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.