Almost a full week had passed before Zach and Charlie had entered Eli’s Shop & Tailoring again. They entered the shop behind a well dressed man wearing an expensive suit, and a Mossant hat—a famous brand of hat manufactured in France. He was a portly man who carried a black leather briefcase as he approached the counter.
Schneider recognized Zach and Charlie, but he didn’t acknowledge them. In fact, he focused entirely on the gentleman carrying the leather briefcase and expensive clothing. “Good morning, how may I help you?” Schneider said to the well dressed man.
The man removed his hat and smiled politely at Schneider. “Good morning, Mr...?”
“Schneider, Sheldon Schneider, “I am the store manager,” Schneider said with his chest raised. He had a high opinion of himself and wanted to show it.
“Well, good morning, Mr. Schneider, my name is Wesley Herman. He was extremely professional and got straight to the purpose of his visit. “I am an attorney, and I’m here representing the new owners of this establishment.”
“New owners?” Schneider said. “But my brother-in-law, Eli owns this store. He hasn’t mentioned any of this to me. Is this some kind of joke?”
“May I?” Herman asked before he placed his briefcase on top of the counter and opened it. “I assure you, Mr. Schneider, this is not a joke. The transaction went rather quickly. In fact, that was part of the agreement ... that it got resolved immediately.” He removed a document from his briefcase. “I have the notarized contract right here. It contains all the details.” He handed Schneider the document.
Schneider’s hands shook as he slid his glasses up the bridge of his nose and examined the contract. “This is preposterous! This was supposed to be my business. Eli and I had an understanding.” He turned pale as the color vanished from his face. He suddenly realized the store had been sold by his brother-in-law without his knowledge.
“Well, I suggest you take that up with your brother-in-law,” Herman said.
“Does this mean I no longer work here?” Schneider asked.
“That decision is up to the new owners.”
Schneider’s eyes strained as he scanned the document searching for the names of the new owners. “Zachary E. Mullins and Charles James Franklin? Who on earth are they?” he asked obviously distressed.
Zach stepped forward. ”They would be us,” he said wearing a broad smile. “You remember us don’t you? The ones you conveniently kept looking over. We ain’t what you thought, huh?”
"Ain’t isn’t a word” Charlie said correcting Zach’s grammar. “Remember Zachary, we need to stop talking like we grew up on farms. People might get the impression we’re ignorant country folk and below them. Must I remind you that we’re owners of a tailor shop now?”
“Oh yes, thank you for correcting me, Charles,” Zach said. “And you’re right, we do own a tailor shop now don’t we.”
After taunting Schneider, Zach and Charlie smiled at him. Schneider looked anxious. “But I have a son in college, what will I tell him and my wife?” Schneider said with a pitiful look on his face.
“Funny, all of a sudden you’re humble now,” Zach said. Then he took Charlie’s arm and they quietly conversed amongst each other. They agreed that Schneider was a rude man and a bigot, but they didn’t think he should be fired for it. Especially while times were tough all over. They didn’t want his family to suffer for his arrogance. They believed his condition could be corrected. He just needed to be taught a little lesson on humility and respect. After they had made up their minds on what to do with Schneider, they turned and faced him.
“You’re not fired, Mr. Schneider,” Charlie said.
“But we do have a proposition for you,” Zach said. “If you want to keep your job, that is.
A few days later, Betty was in the store taking measurements for a customer. The gentleman was buying a new suit and needed his pants and sleeves altered. “Mr. Schneider, could you please come here for a moment?” Betty called out.
Schneider emerged from the back room holding a broom. “Yes, Ms. Betty?” The tone in his voice was low.
“When you’re finished in the back, I need you to sweep up around the front door,” Betty said. “And please empty the trash cans too ... thank you.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Schneider said.
Betty continued measuring the customer while Schneider went outside and began sweeping around the entrance wearing a frown. Above him were two men erecting a new store sign that read SMALL & TALL SHOP AND TAILORING.