Cleaning Up After the Storm
Bev Vines-Haines
He was a Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman.  Tootie hated door to door salespeople, garbage men, french fry purveyors and every other worker with a dead end job that assured a life of poverty.  She’d experience all the hard scrapple hunger she needed as a child.

In the middle of her Master’s Thesis, she groaned when he knocked on her front door.  Utter boredom and a pinch of compassion compelled her to let him in.  Or maybe it was his eyes.  Piercing blue and full of imminent laughter, the kind she always suspected lacked drive and purpose.

She sat in an overstuffed armchair and watched as he pushed and pulled his machine around her threadbare carpet.  He looked closer, noting the rug was oddly devoid of dust, crumbs and debris.  It was, of course.  While others built lives and partied, she studied and cleaned, enjoying the torment of preparation, imagining the life rewards at the end of her trials. 

“Hope your life isn’t as sterile as this floor,” he said, a smile softening the words.  She gazed at him, the closest thing to a party she had ever entertained.  “Could be.  But watch this.”  She picked up a potted fern and dumped it all over the floor. 

His machine plowed into the dirt and sucked the delicate fronds deep inside, consuming pearled edges and setting them joyfully free.

His laughter erupted.  He reached for her and loosed her from her bonds.

First published: February, 2013
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