12. Spring Cleaning:
I whistle a cheery tune as I gather all the cleaning agents I will need to clean the tile floor to perfection. Cleanliness is next to godliness as my mother used to say. Let’s see; a mop, bleach, two boxes of the newly advertised wipes; might as well give them a trial run. Detergent, heavy duty plastic gloves and a bucket of course! I lean in to get the feather duster. I noticed a web in the dining room yesterday, just above the table. Oh, a broom and dustpan to clear the broken glass and an old newspaper to wrap the shards in so that no-one gets hurt. Done, I think I have everything I need.
I turn on the tap letting the water flow over my hands. As soon as it is hot I fill the bucket, add a cup of bleach and two capfuls of tile cleaner. I dry my hands on a fresh dish towel, snap on my gloves and stir the mixture until frothy rainbow suds appear. I breathe in the astringent smell of bleach and lemon and feel at peace. I like cleaning always have, always will.
Thus armed I enter the dining room, neatly stacking my tools against the heavy redwood table. I switch on the radio. WNR is playing all the 70’s hits and I can’t help humming along and throwing in a few dance steps to boot. With the dustpan and broom I clear all the glass from the tiles, making sure to get every shard. I don’t want someone accidentally dismembering themselves on my watch! I wrap the shards in three layers of newspaper and remember that I forgot to bring black bin bags. I hurry back to the kitchen; throw the glass in the dust bin and fetch the bin bags form the pantry. I am back in the dining room in time for the next song, which is a jazz number.
I pluck a handful of potpourri scented wipes from the container; get down on my knees and start cleaning the tiles in large sweeping circular motions. The dirty wipes appropriately find their resting place at the bottom of the dark bin bag. I empty both containers and they obediently follow their contents. I get the mop and the bucket of cleaning liquid, dip the mop in the warm water, sloshing it over the rim of the bucket onto the tile floor. I start at the bucket, working my way neatly and methodically outwards. I have to make three return trips as the water soils easily and cleaning never means much unless your water is hot. A clean, lemon scent fills the room. At last I can use the feather duster and clear the worrying spider web. I stand back to survey my handiwork and am well pleased with the result.
A peremptory knock at the door sends me scuttling to the kitchen to store the items I used. Everything in its place and a place for everything; another homily chalked up to mom. I comb my fingers through my hair wanting to appear presentable.
‘Good afternoon Ma’am. I am Constable Charlie Hughes. We received a call from your neighbor, Mr. Hodges. He says he heard what seemed to be a gunshot a while ago. We just need to know whether you are all right Ma’am. Have you noticed anything out of the ordinary?’
‘Yes, Constable it was a gun shot. You see I just killed my husband. Not to worry though, I cleaned up the mess he made as I always have. Everything is spick and span; ready for your visit. Please do come in,’ she says smiling…..
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