Clean again


Copyright – C.E. Ayr

Malcolm rested for a moment. Dawn was brightening the foreshore esplanade, and the ocean beyond the sandy beach glimmered. Such loveliness.

One more block to do. He re-started the engine, lowered the brushes and pushed ahead into the mounds of filth scattered everywhere: beer cans, cigarette butts, abandoned clothing and worse. Sweep, scoop, tip, pulverise. That was Malcolm’s rhythm. Everything into the compactor.

He hesitated as he glimpsed something pink and fleshy flapping about between the brushes, then continued. His job was to clean the street. One more comatose drunk wouldn’t be returning to mess it up again tomorrow.


This is for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Writers contribute 100 word stories in response to a weekly picture prompt. Click here to read them all.


35 thoughts on “Clean again

  1. Sweep, scoop, tip, pulverise. I could just hear the rhythm of this. I can imagine such a grueling job would turn into such indifference. Oh, how sad. Very dark and chilling, and nicely written.


    • I’m not entirely sure that would be the rhythm of a sweeping machine, but I’m using literary licence just a little for the sake of the story. Thank you, Amy, for your encouraging comment.


  2. I drove a sweeper in college one summer at a Lake Tahoe casino. You nailed the sound perfectly. As far as I remember I didn’t sweep up any drunks although I did start at 6 am so who knows. I liked the contrast between the lovely dawn and the dispassion at the end.


  3. I just ate my lunch tool. I had to read that several times before I understood it. Now I’m wondering if I should have. Really dark but well written. I’m glad I’m not the coroner in that city. Sounds as though he might have done it before. O_o — Suzanne


    • I think Malcolm does what’s needed to keep the streets clean and tidy. Nothing left for the coroner, however – just one more anonymous drunk disappears. Thanks for taking the time to re-read, Suzanne. I hope it didn’t spoil your lunch.


    • I don’t know where these monsters come from. I surprise myself sometimes. I hope my story hasn’t spoiled your fun – you should be safe as long as you make it home to sleep.


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