Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Clean Up

Hi again
Here's a short story I haven't even shared with my writers group - a sinister tale I entered for a writers competition - think it was Commonwealth short story 2012 comp - which I didn't win - sob - so enjoy the exclusive guys

The janitor started to sweat as he pushed his dirty mop back and forth on the wooden floor of the classroom.  Water and foam splashed out from the mop as he pushed down , driving it hard along the floor.  The floor was already clean but the janitor kept mopping obsessively making the floor sparkle and shine.

His phone started to vibrate in his pocket and he ignored it.  He wringed out the mop into a yellow bucket and looked at his handy work.  The floor was spotless.  No marks as far as he could see and he breathed a sigh of relief.  His phone vibrated again, he knew who it was and knew she wouldn’t stop ringing.  It was his wife Debra.  He took his mobile out of his trouser pocket and reluctantly answered the call.

“What you doing?  You said you was only going to be an hour!” came the familiar shrill voice of his wife.
“I’ll be about 10 minutes I promise” answered Harry.  His voice shaky and panic stricken.
“Well make sure you are, we’ve to go shopping I need some shoes.” replied Debra who didn’t seem to notice the tone of his voice.
Harry threw his phone onto the nearest desk.  Then noticed he needed to clean the desk behind.
“Oh Christ” he whispered to himself and put his head in his hands, feeling the wetness of his sweat between his fingers.  He held his head in his hands for a few moments deep in thought.  How had it all come to this he wondered.  Harry went to his janitor trolley and picked up some cleaning spray and a hard scrubbing brush.  He went to the dirty desk and scrubbed vigorously at it for a few moments whilst occasionally spraying it.  He was scrubbing so hard and fast he didn’t realise how much it hurt his fingers but he was like a man possessed making sure it was completely clean and there were no marks on it.

Eventually he stood back and admired the desk,  this too was now completely shiny and clean – spotless he thought and he let out a sly grin.

His phone vibrated on the next desk again.  Dam that woman he thought and again reluctantly answered the phone.
“Yes what!” he snapped down the line.
“It’s been 10 minutes already where the hell are you?  Max is getting restless.  Max stop kicking my seat.”
“Ok I’ve finished now be 2 minutes” replied Harry and ended the call as he thought about Max, his pride and joy.  He was the reason Harry was doing what he was doing.
Max’s chubby face and sparkly bright eyes entered his mind and he suddenly realised how fast time had gone.  Max was 10 already and still growing, he didn’t want to miss out on that!   Harry thought about the fun he had with Max so far in his short life, playing ball in the park, taking him fishing, the pain watching him go to school in the mornings and the joy of being home when he returned and hearing of his day.

Although what Harry was doing was wrong it was something he needed to do for Max, to be in his life.  His wife Debra however he didn’t love anymore he just put up with her to be near his son however much of a bitch she had become although when he met his wife she was the best thing to happen to him.  She was so kind and loving, they had the best times together although it was strained when Max came along.

Harry suddenly snapped out of his thoughts.  His wife and son disappearing from his mind as his current situation came flooding back to him.
He put his phone back in his pocket and looked down at the scrubbing brush in his hand.  The bristles  were mixed with bubbles and dark red blood.  His face paled at the sight. 
He went to the door of the classroom to where he had left a big wheelie bin and went to throw the brush into it but the girls big brown eyes stared up unblinking at him.  Blood running down her head and over her shoulder.
“God what have I done!  It... it was an accident.” Harry cried out to himself as the young girls body sat crumpled up in the wheelie bin.

She was gorgeous he thought.  When he had first seen her entering the sixth form building less than a year ago he knew she was a flirt and the school tart.  He had already heard rumours about her before she had even joined sixth form.  She had already had quite a few boyfriends in her young life and the affair she had had with Mr Leskie, the sports teacher was the main scandal of their small town for some time.  Mothers warned their sons of her and wives kept their husbands away from her too.  But she was gorgeous he thought, her long blond hair used to blow seductively in the wind, her big brown puppy dog eyes looking innocently up at him and her firm toned tanned body was what many men dreamed of and made her seem older than her 17 years.

After a couple of months of catching each other’s eye and smiling across the corridor at each other she made the move of talking to him and flirting heavily with him as she had a thing for older guys.  At 38 Harry was still in good shape as the job kept him busy on his toes, cleaning and walking the corridors and landscaping the grounds.  He was tall, quite toned although was starting to get a bit flabby round the belly, probably all the drinking his wife had driven him to. 

