Dressed in his usual medium blue, short-sleeved work coveralls, Chester answered an urgent call from the principal. He was almost done for the day, and this late afternoon puke disaster sent him begrudgingly into the cafeteria just as the last bus riders were queuing up for their rides home. The after-school clubs were gathering in their respective corners of the lunch room when a particularly annoying seventh-grader exploded over Chester’s once clean floor.
The combination of Glacier Freeze G2, a full bag of sour Skittles and several slices of greasy pepperoni pizza was never meant to stay put, especially when aerated through youthful dancing to the beat of loud, vulgar hip hop music.
Girls screaming, and boys laughing uproariously at their home boy, Chester simply wanted to drench them all with his industrial sized bucket of dirty mop water. He was getting too old to put up with these shenanigans. A mere three months away from retirement, he had a daily argument with himself over whether to wait it out, or say, “the hell with it.”
“Gawd, these punks have no more sense than God gave a rock,” Chester had gotten used to the stench of pubescent humors. Piss didn’t bother him, neither did crap, and blood had lost all scent to him. The only thing that could still make him retch was teenage sweat. The combination of cold french fries, fear and Axe cologne was a potent poison.
Moving the chunks around in a technicolor puddle, Chester visualized that instead of his trusty Unisan 2020B, he held the offending pre-teen by his feet, dunking his mop of unruly hair into the soap bucket. He made the mess, he should help clean it up.
“I bet his mom still has to wipe his ass,” the janitor muttered, glaring at the kids who were now laughing at him. One of them moved a chair so that as Chester moved backward mopping he almost tripped, the bucket sloshing a wave of dirty water over the rim, soaking his pant leg.
“Little bastard,” Chester held back the rebuke. What he’d like to do is grab the offending brat and wear out his belt giving him the ass whipping he so richly deserved. Instead he ignored the jeers and finished cleaning up the mess. After putting away the bucket and mop in his janitor’s closet, he grabbed his tools, ready to attack his final, thankless chore for the day.
Armed with an old spackle tub and a putty knife, its blade tip honed to a razor’s edge, Chester headed into the now empty gymnasium. Tomorrow night’s basketball game would mean he’d be at this again the next morning, but if he didn’t stay on top of the wads of chewed gum stuck to the underside of the bleacher seats, the stands would be completely coated in masticated Dubble Bubble in no time.
“Guaranteed their bedrooms are pig sties,” grumbling as he scraped old gum from the seats. “Or their mommies do everything for them. Raising a bunch of entitled brats. These parents ain’t doing their kids a bit of good.”
Dumping the minty, sour apple dregs out of the full tub, Chester tied up the plastic bag in the gym trash can. His suggestion to the faculty heads that he be given the detention inmates went unanswered. A shame, he thought, as he pulled the can outside to the main school dumpster. Heaving the Hefty bag over the top, Chester thought the delinquents would benefit from a little hard work. Make them break a real sweat and not just from sitting in the same spot for hours tweaking a video game controller with their thumbs.
“Good for nothing losers,” Chester grunted with the exertion. “Prolly couldn’t even lift one of these bags. Sorry bunch of candy-asses.”
His work finally over, Chester did a walk-through check of the school door locks, systematically turning out the building lights. Making his way out to the staff parking lot, the only thing Chester wanted was a long, hot shower. He needed to wash off the grime of another long day. Once in his car, Chester sat with both hands on the wheel, head down, taking deep breaths.
After a long, ten seconds he relaxed back in the driver’s seat, putting the keys in the ignition. Later, the Medical Examiner determined Chester never knew what happened, he was killed instantly in the explosion.
The crude bomb was attached with duct tape in the top of the driver’s side wheel well. Despite the extensive damage to the car, the bomb squad sergeant easily traced the explosive device to a former junior high school student who blamed Chester for getting expelled. He believed the old janitor had turned him in for smoking weed in the boy’s bathroom. During the trial he found out that Chester wasn’t responsible, a newly installed security camera had captured him exiting the bathroom, tucking a roach into his shirt pocket.
Ironically, Chester would have been impressed with the boy’s ingenuity, and that he made something so efficient with his own hands.
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Kelly Garriott Waite challenged me with “You’re the janitor at the local school. Tell me what you think about when you clean up after the kids.” and I challenged Michael with “If I had a dollar bill for all the things I’ve done, there’d be a mountain of money piled up to my chin…’ Annie Lennox“