Busy Busy and nonsense

Posted in Uncategorized on March 23, 2016 by davidburtonwriting

Been a long time since I posted. Busy Busy Busy.

Click on the titles for more information, buy links and an excerpt.

I just finished revising The Golden Palace, the sequel to Soul Retrievers. Next stop, editing and a new cover. Suggestions for cover designs welcome.

I finally got my thriller, Mapping the Glades, out. E-book only until I can get the &%^($Mapping Glades thriller cover@ formatting right for the print edition.  Available at most e-book stores.

The Tommy Case mystery, Programed for Murder is now permanently Free. Prog for Murder

The sequel, Programed for Love, is now available, also. Programmed for Love cover1

The e-book edition of Soul Retrievers , a supernatural adventure to Helland back, was freeSoul Retv corrected- small awhile ago. If you missed it you can get it from Amazon only,  at the moment.

Down Home, a 29,000 word sci-fi vampire mystery is now available. It’s related to theDown Home New cover contemporary vampire thrillers – Blood Justice and Blood on the Water – as well as the historical (1650 France) Simone Gireaux origin stories – An Accidental Vampire, New Blood and Young Blood.

A couple nonsense poems in lieu of anything clever.

For Readers —

The Cave or Damsel in Distress Cleans the Mess

A cave in an asteroid, so dark and so deep.

Perhaps an alien’s own private keep?

What sort of secrets would it have down below?

Could it be something, we don’t want to know?

Maybe a woman snatched from a ship,

While the alien snacked on the crew, smacking it’s lip.

She could be waiting, we know not where,

Floating around lonely, in that space monster’s lair.

She might be wishing that we’d stay away.

Maybe it’s only waiting, for an entree.

Then it would eat her for a great new dessert.

So much better than, dirty old dirt.

Who’s to say how it might like to behave

Down in that deep dark terrible cave.

Cold and damp with green slimy walls

And nasty little creatures that slither the halls.

Mud that babbles and bubbles and burps,

That sucks you down slow, so that it hurts.

The air is so thin that you just cannot think,

Especially because, it really does stink.

There are big rocks and little rocks and rocks and more rocks

The rocks that aren’t round are rocks that are blocks.

The plants are all scraggly and ooze yellow pus.

If we were to visit, they’d try to eat us.

The bugs are hairy and hungry and swarm in a bunch,

Just flying around waiting for somebody for lunch.

All the creatures are ugly as ugly can be

And whenever possible have blood for their tea.

There are vapors and mists and dark yellow fogs

That would make someone think of storybook bogs.

The cave is so nasty and dismal and damp,

Not even Boy Scouts would think there to camp.

If help takes to long, to the damsel’s distress.

To break the monotony, she might clean up the mess.

It would take a long time, a century or two,

By that time she’d probably be too tough stew.

It could be so nice that she’d say to her friend,

“I think my dear alien, I’ll stay till end.”

And she and her alien could cruise on through space

And together they might raise, a whole brand new race.

they might raise, a whole brand new race.

For Writers–

Ode to a Manuscript

If I should die before the return of my manuscript,

Please bring those faded pages down to my crypt.

There I’ll hold them in my cold boney fingers

And inspect the red ink that still there lingers.

Then my ghost will slip the paper so light,

Onto a publishers desk late some night.

They’ll take those crumbling pages so late

And make a million for my great grandaughter’s estate.

Gambling…or Not?

Posted in Gambling, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 14, 2015 by davidburtonwriting

las-vegas-hotels-casinosThis is question about a story that’s right now at the bottom of my I Want To Write This Story List. But you never know. It could move up the list fast. There is history behind the bond of the three characters, but it’s not necessary to know for the  question. I’d really appreciate a comment at the end.

Two girls under 16 and a man about 60 are visiting Las Vegas. Las VegasThe man, Joe, is a friend, father, uncle or grandfather as necessary. The girls are more than friends. They are all walking down the LV Strip checking out the over the top hotels. One of the girls, Jane, as she walks past one of the casinos suddenly has a number, say 19, burst into her thoughts – 19 19 19, like a pulsing headache. As they move past the casino, the insistent number fades.

las-vegas-hotels-casinosCurious, they walk back past the hotel/casino and 19 fills her thoughts again until they pass. All of them being smart and curious they go into the casino, discussing what 19 means.

