Mop

By Dave Smulders

His best friends, Batface and The German Issue, told him to go for it. Gangbusters, man, gangbusters. It was like a janitor’s job or something. Not really a janitor, there was some name for it, but it amounted to the same thing. Wandering around at night, cleaning up. They punctuated their advice with long slugs of beer. They were pounding ’em back like they had to be somewhere. Yeah, fuck everybody. It’s better to be a janitor or whatever it’s called. Seriously. Don’t be fooled. It’s real, it’s really real, and it has nothing to do with who you really are.

They were gonna start calling him Mop right there. Right now he makes decent money but he’s always at work. All week long. At work they talk like it’s art, but it isn’t art; it’s paint-by-numbers, it’s colouring books. Forget it. You brush your teeth at 7:30 every morning, no matter what the hell you did the night before. They’ve got rules about what you’re allowed to wear. What colours you’re going to imagine.

Batface got down on floor and clasped his hands around his ankles. Don’t let me die, man! I don’t wanna die! I don’t wanna die! Please let me live. I’ll do anything. I won’t tell a soul. I’ll do whatever you want. Just give me two weeks holiday and an email account.

One, two, three! They all cracked open their beers and sucked half down in one go.

You’ll sit back and look at pictures of nights like this and wonder what all the fuss was about. Or what will you wonder?

You need money. Those janitors work in unions, man. They get 20 bucks an hour. They work the weird hours. You can let your mind wander. You don’t have to put up with all that bullshit. It makes me sick just to think about it. How could you live like that?

Another round! We’re slowing down.

But he wanted to get out of his dull clothes and flop down on his bed. Come on. He didn’t know what he didn’t know. He couldn’t imagine being an artist. Forever. The grind of it all. Having to keep up all the time. He just wanted to go to bed and wake up. Then he could start thinking again.

Come on, let’s go. I gotta get home.

Dave Smulders works as an editor in Vancouver and writes when he can.

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