know how me and Lela live already, she knows that everything will
be all right.”

“She’s different from Miss Mervis. At least you can get things to credit from
her,” a young laborer named Lobban opined.

But Weston never went back to settle his bill with Lela. She had to go into her
savings to pay off Mr. Lee, the things she had credited from him.

Over the next twelve months, Weston got several contracts. He never got one in
the community where Lela operated.  He was up to his usual tricks. Laborers
and suppliers were the ones who felt the brunt of his dishonest behavior. Many
times he got paid and didn’t turn up to pay his food bill for the last two or
three weeks.

His present contract was in a community five miles away from where Lela lives.
When a contractor gets a job, apart from making sure that the materials are
delivered on time and in the right quantities, he has to make sure that the
laborers are fed.  Only one cook shop was near where the wall was to be
built. The nearest  grocery shop, which
was operated by a man called Syd Harper, was about a mile away.

Weston went up to the cook-shop and peeped inside and got a shock. It was Miss

He pretended that he didn’t know her.

“Lady, we are about to build a stone wall. I want to arrange some credit with

Lela came out of the shop.

“Weston, is so your memory short? You don’t remember me, or you never expected
to see me up this way?”

Weston looked at her. But he showed no signs of recognition.

“My sister is in the hospital, so she begged me to look after her shop for her.
One of my daughters is taking care of my shop.”

Weston shook his head, he didn’t know this woman.

“If you are not willing to give us credit, I will go elsewhere.”

“Weston, if you say you don’t remember me, you are a wicked man. Every one of
the workers on the site said that you told them that you paid me.”

“Weston, what happen to Mr. Redman? Don’t tell me that you don’t know him?”

Again Weston shook his head. He didn’t know anybody by the name of Redman.

“I am going to bring Mervis down here and you can tell me if you don’t know her
too,” Lela said and went back into her shop.

Materials started dropping on the site. The cement was stored nearby in a man
name Desmond Jones’ house. By the next week the work started. Men from the
district were hired as laborers. Weston brought in two masons and a local
woman, named Pauline to do the cooking.

Lela’s sister was out of hospital and at home recuperating from the operation.

By the end of the first week, Pauline quit the work. She had run out of cash
and neither Lela nor the shop, were willing to extend credit to her. Weston was
not due to get an advance for work done until the end of the third week. The
job was slated to last six weeks. Pauline gave Weston her bill before she left.

Lela agreed to credit the workers, their lunch, but refused to have anything to
do with Weston.  Weston had to bring his lunch with him or eat dry food.
If he brought lunch with him he had to eat it cold because Lela refused to heat
it up for him.

One day when Weston wasn’t around, Mervis came to visit Lela. She told all the
workers on the site about Weston. Even, Pauline, who had stopped to talk to the
workers heard the story. They all expressed shock at what he had done and said
that they didn’t trust him.

When Weston returned, he noticed the attitude of the workers towards him.
Nobody wanted to say anything. He went over to Lela’s shop and she told him
that Mervis had come to look for him the day before.

Weston still declared ignorance of who this Mervis was.

“You are a wicked woman. Imagine, you feed all of the workers and just because
you hate me, you prefer to see me starve,” he told her.

“All right, I will credit you until you get paid, but I’m not going to let you
run away with my money.”

So Lela started cooking for Weston. At the end of the third week he got paid
and paid her. Pauline came and he settled his bill with her. He also paid the

The second part of the work had now begun.

Lela became worried. Weston wasn’t due to get paid until the wall was completed. 
Both Mervis and her sister, Corine, told her not to give him any more credit.

When she told Weston about their reservations, he balked.

“I’m not a dishonest person or else I could never be getting these contracts.”

She made him sign an agreement which was witnessed by one of the masons.

Lela was still apprehensive, however. She had credited the foodstuff from
Mr.  Harper’s shop. She knew that the
laborers would pay her, but would Weston honor his agreement?

So Weston was once again getting his lunches on credit from Lela. Several of
the workers had their doubts about him. Based on what Mervis had told them they
wondered if he wouldn’t try to run out on them.

Anyway, the three weeks passed and the workers made sure that they went to
where Weston was being paid. There they collected their money. They warned him
about not paying Lela. He told them that it was none of their business. They
returned to pay Lela. They told her where to find him. At five o’clock that
evening there was still no sign of Weston and Lela called Mervis.

The two women went to the bar where the workers had told Lela that Weston was.

They barged into the bar. Weston jumped off his seat when he saw them. He tried
to get out of the bar, but they blocked the way. Willis Redman was also in the

“Weston, I come for my money and the balance that you owe me,” Lela declared.

Willis looked at Weston.

“You mean you still owe Lela after all this time?” he asked.

Other contractors were looking on.

Weston took out some money and gave Lela.

“This is not all. You know Mister Redman, Weston told me that he didn’t know
me. He said he didn’t know you or Mervis.”

“What! Weston doesn’t know me or Mervis.”

Weston pulled out some more money and gave Lela before storming out of the bar.

“So if I never came here, I would never get back my money,” Lela declared.

“What a dishonest man. I will never credit him anything again,” she stated.

Willis and the other contractors were shaking their heads. Contractors had to
be tough, but Weston was taking it a bit too far.

Lela decided that she would never credit anything to Weston again, and she
would warn her sister and several of their associates about him. The End.       Austin's blog:

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