“Maybe it’s their lucky number,” said Kelly.

“Okay,” said Joe. They decided roulette would be the best place to use 19, so Joe headed into the casino and bought a few chips. Never having played roulette he was nervous, but finally he bet $30 ( $10 from each of them) on 19. The wheel spun, the ball rolled, Joe held his breath – thought  so this is how you become addicted to gambling – the ball dropped… into the red 19 slot.Dollar sign 2 gold

“Holy crap!” A bit dazed, he cashed in his chips and with $1040 in pocket he meant to leave the casino. But he had to walk past rows of slot machines, numbered slot machines and there was #19.  “Well, why not?” He loaded in five quarters and pulled the lever. He wasn’t even sure what he needed to get to win. Didn’t matter. The sudden bell ringing, lights flashing, and quarters pouring out clued him in.

A half hour later, with another $7500 in his pocket (after the IRS took their 25%) he sat down with the girls. “Holy crap,” and other unlady-like variations, they said. They agreed to see if it worked at other casinos. It did. And so they continued that day and night and many others for several years and many casinos, big and small. The IRS mostly got its due,IRS but Joe and Jane and Kelly (they were smart girls) figured a few ways around them. Joe always shared equally with them, after all he needed them for the number, but he loved them as daughters/granddaughters, too. Once they were making a lot of money and the girls’ college was paid for, they gave at least 10% to charity.

So, where they gambling or stealing? The only difference between them and regular gamblers was they had that number, wherever it came from. They didn’t create it or ask for it, it just came to Jane when she was holding Kelly’s hand. They figured Kelly was a sort of battery that made Jane go. No jiggered machines or corrupt employees where involved. No systems were used. They bought the chips, made the bets like anybody else.

Gambling, stealing, cheating or receiving a gift from…? What would you do?

I’d appreciate your insightful comments.  Feel free to share this link with friends who might be wiseman2 thinkerinterested – https://davidburtonwriting.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/gambling-or-not

If you missed my last post, Reviewers Rule, because a Gmail update messed up my e-mail lists, please read, heed and share. (scroll down)








Reviewers rule.

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing, story ideas, screenwriting, Novel writing, Short Story Writing, Story Subjects, deal with the Devil, Book Release, Young Adult book, End of the world, Book Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2015 by davidburtonwriting

READERS                                                                                                                   Blood on the Water large cover

We all want a good review, no matter what we do. Authors especially. I know you all have bought and read my latest two books, Blood on the Water and Soul Retrievers, and are just taking a little time to come down from the high you got from reading them before writing a five star review for Amazon, Goodreads, etc. I thank you for your review ahead of time.

All reviews are helpful, the life blood of authors and readers looking for a goodSoul Retv corrected- small read. We court reviewers, critics and bloggers by the hundreds. Beg them to read our work and write a positive review.  They can make or break a career. Or so I’ve been told. I’m still a non-bestseller, non-award winning, non-famous writer. Reviewers, and that includes readers, have the power to help a little bit, should they choose to use it.

But, What if there was a Reviewer who did have absolute power to make an author famous, wealthy and loved around the world? One who’s merest word would make any product – book,  movie, coffee, car, diaper, hotel, soft drink, or vegan food into the most desired (or undesired) of its kind on Earth. He, or she, could shape the world as he saw fit.  Politicians would be in or out at his whim as he reviewed their performance. Economic systems implemented or abandoned with a few words on late night TV. Always assuming he was psychologically fit himself.

depressed man2What if he was depressed and didn’t like anything? Nobody would buy anything and there might be a world depression. Manic on the other side, he might like everything and the world goes into massive debt because they spend all their money buying everything. His paranoia might be good for the bodyguard/mercenary business, not so good for the civilian guns trade with a particularly scathing review for the NRA. If he smoked a bit of weed to dull the paranoia, that might be good for the fast food and munchies business.

