“Don’t say it, Sal!” Stan said. “It’s gonna be different this time!”
“Different how?” Sal asked.
“I’ve changed! I’m a new man! I’m ready to work and work hard!” said Stan.
“This I have to see,” said Sal.
“Oh, sweetie,” said Nancy. “Give him a chance. He just got here.”
“Yes! A chance!” said Stan. “It will be different! I’ll show you! You’ll see!”
“I’ll believe it when I see it with my own eyes,” Sal said.
“You wait!” said Stan.
“I certainly will,” Sal said.
“Okay, Stan,” said Luna. “What kind of work are you willing to do?”
“Whatever you need!” Stan said. “I’m ready to work hard!”
“Okay, then,” Luna said. “The construction crew can use a bit of help moving stuff on and off site. They’re expanding the kitchen. You can start tomorrow.”
“No problem! I’m on it!” Stan said.
By the next evening, the entire commune was nonplussed.
“You’re kidding me,” Darren said.
“I’m not,” said Mo. “I mean I’ve heard all the stories about Stan and I expected his participation to be a joke. I was impressed and I mean it. He worked as hard or maybe harder than any of us, he did whatever he was told, and he was actually cheerful about it all. The whole team is in shock.”
“Never mind the construction crew,” Nancy said. “The whole commune is in shock.”
“There’s Sal,” someone said.
“Don’t say it,” Sal said. “I’ve heard it from everyone and I’m still trying to take it in. It’s like one of those sci fi films where someone switches bodies and brains. I want to ask, what have you done with the real Stan?”
“Maybe it’s just a one day fluke,” Luna said, “but I’m ready to let Stan stay. Are you willing to go along Sal?”
Sal sighed. “What choice do I have? I’ll bet it’s just a one day fluke but it’s going to be hard to say no after hearing all the glowing reports from the construction team. I’ve worked with those folks. They’re not gonna say he worked hard unless he worked hard, and from what I’ve heard, he worked hard.”
“I’m gonna tell him he can stay here as long as he’s willing to work,” Luna said. “Anyone have any objections?”
A dozen bewildered folks shook their collective heads.
Fifteen minutes later, Stan staggered in.
“How are you doing?” Cat asked.
“Okay…” Stan said in an oddly slow and quiet voice.
“Stan,” Luna said. “I’ve talked with everyone here. You did great work today. You want to stay, you’re more than welcome to stay.”
“Thanks…” Stan muttered. “Sorry… I’ll be taking off tomorrow…”
“Are you leaving?” Dan asked.
“Yeah…” said Stan. “This place involves way too much work…”