I peer out of the third story window facing the alley. The dingy blue dumpster is nearly empty; I mentally kick myself for forgetting that the trash is picked up Monday mornings. I’ll need to tell Lester to pick up the dumpster before anyone else when I get my payment. Thankfully, the tarp I brought is big enough to hold the dead weight of the body. I manage to roll the body onto the tarp in order to drag it closer to the window. The muscles on my 5’5” frame strain as I pull the body the last few feet.
I prop the body on the windowsill and give a little push. The tarp crackles as it goes over the hardwood of the window frame followed by a loud thud that rings throughout the nearly empty dumpster. I give another second of my gaze to the dark rectangle below me before turning around to clean up the rest of the mess.
The crimson splotches have already started to darken and the metallic scent in the room has become stale. Sighing to myself, I exit the room and head towards the pristine, white cabinets in the kitchen. Under the sink, I reach for the various bottles of bleach and cleaning mixtures. I grab the rubber, duck-yellow gloves from the side of the sink and head back to the living room.
I start with the blood stains. They seem to be splattered across more than I had anticipated which annoys me. At least the man I just dusted had a variety of cleaning supplies. It makes my life a little easier. After getting the grey colored carpets looking good as new, I arrange the sofa and chair into their proper places and refold the throws, draping them across the backs of the plush cushions. I fluff the pillows a bit and straighten the picture frames on the mantle of the fireplace. Each photograph stares back at me with a smile. The man in the dumpster has his arms around a pretty blonde girl in one of them. They’re in front of a lake; they look happy. I feel a twinge of sympathy for the poor guy before reminding myself he was mixed up with the boss man, so really, how good of a person could he have been? Lastly, I strip off the bloody coveralls and yellow gloves and throw them out of the window into the dumpster.
I do a final sweep through the small apartment before deeming the job finished. I leave through the front door without a second look, turning the copied key in the lock after closing the door behind me. I pull out a cherry-flavored blow pop from the pocket of my jeans and discard the wrapper in the hallway. Another job down, and only a few more to go. Soon, I’ll have enough money to leave Lester and this god-awful city in the dust. Who knows where I’ll go or what I’ll do next. At least I’ll be able to choose for myself.
Mackenzie Knorr is a creative writing student at the University of Concordia St. Paul in Minnesota. She has not yet been published in any literary journals.