Obviously, his reviews would be sought after. A good review would be like money in the bank. But what would he want for one of his Golden Reviews? Money? At first, but soon he’d have more money than most countries. Power? He could topple or create governments or mega-corporations. But what about us little guys, the struggling writers and entrepreneurs? Maybe he was a struggling writer who never made it and so had a soft spot for us  non-bestselling, non-award winning authors. For a token payment he’d post a good review of your book on Amazon. Heck, I’d slip him 100 dollar billa hundred bucks for a review of Blood on the Water or Soul Retrievers. Not that the reviews you’re working on for me don’t matter. They do. They hold the same power as the Super Reviewer’s will when he finally makes himself known. So use your power for good.



What If The Reviewer is a lone alien trying singlehandedly to take over humanity for his own alien 1 meangrandiose, but demented,  I-want-to-rule-a-world dreams, or as an advance softening up before an invasion, or as a way to get alien2 wavinghumanity to build a ship to take him home? But, some humans are always immune to what might affect the rest. Maybe one, who’s a super used car salesman, realizes what’s going on and posts an anti-Reviewer blog. And the blog-fight is on!



What If The Reviewer is supernatural in nature? satan3-readingGodGod or the Devil trying to reach humanity for their own reasons using the latest tech, social media, for their own agendas. Maybe a God vs Satan blog fight for the future of mankind.

What If The Reviewer was just a regular guy who was trying to help out a woman he liked with her first book and he discovered he had the Gift and things got a little out of hand and it took the woman to figure out who he was and bring the world back from the brink – and incidentally find true love.

All Readers have the power to kill or resurrect  a writers career. Please review wisely.wiseman1








A Custodian’s Duties 4

Posted in Uncategorized on July 2, 2015 by davidburtonwriting

 Custodians may save the world from space/underworld invaders, recalcitrant teachers, and bossy bosses, but sometimes they have to deal with darker dangers, like humans. A good custodian is trusted by both faculty and students.

This is temporarily the last of the Custodian stories.

The Custodian 4

girl_walking yellowFrom a large family group gathered in a park across the street after school, a little girl, maybe eight years old, wearing a red skirt and a yellow top, wanders unnoticed onto the grounds of Grace Glass Elementary school.

The Custodian, wearing his usual khakis and well-filled T-shirt, had just begun his Friday afternoon rounds. He checked for trash in each classroom and emptied it into his roller trash cart. He noticed the girl as she casually walked down a narrow grass strip inspecting the flowers. For several classrooms he kept an eye on her. He also noticed that nobody else was around.

Leaving his cart in one of the rooms, he moved toward the girl. He stopped to take a call from the school principal on his radio.janitor4

“Would you come to my office, please. We have a minor emergency.”

The Custodian scanned the area. Still nobody around. He continued to walk toward the little girl.

*         *          *

An hour later a group of adults, – including The Custodian, the principal, a handsome Hispanic woman, two uniform cops, a detective, and several teachers, have an intense discussion outside the main office.

Not bothering to hide his skepticism, the detective, a solidly built man with some experience on him his face, said to the Custodian, “You say you sent the girl Sandra back to her family before you went to the principal’s office.”

The Custodian nodded.

“But nobody witnessed you doing that, did they?” The Custodian shook his head with slow, confident movements. “So you could have taken her.” The detective tried to stare down the taller Custodian, but had to turn away from the man’s intensely calm gaze.

“Detective,” the principle said. “If the Custodian says he sent her back and he didn’t take her, then he did and he didn’t.”

Between the casual intimidation of the Custodian’s steady gaze that came from his natural being, and the principal’s hard eyed total confidence in him, the detective didn’t stand a chance of taking that line of questioning anywhere. Not quite ready to accept the Custodian’s innocence, he said, “Okay, search the school. Look into every room, closet, cabinet, nook and cranny.

As the group dispersed, the Detective held back one of the uniformed officers. “Keep an eye on that custodian. I don’t trust him.”

As the group dispersed the Custodian looked like he was searching, but he really watched the elecrtic roomother searchers. Seeing what he thought he’d see, he slipped into a door marked IDF. Inside he moved quietly past gray electric breaker boxes and computer equipment. In the back of the room, hidden behind a mass of blue computer network wiring he found a plywood sheet that appeared to be screwed to the wall. It wasn’t.

He entered a narrow space littered with dusty broken chairs and playground equipment. Water pipes ran along the rough block wall. A light switch did nothing. With a small flashlight the Custodian made his way to a rusty file cabinet. Behind the cabinet, more plumbing, and the girl.

