By Greg Sitek
“No way am I going to give you another mechanic. You do the job I hired you to do Ratchet or you Can find another,” Eversqueezer Scrooge said to his head mechanic (head mechanic because he’s the only one). “Bah humbug!”
“Ahbhh yes sir. I’ll do my best sir but you know tomorrow’s Christmas . . .”
“1 don’t care what tomorrow is. If you don’t get that dozer fixed it’s your last day,” screamed Eversqueezer.
Bob Ratchet left the main offices and headed for the shop.” I wish we could get a couple more mechanics. Mr. Scrooge’s so tight,” mumbled Ratchet. “You’d think after all these years in construction he’d know the value of good maintenance, enough people and not overworking everyone.”
Meanwhile Eversqueezer left the office and went home. “People! Always trying to bleed you,” he grouched. “Always wanting, wanting, wanting. Now Ratchet’s Christmas whine is – I need more people.
Eversqueezer turned into his driveway and punched the button on the door opener. It didn’t respond. Instead, a face appeared, the face of his deceased partner Will Pinchapenny.
“Eversqueezer,” Pinchapenny said, “you need to change your ways or you’ll end up here with me.”
“You’re dead Pinchapenny, you’re dead, “Eversqueezer shouted frantically. “I buried you myself…”
“Yeah, you sure did,” answered Pinchapenny. “In the cheapest box you could find. It didn’t last six months. ”
“Go ‘way, leave me alone,” screamed the terrorized Eversqueezer.
”Not till you’ve changed your attitude you of skinflint,” said his dead partner.
Suddenly a dense fog filled the driveway. A deep voice resounded as a gigantic figure appeared yelling, “Good evening Eversqueezer. I’m the Ghost of Maintenance Present. Come with me and see what you really are. See what others think of you.”
“Go away. Wait! What’s this? I’m back in my shop. There’s Ratchet trying to fix the dozer. He’d better get the job done or else… “Eversqueezer Scrooge said.
“Look how cold he is. No tools to work with. How can he fix the dozer? He has no replacement parts,” the ghost stated.
“That’s his problem not mine,” he pointed out. “What’s that he’s saying?”
“If only Mr. Scrooge would understand,” Ratchet cried. ”If only he’d consider tools and parts and another mechanic. We’d be able to do so much more for him. We’d avert all the breakdowns, unscheduled downtime failures. We’d be able to do a better job for him.”
“Humph! He cares,” observed Eversqueezer. “He really cares.”
As quickly as he appeared at the shop Scrooge found himself back in his driveway. Before his head cleared, another figure appeared.
“Well, Eversqueezer, you’ve seen what’s going on right now. Come with me and let me show you something. You’ll really appreciate this. I’m the Ghost of Maintenance Past.”
In a twinkling, Scrooge found himself on a jobsite. It was the time he lost thousands of dollars because an excavator unexpectedly (but predictably) broke down. It almost put him out of business.
“I remember that incident,” he shouted. “I had to fire that worthless superintendent, Ernest Manager. He was so incompetent. What’s he saying to the guy next to him?” asked Scrooge.
“You’re right Tom, oil analysis would have warned us of this problem. You know how Scrooge is,” Ernest Manager stated. “He won’t spend a penny on maintenance, especially preventive maintenance. Between him and his partner, Pinchapenny, it’s a wonder anything runs. Can you imagine how much money he’d make if he took care of his equipment?”
“You mean to tell me that all that stuff about oil analysis is true? It can help?” questioned Eversqueezer. “You mean to tell me that ol’ Ernest wasn’t lying?”
Before finding out the answer Eversqueezer was again back in his drive. This time he was confronted by an even more intimidating apparition.
“You guessed it sport. I’m the Ghost of Maintenance Future. You may as well come along and see what’s in store for you..”
They were back at the shop. The windows were boarded, the fence falling over. The yard was filled with machines in various stages of disrepair.
“What’s going on here? I can’t operate with equipment in that condition,” Eversqueezer screamed at the ghost. Where’s Ratchet?”
“He’s gone,” the ghost replied. “You fired him on Christmas Day a few years ago because he couldn’t fix a dozer. Remember? He died shortly after, a broken man. Broken because he had failed you when in reality you failed him as well as yourself,” the ghost said hauntingly.
“That’s what’s left of your fleet after having cannibalized it for spare parts, neglecting it and refusing to give it the maintenance it needs. This is what you have to face Eversqueezer.”
The fog cleared. The ghosts left and the face of Pinchapenny reappeared.
“The future’s not cast in stone Eversqueezer. You can still do something about it if you act now,” Pinchapenny said. “Go back to the shop. Tell Ratchet to go home and be with his family. Tell him to take Christmas off. Give him a raise. He deserves it. After all, he puts up with you, doesn’t he? And tell him that after the holidays you want to start a maintenance program, use oil analysis and hire a couple more mechanics.
“Oh yeah Eversqueezer,” Pinchapenny continued, “don’t forget to tell him Merry Christmas