A Memory Man Production
The year is 1957 and you are a successful and busy businessman who has just moved into a big house you got cheaply largely on account of the jungle filling its enormous overgrown yard. Your neighbours tell you of a local jobbing gardener who does good work and is struggling to set up a landscaping business. You contact him to find that he is a recent immigrant struggling to make ends meet but when you invite him to look at the job his knowledge and ideas impress you and you give him his first ever contract.
Its a big job clearing and replanting and as a one man band he works long hours and weekends being helped by his thirteen year old son Manuel after school and at weekends. You are impressed by Manuel (senior's) work ethic but notice he is also an abrupt and authoritarian taskmaster. Young Manuel appears to be rather cowed in his father's presence and you understand why when you observe an occasion when he sees his son slacking, picks up one of the willow whips they were planting to screen the old woodshed and angrily applies it to the seat of his shorts.
Eventually the job is finished and the yard is transformed. You agree with Manuel that he may, by arrangement, bring prospective clients to come and view the magnificent job they have done for you and you also arrange for his son to return for a day each weekend to keep it tidy.
Manuel junior is small and wiry and himself a pretty skilled horticulturist. He is also a likeable hardworking lad who does a really good job and you tip him over and above the fee you agreed with his father. His natural ebullience shows through when his father isn't around and he gets on well with your three boys who sometimes muck in to help him.
You run a pretty tight ship at home and when you clear out the old woodshed to make it into a garden tool store you come across an old razor strop and, mindful of the way your wife gets upset when you punish the boys, you get the idea to put the shed to one of its traditional uses and, after oiling the strap, hang it up alongside the gardening tools.
There are times, you notice, when one or more of your boys is taking the long walk out to the old woodshed whilst Manuel is working in the garden that he gives them a knowing sympathetic grin as he rubs his bottom.
Manuel, however, has been getting slack of late largely due to your boys. Several times you have warned them (and him) that Manuel is here to work and not to spend the day larking around with them. Today things have come to a head, almost no work has been done and your boys are nursing burning butts after a group deployment of the strap the old woodshed. Then as you pay Manuel, withholding his tip, you tell him that you don't want him back again. Manuel immediately becomes distraught and pleads with you to give him another chance. You remind him he's already had several chances.
Contemplating the small frightened boy before you, you look up from his bronzed well toned body and the pert cheeks filling out his crumpled shorts to see that his usually smiling face is creased with worry and you are pretty sure those shorts will be hauled down as soon as he takes the news of his dismissal back home.
You register panic in his voice as he makes a last impassioned plea "Whip me. Whip me like your boys, whip me harder than your boys and I'll work so very very hard in future but Please ... PLEASE don't send me away"
You wonder perhaps you are being too harsh? Will you relent? And if so will you be taking him into your old woodshed?