It’s 5 a.m., Joey’s alarm is set to ring at 6:30. He doesn’t have to be at work until 8. Right now, Joey’s lying on a beach chair, tanned, clothed in a bathing suit. His beach chair sits on a white sandy beach in Jamaica. Joey takes one look at the bluest bit of ocean water you’ll ever see. Then he turns his head to the beach chair next to him to marvel at one of the world’s wonders, a scantily clad native beauty who’s smiling at him, her red lips and sultry look tell Joey all he wants to know. They’re drinking margaritas. Joey knows where the afternoon is headed, until . . .
“Wake up low life. Rise and shine. You’re snoozing you’re losing.” A series of angry barks followed. He felt the covers ripped off him.
He pulled his pillow over his head, kicked his legs and feet at an elusive enemy, and screamed, “Get out of here. My alarm didn’t go off. I don’t have to be to work until 8.”
“Five seconds, that’s all you got, you piece of work to get up. I’m feeling generous, you got fifteen minutes to shave, shower, do your business, make your bed and stand for inspection,” barked Farlo in a baritone voice mixed with the sound of a jackhammer and lawn mower.
“I’m not getting up. Get used to it,” uttered Joey’s muffled voice. Then he added, “What are you doing? Are you nuts?” said Joey jumping out of bed soaking wet. His sheets and mattress soaked. He rubbed his eyes with his fists. He opened his eyes, his arms by his sides, his fists clenched, and stared at Farlo.
Farlo stood rim rode straight in front of him. Farlo held on to his cane with his right hand and an empty two gallon water bucket in the other. Tina sat next to Farlo on her haunches. To Joey, it looked like Tina was laughing at him.
“You look like crap. You have fifteen minutes and counting. The clock is ticking. Make sure the bathroom is the way you found it or your ass is grass and I’m the lawn mower,” snarled Farlo sounding like an irritated pit bull.
Joey took a step toward Farlo, Tina let out a growl. Joey stepped back and said, “At least get out of my room.”
Farlo stared at Joey, “Don’t worry about work. I called in for you and told your supervisor you quit. You’ll get your check in next week’s mail.”
“I, I, I’ve been there for five years. I was building a career portfolio. I need that job,” Joey snapped.
“It’s a dead-end job kid. You’re working for me. You’re going to thank me for getting you out of a loser’s job. This is the first day of the rest of your life. Now, move out.”
“But, but, but . . .”
“Tina!” said Farlo.
Tina stood up. She set herself to attack Joey. Joey stepped back and walked a wide circle around Tina and Farlo and headed to the bathroom.
Sixteen minutes later Joey went into the kitchen. He saw Farlo sitting on one of his two chairs, actually empty kegs. On the table in front of Farlo sat a bowl of oatmeal, container of Greek yogurt, dish of fresh fruit, and coffee.
“Where’d you get that food?” asked Joey.
“Filo had it delivered at oh four hundred.”
“What time is that?” asked Joey.
Joey walked over to the table and sat down on the other keg. He looked at the empty space in front of him, “Where’s my food?”
“What do you think you’re doing, kid? You haven’t stood for inspection. Go back to your bedroom and call me when you’re standing as straight as a lamp pole,” said Farlo. He paused and took a sip of his coffee.
“This is not fair,” said Joey.
“I know,” said Farlo.
Joey turned and went back to his bedroom. A moment later, he called, “I’m ready.”
Tina walked in the bedroom first followed by Farlo. “Check it for drugs and weapons girl.”
Tina slowly walked around the bed sniffing the sheets and mattress. She stopped when she reached the other side of the bed. Her head stared directly at Joey’s pillow. Farlo walked past Joey and around the bed. Joey turned his head.
Farlo barked, “Eyes front.” Joey turned his head toward the door.
Joey heard a ripping sound. He heard the rustling of a pillow case and saw feathers floating over his head. He heard, “Aha, weed. Are you a pothead? Is this what I’m dealing with? You’re going cold turkey. No drugs, no alcohol. Forget coffee. You’re on a restricted, cleansing diet, water, fruit, spinach and kale and whole grains for two weeks. If it doesn’t work, you’ll get a juice enema.”
“Noooooo,” whimpered Joey.
“You don’t even know how to make a bed. You are a shipwreck. You’re standing in the middle of the tracks and a speeding train is about to reduce you to rubble. Burn the linen. It hasn’t been changed and washed in six months. Now let me look at you.”
Farlo paced around Joey until stood six inches from Joey’s face. “Listen up. No grunge, short haircut, use a brush on your fingernails and for God’s sake, trim them. I didn’t see any floss in your bathroom. I’ll make you a shopping list. You can sit and watch me eat.”
“What about me?” asked Joey.
Farlo ignored Joey’s comment. “Wait until I’m finished eating. You have to exercise before you eat.”
“Filo told me you were a Cat 5 project. That’s as high as the numbers go. That’s the worst case of all the worst cases. Nothing to worry about. I never fail.”
“Who’s Filo?” asked Joey.
Who is Filo? I have the same question. What are Filo’s plans for Joey? Why was Joey chosen? Come back tomorrow to see how Joey’s doing.