Deep Clean By GJ Hart

June 13, 2016 § 1 Comment

Built on the flood plain of a poisoned river that slides across google maps like snot, Goldings Estate is the kind of place you end up when hell shakes its head. No one wants to be there, least of all Danny. He moves past houses mean as cracked knuckles and pulls up opposite number 42.

As he waits, he picks up a laminated folder from the passenger seat and reads aloud, “The Zylex 4000 combines powerful systems to offer a whole new dimension in deep cleaning. The Zylex 4000 features our patented vertical, revolving brush technology. . .”

He sees a car turn into the driveway, so he pulls the Zylex of the rear seat and gets out.

Danny greets the homeowner on the doorstep and follows him inside. He’s already rung ahead, flung the guy a deal he can’t throw back.

Danny sets up in the lounge, fitting the bag, unwinding the cord.

“You from round here?” asks the man.

“Used to be,” says Danny, “Used to play here, before the estate was built, when it was all marshland.”

Danny peddles the Zylex and it roars into life. He moves from room to room, covering every inch of floor. The man follows behind, intrigued and impressed by his diligence.

“They blow in from the river banks,” shouts the man above the noise, pointing toward the dandelion seeds that dust the carpet like light snow.

Danny ignores him. He forces the Zylex hard into the pile. He remembers how the bolt had sprung from the homemade bow; how it had passed through him as if he was already a ghost. The treetops shook as he stumbled through tears, gathering up armfuls of dandelions. He’d blown til he was nothing but knots, but the wind rose and the air turned to fog anyway. He’d returned later with a shovel and dug til the sun tapped his back.

Danny stops, breathing hard. The man is beaming. “I’m sold,” he says, “I’ll get the money.”

“I’ll get the paperwork,” says Danny. He packs up, hurries from the house, throws the Zylex in the boot, and accelerates away.

He stops at a park on the outskirts of the airport and walks beneath the trees. Once out of sight, he lays the hoover bag down, bends over it, and guts it with a car key. He sifts slowly through the soft, white filth, smelling it, touching it to his tongue. When he’s done, he pounds the bag into earth and smashes the Zylex with the heel of his shoe.

© 2016 GJ Hart

GJ Hart currently lives and works in Brixton, London and has been published or soon will be in The Harpoon Review, Jersey Devil Press, 99 Pine Street, The Jellyfish Review, Foliate Oak, The Legendary, The Eunoia Review and others.


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