He wet his broom because he resented the bourgeoisie and thought the best way to show them he meant business was to be bad for it. He created japanese serenity gardens in the bathrooms using his broom to clump together all the hair and dirt and wiring. He created masterpieces of from the unprofessional. One day they gave him an award, employee of the month. He was too good creating beautiful chaos that people came from everywhere to view his art. He brought in more business than they ever had before. When he found this out he demanded to be made partner, and they did.
His broom is intricately carved by the finest woodworkers, and Armani supplies his work wear. He smiled, because they weren’t that bad once you got to know them.
I worked on weekdays, laying down braille tracks on the sidewalk throughout the city. The council was converting this cement prison into an accessible cement prison. I liked the way the tracks felt underneath my feet when I was finished, and how you could always find your way back to the centre of town with them.
They tried to interview me, the local news, to talk about the tracks. Bill had told me the council was having an image problem. They asked me too many questions and in the end I had to walk away. I didn’t know if they were asking because they wanted to understand the work or me. They wanted me to stand in some shots with a women with a dog and a cane. I refused. I didn’t sign up for this part of the job.
He remembered the way the dress had become liquid as it fell from her body, caressing the skin of her breasts and hips. The slight sound of the fabric scratching against her surface was like a whispered word of love shared in the gloom of a bar. He could feel her collar bones, even now. They were a frame from which she hung, and still he could trace their dimensions in his mind when he closed his eyes. There was so much power in that frame.
He thought he was being romantic, but he only thought of her in this way when he was horny.
The memory that he really cherished was how she would eat steaming ramen on the couch, occasionally leaning over to bite him on the neck.He liked to think that she didn’t occupy his thoughts, but there was never much else to think of.
When she arrived home from the orthodontist, her teeth were beautiful. I guess I never noticed what was hidden behind those lips and braces, or I never wanted to. Maybe I was preparing myself for this: the reveal. They aligned perfectly and seemed unnaturally white, like a freshly-cleaned hospital floor. We all stared at school, and Jack told her a crude joke about holding back his boner. She smiled for the first time in years, but I didn’t think it was at the joke. I remembered that I loved her, and so did everyone else. She had paid for the orthodontist out her own pocket, spending hot summers waiting tables at the local cafes. She saved every scholarship she had ever earned, just so she could fix a part of herself that she wanted fixed most. We all smiled back at her.
Next summer her teeth were still aligned but the colour had gone a little. She still had to wait tables, and she still had to save.
At the end of the school year he burnt his books in a pile in his backyard. They smelt like the toaster, and he imagined the soot tasting quite pleasant. It was a tradition. This was something the popular kids would do, but he told his parents that it was a cleansing ceremony required by the school, which being ex-hippies, they really appreciated. It wasn’t the books he wanted to burn. The match struck evenly, the flame sprang into being, raging against the oxygen that surrounded it, feeding it. It fought, every moment to stay alive before it whimpered out.
When he was done he would take the ashes and gather them into an urn that had belonged to his Grandmother. He would ride to the beach, the urn hidden in his backpack, and he would wait until the sun went down, watching the tourists and the townies pack-up. As the Sun slipped over the ocean, he would force himself to watch its progress, ignoring the searing pain in his head, the watering of his eyes. He always thought he could see the flames springing of the star. Then once it had set, he scattered the ashes in the water and went home. His Mom asked him how the school year was, and he would always reply.
As soon as the Government issued chips were implanted, the space was auctioned off. That was the beauty of capitalism. It went to a global conglomerate. They quickly redefined targeted advertising. There were restrictions on the chips, they couldn’t stimulate the nodes, but they could take readings off the brain patterns, use a computer to process the information, and respond with a unique advertisement in real-time, completely computer-generated. They slightest impulse for food and the world will take on the hue and colours of a McDonalds campaign, the words ‘Eat A Big Mac’ scrawled in the finest lettering on the pavement. The world was found wanting in more aspects than were measurable.
I’ve been dreaming of her again. It is not quite yet an obsession, but you only ever know that in hindsight. In my last dream, she stretched out my eyelids with pool cues. When I cried out, she whispered into my ear that everything was going to be ok, and it soothed me, before she flexed her muscles and continued her work. Then, she found a clean place to sit in the shade.
I’d wonder what it meant, but it is just a dream. When I was a kid I believed in star signs, and magic, and would always ask people if they were Cancer or Sagittarius. I even owned a book on the supernatural called, ‘Madam Lucia and the Dark Arts’. I, like the Madam, thought dreams were significant. My Dad told me one day that science teaches us that dreams are just your brains dumping data, processing excess information from the day. I wondered what he meant.
When she died, I had considered it an end to our relationship. There was nothing to go on with. I caught myself being happy. Now all I want to do is sleep.