Harry thought back to his wife as he washed his mop bucket out in the janitor room and parked up his janitor trolley.  If she hadn’t been nasty to him over the last couple of years laughing at him being a “lowly janitor” and nagging him endlessly to get another job and do things around the house he wouldn’t have succumbed to the advances of Faye.  The young girl now dead in his wheelie bin.

It was sex as well, he mused as he never got any from his wife and Faye made it perfectly clear that was all she was after and so their affair began.

On their first night together Harry took Faye to a pub out of town where she had no trouble getting served then went back to the sixth form building and had the most amazing sex he had had.  She knew a lot for her age and so they met when they could usually after hours at the sixth form building.  Harry just told his wife he had odd jobs to do knowing she wasn’t bothered unless she wanted to go shopping or to her mothers.  Now Harry realised that the time he spent with Faye he missed having Max with him.  That’s why no one could ever know he thought!

Tears rolled down his eyes as Harry now pushed the wheelie bin towards the lift and he dare not look at her.
“Why did she have to fall for me!” he said to himself as  he went down in the lift to the building’s incinerator.  It was all a terrible accident in the end as he thought back to the last few hours.

Harry had decided to call the whole affair off with Faye as he didn’t want to lose his son if Debra found out.  Plus he decided to try harder with his wife and see what happened.  He even took his wife on a romantic evening which was the best night he had had with her in years and she seemed like her old self for once.
This was why Harry was now at work on a Saturday after telling his wife he had to fix some faulty wiring before classes on Monday morning. 

He had asked Faye to meet him and she sneaked in an open window as she normally did as she said it gave her a bit of a thrill.  There was a bit of an awkward silence when she had got in the classroom and went to kiss him.  He pushed her off him.
“We have to stop this, I’m ending it before anyone gets hurt.” He told her.
Faye looked at him with her puppy dog eyes,  tears forming in the corners.  There was a genuine look of distress and sadness on her face.
“But I love you.   I need to be with you!” she eventually squeaked out.  Half crying.  Harry thought her immature when she said this.
“I want to make things right with my wife for my Max,” he countered.  His voice soft and low.
“So your dumping me for that old bag just so you can stay with your son!  Your not happy with her.... god your sad!” she said bitterly “Maybe it’s about time she found out then you can be with me.  I just saw her sat at the gates”.

She swiftly went to the door to leave and Harry pulled her back “No, Stop” he shouted.  
She tried to walk off but Harry pulled at her top. She turned round with a smirk on her face and anger welled up inside him, his face reddening.  He suddenly grabbed her round the shoulders and threw her  backwards into the room but as she went backwards she tripped and smashed her head on the corner of a desk.  Harry went to her as she fell to the floor and blood started to pour from a wound at her temple.  He waited a few minutes for her to stir and get up so he could apologise as he had gone too far but she never did.

Harry went grey as he realised she was seriously hurt and saw blood running from her head onto the wooden floors.  A lot of blood and hair was on the corner of the desk.   He bent down to Faye’s face but could feel no breath so checked her pulse  - nothing.

“My god I’ve killed her” he shouted aloud and panic grew in him, he would go to jail for this, Debra would divorce him and he wouldn’t see little Max again.  Should he ring the police and confess he thought at first then realised their liaisons were secret.  No one knows she came here to meet me he thought I could cover it up and pretend the whole thing never happened.  I could get rid of the body in the incinerator – no evidence.  Cleaning is what I do.

And so as Harry stood outside the incinerator thinking back to what had happened in the past 30 minutes he cried, as guilt and grief took over.
“I.. I can’t do it” he said to himself looking at the face of his dead mistress, his toy girl.
His phone vibrated again in his pocket and he missed it again as he stared at Faye.  His memory of her, his wife and Max rolling around his head.  He was so confused and didn’t know what to do for the best.

His phone continued to vibrate as he picked up the dead girl in his hands and he put her into the hot flames of the incinerator.  The yellow and orange flames licked around her body until Harry could see her no longer.  She was gone.  He sighed as he shut the incinerator door.

It’s for the best he told himself, I need my family.  I need to be with my son.  His phone went off again.  This time he answered.
“Where the hell...” Debra began.
“I’m leaving now hun.  As a treat lets go to the pub for lunch. My treat.” Harry interrupted.
“Well.. Ok sounds good.” Came the surprised yet happier voice of his wive.
“Love you.” He said as he walked out of the room. 
He had done it he thought to himself,  no one would know about the affair or the accidental murder.  The perfect murder?  He wouldn’t go to jail or lose his family.

But as Harry rushed back to his wife he had failed to notice one bloodied fingerprint of his on the back of the incinerator door.

1 comment:

  1. That's a good but disturbing story Mr. W, although I shouldn't be surprised, having read your other stuff!