I enjoy background characters – the scene in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D after Thor came out and the characters were cleaning up debris around New York was -chef’s kiss- delightful. Playing established characters is fun, but my joy is with the homebrew characters that participate in the world. I also enjoy the idea of ‘Cleaners’ who are called in to take care of what needs doing. You should really check out the book Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots. I enjoyed the hell out of it. Unrelated to that, but related to the subject in general:

“So then what happened?” Nathan asked as he wiped down the window with a practiced movement.

“Sorry,” I said, distracted, “just trying to place this trajectory.” I squinted up from the floor at the wall, laser pointer in hand. “She told me I was a dweeb and slapped my ass as she walked away.”

“Nice,” Nathan laughed, putting down his spray bottle and coming to stand by me.

“Here,” I handed him my laser pointer and said, “Put that in the hole and let’s see where it points.”

He obliged as I rolled off the floor. The laser pointer indicated a spot further away than I’d immediately assumed. Significantly.

“Damn,” Nathan whistled. “That’s a good shot.”

“No shit,” I replied, impressed. “I like this guy; he always keeps us guessing.”

“You done in here, yet? We need to get the walls patched.”

Tyler was our manager, a very tall man who rarely looked like he was standing up straight, but still managed to tower over everybody he talked to. He looked at what we were doing and rolled his eyes. “Come on, guys, get this all mopped up. Don’t worry about the wall, we’re taking it out anyway.” He glanced at the termination point of the laser and raised one eyebrow, though. “Damn fine shot.”

I pocketed my pen and got back to mopping. My water was already fairly red by this point, but I was just about finished. A job like this would take another day normally, but our boss was on good terms with the contact, and he promised us a paid day off for working through the night. I’d already called my girlfriend to let her know I was coming home late. I couldn’t ask for a more understanding lady. A lot of guys on the crew struggled with relationships since we weren’t allowed to be entirely up front with our work, and telling someone you’re a janitor doesn’t inspire confidence for the future, even with the good pay.

Danny came in with a sawzall and plugged it in. The plaster got all over the floor I’d just cleaned, but the first pass was only for the blood. I put aside my mop to accept the replacement drywall piece from Tony. Danny was our resident measuring tape; the guy could eyeball dimensions with precision that blew my mind. I shook my head at my incidental reference; the wall that Danny was cutting into held a headshot.

Some considered me odd for liking janitorial work, but I really did.

Not sure where this one might go, same as everything else, but it makes me smile.

January 28, 2021

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