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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Earl and Bobby were partners and doing well, but when Bobby refused to grow the company faster at the expense of his good name, his partner decided to take matters into his own hands...






Sharief Hendricks


“Congratulations! This is the beginning of a good partnership.”

“Through good times and especially through bad times our moto will forever be, the universe will balance it out!”

“Cheers partner!”

Earl and Bobby had known each other for years through the construction circles they moved in. Earl ran his own company, “Early Bird Construction” while Bobby and his wife Althea owned “Builders”. They had never seen themselves as competitors because Earl specialized in the exterior side of construction. Bobby got his work from his wife’s interior design contacts. The two men always respected each other’s work ethic, they both first on-site and last to leave. They took on projects together when the developers wanted a complete solution. Earl did the exterior and Bobby the interior. Bobby and his wife split the duties down the middle.

Earl and Bobby were in the second year of their partnership and they were doing well. They could hardly keep up with all the work. They made more money together than when they were on their own. Earl had increased his staff by fifty per cent, and he had a fleet of three trucks and seven delivery “bakkies” vehicles and had good standing accounts with all the big building material suppliers. He bought a luxury house in an upmarket suburb and took frequent holiday trips to Dubai with his live-in girlfriend. Bobby in the meantime only increased his staff compliment with two new members and he only purchased one new “bakkie” to replace the old one. His wife, Althea made a good trade-in deal that included an additional two-year maintenance plan. Bobby and his wife also shared the additional duties that came with the growth of the partnership and the increase in work.


“Yes, Earl, what’s up?”

“I have been thinking Bobby, that maybe its time to expand our business?”


“Yes, Bobby grow the business.”

“Hold on Earl, don’t you think that’s a bit too fast, considering how much we have already grown over the past two years, we can barely keep up as it is, and we have so many subcontractors already. I’m not comfortable doing that Earl, I am happy with the way things are going right now, in five years, yes then we can expand  further because then my and Althea’s  dream home will be completed, built  out of our pocket. Right now, I just don’t think that’s smart,” said Bobby respectfully.

“What! you want me to wait for five years so you and your wife can build your dream home because you don’t want debt? You are holding us back Bobby. Let me tell you what is not smart Bobby, giving in to everything your wife says, that is not smart, you need to be a man and make some decisions without her, you are my partner, not her.”

“Earl, now you crossing the line bringing my wife into this, you are getting greedy Earl, and it is clouding your judgment. We run the risk of not maintaining our quality of work because we have no control over the subcontractors, and to them, it’s just a payday, but to us, it’s our name and reputation on the line. I will rather build five houses a month instead of fifty and be proud of the work I put out than to feel guilty about getting paid for substandard work. “If we keep this up then when our contracts expire in a year, we won't get repeat business because the Developers won’t trust us.”  

“Bobby, Maluti Developers wants us to build five thousand low-cost houses for them over the next two years. That is quick and easy money. Low-cost houses are for poor people, who cares if it is substandard? Maluti Developers just said as long as we guarantee the units are done in two years the contract is ours.”

“Bobby, Maluti Developers, don’t care about quality, they care about the deadline, they are Government-subsidized, who cares who lives in the houses.”

“Enough Earl, I care! Remember people live in our homes, work in our office parks and teach in our schools, they need to be happy, comfortable and most important of all, safe.”

“I always knew you were a softy and now you are holding me back.”

“Ok, Earl just stop it right there, you are going too far, calm down and think rationally, we can’t keep up.”  

“So, you just want to hand out contracts to our competition Bobby?”  

“yes, I will rather give the contracts to my competition if I know they will do a better job and then someday that favour will be returned Earl, because the universe will balance it out.”

“Bobby, I had it with you, after this contract, we should strongly review our partnership’s future going forward.”

“I am sad to hear you say that Earl, but my wife said it would come to this, we are just two different people with different sets of values.”


Three months have passed since Earl had brought up Maluti Developers.

“Earl, what is all this extra material on this supplier statement? It’s more than we need for the remaining contracts we have left, why did you order so much?”

“Well about that Bobby, I need to tell you something and I guess it might as well be now. Remember the Maluti Developers five thousand low-cost housing project”

“Earl please don't tell me you did what I hope you didn't do? I don't want any part of it, Earl, I told you”

“Don’t worry Bobby you don’t. I took the contract on my name, but I used our joint venture status to secure it, sorry buddy.”

“Sorry, buddy! Is all you have to say after going behind my back and using my name without my consent? Now, this partnership ends Earl.”

“Bobby, I am way ahead of you, I have signed over all existing contracts to my original company and all payments will go into my account.”

“What the hell Earl, how could you do that?”

“Easy Bobby, you are holding me back so its time for me to move on. There are no hard feelings I am willing to take you and your staff on as subcontractors, after all good help is hard to find these days.”

