BTW: The photo art and prose included in any given post are separate creations having nothing to do with each other. Duality and such …
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“Morning, lover,” she said right in his face as he cracked, with great difficulty and an aching head, eyelids open. It took him a few seconds, but only a few, to remember her huge brown eyes. Kissing in the parking lot outside the bar. Then … what had happened? She pulled away now, smirking. She was still wearing the light lemon chiffon top he remembered. She stood, said, “I’m going to go slip into something more appropriate.” And when he tried to answer her he realized he couldn’t.
He took a deep breath trying to wake up.. His mouth felt as dry as sandpaper. He coughed a little; moaned a little. Opened his mouth and then understood – he was gagged. He tried to reach to his face and discovered his arms were tied stretched out along the chair to which he was tightly bound. He tried to call out, terror rising, breaths coming faster. Where the hell was he? Looked and smelled like a dim, musty basement. Minutes passed before he heard sounds, a creaky wheel, and she came around the dark corner looking quite different, hair tightly pulled back, face colorless, pushing a janitor’s cart and wearing work clothes. “Hi, lover,” she smiled.
He tried to scream through his gag, yanked uselessly at his bounds. “Oh, you might as well settle in. We’ve got work to do!”
He whimpered. His eyes pleading with her.
“What’s that?” she asked. “Well, of course I look different! I can’t have the kids seeing me in those clothes with all that makeup on. What would they think! Silly!
“I’m the custodian, you know, at St. Canisius Elementary School.”
His eyes went wide at her.
“Uh-huh,” she said, “That one. The very one.
“You know, not so long ago, we had to close for a while. Before we reopened, I had to go in and clean it. Let me tell you, after being closed for a couple months that place was dirty! Oh my! I like to use this cleaner here on the floor and walls,” she picked up a gallon jug filled with pink liquid, “Because it gets the dirt up but it’s mild and smells pleasant.” She unscrewed the cap and held it under his nose; it had a kind of vanilla lavender scent. “Of course, the school was so dirty I had to go over the floors three times before I was satisfied. But then, you know, I came to the places where the blood had pooled.”
His rapid breathing had slowed, now, to almost nothing.
“Actually, it was the police who told me the only way to get up the blood and brains and tiny skull fragments was a mixture of bleach with hydrogen peroxide. They even gave me a sheet of paper with the exact formula on it,” she held up another gallon jug, this one filled with a blue liquid. “This formula right here. It’s much harsher.” She unscrewed the cap, brought it to his nose, and the stench nearly knocked him unconscious. The vapors seemed to invade every nook of his sinuses. He closed his eyes tightly as they burned. “See?” She took the jug away, placed it carefully back on her cart. Then she sat carefully on his lap, arms around his neck, nose almost touching his.
“I tried just using the mop, lover,” she said softly. “Tried a couple times but it just wasn’t coming up. Even with that nasty smelling stuff I had to get onto my hands and knees and scrub for all I was worth. They said I got it all. Everybody was complementary and thanked me for working so hard.” Her voice was almost whispering now. “Thing is, I still kept seeing blood everywhere. Every time I came around a corner I thought I saw another stain. Every time I closed my eyes. Every single time I tried to sleep; I’d see it. The stains were everywhere. Freaked me out!”
She slid from his lap, went to the cart. “After a while, they sent me to a nice hospital they said would help me remove all the stains. After a few months I told everybody it had, but I lied. I kept thinking, ‘what is causing these stains?’ Well, on the surface, of course, the guns. But the guns didn’t walk in there on their own, did they? It was that guy who brought in a duffle bag of them and started pulling the triggers. But the police killed him, right? That should have taken care of the stains, right? But it didn’t. So then I thought, ‘where did the guy, who was clearly unstable, get the guns?’”
She gasped, smiled broadly at him. “It was you! You’re the guy who sponsored that big gun show and fixed it so nobody had to follow basic background checks or laws of any kind when people bought and sold guns and that’s where all this guy’s weapons came from! You’re the stain!”
She turned to the cart and opened a small black case. “Well, you and I both know, I could scrub you with this blue stuff all day long and it would probably sting like hell, but it won’t change anything. Humans aren’t like tile floors; every surface requires a different technique.” From the black case she retrieved a syringe and a needle. She screwed the needle into the syringe, dipped the tip into the blue solution. “Thing is, lover, before I applied myself to the custodial arts, I was studying to be a nurse. Yes, I had some of the same issues with the sight of blood, so it became clear that advocation wasn’t for me. But as it happened,” she turned to him, holding the filled syringe in the air, drop of liquid clinging to the tip of the needle, “I knew how to hit a vein.
“I believe this will do the trick.”
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.