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Chapter Eight
Two of Them

"Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening."
~ Psalm 104:23 ~

The day shift waited in a long line, each holding their time cards and eager to go home, as their replacements arrived to work at Mullen-Overholt. These replacements were the evening shift, which began at three and lasted till eleven at night.

Recently, one of the nursing assistants had quit, complaining of poverty level wages, lack of affordable health insurance, and a heavy workload. Nevertheless, one employee quit, and another was hired.

With a critical eye, Jerome examined the new nursing assistant from the top of his neatly combed head to the toe of his polished white shoes, as if to find some hidden flaw of the soul conspicuously tattooed across his new white uniform.

Julia Rogers, the nursing assistant for Room 3, watched from behind a stack of dingy white towels. (Due to recent procedural changes implemented by the Co-Owner/Administrator himself, all the clothing, towels, cloth diapers, etc., went into a common laundry process, where everything was intermixed with soiled cloth diapers and bedding, to come out in a dingy and smelly state. For this reason, the Director of Nursing, [DON], implemented a procedural change of her own. She transferred the last of the residents who were still using the cloth diapers to disposable adult diapers. Any money Jerome had hoped to save by taking "shortcuts" with the laundry, was now spent on more disposable diapers. Evelyn Saunders, the DON of Mullen-Overholt, always endeavored to stay two steps ahead of her penny-pinching boss. Much of the time, when Jerome made another change in the budget, he wound up spending more money in a less efficient manner than before. No one envied Evelyn's job.)

"Absenteeism, is not, and will not, ever be tolerated," began Jerome in his cold, detached voice. "When you call in sick, or come in late, someone else has to fill in for a job you are getting paid for, Mr. Tucker," he declared to the new nursing assistant. Jerome scowled when he saw Julia's pretty face peering over the "clean" towels. Julia quickly moved her hands, as if to be hard at work with something or other. "Smile at the visitors," continued Jerome, "and remember to treat them courteously. This is a people business, Mr. Tucker. Don't forget that. It's all about people," repeated Jerome, pounding his fist on an imaginary platform before him. "Service is our top priority," he concluded. During Jerome's speech, Mr. Tucker nodded and smiled in agreement to everything Jerome said. To Mr. Tucker, Jerome sounded like someone who genuinely cared for his residents. After Jerome walked away, Julia approached the new recruit. Mr. Tucker was a white, middle-aged man, who wore thick glasses that magnified his eyes and temples, giving an odd illusion of someone who was all eyeballs.

"My name's Julia," greeted the eavesdropper.

"I'm Louie Tucker," he replied, shaking Julia's outstretched hand.

"I see you've made it through orientation," smiled Julia, picking up an armload of towels.

continued on next page...
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