Frank's six foot four inch build could carry his 360 pounds.  As Frank got older, he got fatter and he never considered what his extra weight was doing to his horse.  One day the horse saw his chance and threw Frank up into the air.  Frank twisted and fell with all 360 pounds of his hefty build falling directly onto his right shoulder, seriously injuring his heart.  The horse laughed..

Frank had already been having trouble getting underneath the sinks he was sent to service.  Now, it was not only difficult, it was really painful.  Frank had to find a niche.  He decided on specializing in water purifiers.  Water purifiers had a big mark up and didn't require any physical work other than drilling a hole through the sink and threading flexible hoses down into the unit.  A $125 unit could sell for $350 and, with 2 hours of labor, a man could make $220 for the company and make $220 for himself for the labor.  Water purifiers required no bending, no face up work on pipes from underneath lying on your back.

Frank got a good reputation for himself as the water purifier man.  Any time a customer called with a small problem, like a leaky tub or faucet, Frank was sent out to beef up the contract with more appliances.  This gave him a good shot at an order to install a water purifier.  In addition, Frank built up a nice moonlight business for himself selling units.  Units were easy to get from the company because rejected units just piled up in the warehouse, not saleable under California law once they had been installed and rejected by a customer.  Nobody respected the absurd California law that cost the industry so much money for no good reason.  With Frank picking up the rejected units, all he needed was the slick documentation and he could sell these units at retail price to build up a nice moonlight business. 

Whenever Frank got an assignment from the company, Frank put a hard sell on the customer to buy the water purifier, whether it was right for their situation or not.  Frank knew how to do this because he came from a long line of plumbers.  His grandfather suffered from a heart condition and figured out how to make a great living selling hot water heaters to people who lived in cold water single apartments in the '30's.  He had the gift of gab which softened up the old ladies and his powerful build intimidated them.  He sold hot water heaters to poor people living in one room apartments.  After he got a signature on the contract, he installed the hot water heater in the alcove that was intended to hide the Murphy bed.  This meant that the buyer had the choice of having the hot water heater removed or having to share his one room with the Murphy bed during the day.  The best part of this hot water heater business was that there was no bending and no face up work on pipes from underneath lying on your back.

I never much liked licenses because it always seemed that the state licensing boards weeded out the talent and only allowed small minded people to succeed in business.  That was my opinion in my childhood.  Now that I am an adult I see licensing boards as tentacles of the Kremlin.  The only reason I met Frank was that my insurance company refused to insure my home unless I used licensed contractors.  When a leak developed in my bathtub I called the best plumbing company in town, the company where Frank worked.

Fat Frank towered over my 5'1" height.  He inspected the bathtub leak and agreed that it needed to be fixed.  I told him I was thinking of replacing my grungy 50 year-old tub and he told me that that was not as important to my health as getting pure, clean water.  He told me that my Pur water filter only got rid of the chlorine and that it was basically useless.  He told me that I needed a reverse osmosis water purifier which was far superior to the Pur.

He handed me a form which he said required my signature to authorize the work.  I was used to signing authorizations which contained as estimate and then, after the work was finished, I would sign an acceptance of work done with a promise to pay the adjusted amount.  I was 69 years old, and couldn't see the signature line, much less the small print, so I found my glasses and, somewhat embarrassed at wasting time finding my glasses, I asked Frank where I should sign.  Frank marked a box which was underneath the Authorization box.  I signed where Frank told me to sign, not noticing that this was not the proper place to authorize work, but was a waiver of my right to have the job broken down by parts and labor. 

Fat Frank left to get an assistant.  The assistant was blonde, handsome, young, elegant, polite, and honest to the bone.  The young plumber fixed the leak in the bathtub while the Fat Frank installed the water purifier.  While Frank was in the kitchen installing the water purifier he told me that my small garbage disposal needed to be replaced.  I told him I was aware of this.  He said I should have a bigger, quieter garbage disposal unit and I said, "Okay."