Legs taped together, hands tied around a vertical pipe, mouth taped, Sandra whimpered, wide eyes filled with fear.

The Custodian knelt beside her, put a finger to his lips for quiet.

*        *         *

Five minutes later he brushed back a strand of blonde hair and gently caressed her cheek with the back of his fingers. She gave him a shaky smile and nodded. Freed from her bonds, flashlight and a bottle of water beside her, she hugged knees to chest and watched him go. Before he swung the file cabinet in place he gave her a one finger salute. She returned it as the dark closed in around her.

*        *         *

Sometime later Sandra heard footsteps crunch in the outer space. She wrapped the tape around her legs, pressed the piece of tape to her mouth and put her hands behind the pipe. Heart pounding, barely able to breathe, with total trust in The Custodian, she waited.

The cabinet grated on the concrete as it opened. A flashlight blinded her. Behind the light a dark figure approached. A man knelt beside her. She jumped when he spoke.

“Come on, Sweetheart. I’m your daddy now and I’m going to take you home. It’s way past your bedtime.”

She jerked her hands free as he reached for her.

“Ah. I got here just in time, didn’t I. We’ll save your punishment until you’re home.”

He lifted her in his arms. Holding her tight, he carried her through the dark to the outside door. He paused, listened, slowly opened the door and peeked out, scanning the area. He stepped out. A fist smacked his jaw.

The Custodian caught Sandra as the man dropped. In his arms, she smiles, not afraid at all.

*       *       *

Two cops lead the man, one of the teachers, away in handcuffs.handcuffs1

Sandra’s father hugged her in his arms.

“Your daughter is very brave,” the principal told him.

“Yes she is,” he said. “But I don’t like that she had to wait in the dark so long.”

“We knew where she was, but not who put her there. We had to wait until he came for her. “

“It was okay, Daddy. The Custodian said I’d be alright.”

The father’s expression showed his skepticism, but he nodded his thanks and walked away.

Over his shoulder, Sandra, gave The Custodian a one finger wave.

He returned the wave and turned to finish his rounds.

Janitor3The End

Trust your custodian.

Soul RetrieversClick here for E-book Pre-order links. Delivered July 10.

Soul RetrieversClick here for the paperback edition.

Blood JusticeClick here to read a sample and find buy links.

Blood on the WaterClick here to read a sample and find buy links.

Website – http://dcburtonwriting.wordpress.com

A Custodian’s Duties 3

Posted in Custodians, Story Subjects, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 16, 2015 by davidburtonwriting

As you saw in the two previous posts custodians can deal with alien invasions and save recalcitrant teachers. But sometimes they have to deal with a more dangerous entity – a full-of-himself school board member.

The Custodian 3

The Custodian, somewhere around forty, wearing his usual khaki pants, dark T-shirt and capjanitor4 pulled low, locked the doors of the boys and girls bathrooms in a small building that stood alone at the edge of the playground across from the rest of Grace Glass Elementary School. He placed a large sign in front that read Restrooms Closed.

While he pushed his custodial cart away to continue on his nightly route a sleek man in a slick suit and his ten-year old son approached in a hurry.

Business_Man1“Hey, you’re the Custodian, aren’t you?”

The Custodian stopped. Nodded at the man. Nodded at the kid.

“Open the bathrooms, will you. We both have to go.”

He looked pointedly at the closed sign then pointedly at the father.Restroom-Closed-Out-of-Order-Sign

“Come on. My son is a student here. You can open it for a minute. We won’t make a mess.”

Lips tight, The Custodian shrugs – what can he do?

The boy said, “Dad, it’s okay. If the Custodian says they’re closed, they’re closed.”

“No, it’s not okay.” The Father raised his long face up to Custodian. He was so used to intimidating people, that when the Custodian’s steady eyes stared him down his face turned red to his shoulders. He almost poked him with a stubby finger, but thought better of it. “Look, I’m on the school board,” he blustered. “The ones you work for. I’m telling you to open that bathroom, right now.”

The Son tugged on his father’s suit jacket. “Dad, it’s closed. We can go in the bushes. Like camping.”

He slapped the boy’s hand away. “I’m going to piss in that bathroom. Are you going to let me in…, Custodian?”

A slow shake of the head was all he got for an answer.

