Day at the Office, Night on the Job

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.

4 Comments

  1. Hari Navarro

    I always wondered what went on behind the scenes at those Alien Processing Units. I may never eat agherwalrus salami ever again 🙂

  2. djl

    Nice work if you can get….this is why we need robots!

  3. xdhz8

    Good satire. Sharp bite.

Submit a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Random Story :

The Past

365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.

The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.

Flash Fiction

"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."

Kathy Kachelries
Founding Member

Submissions

We're open to submissions of original Science or Speculative Fiction of 600 words or less. We only accepting work which you previously haven't sold or given away the rights to. That means your work must not have been published elsewhere, either in print or on the web. When your story is accepted, you're giving us first electronic publication rights and non-exclusive subsequent publication rights. You retain ownership over your story. We are not a paying market.

Voices of Tomorrow

Voices of Tomorrow is the official podcast of 365tomorrows, with audio versions of many of the stories published here.

If you're interested in recording stories for Voices of Tomorrow, or for any other inquiries, please contact ssmith@365tomorrows.com