Brazen Princess

Loud and Unashamed
MAY 4, 2012 8:56AM


Rate: 18 Flag



 "Listen carefully," he said, "this won't be easy for you to hear"....

I waited.

“This is the only broom we use in this space.”

I looked at it.  It was impossible. 

“And the place needs to be swept every day, or else she’ll fire you.”


“Can I bring another broom in?” I asked.

“No,” he said, incredulously, looking at me like I was out of my mind. “You have to wipe your feet and take off your shoes, and leave your bag in your car, and you want to bring another broom in?”

The ad said references required, which I brought, but had to leave outside, once her husband looked at them.  He had interviewed me and found me acceptable, but only she was to say if the job was done well. 

“I was just asking...”

“This is the only broom.”

“Got it.”




 “I told you it wouldn’t be easy to hear.”

He left me there, in the pristine space, handing me the small dust broom and dustpan combination.  They had silver trim in the handles, much like an old Derringer, which I wish I had.

“Begin at the doorway, and work your way around from there,” he said, walking away, his footsteps echoing.

 A cameraman on a crane would have shot me from there, and slowly panned around the converted warehouse to show the insanity of the job before me.  The white walls and the white furniture had brief, awkward interruptions of color in wall hangings, lamps and throw pillows.  I would be sweeping at least 3000 square feet of living space.  It was already so polished, I could almost see my face shining in it.

I took the broom and began to sweep at nothing.  No dust, no dirt, no nothing in the whole warehouse space, other than the vogue cement that was painted, scored and varnished. 

Who had been there yesterday?  He said the place had to be swept every day, and it looked like this?  The pay was incentive to stay, but the insanity choked me.



 As I worked, on my hands and knees, I heard the clack-clack-clack of his typewriter in the corner.  He sat at a small writing desk, a Chippendale knock-off (was it a knock-off?), probably the only thing he had brought into the home from his former life. 

A dog barked in the distance. 

Sweep, sweep, sweep. 

There was grad school, then the loans came due.  I worked for awhile at a hotel desk, but the pay was bad and the hours were worse.  I tried to get a job at the magazine where my brother found work, but there was a glut of writers and most of them were someone’s cousin or nephew or neighbor.

Sweep, sweep, sweep.


 He never waited for the bell.  I heard the carriage return lever click, swoop and advance the paper up a line.  Why didn’t he have a computer? What was it, an Underwood?  What was he writing?  He never waited or stopped to think.  Was he setting copy?  Re-typing?  Was there no outlet there?  I looked up.  There was one at his feet, and a lamp was plugged in there. 

Sweep, sweep, sweep.

The bristles were white, the ends were even whiter.  Where would dust go?  I looked in my pan, but only anemic see through bits were collecting.  Twelve dollars an hour.  Was it worth it?  How long had I been sweeping?  Ten minutes?

Sweep, sweep, sweep...

“Listen carefully,” he said, when I came in.  What was I, twelve years old? Listen carefully.  “This won’t be easy for you to hear?” No shit.  Guess what’s not easy for you to hear?

You... you odd little kept man typing away on an Underwood. 

You are wasting your life. 

You are mentally ill if you are living with a woman who is this much of a clean freak. 

You are a moron to be doing this for some woman who most likely can’t even enjoy sex, looking around this place. 

I wonder what she looks like?

Sweep, sweep, sweep...

You are wasting your life.  You are wasting your life.  You are wasting your life.  

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I enjoyed this odd little piece. R
Nice use of the Weekend Fiction prompt. I really liked this moody piece that a has really ominous, HitchcocKian (?) feel to it. Norman Bates and his mother? Our protagonist best not turn her back. Make sure you put this on the Weekend Fiction page so that the other contributors can enjoy it. R
An excellent illustration of insanity.
Interesting fiction. I can almost hear a metronome in the sweeping.
kafka with a broom. a small broom.
I admire this kind of writing, which puts me almost instantly into the scene, seeing, hearing and listening to the character's thoughts. Well done!

Fabulously crazy and there are people that devote their lives to meaningless behavior. Clean orderly sex where both people are completely encased in dust free plastic wrap on a sterile sheet, clack, clack, clacking... Sounds like a ripping good time!
I could see that cameraman filming this and hear the haunting music in the background. Nice piece.
the seminal dylan tune maggie's farm comes to mind
''I got a head full of ideas
That are drivin' me insane
It's a shame the way she makes me scrub the floor
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more."

the unenjoyment of sex intersects always
with the need for cleanliness.
For a while there, I thought this might be non-fiction. Every housekeeper's nightmare! Rated.
Amen! What a moral; and so well done. R
Very nice. Otherworldy and familiar at the same time.
You really set the mood well. I felt like I was there. I felt like I was at my Aunt Mary's on a Friday and all the lights were off and she had cleaned and cleaned that old home. In my head I heard her accent. This was very nice writing.
It seems he is not the only one wasting his life. R
Crazy is as crazy sweeps... Fun!:D
really fresh and original
A brazen little commentary on we scribblers of OS, me thinks. Clever and a good read.
This was really profound. I have a little broom and dustpan like that. The next time I use it, I'm going to think about your story and hopefully it will motivate me to save up for a Romba!
What an oddly disturbing metaphor. I am amused and afraid. Am I the one typing?.....Tell me!