“Then enjoy your last night as a janitor, Buddy.” He attempted to push the Custodian out of his way. That his “employee” didn’t budge and the Father was forced to go around, made him even madder. He jabbed a finger at his son. “You stay here,” he snarled and stalked off across the playground.

Hands in pockets, The custodian and the boy watch him go.

“I’m sorry,” the boy said. “You won’t get fired will you?”

The Custodian ruffled the boy’s hair, then tilted his head toward the bushes.

The boy went and pissed in the bushes.boy pissing A few minutes later the Father stalked back across the playground, chin leading the way. He shook a fistful of keys as he passed. “The Principle knows who she works for. Come on, son.”

“I already went, Dad. If the Custodian says–.”

“I don’t care what he says. He doesn’t work here anymore.”

The Father unlocked the door, threw it open and disappeared inside. The door thumped shut with solid finality.

“Will he be okay?” the Son asked.

The Custodian gave the boy’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze.

mexwoman1The Principal, a handsome Hispanic woman joined them. “I’m sorry. He said he wanted to open his son’s classroom.”

They stood together – The Custodian legs apart, arms crossed, head down. The Principal behind the boy, hands on his shoulders.

“He does think a bit much of himself, but he is on the board. Couldn’t you–?”

“Ahh. Aaahhhh! Hel–.”

The custodian drew a deep breath. From his cart he lifted out a worn machete and a gouged baseball bat. Spinning the bat and blade to loosen up, he strolled to the bathroom door, unlocked it, and entered.

From the bathroom, mixed with the Father’s cries, came an otherworldly screech of rage.

The Principal said, “Well, after this I hope your father will understand that when the custodian says it’s closed, it’s closed.

“Yes, Ma’am. I hope so, too.


Janitor3When dealing with a school custodian, especially at a school as special as Grace Glass Elementary, there’s one thing you should remember, The Custodian knows what’s going on. Best listen to him.

Don’t forget the Soul Retrievers e-book is available for pre-order at one of your favorite e-book purveyors. Go to hell with a beautiful kick-as vampire.

Blood Justice and Blood on the Water are available now. A free short story, An Accidental Vampire, comes with them.

Website – http://dcburtonwriting.wordpress.com

A Custodian’s Duties 2

Posted in Custodians, Story Subjects, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 25, 2015 by davidburtonwriting

(SP) -The revised edition of my vamp novella Young Blood is only $.99 until May 1. Yeah.

Custodians don’t save the world every day, but there’s always recalcitrant teachers who think they know what’s what…, and mice. A problematic combination. Not to worry. Us professional Custodians are highly trained to take care of any situation. Especially ones specific to our particular school. Like this guy.

The Custodian 2janitor4

The Night Custodian, dark cap pulled low, wearing a well-fitting T-shirt and khaki pants pushed his custodial cart along the outside walkways of the Grace Glass Elementary school. Still daylight, the students had left for the day and only a few teachers remained.

He approached the bullpen, a fenced in space next to the main building where dumpsters, old furniture, pallets and boxes were kept. The chain link gate was open.

bullpen1A woman's short little scream came from inside. Calm, despite the invasion of his area, he looked inside.
With a broken mop handle, Miss Penki, a young teacher new to the school,
poked agitatedly between two dumpsters. Seeing the Custodian, she
dropped the handle and nervously wiped her hands on her skirt as she
backed away.

Oh, there you are,” she said with an annoyingly haughty tone. “I caught a mouse in my classroom on one of those sticky traps. I was throwing the filthy thing into the trash when it squeaked at me. It dropped down there so I pushed it back out of sight.” She shook her hands as if ridding herself of mouse cooties. “Just let the thing die by itself. If you did your job, I wouldn’t have to do things like this.”

Miss Penki shuddered and quickly walked away.

From the gate, the Custodian watched her with a frown and narrowed eyes. He entered the bullpen and dumpsters2peered into the dark between the dumpsters. With the broken handle he slid the trap out. It was torn, and there was no mouse.

He heard a scuttling, claws-scratching-on-cement sound. Alert he looked deep into a cluttered corner. Large, human-sized, beady red eyes regarded him. Slowly they blinked, then whatever owned the eyes turned and vanished. rats3

Thoughtfully, the Custodian folded the trap together, shook his head, and pitched it in the trash, then resumed his rounds.


