Robert Morgado did pest control. His father had done pest control, and so had his grandfather. When his wife said “Nuff already, I canna handle another pregnancy,” Robert Morgado knew that without a male heir the odds of the Morgado Pest Control name carrying on were looking anything but good.
The day had arrived. Now he had to get down to it. His last daughter had just graduated college, he wasn’t getting any younger, and pests never sleep. It was time to ask his daughters if any of them would like to carry on the family business.
Robert Morgado gathered all of his daughters together at the dining room table.
“Girls,” he said, “I wanted all of you here today to ask you one real important question.”
They all looked at him with great concern. They were good daughters.
“As you know,” Robert Morgado continued, “Morgado Pest Control was started up by your great-grandfather. Your grandfather carried on the business, and so have I. We get one tradition here, girls, and I would like for it to continue.”
He gave a heartfelt, pleading, look to each of his daughters, moving slowly from face to face until he had made eye contact with all of them.
“As you know, girls, you no more any brothers, so Morgado Pest Control is not gonna be able to carry on business as usual after I canna work anymore unless,” he paused for dramatic effect, again looking searchingly at each, “unless one of you volunteers to step up and assume the Morgado Pest Control mantle.”
Murmurs erupted around the tables, the sisters whispering among themselves. Robert Morgado’s heart nearly failed him. There could be no doubt, given this reaction, that the fate of the family business, hanging now in the balance, looked to be tipping way over to the tragic end of the Morgado Pest Control dynasty.
Gradually the whispering died down.
Robert Morgado cleared his throat and wiped at his eyes. A man who usually showed little emotion, he was nearly overcome by the horrible prospect looming on the horizon.
“Okay then,” he finally said, “I was gonna do this secret ballot style, but never have enough pencils I could find for all you guys. So this is what I gonna do. When I turn my back to you guys, the one of you who like take over the family business stay sitting. The rest of you can leave the room.”
He choked back his tears. “I kid you not, girls, this is one real sad thing for me to contemplate. When I think about Morgado Pest Control dying after all these years, I get so depressed I don’t know what for do. It’s a killer for me. And if I turn back around and see nobody sitting here, I don’t know even more what I going do.”
The girls all nodded at him and gave sympathetic looks. Robert Morgado could picture the house termite canvas tent falling around him. Now there was nothing left but to turn on the gas.
“Okay, girls, I’m gonna turn my back. I promise no hard feelings if none of you like take over the business. If one of you can, can. If one of you cannot, then, well, if gotta die, gotta die. You all my daughters, and I love you, so whatevers. Do what your conscience and your hearts say for do.”
Robert Morgado slowly turned around. His heart was racing like a cockroach running from jets of poison spray. He didn’t know why, but he closed his eyes as well. He could hardly breathe.
And then it began. He could tell they were trying to keep the legs of the chairs from making noise, but he could hear the small scrapes and bumps. Finally the noises stopped. Given the duration of the sounds, Robert Morgado foresaw that business as usual for Morgado Pest Control would come to an end when he retired.
With a heavy heart, he turned to face the empty table. Except . . . He couldn’t believe his eyes. All of his daughters were still sitting there. Not a single one had left.
“But,” said Robert Morgado, “I thought I heard all you guys leaving.”
“Psych!” shouted his daughter Robbie, and all the girls began laughing.
“So you, all you guys, you,” Robert Morgado stammered.
“That’s right,” said Roberta, the oldest daughter, “we’re all in with this idea, Pop. All us girls want to carry on the family business.”
Robert Morgado had never felt so much joy in his entire life. He couldn’t imagine the joy he felt at this moment ever being surpassed even by the birth of a son.”
He clapped his hands together and shouted for joy. “You guys, you. You had me going there. I thought for sure ”
“We love you, Pop, and we’re proud of you and the great business you run,” said Bobbie. “Now we’re going to make you extremely proud of us.”
All the girls cheered.
Robert Morgado held out his arms to all of them. “Roberta, Robbie, Berta, Bertie, Bobbie, Robin, Robette, Robetty, and Robini, you have made me the happiest father on earth.”
“Pop,” said Roberta, “we’re all going to give notice at our jobs and start up with you in a month.”
“Wow! Forget about earth. This is like being in heaven with all you angels,” said Robert Morgado, beaming with enormous pride. “I tell you guys, my clients are all gonna be expecting me to show up doing business as usual, but when they see you nine great looking assistants, they are gonna know for damn sure that business with Morgado Pest Control will definitely be anything but usual from now on.”