Just like that, the partnership came to an end. The ex-partners went their separate ways and Bobby and Althea decided not to pursue the legal route. They wanted to part amicably, even though Earl cheated them out of earnings they were owed. They decided that they will not lower their standards in the pursuit of wealth and material gain. They trusted that even though they would be starting over from scratch, that the universe will balance it out…


“Well babes, it took us five years, but now, we have a home of our own and we don’t owe anybody,” said a tired but satisfied Bobby to his grateful wife.

“Yes, Bobby, you built it with your own two hands. I am so proud of you.”

“Thank you, babes, but that is what I do, it is my job.”

“No Bobby, I am proud of the way you handled what Earl did to us over five years ago and how we have rebuilt our company from scratch.”

“I would not have been able to do it without you, my love.”

“Aww thank you, Bobby, that’s so sweet of you, I love you.”


A few weeks later, the happy couple arrived at one of their construction sites to find a bit of a situation.

“Bobby, why is security allowing beggars to sit at the gate of our shopping mall site?”

“I don't know babes, but they know better than that.”

“Bobby, if he is sober and wants work then we can add him to payroll,” with a concerned expression on her face.

“Stay in the car babes, I don’t want you to rain wet and get sick. Let me find out what’s going on, maybe the poor guy is just hungry, or just needs shelter from the pouring rain.”

“I’m so sorry sir, but he refused to leave, I nearly beat him up,” said the gate security guard.

“No, do not harm him, what does he want?”

“He wants to see you about a job sir.”

Bobby approached the homeless man sitting on the pavement in the rain, with nothing but a t-shirt and tracksuit pants on.

“Hello friend, are you looking for a job?” Asked Bobby as he bent down with his umbrella to give the beggar some protection from the rain.

“Bobby, it’s me, Earl.”

“Earl, is that you?” Said Bobby in total surprise, when he recognized the face, even though it is a far cry from when he saw the same face the last time.

“Yes Bobby, it’s me. All I’m asking is a job, any job, I can still mix cement, or just even clean and sweep the site.”

“Oh, my goodness Earl, no need for that, you are no cleaner or cement mixer. I can set you up as a site supervisor and get you a place to stay. You know the industry well and good help is hard to find these days. What happened to you, Earl? I’m so sorry to see you have fallen on hard times.”

With teardrops mixed with raindrops, Earl mustered up the courage to tell his former partner what had happened to him since they last saw each other.

“Remember the Maluti Developers contract five years ago, well it turned out they were bankrupt, and I never got a cent from them. They sued me for building unsafe low-cost houses. The remaining contractors I had, refused to pay me without you and said that it was fraudulent because the contracts were signed by both of us. The City Council sued me for altering the sewerage lines where the low-cost houses were built and that bankrupted me. All the material suppliers took me to court because I couldn’t pay my accounts. I lost everything, the cars, and my mansion.”

Bobby helped Earl to get to his feet, then walked him to the car and gave him his umbrella to use as he walked ahead to inform Althea. He opened the door for Earl and helped him into the car to get his ex out of the rain, at the expense of raining soaking wet himself.

“Babes, look who it is, its Earl, from Early Bird Construction.

“We going to help him with a job and a place to live,” said Bobby as he wiped the rain from his face.

“Thank you so much, Bobby and Althea, I am so ashamed,” said Earl sobbing into his hands.

“No need to be Earl, we are just happy to help. The universe balances it out.”

“I am so happy to see the two of you are still together and going strong, even after everything you went through because of my greed and dishonesty. It must have been so tough, how did you guys manage it?”

“We are partners Earl and partners stick together,” said Althea as she held her partner's hand.



The End

Submitted: June 04, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Sharief Hendricks. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



Wòow this is POWERFUL!!

Sun, June 7th, 2020 9:30am


Thanx so much Vuyo

Glad you enjoyed it !!!


Sun, June 7th, 2020 11:08am


Loved it! Well, what a surprise ... did not think story was what I was looking for but was part of a list made of your romance. Grew up in construction and once had married into it so decided it would be interesting and was. Again, your writing is so warm, easy flowing and believable. Loved "the universe quote" and "partners sticking together." For a short story, was a volume of good vibes!! :) Like your writing style and look forward to reading more!

Fri, December 11th, 2020 6:02pm


Oh Wow I am overwhelmed Deblyn...

I can't thank you enough...
I tend to doubt myself alot when it comes to writing , but kind comments like yours really motivate me to keep going.

I am so pleased to hear that the theme resonated with you even though it was a romance of a different kind, and yes construction is a tough life...but marriage can be even tougher...

Thanx again Deblyn...sooooo happy now !!!!

Thu, December 17th, 2020 1:41am

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