Jack and Stan~ Paranormal Cleaners chapter 14

     A journey home after a long absence often leaves a foul taste in one’s mouth. The perennial question in the weeks following is what exactly leaves that sort of taste in your mouth. For Jack it was always the smell. It clung to him like a contagion, a visible aura of wretched memories that smelled vaguely of an antique store that nobody had visited in years. With the phone seemingly on a temporary strike, remaining stubbornly silent in the days following their return from Jack’s childhood home, Jack had decided this time should be used to clean up the office. The primary motivation was to be rid of the smell that seemed to permeate the air, emanating from everything he had been wearing that day. It seemed like the right time to fumigate every single item in the entire office to get rid of any lingering memories. The act of cleaning itself made being back in the office feel more real and brought Jack, what he had come to realize as, a false sense of closure to that part of his life.

     The hum of the office vacuum cleaner provided a soothing background blending with the sounds of life outside the office window. The streets below would start to fill up with tourists heading to destinations in the mountains, places to get away from the grime of the city. Jack had removed his new good jacket and examined the deep blue of it’s left sleeve. Disturbing the fabric, he caught a whiff of the old place, Jack pulled back and wrinkled his nose, “This smell will never come out, it’s like the house travels with me everywhere I go.”

    Stan turned the vacuum cleaner off and surveyed the office. To his nose the Goodbody house was already nothing more than a faint memory, but for Jack this would be going on for weeks. “How does that family a’ yours smell so bad? It’s not like thems maids don’t do no work?”

    Jack took his glasses off and massaged his nose, “Well the maids have no idea what to do cleaning a place like that. You can’t just dust and mop. You have to go deep and get rid of the root of your problem.”

     Stan snorted deeply, trying hard not to chuckle, “Like that father a’ yours?”

     Jack nodded absently, “Yes, Stanley, like my father.” Jack turned and glared at the phone. Now, of all times, Jack required work to put his world right. Now, of all times, the phone obliged and rang with a seeming newfound urgency Jack had yet to notice this summer. Racing over and picking up the phone, Jack practically ripped the receiver off the hook and crammed it into his shoulder while frantically searching for a paper and pen. “Hello, Jack and Stan cleaning services, the skeletons in your closet are our specialty with no questions asked.”

     “I don’t want a black and tan.”

     Jack reached up for his nose and massaged the frustration out, “No, sir we’re cleaners.”

     The voice on the other end of the phone sighed happily, “Oh good! My name is Mortimer Friendy and I need my house to be cleaned.”

     Jack reached for his pad of paper and a pen, “And what seems to be the problem with your house? Spooks, demons…”

     “Good lord, no! I just got old one day and suddenly I couldn’t keep up with all the mess in this house.”

     It took Jack a whole minute to register what his new client said, “Sir, I’m not sure you understand what we do here.”

     “You clean?”

     “Well yes, but…”

      “Then you should be willing to clean my house, the place is a disaster”

     Jack hesitated again before shrugging, “Sure, we could use a little light work right now. What’s the address?”

     “Well, I live in a small town on the outskirts of San Francisco…” Jack wrote the address down and mentally reminded himself once more to never take jobs that required him to cross the entire country just to reach it. “We’ll be there as soon as we can be, thank you for your business.”

     Stan shifted from his position on the couch to stand up and stretched, his fingertips scraping the high ceiling, “We headed out boss?”

     “Of course, Stanley, to sunny California and on the way we can get a few jobs done that I wanted to do, but never had the time to justify doing. Like that one insane asylum.”

     “You mean the one with them crazy dentists?”

     “What? Stanley! They were most certainly not dentists and no.”

     Stan looked perplexed, “The one where they electrocuted them criminals?”

      “You know what? You’ll see when we get there.” Jack grabbed his bag and whipped it over his shoulder. “Should be a quick trip overall, prep the van and we’ll head out.”

     Stan nodded and started to load up huge piles of cleaning supplies. Box by box they made their way down to the van and disappeared to the back. Within the hour, they were on the road and Jack fished around the side of his door for the map that led them to the promised land of cleaning with a few side trips marked out. The first one was a little known motel in the Midwest that had been on Jack’s list for a very long time.

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