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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pool Cleaning: a booming business in Mexifornia

Feature Story. Pool Cleaning: a booming business in Mexifornia

A broom, a bucket a pump and the Virgencita de Guadalupe to protect against mosquito bites...
Antonio Alvarez, Esteban Albaca, Danny Martinez, Esteban Caballero, those are not the real names of our heroes’ feature story today. Those guys do the jobs that nobody wants to do: they work in pool cleaning. Every day that the Virgencita De Guadalupe makes, they jump in filthy water infected with deadly mosquito’s larvae and full of loaded diapers, dead rats, and euthanized puppies to clean pools left by white trash as a souvenir that life was once great in the land of housing bubble and quick profits.

How did they end up doing that filthy job?

Well, nobody really knows, but the mythology says that, in 1977, a terrible Mexifornia drought pushed owners to leave their pools
Moolahtita: the desert city of thousands empty pools...
half empty. A small gang started cleaning the pools for unknown reasons and they have been doing this for free for the past 33 years. Until a financial crisis hit the US and the gang started a company called Samba Bros Pool Cleaning. Now the company has been hired by several municipalities to clean up the mess left by vacant houses. So far, it’s been a boon for the company that is showing a nice profit after only a couple of years in the market.

Let’s take the example of Moolahtita, a posh suburb lost in the Inland Empire desert of Mexifornia. The city of Moolahtita (a city with both Banker and Hispanic heritage) has
The construction of Moolahtita International airport was almost finished, but had to be scratched...
Only the tarmac is missing... You can still see the buses waiting for the 1st plane to land...
witnessed a never seen before tax drop forcing to shut down most of its social expenses and the city looks forlorn after the last casino closed its doors last week-end. Strawberry Field Forever high school is entering its 4th straight month without an afterschool intramural Cricket program. Worse yet, the local middle school's computer lab have enough Tablets and I-Pads for just 80 percent of the students. The remaining 20 percent will simply have to use outdated desktop computers equipped with Windows 7 and old school flat screens…

According to Mush Greed, the mayor of Moolahtita, a lot of abandoned starter houses are taken over by wildcats; empty buildings gutted by copper thieves with pick-up trucks parked in grass-cracked driveways; foreclosed properties harboring kidnapping victims—over the past few
The kids of Moolahtita are growing up not knowing how to ride horses or play golf, they don’t take violin lessons
and there is definitely nothing interesting that can be done in an useless empty pool.
years, there has been no upper limit to the surreal tales coming out of Moolahtita. Worse, the pedestrian mall where the shops are located has recently seen a 0.5 percent rise in youth loitering, with kids as young as 14 scaring away potential customers with laughter, skateboarding, and even public overjoy. That’s clearly inacceptable. And, if you ask Greed or any number of other people from Moolahtita, the situation will only get worse before it gets better and the municipality had to do something to preserve its cultural identity.

"As the infrastructure of our inner suburbs continues to crumble, more and more of the decent, property-owning
The intersection of Mountain and H Street looks desperate...Photo Hokus Pukus
folks who make up the big taxpayers of those suburbs will retreat to still-more-distant suburbs, perpetuating the cycle of decay," said Greed.

The new kids of Moolahtita born after the terrible 2009 recession are now growing up not even knowing how Cancun looks like or how to ride horses or play golf, they don’t go to violin lessons. Private summer camps have become less and less affordable and the average middle class yearly salary dropped down to an appalling $98,000. How can a family of three live the American dream with only $98,000 a year?

Photo Joey Malouf
Moolahtita was intended to be the state’s next great metropolis, rivaling Los Angelitos in both size and economic heft. The dream faded quickly, however, and though Moolahtita is the third-largest city by area in Mexifornia, it is home to just 14,000 people. Surrounded by a sprawling ghost-grid of empty streets scratched into the dust and gravel with nary a finished house in sight, Moolahtitat is a labyrinth of meticulously named culs-de-sac—Oldsmobile Boulevard, Alpha Street, Planet Lannes: a dream city that never quite happened.

At Moolahtita, the dreams of an international airport had to be scratched, the symphonic orchestra is a thing of the past and the museum of modern art that used to showcase paintings
Photo Grind Aalot
by Dali, Renoir or Picasso is now displaying “art” by unknown artists like Ted Empleton, Yogi Probear, Marcus Ghonz, Marc McKnee, or Sean Cleavage.

But the worse is the hundreds of pools that are left unattended; swimming pools are fast becoming breeding grounds for West Nile virus–infected mosquitoes, something that has marred the environment and lowered the value of the city which pushed Greed to seek of-the-book alternative to keep tax profits flowing in…

After a hard day of work, it's always Miller Time... Photo B.S. Statik III
There are several reasons for this: the city saw a wave of foreclosures after the owners realized the price of their houses was cut by two or even three, from $2 million in 2009 to a mere $600,000 today, forcing many owners to stop paying their mortgages because “the value was not there anymore.” But the big factor is that the chlorine that was used to be produced by Salvatore Dinero (Greed’s brother in law)at the local factory is now imported from the Emirates and the price rose from $1 a gallon to a whopping $5 a gallon leaving no other options for the families to choose between going to see the new X-Man movie or clean up their pools. Of course, most families just choose the necessary over the superficial and pools were
Before the Bros arrived, this pool looked like a war zone. Photo DMZ
left abandoned to the mosquitoes. Also how can you blame Great Americans for being patriotic?

