I’d mopped the second and third floor corridors before I remembered the body still in the trunk of my Hyundai. I work the nightshift in an unremarkable office building downtown, and after 11pm I’m usually the only janitor on duty. In fact, apart from two security guards and the occasional night owl law clerk, the place is practically vacant. The building itself is beige, nine floors, with overly tinted windows and revolving glass doors in the lobby.
It’s not the first time I’ve had a body in my Hyundai, and normally I wouldn’t pay much mind to such an instance—at least not until all the urinal cakes have been replaced. But the corpse currently residing in the cramped confines of my trunk was an especially messy fella, so I was worried parts of him might be leaking through an unseen crack or crevice and pooling onto the parking lot. Also, I usually park on P2, but today—for whatever reason—I parked on P3. P3 is a lot less populated, but your car is also much more noticeable when it isn’t crowded by a sea of Beamers and Range Rovers. Like I said, I drive a Hyundai. Not a great car, but just flashy enough it won’t get noticed by the white color corporate types. It took a year’s worth of saving to finally buy the damn thing, but I finally got there. I take good care of it, too. I get it washed every other day—sort of a ritual—and I’ve come to realize mediocre, yet immaculate cars, tend to go unnoticed to the rich man’s eye.
I usually dispose of the bodies before I get to work, but I was in a rush today and couldn’t find the time. My trunk is tightly wrapped in plastic and duct tape, so I’m not exceedingly worried about it. There’s just this one thing, though: there’s this kid in the building who keeps eyeballing me—real suspicious and all. Tonight, he’s walked back and forth two or three times, as if the kid is inspecting my mopping skills or something. And when I call him a kid, I just do that because I’m...well...shit, I’m 52 years old now—and this kid looks to be about...shit...I can never tell...maybe he’s 26-27. These S.O.Bs look younger and younger every day.
I made my way down to the lobby stairwell, leaving my mop outside the door on the third floor. I figure I can just go check and make sure there’s no blood or brain matter leaking out of my Hyundai. As I passed by the lobby door the damn thing opens and the 26-maybe-27-year-old-kid saunters into the stairwell. At first, we just stare at each other, mouth of our mouths open like a couple of wheezing Neanderthals. I can hear the fluorescent lights buzzing, the emergency floodlights recharging, the quaking sound of our breath. Then the kid—even though he’s not in my way and I’m not in his—says, “Excuse me.”
He looks at my nametag and I wish life were transparent enough so I could read his. He eyes me the way young kids usually eye a night janitor. Either he’s trying his damnedest to figure what life choices led me to become a night janitor, or he’s smirking internally at the very distinct possibility I’m a serial killer.
My bet is that the kid will smile and say something like, “Sorry about that, Glen,” even though my nametag clearly says it’s Gene; and then, later, he’ll go tell his friends he met some creepy night janitor who was slinking down to his car to check the body in the trunk of his Hyundai. And they’ll hoot and holler and take solace in the fact that their wild theories are, most likely, unfounded.
The kid says, “Sorry about that, Gene,” and I’m impressed he gets my name right.
“No bother at all, young man,” I tell him.
He trots up the stairs, glancing back only once. I offer him a genial smile before he continues on. I listen to the kid’s feet racing away. He must be wearing dress shoes, because they offer the cramped stairwell a distinct clicking sound. It echoes across all nine floors and reverberates in the bowels of my heart, and I wonder what that kid’s name is.
Finally, one of the stairwell doors opens and subsequently slams shut. Sounds like the kid got off one floor six, which is peculiar because I saw him earlier on floor two, and then again later on floor three. But maybe that’s just my paranoia kicking in. I’ve been off my meds for the last six days, so that’d make sense. Even though my therapist says the drugs will have some residual effect in my system, and insists it’s not the paranoia, I don’t trust him all that much, so to hell with him. Besides, he hasn’t even figured out I’m a serial killer, so I’m not inclined to vouch for his astuteness.
I lumber down to P3 and check my Hyundai, not an ounce of blood and the body is still neatly wrapped. I’m in the clear. I close the trunk, lock the doors, and make my way back to the sixth floor. I think that’s where I left my mop.