Mopping-up

Ah!!!! It was the sunniest day in the warmest month of my twentieth year. The air was as still as a slumbering babe.

The grass was dry and not a little scratchy. I was tempted to go in the house and grab a towel, a nice soft beach towel.

My skin would float down onto such a towel as if I were a large, fluttery, drunken butterfly, seeking a sweeter repose, a dollop of comfort.

I almost sang from this expected indulgence.

Alas, I had no such towel.

As I was vacating the family compound a week earlier, my mother had chased after me, clutching two of her older bath towels. “Here, my son,” she had thrust them into my outstretched arms, “one for use and one to wash. I wish that I had more to offer.” I stooped down opened my suitcase and placed the towels inside. I then arose and cradled my mother. She had done her best with sorrowfully poor material.

My adventure had begun.

Now, on the lawn of the Moon Gatherers Commune in the less than Royal City of Weed, I am about to receive visitors.

In the glare of the high noon sun, two shadows appear.

She is a pulchritudinous apparition, dark, voluptuous, as young as my memory will allow.

But my sun-spotted eyes are drawn to him. He is a bushy faced fellow. His beard fans out on his broad face like a giant flower, a gorgeous California poppy, perhaps.

His right hand reaches to shake mine, or, perhaps, to lift me up from my relaxed state. “Professor Heinrich Gadabout. My lovely companion, Orchidea Flail.”

She smiles more quickly than a summer fly finds carrion and then averts her eyes towards the Georgian.

“We’re expected,” Gadabout continues.

I nod and vacate my prone pleasures.

“I have been delegated the mission of showing you around,” I state, embellishing my ludicrous assignment.

In truth, I am the newest conscript. Everyone else is either at the beach or sleeping. It had been a long night. Some had the stamina to seek luxurious blue sea and tan sand. The more dissolute of us had buried themselves in the pleasures of the bedroom.

We live in two Georgian houses, side by side. The tour takes fifteen minutes. All the while, I explain the house rules, at least as much as I understand them.

Around this time, the sleepers arise, the swimmers return. The hum of 35 people subsume the quiet.

I leave Heinrich and Orchidea with Star, the commune’s queen bee. They will stay for supper and meet the clan. As it happens, it is my team’s once-a-week cooking night. I am in the slowly-learning-to-boil-water phase of my enlightenment. Hence, I will do clean-up.

After a filling meal of Mushroom Nut Casserole and raw carrots, the commune members disperse to contemplate both the morrow and the day just ending. Heinrich and Orchidea tag after one group.

In time, as the summer sun descends, they wander into the kitchen. I am mopping the floor.

“I don’t want to seem impertinent,” Heinrich comments, “but where did you learn to mop a tile floor?”

Would anyone have an answer to such a question? I was only twenty. I had had no training in mopping floors. Or much of anything else.

“Just comes naturally,” I shrug.

“Even nature requires assistance,” he replies. “I see you squeeze the mop of all its wetness before you plop it on the floor.”

“Yeah. Who wants a river of water to muck in?” I ask.

“I do,” Heinrich answered. “Your floor does! Don’t wring it! Get a set area wet with sanitizing water, a flood of it, swirl like you would gargle, squeeze your soggy mop, slap the mop down and soak the water up. Repeat! Repeat!”

By now, the good professor has worked himself up into a janitorial frenzy. Orchidea moves further afield, either out of fear or admiration. It is unclear to me. “I must sit down,” he says and grabs a chair.

Having been the beneficiary of his exuberant, off-the-cuff lecture, I have no choice but to test his theory.

“Yes,” he states, “Soak! Splash! Swirl! Squeeze! Sop!”

 

Afterword: Heinrich and Orchidea moved in the following month and stayed for almost a year. Eventually they parted company. My floor mopping style, having reached its apex that very evening, subsequently dissolved into a careless and ineffective casualness towards floor hygiene that persists to this day.

30 

 

Here is my somewhat lengthy contribution to FRIDAY FICTION with RONOVAN WRITES Prompt Challenge #20-You meet a professor.

And the ingredients:

  • See if you can come in at no more than a Word Count of 500. Control your word usage. (SUGGESTED-Because some are doing a series and may need more.)
  • Using the prompt of ‘You meet a professor, WRITE. What age is that professor anyway, and what does the professor profess about? You can make this one a hilarious alien scifi spoof, a world saving discovery, or a chance meeting in the dark that leads to wherever. Enjoy! (REQUIRED)