When he was through installing the water purifier Frank came to my desk where I was working and told me the new garbage disposal would cost $575.  That was high, but I was glad not to have to put it in myself so I agreed to the price.  He told me he was through with the water purifier and would leave of the job to his assistant and that the assistant would return and replace the garbage disposal.

Fat Frank left, leaving the assistant plumber to demonstrate the pure water and to take my check.  I was shocked to see that the water purifier took up half of my precious under sink space but I said nothing.  When the assistant tested the water, it tested only twice better than the Purolater I had previously installed.  I was disappointed, but I didn't want to hurt the feelings of the assistant plumber so I gave the assistant a check for $1250.  Frank told me that the young assistant would return to put in the garbage disposal.

Two days later a very strange looking man came to replace the garbage disposal.  He was dark, rough looking, with a Neanderthal muzzle and large hooked nose.  He, like Frank told me to authorize the work, but the line he put an "x" by was not an authorization to perform work, but a waiver of my right to a breakdown.  This meant that if he did two hours of work in 12 minutes, I still had to pay the full contract price and I could not ask for an adjustment because I would have waived my right to ask for a breakdown as to parts and labor.  I noticed the mistake so I did not sign where I was told to, but signed the line for Authorizing work.  I was still not waking up.

This plumber replaced the garbage disposal in 20 minutes.  I jumped up from my desk to see the test he gave it we were both shocked at the huge grumble that came from the new disposal that shook the daylights out of my sink.  The grumble subsided and the new disposal hummed gently.  Whatever the problem was, it was over.  He checked for leaks and left. 

That night when I used the sink and turned on the garbage disposal the sink shook and grumbled loudly and water spurted out from the base of the spigot of the water purifier and there was another leak under the sink.  This brought me down from the heights of Valhalla quick.

I studied the contracts and the paperwork I had been given.  I realized that Frank had not given me proper documentation; no slick promotional material, no cute little warranty, but a black and white Xerox copy of a manual and nothing else.  That told me that he had sold me an under-the-table unit which had no documentation.  What was more important was that I realized I had been tricked into buying an appliance which had no relevance to my personal situation and was only promoted by the fat plumber as part of his moonlighting scam to sell units that he probably stole from his company.  Frank was stealing documentation from his employer and using them to legitimize the off-market units he was taking from the company which had been thrown away for one reason or another.

In addition, I noticed that both the Neanderthal plumber and the Fat Frank and used the same trick of telling me I was signing an authorization when in fact I was agreeing to a contract AND waiving my right to know the break down of the three jobs.  The fact that I could not demand a break down as to parts and labor meant that I agree to pay for two hours of labor and that if the plumber was able to throw in the unit in 20 minutes, I could not dispute the contract.  The Turkish looking plumber left me with a loud, leaking fixture and there was nothing I could do except pay for more hours if the supervisor had to fix the problem.

All I wanted as to have my bathtub leak fixed which was cost $425.00 including the part, but Fat Frank had talked me out of  $1,800. 

I spent four days xeroxing the contracts, taking pictures of the leaks, talking to the manager, talking to a friend of mine who is a plumber, on and on with trouble sleep for five days and I told God, "I can't handle this thing.  Please help me.  If you get me back my money I promise to tithe it as if I had never tithed it before.

I went down to the garden to pray.  A tenant came out and invited me into her house and we gabbed for five hours about Armenian history.  I went home, a happy woman, having had a great talking to this lady and I shrugged and thought, "I guess God didn't want me to pray.  I guess He wanted me to have fun with a friend.  I guess he's got the problem under control."

It is over now and I have won.  I got the $1250 back and all the junk I didn't want has been removed.  The $1250 is back in my bank account and when I spend it, I will tithe it again.  I call this TWICE TITHED money: the best kind of all!

When Frank told me that his horse threw him, he made a serious mistake.  He told me "Horses are not very smart animals."  I thought later how smart that horse was, and how noble.  The horse has risked his life by attempting to kill his evil master.  I am praying for the horse to be spared and sold to a nice owner instead of being sold for horse meat.  I ask for your prayers to be added to mine so that this noble beast will be blessed for weakening the terrible evil power of Fat Frank.