The Earth Movers By Leah Mueller

October 15, 2015 Comments Off on The Earth Movers By Leah Mueller

Any day is bound to be weird if it begins with a man wearing a chef’s hat when he has no intention of cooking. I’d been expecting his visit, ever since I’d picked him out of the Tacoma yellow pages a week beforehand. I was drawn to the company name: The Carpet Chef as well as the attached $10.00 off coupon. “Don’t be alarmed,” he’d told me on the phone. “The hat’s just my trademark, you know, so people will remember me. It’s not a fashion statement or anything.”

I was a forty-two year old single mother with a white carpet, which is rarely a good idea under any circumstance, but in my case, even less so. I was expecting a gentleman caller from California for erotic hijinks the following afternoon and didn’t want his visit to be tainted by the sight of ground-in peanut butter and old wine spills. Most of the carpet cleaning businesses in the area charged prices that struck me as criminal, so I decided to give the young man’s enterprise a try.

He looked to be about twenty-five, blonde, and cute. “Hi, I’m the Carpet Chef,” he said by way of introduction. “I’ll get right to work.” The Chef hoisted his heavy machine over his shoulder, carried it into my daughter’s bedroom, and began rubbing the nozzle on the floor with practiced strokes. The house vibrated pleasantly. He finished my daughter’s bedroom and then headed for my son’s room.

It was hypnotic, and I began to daydream. My new boyfriend was a clown who had just been fired from Cirque du Soleil, and I was excited about his impending visit. I wandered aimlessly into my son’s bedroom. It was in its usual disheveled shape, with marbles strewn everywhere. I felt angry. Why hadn’t he cleaned up after himself? He knew the Carpet Chef was coming. Then the earthquake hit. I watched the marbles roll in slow motion and marveled at the velocity of the Chef’s powerful machine. Suddenly, I realized that the earth itself was moving, and so I threw myself onto the floor, and began laughing. My face was directly adjacent to the Chef’s right ankle. He backed up slightly to give me space, and then stood in the doorway of my son’s room, swaying.

“Whoa,” he said, “I’m dizzy.

The Chef rocked as though he were on the deck of a ship, his right hand firmly clasped around the handle of his machine. His huge white hat bobbed back and forth in mid-air like a cartoon flag. I continued to laugh hysterically, but then the earthquake abruptly stopped.

“That was so cool,” the Chef said as I staggered to my feet. He looked exhilarated, swelling momentarily with emotion as he said, “I’ll never forget you! I’ll never forget this house!” Then he turned away from me, snapped his machine back on, and resumed his cleaning task.

© 2015 Leah Mueller

Leah Mueller has been writing for as long as she can remember. From 1996-2001, she was co-host of the popular open mike Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is in Tacoma, Washington. She has appeared at countless open mikes and featured reader gigs, and was the poetry slam winner at the International Women’s Day event in Portland, Oregon, in 2004. Her chapbook, Queen of Dorksville was published by Crisis Chronicles Press in October, 2012. Her work has appeared recently, or is scheduled to be published soon in Bop Dead City, Writing Raw, Quail Bell, Talking Soup, and the Rain, Party, and Disaster Society. She lives in the rain-drenched forests of western Washington with her husband and daughter.

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