Custodians don’t save the world every day, but there’s always attacks from the unknown, recalcitrant teachers who think they know what’s what, mice, board members who think know it all, or bad guys wanting to do bad things. Not to worry. Us professional Custodians are highly trained to take care of any situation. Especially ones specific to Greenwood Elementary school.
If you have forgotten all that the custodians do, here is the first of 4 stories featuring The Custodian to help you remember. I hope they will help you appreciate us custodians whether we’re taking out the trash, mopping a floor or saving the world.
The Custodian 1
The Custodian, a regular guy wearing khakis and a T-shirt, loaded his custodial cart in the custodial closet of the Greenwood Elementary school. After his cleaning equipment he loaded a paper bag with something of weight in it on top of the cart. He moved out, made sure the door was locked, and wheeled the cart through the school.
A teacher exited a classroom in front of him. “Have a good night.”
He nodded, lifted a finger, and continued on.
In a classroom he set up a step ladder in the center of the room. He took the bag from the cart, mounted the ladder and pushed aside a ceiling tile.
In the background, in a dark corner there was a hint of movement. At the edge of vision, another hint, moving closer, down low.
Barely audible there was whispering childish chitter chatter. “Stop him. Bad man. Don’t do it, Mister. Hurt him. Stop him.”
He ignored the voices, pulled out a homemade bomb attached to a cell phone out of the bag and set it inside the ceiling.
“No, no. Stop him. Hurt him.”
The ladder shook for no visible reason.
Expression calm, the custodian steadied himself until the shaking stopped.
He stowed the ladder in a closet then picked up the small trashcans and carried them to the large can on his cart. He pulled a comic book titled, “Invasion from Space!” from the trash. He shook his head, rolled his eyes at the absurdity of it, and flipped it into the trash.
The next night he pushed his cart, with another bag, through the school. In another classroom he set up a ladder again.
The childish voices chitter and laugh.
In the dark rectangle of a door into the interior faint shapes the size of children move about.
When he lifted the ceiling tile a scorpion waited. As he set the bomb the scorpion sprang. With barely a wince he drew his hand out. The bug hung from his wrist. Casually he picked off the wriggling creature by its tail and flung it back into the ceiling.
The paper bag went into the trash. Lights out. Door closed.
Another night, another walk through the school with another paper bag. Another classroom. Another bomb. The custodian stepped down the ladder. On the floor a stuffed animal, that wasn’t there before. He stepped on it, falling backward, landing by a teacher’s desk.
Seemingly on its own, the computer monitor slid to the edge and tipped over. He caught it, one corner an inch from his head.
Giggles turned to frustrated screeches.
Monitor returned to its place, he closed the interior door and resumed his normal routine.
Another night the custodian lounges at his desk eating a sandwich and reading a gun magazine. The door was open.
The Principal, a handsome Hispanic woman, appeared in the door. “Have a good weekend. Be careful.”
Their eyes connect with hidden meaning.
He nods gravely. Waves with one finger.
She nods back and is gone.
Another night, while he pushed his cart between buildings he noticed a light on in one of the classrooms. Leaving his cart he approached the room, opened the door.
One wall contained a large black hole. Deep inside, as if in a downward slanting tunnel, he saw flickering firelight.
The chitter chatter grew more excited as the light grew brighter. “Yess. Yess. He comes. Finally He comes. We will rule. We will kill. We will eat.”
Preceded by torches, the silhouette of a huge grotesque creature climbed the tunnel.
The Custodian closed the door and walked away. He took a cell phone from his pocket, dialed a number. There’s a faint sound of a cell phone chirping.
BOOM! The classroom exploded with a blast of white light, totally contained inside the room. Mixed with the blast – an unearthly scream of pain and anger.
Lips forming a minimal smile of satisfaction, the custodian pushed his cart away through the school to resume his duties.