Archive for janitors

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.

End

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.

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Website – http://dcburtonwriting.wordpress.com

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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…?”

Yes.”

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.

END

Janitor3We know what we’re doing. Be glad.

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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.

Cheers.

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