Author: Brooks C. Mendell

Day jobbers think offices clean themselves. They show up in the morning at their desks, put down their gourmet coffee on coasters their kids made, flick the mouse and check the Inbox without wondering who swept the floors or removed the lettuce heads from the Decapitator.

We get called in to clean up all kinds of messes, from dust bunnies in the Oval Office to chemical waste behind the meat growing plant on Jersey 5. If there’s something no one wants to touch, scrub or think about, call us to handle it. We schedule jobs after hours, to avoid disrupting your business, regardless time zone or planet. Just ask for the Specials Team and tell Frieda where to send the invoice.

I joined the Specials Team early last year. Phil moved me up from the Eastern Regional Squad, where we handled public messes like suicides and multi-shuttle pileups during the hours of rush. When things slowed, a Regional Squad might handle an agherwalrus feeding or even a political rally gone awry.

While the hours can be long and the work dirty, the pay is good. My ex complained about me coming home dirty smelling of alien feces or industrial chemicals, until my mother said to him one day, “but the money is clean.”

Like every job, this one has tradeoffs. Last week, Phil sent out an alert with coordinates. Seventeen minutes later, we were gloved up with masks and prevent suits, vacuuming up pieces of bone and tufts of hair at a blasted Alien Processing Unit. The strain of repeatedly scrubbing red and green bloodstains off the walls takes a toll, even if terrorism’s good for the Company.

For those who say hard work doesn’t pay, I say they don’t know what they’re talking about. I go in every night knowing that performance gets recognized and rewarded. How do you judge day jobbers for pushing email all day? With my team, the mess either got cleaned on time and under budget, or it didn’t.

And while the residue of work can hitch a ride home and sully a relationship, the money is clean.