“Rise and shine you rug rat. You’re snoozing, you’re losing,” Farlo’s command barked from the kitchen. Tina barked twice.
“Ready for inspection,” Joey said from the bedroom.
Farlo patted Tina on the head, smiled for a brief second, turned his smile into a growl, walked to Joey’s bedroom, opened the door, and said, “I’m kicking it up a notch this morning. I’ve been giving you the preschool to build your confidence.”
Joey said, “I’m ready for anything you can throw at me.”
Farlo touched Tina’s head, “Check under the bed for dirty socks, pot, amphetamines, hotdogs, sugary cereals, pizza, and Playboy magazines.”
Tina barked once, lowered herself to her belly and crawled under the bed. While Tina ferreted around under the bed, Farlo examined Joey. He looked at Joey’s Nike’s. They were clean. He checked Joey’s jeans. They were washed and ironed. He checked Joey’s t-shirt. It was clean and without lettering. He rubbed a forefinger along Joey’s cheek checking for stubble. It was smooth as a baby’s butt. Farlo said nothing. He walked around the bed, the teddy bear was gone. There was not a wrinkle on the bed. Tina emerged from under the bed. She had a dirty sock in her mouth.
“Aha, I knew it was too good to be true. What is this sock doing under your bed?” demanded Farlo.
“Resting or hiding from its mate,” said Joey without a trace of a smile.
“A smartass. Is that what I have on my hands,” asked Farlo.
“You know it. I lost fifteen pounds. I can do forty pushups, one hundred sit-ups, a plank for thirty seconds, and I can run two miles.”
“You think you’re hot shit, don’t you,” said Farlo.
“Matter of fact, I do,” said Joey.
“You think I’m going to let you eat that crap you like to eat just because you think you’re doing good. Well, here’s a news flash, you’re not. It’s off limits. It’s out of bounds. It’s contraband. What do you think of that?” asked Farlo sounding meaner than an angry pit bull.
“I gave it all up. I like eating healthy. It fits with my new self-image.’
“Which is what, poster child for save the dolphins? Snapped Farlo.
“I haven’t figured it out yet, but I’m not the old Joey, I’m me. You can call me Joe, or you can call me Joseph, but you can’t call me Joey.
“I’ll call you whatever I want to call you. If I tell you to eat crackers and spit bullets, you do it. If I tell you keep running into a brick wall until it crumbles, you do it. If I tell you to get me a pizza and you can’t have any you do it.”
“Hey, the last one’s not fair.
“Aha, I found your weak link. If you get taken prisoner, they’ll use it against you. They’ll put pizza just out of your reach to torment you. They’ll turn you into a sniveling, shriveling peace of old pepperoni and toss you in the garbage,” said Farlo.
Farlo heard a ding on his iWatch 3. He looked at it. He looked back at Joey, He said, “Eat up. We’re on a mission from Filo.”
Joey said, “A real mission? I’m really, really going on a real mission?”
“I hope you’re man enough.”
“What’s the assignment?”
“I’ll get the full dossier later, right now, all I know is we’re assigned to rescue Harry J before his execution.”
“It sounds dangerous,” said Joey.
“Make sure you have a living will ready before we take off. If you don’t I’m going to tell them to take you off life support even if you’re breathing, speaking coherently, and are fully aware of your surroundings.”
“You can’t do that because I’ll tell them you can’t do that to me.”
“Remember those thirty papers you signed yesterday and got tired of reading them halfway through?” asked Farlo.
“Yes?” Joes now letting anxiety creep into his voice.
“Your last signature gave me power of attorney over your entire life.”
“I’m telling Filo.”
The fab twosome are on their first real assignment – will they survive? Who are they going to rescue? Why did Filo give them the assignment? Who’s Filo?