A shortie about extreme behavior and fascism. Hope you enjoy.
The Health Fascist
An original story by JTR Franklin
Derrick McCory left his best friends funeral full of anxiety. It was only last Friday when he and his best friend, business partner James Patrick were leaving work and making plans for a Sunday morning golf game. The following Saturday night, James’ wife called and said James had died of a massive heart attack. (Apparently after some ‘afternoon delight.’) Dead before his wife even dialed 9-1-1. A week later Derrick found himself the sole owner of Patrick n’ McCrory realty, one of Charlotte North Carolina’s biggest real-estate firms.
Derrick drove home slowly. He did not hear the voice of his wife going on about ‘poor Olivia’, James’ widow and their children. Nor did he hear the giggling tween voices of his two daughters babbling about the newest boy band on their I-Pods. The only voice he could hear was the one in his head that sounded like James. It was saying, “Get your flabby white ass to the doctor for a check up. While you are at it, get in a health club, who the hell else will run the business if you’re gone?” Derrick made a sharp u-turn in the middle of the street and headed to his doctor. His family protested, but they would end up waiting with him for the next couple of hours as he got his check up.
Once at home Derrick began usurping cupboards of any junk foods. Out went the kid’s sugary cereals with comic mascots, the snack cakes, potato chips, Cheetos, and puddings. He turned his attention to the refrigerator, ridding it of the Bologna, mayonnaise, the cake his wife had just baked. The sodas, the full fat milk, and anything else he found objectionable. All while his family protested. Their protests were ignored as Derrick marched out the door past them with two full large black trash bags. Once his girls were in bed, he began a new grocery list for his wife that he approved of. His wife asked why he was doing this. Derrick snapped telling her that it was what he wanted and they would all have to accept it. Derrick’s wife stared at him for a moment, before walking softly out of the kitchen, leaving him in the kitchen with his pad and pen.
Derrick held an extra early meeting Monday morning. He had spent most of Sunday making up new policies and regulations that his company would take on. Sunday afternoon he sent mass emails and faxes to all the board members to come in early Monday. Derrick spoke for a while about his deceased partner and let anyone speak that wished. As soon as everyone spoke Derrick dove into his lists of changes, adjusting his semi – rimless Persol glasses, cleared his throat and said, “Starting immediately, there will be absolutely no smoking anywhere in this building.” Silence except squeaks from the swivel chairs. Each board member looked to the other, waiting for someone to say something.
“All rooms and air – ducts in the building will be cleaned. Smoking rooms are closed, shall be completely cleaned, and turned into storage rooms. Anyone caught smoking anywhere in this building will be immediately terminated.” The room became quiet as a grave. Derrick gave a long pause, looking over his employees. He began to speak again. “Starting tomorrow, I am instituting mandatory aerobics classes.” Groans arose sounding like a zombie horde. “I contacted some instructors that were more than happy to start on such a short notice. They will be here on Tuesdays all day to instruct thirty-minute classes at alternating times. So, bring some sweats, pick a time, and be ready for some exercise.” Derrick looked down at his notes. As he did, the board members glanced at one another, rolling eyes and shaking heads. “Lastly …” Derrick began again, drawing sighs from his board. “I am having all soda and snack machines removed from the premises. Those shall be switched for water, juice, fruits, and vegetable machines. I want none bringing sodas or junk foods with your lunches either. Any found with junk food will be terminated immediately.” Everyone was gobsmacked.
“Any questions?” Derrick said, his beady eyes casting a steely glare over his squirming board members. Derrick licked his thin lips as a small smirk spiders up one side of his face. He was about to close the meeting when a petite well-manicured hand rose from the end of the long pine table. Derrick glared down at the newest member of his boardroom. One of the few female members, a pretty woman in her late twenties in a form-fitting red skirt and suit, teased blonde hair, and bright red lipstick. Her beauty was the main reason Derrick put her on the board, giving him something to glance at during these long meetings besides the haggard faces, bald heads, and drooping neck waddles of the other board members. Derrick never expected her to have an opinion and considered ignoring her before pointing and saying.
“Yes, Ms. Parrish.” Ms. Parrish stood from her seat and began conservatively.
“With due respect sir, what is this all about?”
“It’s about my life and my health.” Derrick snapped causing her to drop into her seat. “I’m not going to end up like James because of you people. I don’t want to deal with your smoke, or crap food. I’m in charge now, just me, and my way of life is more important than anyone else’s happiness.”
“But sir, that almost sounds,” Ms. Parish paused. “Fascist.” Stunned silence. Derrick pointed to the glass door of the boardroom.
“You’re fired; get the hell out of my building. Don’t stop to clear your desk either, security shall be waiting to escort you out the door.” Ms. Parrish calmed herself and left the boardroom with dignity. Something Derrick did not expect and made him angry. “Anyone else have any objections?” No one protested.
Aerobic instructors and spouses, Mike and Sandy’s alarm failed them Tuesday morning. It was 5:27 A.M. and they had to be at Patrick n’ McCrory real estate at 6:00 A.M. Neither showered, Sandy brushed her teeth. Mike did not. Sandy stuffed her unwashed brown hair in her purple baseball cap, pulled a ponytail through the hole. Mike slapped on his purple sweatband, both leap into their three day unwashed purple leotards and rushed out the door down the stairs utilizing their years of treadmills and Stairmaster exercise. No need for warm ups. They were frantic for this job. Neither had worked in many months and just last Friday put an ad in Craigslist, dropping their rates extensively. Sunday the owner of Patrick n’ McCrory called requesting their service, which they immediately accepted. They celebrated hard that night forgot to set the alarm, which they were now blaming each other for as they were speeding up on the building looking for the address. Arguing, they circled the block twice in their old rusty Toyota, when Sandy suddenly saw the address and screamed at Mike to turn into the parking garage on the left side of the street.
Derrick left for work later than usual. He had an argument with his wife for how he shouted the children over their resistance to his new rules. He had given them the same speech he gave to Ms. Parrish, minus telling them get the hell out. Derrick’s wife argued with him about how he spoke to their girls until he told her it was his house and life, and they all would have to go along or get on. He left her speechless and alone in the vestibule. Driving and listening to his favorite radio show putting down the new Governor.
“Socialist dictator.” Derrick chimed along with the DJ. He was already feeling better and his family and employees would too. Or not, that did not matter to him. What mattered is he would be healthy and be in charge for a long time. Derrick lifted his vitamin water to his mouth as he was making a right into his building’s parking garage.
Derrick never saw the rusted Toyota that slammed into his door. Or the dark headed girl in the leotard and purple cap that smashed through the Toyota’s windshield and into his window. Or the man driving in the sweatbands impaled by the steering column. Derrick felt a piece the door frame pierce the love handles that he just started working on losing. Another piece of the door broke free, penetrated the lungs he was trying hard to protect from invading cigarette smoke, now invaded with blood. The heart he wanted to strengthen, was quitting on him. His last fleeting thoughts were the last moments with his family and how in trying to live a healthy life, he had forgotten how to live like a human being.