The Cleaner Part Deux

You may remember a few weeks ago, I wrote about how the owner of the antique market where I work had hired a cleaner, and he looked exactly like a ‘cleaner’, which is to say, someone who cleans up after assassins and whatnot. He’s been cleaning one day a week ever since, and he does a very thorough job, almost like he’s used to a VERY DEMANDING CLIENTELE, if you know what I mean. He doesn’t speak much, just the normal good morning, or “where do you keep the Windex” and up until now, I haven’t had any actual conversations with him, which I realized last week was probably a good thing.

I usually take my lunch around 1:30 in the small breakroom we have for staff, and last week, as I was beginning my lunch, The Cleaner was finishing his. I sat down at the table and we exchanged pleasantries. I started eating. And then he started talking:

The Cleaner: So do you think Covid is over?
Me: Huh? Oh. I don’t think so—I know a lot of people are still getting it.
The Cleaner: Do you believe that it was created in a lab overseas by the governments of the world so that they could kill off a lot of the world’s population? Because the world is very overpopulated.
Me (chewing food): Uh…no…
The Cleaner: There’s a large proportion of the world’s population who are old, and this way the government could kill them and then they wouldn’t have to pay them their pensions.
Me: That sounds like a very complicated and strange conspiracy theory.
The Cleaner: It was definitely created by the world’s governments.
Me: I don’t believe that. Anyway, do you think it’s going to rain later?

And while the conversation was bizarre, the weirdest thing was that the whole time he was talking, he was staring out the window, like he was lost in thought and musing, almost wistful. And then he smiled, and he only had four teeth.

In other news, right before Ken and I went away, I needed to buy more underwear, so I went to Winners, a fairly big department store, and wasn’t I thrilled to find not only a 6 pack of really nice underwear but the brand was LUCKY BRAND and every pair has a 4 LEAF CLOVER embroidered on it, so now every day is a lucky day.

And in other, other news, I guess the lucky underwear panned out, because I’ve just accepted the position of ‘Summer Writer-In-Residence’ for our local county library system, dividing my time between four different branches this summer, running writing workshops, hosting guests, and mentoring other writers. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and it really is a dream come true. Thanks, Lucky Brand.

38 thoughts on “The Cleaner Part Deux

  1. I’ll bet The Cleaner knows all about Lucky Brand underwear, and how many of the…. “things” he’s cleaned over the years have been wearing them! You should ask him next time you have lunch together…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder if lucky underwear could counteract the deleterious effect of my haunted socks. Oh well, no matter. Congratulations on your new writer-in-residence job! That is very cool.
    Remember the little people, those of us with the mundane underwear.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This fellow seems like a natural fit to the bizarre bazaar in which you spend your retirement days. Is a wonder you don’t write macabre and unnerving fiction, working in a place like that. Oh, wait…
    “Writer-in-Wresidence”, sounds challenging. I’m sure you’re up to the task. If it comes to be that you need fodder for Writer’s Workshops, I still have those GDoc-Decks (Powerpoints) that might serve as seeds of sentience…
    In other news: The AI company Anthropic has created “Claude” which can ingest an entire novel and then perform analysis, edits, enhancements, summaries, even write you a query letter. And OpenAI’s “Code Interpreter” can consume any media content or data in any format and perform edit, summary, analysis, extrapolation, and conclusion generation. All within seconds.
    AI will replace us writers and knowledge workers. Not “someday”. Now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So if you bought more lucky undies, does that mean you didn’t find the original pair that was missing? I’m happy you found more lucky undies because the force is strong with them, lol. Especially since you got that writer in residence gig, that is awesome!! As for the Cleaner, he may indeed be a retired hit man for the mob hiding out to avoid prosecution in the states. But only had four teeth, maybe he likes sponge cake a bit too much, lmao.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Congrats on the new gig! That’s so exciting…you’re “famous”…and I can soon whisper “I knew them when…” Ha! And, yeah, at least once a day I come under attack because I still choose to mask up! Because, you know, “COVID is over”. And I’ll keep an eye out for those “Lucky Brand” undies, for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I had all those thoughts about cleaners and conspiracies and they evaporated like water on a windshield as soon as I got to your Writer-In-Residence position, which is absolutely fantastic. It’s good for you and also the libraries. I have a soft spot for libraries already.
    Also I had a friend who worked for the government who’d always dismiss conspiracy theories by saying “Never ascribe to malice what most likely is pure incompetence.” I’ve also just remembered the summer I worked at a restaurant. There was a guy whose whole job was to clean the parking lot before we opened. He was from Sweden. All he ever said to anybody was “You are very nice!” I regret not talking to him. I doubt he had any wild theories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great saying. I also think that our government, like yours, can’t do a single thing without the opposition freaking out to gain points. No way they would have agreed on murdering people to avoid paying pensions!


  7. Super congratulations on your writer-in-residence gig, Suzanne! Just between you and me, I don’t think luck has anything to do with it. You’ve worked hard for this. Does this mean that you’re taking some time off from the antique mall? Also, very interesting conversation between you and The Cleaner. Keep an eye on that one! 🙂 Mona

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s