The next day as The Custodian closed his office door a kid stopped in front of him. “Mr Custodian, the Principle wants to see you in her office.”

The Custodian nodded, pointed a strong finger at the boy. The boy touched the finger with his own, tip to tip, smiled and ran off through the outside gate, the last student to leave.

In the Principal’s office he leaned casually against the wall, hands in pockets.

office chair womanLounging in her chair, the Principal, a handsome Hispanic woman, said, “Miss Penki seems to be missing. She was here for fourth period, but didn’t show up for fifth period. Her car is still here. Have you seen her lately?”

The Custodian raised a quizzical eyebrow.

Apparently she had some uncomplimentary words to say about you yesterday. Not doing your job?”

He hung his head, but didn’t mean it. Their eyes stayed connected.

Do you have any idea where she might be? Or do I need to call the police?”

Frowning, thinking, he stared at the floor. He had a thought.

What?” the principal asked.

A minute later they stalk toward the bullpen.

And she just pushed it away? Fool.”

It was late in a cloudy day and the bullpen was shaded, a bit spooky. He moved a couple pallets and boxes from where he saw the red eyes. Behind them he found a two foot diameter hole in the wall. Picking up the broken handle, he spun it like a martial arts Bo-staff as he studied the hole.bostaff

Still casually, yet expertly, spinning the broken mop handle, he led the way to a storage closet. The Principle waited as he found a half-filled plastic jug and a large flashlight. Together, they moved to a blank door with no number or name. The Custodian handed her the jug, opened the door with his key, and cautiously entered.

Wary, they made their way down a dark, narrow, dusty passage littered with old boxes, old equipment, and old furniture toward a muffled, keening cry for help. At the end, in a small open space covered with gravel The Custodian’s flashlight revealed Miss Penki, hands, knees, and face awkwardly stuck to a giant sticky trap.

Little mice scrambled out of the beam, giving a wide berth to a two foot tall rat. The big rodent growled a warning through long, pointy, unrodent-like teeth. Its red eyes simmered.rats2

Eyes on the rat, otherwise unperturbed, The Custodian poured a yellow liquid from the jug around Miss Penki’s knees, feet, hands and face. As she came loose from the trap the rat made a grab at her foot with human-looking claws. She yelped and scrabbled across the gravel while The Custodian beat the creature back with the handle.

The Principle helped her to her feet. Miss Penki opened her mouth to speak.

Not a word, Miss Penki,” The principle said in her no nonsense principle voice. A very unrat-like roar sounded behind the women as they stumbled toward the door.

Fighting noises, growls and grunts, gravel scrabbling and handle whacking, follow them out the door. Twin red beams of light burn gouges in the cement walls.

Outside, Miss Penki collapsed on the grass. “Oh my God! What was that thing? What happened to me?”

Still in principle mode, the Principle said, “There is no thing, Miss Penki. And nothing happened to you.”

What? But…?”

Miss Penki, in the unfortunate event you have to kill a mouse around her, do it quick and clean. Do not shove it under a Dumpster to suffer and die of thirst or hunger. Do you understand?”

The teacher’s eyes grew wide. She looked to the bullpen then the open door then the Principle. “You mean…?”


The Custodian closed the door. He carried the sticky trap folded together. Blood spattered his ripped shirt and pants. The broken handle dripped blood. He nodded to the Principle.

She nodded back. “Put in a damage form. The school will buy you a new shirt and pants.”

The Custodian nodded, shot Miss Penki a hard look, and headed for the bullpen, twirling the bloody mop handle.


Janitor3We know what we’re doing. Be glad.

Don’t forget my newest thriller Blood on the Water.

Soul Retrievers, a supernatural adventure novel is available for download pre-order, delivered July 10.

SP = Shameless promotion.

A Custodian’s duties.

Posted in calamities, deal with the Devil, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , on April 5, 2015 by davidburtonwriting

I haven’t posted for quite awhile, so with a new book, a new novella and a much revised short story out I thought I’d make it hard on myself and start my What If? Blog again.

We’ll see how that works out.

