Anna's (Not So) Dreary Day

Submitted into Contest #135 in response to: Write about a casual act of bravery.... view prompt

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Christian Creative Nonfiction Crime

Anna walked quietly down the stairs at her job on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. Today had been a unique day at her cleaning job at a local university housing facility – a men’s dormitory.

 She'd received multiple emergency texts that morning. Someone had faked a robbery one block away (and they later went to jail with a felony for it). Why that man thought a fake robbery would be funny or that he wouldn’t be prosecuted for it was beyond her. According to the newspaper, he had claimed that it was a joke. “That’s not funny,” Marisa said. “He’s young and didn’t realize it’s going to go on his permanent record and he’ll have trouble landing a job later.” Apparently, he used to live in that same dorm, and her coworkers “reminisced” about how unhelpful and acted with reckless abandon – like this.

Anna felt it was informative for her to hear about the history of the dorm and some of the students who had lived there. They had taken additional safety precautions when a student who had been very kind and helpful had been killed in one of his classes by an ungrateful classmate.

Second, a woman was (sadly and unfortunately) assaulted near the diner down the street around 2 AM. She’d already heard about that before she’d arrived. She and her coworkers spoke about how terrible it was that this had happened. The morning was dark, but they just took precautions and stayed away from that area while the police inspected the crime scene. The police inspected and investigated, and then departed. This Tuesday felt a bit darker and more depressing than usual overall.

Most interesting though, was a report of a bomb threat from a different direction. She shared it with a couple of her coworkers (Marisa and Marisol), but the three of them had to keep buffing the floors. That kept making the fire alarm go off, so they had unexpected “fire drills” at least once per week.

One coworker, Steve, really got into buffing. His floors looked good, but there was a cloud of dust and you had to make a dire effort to breathe. The policy of wearing masks when buffing was very beneficial in that case. Anna had been on the same floor once when he was buffing, and he had drudged up a dust cloud. Either that tile had been very dirty, or he’d overdone it. Anna thought he made a bit much of an effort, because he was on the waxing team every couple of weeks. Must not have wanted his efforts to go to waste.

Whilst Anna was wiping the oak furniture, she received a text telling her about that bomb threat again. Marisa and Marisol were working together four rooms over, not too far away. They continued to listen to the local radio station (which was not actually giving reports about these crimes at the university, it was just mostly music).

Now that was another captivating facet of this job. Depending on who she worked with, Anna could listen to her favorite contemporary Christian radio station, classical music or one of her coworker’s favorite stations. She enjoyed some talk shows, but her supervisor wasn’t a fan. It was odd. They weren’t supposed to listen to talk radio so that they could hear instructions clearly over the staff radio each worker carried around, but there were no issues with talking.

Anna had the benefit of learning her coworkers’ preferences quickly. She knew who would be OK with classical, who would be OK with contemporary Christian and who would prefer secular rock/country. It’s just something you learn very quickly when you work at a cleaning job. In a position she would hold the next year, one of her coworkers would play the instrumental version of the Mario Brothers’ video game. “He’s entering the castle,” and smile. “Now he’s rescuing the princess!” That was an interesting twist on classical music that she would see later. At this point, she’d only seen it at her brother and sister’s sports games, where the band played the instrumental versions of some popular pop tunes.

But that would come later. This afternoon, Anna, Marisa and Marisol heard an update on what happened with the bomb threat – no one had alerted them that they needed to flee, so they reluctantly resumed their duties. They were considered “essential staff” and did have to come in when it was negative outside, when classes were cancelled, and during holidays. The only days off they received were when snow or ice made driving dangerous – and that did not happen very often. Certainly not during the summer.

Anna enjoyed hot days, but the staff did put out huge fans in the hallways 24/7 to dry the floors after the mopping and waxing process. Especially during waxing. This was a time to be careful, because the floors were slick! They were super shiny though, when waxed. It was worth the time and effort for how the dorm needed to look. They were careful to always put out caution signs on the wet floors. This reminded Anna of a joke she’d seen on the internet once about putting wet floor signs on the carpet and watching people’s reactions.

There had also been something about sitting in the camping area and asking other shoppers to bring blankets and pillows from the bedding department, and some snacks from the grocery section. The cleaning job was very slow, so Anna was happy to have pleasant things to think about during her work day. She didn’t know it yet, but the most amusing part was yet to come.

Apparently, someone had put a box over a bunny to try to protect it, but then that they just forgot about it for some reason. Best day ever for the bomb squad though. Think about it – all suited up and ready to deactivate whatever kind of bomb was under there… and then find a rabbit instead. It was certainly a blessing for them to find a bunny instead of a bomb. Anna couldn't imagine the horror the assault victim must feel, but the episode with the bunny really brightened her dreary day.

March 04, 2022 02:13

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