The bathroom was dim and dank, humid to the point of sweating. If you closed your eyes and ran a tap someone could almost mistake the tangible presence of a waterfall in a rainforest, except instead of the smell of moss and damp decay you were instead buffeted by the acrid stench of urine. Instead of gushing water, the private flushings of the modern man behind wooden doors and tiled floors.
He sprayed the walls with bleach before moving to wipe down the basins. Pausing at the mirror, he tried to clean off a smear in the shape of an oily hand print. He stepped back and noticed me in the reflective surface. We both turned gradually but he seemed to hesitate before meeting my eyes. Grinning for a moment, the look faded away leaving his face to relapse into boredom. Our hands went back to cleaning the glass.
He was tall and lanky, with an added affectation of having his hair tied up in a man-bun atop his head. His uniform was country grass green, which sort of made him look like a string bean. Cleaners have a secret interest in working around the eyes of the public. The best are never noticed: in their effort or in their visits. No consumer wants to think about the vast waste they leave behind in their day-to-day existence. So, he took pride in invisibility.
As he moved to exit, a balding man in a charcoal suit pushed his way into the bathroom. His name was Joseph, but the housekeepers had a penchant for calling him Jofish.
Jofish looked towards him and wrinkled his flat nose, a look of accusation crossing his face. “Look, Mitch, do you have some kind of bowl problems?” He spat.
Mitch raised his eyebrows, “No, I am fine?”
Jofish lunged, leaning in he asked, “Well you just seem to be spending a lot of time in the bathrooms today.”
Mitch looked to me for a moment and turned back to Joseph a little bewildered. “Yes, I clean them.