Joey went into the bathroom. He kicked a towel out of the way. Took a step and kicked another towel out of the way. Took another step and crushed a beer can with his foot. He wasn’t wearing shoes. “Ouch, son of a …”
From outside the room, “You swear it’s a gig. Five gigs and you’re grounded.” Said Farlo. Then a bark, backing up Farlo.
“I’m not a kid. I can swear if I want to,” hollered Joey.
“Poor attitude. This will show up on your weekly evaluation,” said Farlo. Again a bark.
“Get out or I’ll call the cops,” stammered Joey.
“With what? I’m scrolling through your cell phone. I’m deleting your photos and videos. You should be ashamed of yourself.”
“They’re all over 18,” said Joey.
“Poor self-esteem to go along with a poor attitude. You may be my toughest assignment,” the sandpapery voiced Farlo said. Then, the barked agreement.
Joey stared into a stained toilet. He closed the lid, sat down on it, and stared at the concentric circles of rings in the bathtub. He turned his head to the right and looked at the small window. For a fleeting moment, he wondered if he could squeeze through and escape.
Farlo interrupted his thoughts, “You’ve got five minutes to clean the bathroom or I’m busting down the door and coming in to kick your ass,” said Farlo.
Joey hollered back, “Hey, that’s a swear. How come you can swear and I can’t?”
“I’m a grown up,” said Farlo.
“How am I supposed to clean the bathroom when I don’t have any stuff to clean it?” said Joey.
“Use your brain, it’s the thing inside your skull. You’ve got four minutes,” Said Farlo, then he banged the door with his cane. Tina growled.
Joey got up off the toilet seat. Flushed the toilet and lifted the lid to see if it was clean. No luck. “Damn, damn, damn,” said Joey.
“Two gigs,” said Farlo.
“Not fair,” replied Joey.
“I know,” said Farlo. Tina barked in agreement.
Three minutes later, Joey opened the bathroom door and stood face to face with Farlo. Tina sitting beside him. “Get out of my way,” said Joey.
“It’s inspection time. Go stand by the toilet while I inspect your work,” ordered Farlo.
“No. No. No.” said Joey.
“That’s your third gig, two more and you’re grounded,” said Farlo.
“Who’s gonna make me?” demanded Joey.
Farlo tapped his cane two quick times on the floor. Tina Sprang up. Her front paws resting on Joey’s chest. Her teeth bared.
Joey hollered, “Don’t let her bite me. My face. My face. It’s my treasure. I’ll stand by the toilet.”
Farlo tapped once. Tina sat on her haunches. Her eyes on Joey. Joey turned and walked across the towel and beer can less floor and stood in front of the toilet. Farlo puffed up his chest and walked into the bathroom as if he were General Patton. He stopped at the sink, wiped a finger in the sink bowl, brought the finger up to his face and shook his head. He looked at the towel rack. Shook his head, “The towel is uneven.”
Farlo opened the medicine cabinet. He saw hemorrhoid cream, aspirin, Tums, a condom, and three outdated prescriptions. Farlo shook his head in disapproval. He walked to Joey and stood in front of him. “Step aside and lift the lid.”
Joey took a half step to his left and lifted the toilet lid.
“You call that clean? It’s disgusting.”
“It’s the best I could do.”
“No, it’s not the best you can do,” said Farlo matter-of-factly.
Joey almost swore, but he didn’t want to be grounded.
What is happening? Who sent Farlo? What does Farlo want with Joey? Come by tomorrow.