Boys’ quest to shovel snow comes up empty

By Mike Hixenbaugh
The Virginian-Pilot
© January 30, 2014

PORTSMOUTH

Where other children saw a chance to make snow angels, 12-year-old Eugene Warren and 11-year-old Damarion West saw a chance to make some cash.

The boys inhaled their breakfasts, pulled on extra pairs of pants and mismatched gloves, snagged a couple of rusted garden shovels from a parent’s shed and headed into the snow-covered Port Norfolk neighborhood Wednesday.

Damarion, the self-proclaimed “business manager” of the duo, knocked on the first door: “Can we do your porch for $20?”

An awkward smile, a head shake, a closed door, and on to the next one.

“Dude, look at all this snow,” Damarion said as he climbed a snow drift to reach another porch. “We’re going to be rich.”

But at this house – and the next dozen – either nobody was home, or they weren’t coming to the door.

“This seems like a long way to walk in the snow for 20 bucks,” said Eugene, who had begun to use his shovel as a walking stick.

“Nah, man, I’d walk to the moon,” Damarion said.

“For 20 bucks?”

“Yeah.”

At the next house, a man came to the door. He swiftly rejected the offer and started to shut the door; Damarion blurted out in desperation: “We’ll do it for $1 each!”

The answer was the same.

Eugene later questioned his friend’s negotiating tactic: “That doesn’t sound like enough money to shovel all that snow.”

“I’ll handle the business side,” Damarion quipped as they continued on to the next house. And on to the next rejection. And the next.

They passed a group of their friends who’d spent the morning making a snowman. Now the friends were having a snowball fight, laughing and screaming with glee.

“This is getting depressing,” Damarion said as the boys walked toward their next rejection. He briefly considered claiming that he needed money to feed his starving family, but chickened out after knocking.

“Can we do your porch?”

“I’m not leaving the house today.”

That sounded like a better idea. After almost two hours and not a single bite, the two boys slung their shovels over their shoulders and headed for home.

Eugene put his arm around his friend: “We’ll try again next time it snows.”

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