Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Employment (01/26/12)
TITLE: Miracle in the Men's Room
By Toni Babcock
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My day began like any other at the residence where I’m employed. Punch in, take the elevator to third floor, load my yellow cleaning cart, and take an inventory of my supplies. Paper towels? Check. Clean rags? Check. Mop heads? Check. Disinfectant? Check. Cleanser? Check. Toilet bowl cleaner? Check. Glass cleaner? Check. Plastic bags? Check. Disposable gloves? Check. I pull my cart out of the supply room and cross an open space to the trash room with vacuum in tow, snap on some disposable gloves and park by a slop sink to fill my empty mop bucket, aiming a grey hose into the bucket as part water, part disinfectant pours forth. Breathe shallow, avoid the fumes I remind myself. Afterwards, it's time to head south to the lower level with high hopes for a grand day.
By happenstance, I was on restroom duty that morning. It does have its quiet satisfaction. Like snapping open a clean trash bag to replace the bulging bags spilling with damp paper towels in the bins, or restoring mirrors to crystal clarity where drippy stains stared shamelessly before; then on to the toilets with their sanitary issues to attend to. I knew how good it felt to walk into a clean stall. Time to pay it forward. Finally, the rhythmic swish and sway of my heavy-duty rag mop as I walked backwards, stepping and swinging all the way to the bathroom door where I would mark my ceremonious waltz with a “caution, wet floor” sign.
Now that WOULD have been my regular routine, had I not been dismembered from my work keys in a most unceremonious way. I had entered into the men’s room after knocking on the door to assure the room was empty. I had replaced the trash bags, washed the sinks, mirrors etc. and had just entered a bathroom stall to clean the toilet. My thoughts turn somewhat into a blur at this point. I remember unlocking the toilet paper dispenser, then with my work keys in hand, reaching over to flush the toilet. I can still hear the sucking sound of a zealous flush, but worse than that, feeling the loss of my keys in an instant from the palm of my hand! I still see the gaping toilet bowl with my keys flying toward the vortex. I watched in muted horror as they slipped into oblivion, in one dramatic surge down a black hole! They were gone! What would my boss think? I had to get those keys back.
What does a frantic cleaning lady do in a terrible fix? Find the nearest maintenance man. Maintenance men work miracles, right? I placed two pieces of masking tape over the toilet seat so no one would use it, and ran to find “Rick”.
“You’ll never get those keys back,” he told me point blank (emphasis on “never”).
‘What?’ I thought. ‘But you’re the maintenance guy. You fix stuff!’
My panicky eyes were pleading, but Rick’s eyes had a faraway stare. He shook his head glumly to confirm the grim analysis. Was I reading him wrong, or did he just not want to fish my keys out of the toilet? Hmmmm.
Okay. Plan B. It was me and the Lord from here on out. I left Rick for the nearest closet to find a metal hanger. Voila! Metal hanger found in first floor closet near the chapel. Hope was surging. I pulled it apart to fashion a long rod with hook. I sprinted back down the stairs to the lower level, and ran into the men’s room. I stood near the stall and called on the name of the Lord God Almighty for good success. Showtime.
I ripped the tape off of the toilet seat and stuck the homemade hook way down into the yawn of the porcelain basin, twisting it gently. God is good!! Something grabbed! Slowly I pulled up. I felt a dragging! A little further…and…my keys!! Praise the Lord!
A quick soak in some disinfectant and my keys were good to go. I was reminded once again “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth,” (Psalm 124:8 KJV). Thanks anyway, Rick.
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