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There is nothing I love better than pulling on a nice pair of latex gloves.

I put on the classical music my mother raised me on. I pour a glass of whiskey. I pull on the gloves.

I get to work.

I slice and snip, stuff and stitch, preserve and present. I make the gory, graceful. I make the sickening, sweet.

I think in many ways me and The Cleaner are alike. He may well agree.

We both like our place of work to be in order, and free of clutter. We both take a mess and create something pure. We both, I’m sure, listen to that song in our head as we do it.

But that’s where the similarities end.

I like my place of work to be in order and free of clutter because I want to make something of the subject and the space. He wants the place of work to be in order and free of clutter because he wants rid of something.

To me that freedom from clutter, and being in order, means to create something beautiful out of a mess. I see a dead body and I see the potential it has to become something more than it could be when it was alive. I see that dead body and I see that it’s like a piece of art. A permanent living statue. Almost living. But The Cleaner sees that same body and sees a stain. A wretched mark on the fabric of society. Something to be scrubbed clean with his endless stash of bleach.

I listen to the song in my head as I go that paints the picture of my newest recruit settling into his life in my taxidermied ranks. The soaring strings and the complimentary musical phrases. The simple elegance. The Cleaner listens to that racket the kids call metal music, and uses the rage to clean away the body all the quicker.

We both love our surroundings to be sterile, that’s for sure, but for me sterility is to purify, not to erase. It’s to ensure that nothing bad can reach the subject, not that the subject can’t reach the nearest piece of furniture, as his remit extends to.

A dead body can always be rescued, Cleaner. It can always serve a purpose. It should always serve a purpose.

Just think about that for one second. You clean away a body that could belong to a grieving widow. A growing daughter. What do they have left once you’re done?


I can make their family member live forever. I can give that deadweight a meaningful life after death.

All you do is erase.

Sterile to you is a blank canvas untouched by paint. Sterile to me is making the paint safe after it dries. Preserving that eternal state of wonder in the eyes.

There’s magic in the eyes, a spark that should never be extinguished by your chemical bath.

You’d make a fun addition to my ranks Cleaner. I can’t wait to take off that mask and see that sparkle in your eyes.