The trip to kill Creepy Bug Guy left Jack exhausted and traumatized at the loss of his suit. As the rest of the week dragged on after their return from the job, Jack found himself increasingly contemplating the nature of his work. There are two kinds of fighters in this world. There are those who fight for peace, a respite from conflict, and those for whom that very respite is a call to arms. Jack shifted slightly from his spot on the couch, mentally cursing his mortal enemy, the office phone. Ring, you damned phone. “Ring or I will disconnect you.” The early summer heat wave that had hit the small town was apparently not leaving anytime soon and Jack could barely work up the energy to stay awake, watching the smoke from his partner’s seemingly ever-present cigar curl up near the ceiling fan, adding to the fog already starting to form around the ceiling.
Jack pulled idly at his new suit, a deep navy blue with gold pin stripes. His previous good cleaning suit had been so ripped to pieces that when they took it a tailor, she started laughing before he could even finish requesting repairs. He and Stan had given it a Viking funeral, burning it in the parking lot before settling into the doldrums. When he closed his eyes, Jack could still see the flames licking up the contours of the grey vest. He sighed. An unusually slow start to the summer cleaning season meant plenty of time on the couch.
Suddenly, a soft ringing noise filtered in through Jack’s thoughts. It took Jack a full minute to realize it wasn’t simply in his head and by the time he managed to force himself up, the phone had stopped ringing. “Wonderful. Our first client in days and I didn’t make it to the phone on time.”
Stan turned over on the couch, his mountainous shoulder like a rolling hill, as he stopped short of the cigar burning the couch, “Thems people’ll call back. Who else cleans them places but us?”
Jack nodded absently, eyeing the phone as if daring it to ring again while he was standing there. Surprisingly, the phone obliged. Jack picked up the phone as quickly as he could manage, “Hello, Jack and Stan Cleaning services, the skeletons in your closet are our specialty with no questions asked.”
“Oh, so you do exist.” The voice on the other side of the phone sounded slightly bemused, as though he had seriously thought someone was putting him on when he was told about the place.
“Yes.” Jack had already mentally resigned himself to not getting any business out of this conversation. Most people who needed his services had known about them for years. A large part of Jack’s regular clientele were both seasonal and regular.
“Good, I have a Doctor’s office, private practice you see, around five streets away from your office.” The doctor paused to loudly shuffle through some papers before continuing, “Anyways, there was a problem with a recent client in my examining room. He sort of leaked fluids all over the place and I need it cleaned up so my patients don’t get scared.”
Jack grabbed a pad of paper from his desk and searched through a drawer for a pen, “And what kind of liquids are we talking about here? Blood, urine…other?”
“If you can imagine it coming out of a human body, it’s on my walls and floor right now. Also, some chunky yellow stuff that I’m not even sure about.”
“We can take care of it right away, I’ll just need your name and address.” Jack scribbled away frantically as he talked, writing down a list of cleaning supplies needed for the problem. As he wrote, Jack heard the creaking and groaning sound of the couch struggling to handle the weight of Stan getting onto his feet. Jack held the pad of paper up for his partner to see while he listened to his new client’s response.
The doctor on the other side of the line paused, as though he hadn’t expected this announcement. There was a very long silence and long metallic scraping noise before the doctor responded. “Dr. Lightning. Yes, that will do nicely. Dr. Lighting and my office is at 34 Chestnut Street.”
Jack had to resist the urge to laugh, “Dr. Lighting,” as he said this, thunder crackled in the background, “At 34 Chestnut Street. We can be over today, if you like. We have no other jobs right now so we can make this a rush order.”
The doctor on the other end of the line sounded quite pleased, “That would be wonderful, my practice has been on hiatus for a few days, but I must admit this is more than I can handle. Can you be here around two in the afternoon?”
Jack looked up at the clock. 12:30pm. “We can be there by two, yes.” The line suddenly went dead, leaving him listening to nothing. Jack carefully set the phone down on the receiver and stretched, letting himself finally enjoy the feeling of the new suit. “We have work, Stan. Some Doctor who apparently doesn’t understand the concept of subtle pseudonyms and calls himself “Dr. Lightning.” As he said that, thunder sounded in the distance, louder and closer this time.”
“That ain’t gonnna happen every time you say Dr. Lighting…” Stan trailed off as the thunder echoed his name.
“Apparently. Our client said he had a patient that…leaked as he put it. We’ll need to get the carpet cleaning stuff and also the usual implements for a bodily explosion.” Jack scribbled a few more notes on his pad before ripping off the another piece of paper, “He’s a local boy, so we don’t have to hurry.”
Stan rolled his cigar to the other side of his mouth and took a sizeable puff, “I’ll grab them supplies and get the van ready. You ok?” Stan had been there at the funeral for his employer’s favorite suit. Odd quirk though it may have been, a new suit meant Jack would be off his game.
Jack ran his fingers over his new suit, “I’ll be fine, this suit is growing on me. I might even make it my new favorite suit after today.” Stan shambled over to grab some supplies and head down the stairs as Jack put away his own “Special Cases” cleaning bag. The bag clinked gently when he set it in the lone closet in the corner that was dedicated to just his cleaning supplies. “No need to steal anyone else’s memories or existence.” Stepping over to the window, he looked down at their pristine white van being moved to the front of the building. Local business couldn’t hurt. Most of the time their jobs had them driving fairly long distances, and this would make things far easier.
Once Stan had loaded up all the supplies he stepped into the van, getting a chuckle out of Jack as he watched the entire van lift off the ground to the left side, almost lifting the wheels off the ground. The horn honked twice. Time to get a move on, this place won’t clean itself.