Since nobody wanted to do the dirty job of cleaning filthy pools, the city was happy to find the “Bros”, whatever their motive was beyond the pool cleaning itself… As Greed once said: “between Samba Bros and Moolahtita, it has been a marriage in heaven…”

But not everybody likes Samba Bros Pool Cleaning. Take Joey Arpeggio, the supervisor of finished jobs for the City. Joe Arpeggio was once the treasurer of the now defunct local Lacrosse team at the Mariposa County. But when the exodus began, no kid enrolled for Lacrosse anymore.

Samba's cousin, also know as "Sesh" is an actress who appeared
on "The Harder They Come" with Jimmy Cliff.
The new tenants, coming from waydown south, have their kids play soccer, scooters or even worse: skateboarding. So he ended up on the dole. “Who are those guys anyways? Martinez, Lopez, Alvarez? Albaca??? Is that a real name?” He is asking. “Plus, you never know who is who, since they all call each other “Bro” (a diminutive for Brother). Which congregation are they from anyways? We certainly don’t accept people with odd creed; we are a honest community here…” Unlike the mayor who authorized the hiring of Samba Bros Pool Cleaning, Arpeggio is vocal on a lot of important issues: “Are we sure they are not trespassing? Did someone take the time to E-Verify their social?” All very good questions indeed. “Even if they are doing the jobs that no other Americans will do, we need to be sure that they are legally licensed to do so…” He later told us that, although he is not involved with HR, his job is to double checking that the Pool Service team is really cleaning the pools and not doing something else, which is he suspicious of, and he has a lot to say: “The other day, meanwhile a cleaner was doing his thing, there was a couple of others guys saying all the time –‘That’s sick!!, That’s sick!!’ One was holding his belly and the other one was bowing his head in apparent pain. I mean, how can the manager let a sick guy working in these conditions? I mean, those kids should at least get a shot against malaria before we let them contaminate others. I mean, those sick guys are a health hazard. It’s a jungle out there…”

Joey Arpeggio also expressed his discontent saying that he heard some cleaners were threatening of returning later on and “shredding” or “ripping” the coping and fears that as soon as nobody watches them, they’ll bring hammers and shovels and resell the pool piece by piece on a so-called “skart” website. Whatever that is… An accusation that could not be confirmed though… Actually, there are a lot of rumors about a huge pool called The Pipeline at Upland destroyed by the crew and the part were later resold several hundred dollars as a trophy. The rumor also says that some parts were used to resurface another illegal pool in a block of Orange County. “I don’t trust them” he says, “I saw an old guy with his body covered with tattoos, and the others were trying to prevent him from cleaning the pool uttering that this would be the master of the disasters. Old guys like this definitely don’t have the kind of stamina required to do the job. They should go work as janitors at Wal*Mart, not cleaning pools…” But Lord Samba, the manager, knows best. Samba, of Brazilian descent, is a query in itself. With his blue eyes and long blond curly hair, he looks like an old school surfer from Copacabana, but nobody is really sure of his gender.
To Mush Greed, it was natural to ask the Samba Bros to sanitize this pipe too -for free-.
Although that was not in the initial contract signed by the city, the Bros were elated to follow through.
Photo Warner Bolstered
A quick look at his Mexifornia Driver’s license shows his sex status as: “A Lot!!” and his DOB as “Not yet known”. Seshica Samba, Lord’s racy cousin is a famous actress and has played in a lot of movies, including: “The Harder They Come”, with Jimmy Cliff, a story about grinding and durometer.

Finally, Joey Arpeggio is also questioning the righteousness of the team. He recalls one of them smiling and saying that it’s gonna be “Miller time!” Isn’t drinking beer on the job dangerous and prohibited by OSHA? Talking about drugs, Joey Arpeggio also fears that there might be hard drugs involved with the crew. He recalls how one of the cleaners recognized that he was “stoked” upon arriving on a big site (a double inverted kidney pool with spine). He says that: “the guy’s eyes were wide open; he had a drooling mouth and was watching the pool in haze and incredulity. He did not do anything for a good 5mn.”
Moolahtita empty grid. For God's sake, at least that part was not covered with empty pools.
Arpeggio adds that “I clearly saw his head absentmindedly wandering in circle like he was drawing imaginary lines in the pool.” He quickly concluded that: “He definitely smoked something before arriving, how could he be so ‘stoked’ otherwise?”
Mush Greed refused to comment on Arpeggio’s accusations…

Javier Loones is a staff writer for “Moolahtita Daily”. He has covered many social events for the city of Moolahtita, including the Week-End of Prince Carlos at the sumptuous Motel 66-6, the marriage of Charles and Diana at the Deserted Chapel and the last Gold tournament at 32 1/2 Concrete Palms. His two kids were forced to drop Lacrosse contests last May.

Disclaimer: the pix in this story are randomly coming from the Internet. Thanks to the real Bros that keep the dream alive. I love you guys, that's why I wrote this...

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posted by Xavier Lannes @ Wednesday, June 08, 2011 


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