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Rated: E · Fiction · Career · #2184294
Hank's job
For your prompt today:

Write/SHOW a day in the life of someone whose profession is NOT yours.

Hank finishes the last of the mashed potatoes on his plate and burps. His wife, Mavis, “tsk’s” his behavior and stands to clear the table of dinner stuff. “Hank, what time will you get home?”

“Depending on the “damages” I’d say, oh, about 4:30-5. Why?” Hank responds.

Mavis says, “Just so I won’t be alarmed by your coming in in the middle of the night.”

Hank and Mavis live in a high-rise apartment in the Bronx. Mavis teaches third grade in Queens; Hank works for the City of New York’s Sanitation Department. They’re just getting by on their salaries: enough to cover their ever-rising rent, food, utilities, etc.

Hank grabs the subway to 42nd Street to meet up with his crew. It’s 11pm on New Year’s Eve just off of Times Square. The crew members briefly and begrudgingly greet one another a “Happy New Year” and grouse about their assigned task: Cleaning up Times Square after the million or so revelers vacate the spot in order to ready the space for the next day in New York City so it looks “normal.”

Hank and others of his crew are assigned “broom duty” - they each are presented with a wide, bristled broom to sweep debris into piles so other crew members can scoop up the swept detritus into temporarily placed dumpsters.

No one in the crew is able to see the ball drop, announcing the New Year, but they can hear and feel the assembled crowd’s excitement...it lasts about two minutes and then silence. It’s over; a new year. Now it’s time for Hank and crew to begin their tasks of clean-up.

As the massive crowd dissipates into subway entrances, bus shelters, restaurants, bars, the crew brandishes their tools (brooms) and approaches the scene of the recent celebration.

Hank begins his shift gathering the most obvious “stuff” on the street: confetti that minutes before had showered the gathered horde when the ball reached the bottom of the spire high above street-level. Easy-peasy: push, push, gather, push…

But as he gets farther into the street, he encounters one high-heeled shoe among the confetti. “How can someone not notice they’re missing a shoe?” Hank ponders. “Is hobbling/wobbling away from a celebration normal?”

Nevermind, Hank’s broom pushes the shoe along with the other street dirt.

He encounters half-eaten street-vendor-sold hot dogs (some with mustard and sauerkraut), discarded paper cups, a blouse (?), one (what looks like) used condom (“What the heck?” Hank thinks, but then just pushes it forward), a lower denture plate (“How?” “Why?”)...and Hank’s night shift continues.

Sweep, sweep, gather, sweep, sweep, gather…

Finally at 7am, Hank and the crew board the trucks back to headquarters, put their brooms in the supplies closet, punch out, wish each other a Happy New Year (again), and head to each of their transportation choices.

Hank enters his and Mavis’s apartment to the smells of breakfast. Mavis scrambles eggs at the stove and says, “Happy New Year, hon.”

He plops himself into a kitchenette chair and thinks, “How can someone lose a shoe? If I did, I’d definitely spend time seeking it out” as Mavis presents him with a plate of eggs, bacon, hash browns and a peck on his cheek.

One lost shoe that got swept up in the aftermath of Times Square on New Year’s Eve in New York City did not affect Hank’s appetite! “Eggs! Bacon!”
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