As some of you know, besides being a writerclick here to check that outI’m also a night Custodian (that’s Janitor to those uninformed about the proper nomenclature, you, of course, knew that) at a High School. Now you might think cleaning toilets, mopping floors, and picking up trash is mundane, yucky work. janitor5woman

Well, in can be, but, every time you go into a student bathroom that was sparkly clean twenty-four hours ago it’s an adventure. You never know what you’ll find!

janitor4However, us dedicated custodians do have other duties. Even those at a grammar school. Here’s a short little story to illustrate. What If? man?

The Custodian

The Custodian checked his blue cart in the custodial closet of Grace Glass Elementary School. He secured a trash can on the cart’s front platform, checked for trash bags, paper towels, rags and a couple spray bottles. Besides the usual supplies he set a paper bag with a heavy package inside on top of the cart. He flipped off the light and rolled outside into a quiet evening, students long gone.

Covered walkways accessed all the school’s classrooms. He collected trash from the teacher’s lounge, and the work room. Stopping outside the administration offices, a door opened and Principal Sanchez, a pretty middle-aged Hispanic woman, came out.

He smiled and nodded.

She returned his smile. “Have a good night.” She regarded the paper bag. “Is that…?”

Smile gone, he nodded again.

She gripped his well muscled arm. “Be careful.” She walked out the main gate, and he locked it behind her.

The custodian trashed the offices and the classrooms beyond then worked his way through the classrooms of two other long, single-story buildings. Beyond those were four square buildings with four classrooms each. In room 7 of D building, he blocked the door open and flipped on one set of lights. After dumping the trash, he retrieved a stepladder from an interior hallway and set it up in the middle of the room.

From the cart he brought the paper bag and set it on top of the ladder. He mounted the ladder and slid one of the ceiling tiles aside.

At the edge of his vision he noted a hint of movement. He ignored it. Closer, another hint, joined by childish chitter-chatter. Closer, from another direction, childish whispers. “Stop him. Bad man. Don’t do it, Mister. Hurt him. Stop.”

The Custodian ignored the voices and pulled a homemade bomb out of the bag and set it inside the ceiling.

No. No. Stop him. Hurt him.”

The ladder shook for no discernible reason. He steadied himself until the shaking stopped. ladder2

Ladder returned, he turned out the lights, shut the door. In the trash he noticed a comic book. Its title, Invasion from Space!” He shook his head and rolled his eyes at the absurdity of it. Flipped it into the trash.

The next night, another trash run and another paper bag. Inside Room 8, more chitter-chatter and excited laughter. He set up the ladder, slid aside a ceiling tile and placed another bomb. He jerked his hand out. A scorpion hung from his hand by its stinger. Ignoring the chittering laughter, with only a slight wince, he plucked it off and tossed it back into the ceiling.

Next night, Room 9, another bomb. He descended the ladder and stepped on a large stuffed animal that wasn’t there when he went up. He fell backward, barely missing a teacher’s desk. A computer monitor moved with jerky movements to the edge and fell. The Custodian caught it inches from his face.

Monitor replaced, he continued on his steady rounds.

Another night. The Custodian lounged in his tiny office eating a sandwich and reading a gun magazine. Principal Sanchez peeked in the open door.

Have a good night. Be careful.”

Their eyes connected with hidden meaning. He nodded gravely. Waved one finger.

Lips tight, she nodded back and left.

On his usual trash rounds he noticed a flickering light in classroom 8. Wary, he opened the door.

One interior wall contained a ten foot diameter black hole. Deep inside, as if in a curved, downward slanting tunnel, reddish light cast vague dancing shadows.

The chitter-chatter became more excited as the light brightened and the clank of weapons increased. “Yess. Yess. He comes. Finally, he comes. We will rule. We will kill. We will eat.”

In the tunnel, the silhouette of a huge, grotesque creature marched up the wall. Janitormonster1

The Custodian breathed deep, nodded, and closed the door. Walking away, he took a cell phone from his pocket. With his thumb, he dialed a number. Hit send. There was a faint sound of a cell phone chirp.

BOOM! The interior of classroom 8 flashed a blast of white light, the explosion totally contained inside. Mixed with the blast, an unearthly scream of pain and anger.

Lips forming a minimal smile of satisfaction, the Custodian continued his rounds.                                 Janitor3

See, it’s not all scraping gum or setting up chairs.


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