Space Janitor 011-020

Theses are the compiled entries of Space Janitor 011-020

Space Janitor 011-020

“I don’t know what time is it?” asked Space Janitor.

“Are you insubordinate?” asked the desk dog.

“I don’t know, I’m not sure what that word means exactly,” said Space Janitor.

“It means you are veering close to going on my bad side. See how you’re getting on? Stop it now.” said the desk dog. The desk dog put on a pair of glasses and looked down at work before them.

“I’ll behave differently,” said Space Janitor.

“How?” said the desk dog without looking up. They turned a page. Space Janitor thought for a moment.

“I don’t know if I’m honest,” said Space Janitor. The desk dog let out a sigh, took off their glasses and pinched the bridge of their nose.

“Look here,” the desk dog leaned forward to read Space Janitor’s ID badge,” Findo”. The desk dog looks puzzled. “Findo, that’s your name?”

Space Janitor lifted his ID badge towards his eyes.

“I thought my name was Opult.” said Space Janitor.

“Findo, Opult, I’m going to let you in on a secret. Brand new to your asymmetrical ears. Based on this interaction, dehydrated brain. Your name doesn’t matter. It’s not for you, it’s for the inhabitants of this station. Don’t worry about what your name is. Worry about what you should be doing.” said the desk dog.

The information made Space Janitor realise it would take him a while to work out where he fits in correctly. The news came as a great relief to me, the narrator. Honestly, names are something I have problems keeping track of. Until it becomes relevant, I’m going to keep referring to this little mutt as Space Janitor. Anyway, these two are in a state of limbo. Back to it.

“What should I be doing?” said Space Janitor.

“What should you be doing? Your job.” said the desk dog. There was more than a hint of a growl in the back of their throat.

“And what is my job?” Space Janitor asked obliviously.

“On your way in, you felt something of a compulsion to clean?” Desk dog said, eyes wide.

“I did, wow, how did you know?” said Space Janitor looking at desk dog with a sense of wonder. He pressed two fingers to his temple. “What about now, can you tell I’m hungry. Wait, I just gave it away. Now I have another feeling. Do you know what it is because, to be honest, the sensation of being alive is still a novelty? I’m not even sure how I know words. Words like…words and lugubrious and brolenderkantz. Hold on that last one was my imagination. How come I don’t have to actively breathe? It kind of already happens. When I think about breathing, it stops, and I have to forget to breathe to remember how?”

Now I want there to be an air of mystery regarding how much desk dog appreciated this soliloquay. If I had no respect for you as a reader, I would simply write: Desk dog was ___ and put in the appropriate emotion. However, there’s no fun in that. You’re reading this, so you’re already above average and intelligence. If I might be so bold, let me also say above average in attractiveness too (love what you’ve done with your hair by the way”. Anyway, you’re smart. You’ve already deduced the emotional state of this haggard tired bureaucratic dog.

For the sake of pacing and story let me reveal it to you in a series of images.

Desk dog sits listening to Space Janitor. His breathing steady, his paws static. Throughout Space Janitor’s monologue, the breath quickens and is more shallow. Gulps become sips, you know what I mean? The claws, once still, begin to drum. The tempo increasing until they are a gallop.

There is a build-up until desk dog shoots up onto his feet, slamming both paws down on the table.

“Would you please be quiet!” shouted the desk dog.

Space Janitor went quiet and twiddled his thumbs.

“It is not my job to sit here and listen to your inane twaddle.” the desk dog said. It took a deep breath and then lowered itself down onto his seat. When it spoke again, it did so in a softer tone of voice.

“You are not here to ask why. Here you clean. You are here to clean because that is the sole purpose that you have been created. You have had your genetic makeup manipulated so that you might better serve your purpose. All those questions you have? A sense of curiosity is good in a cleaning dog. It makes you seek things out and do your job that little bit better. Now let me reiterate to you. It is not my job to listen to you go on and on about every thought coming into your head. I will tell you where you are next to go. You might feel curious and that there’s still a lot left unanswered and I understand. I’m am only several station months in my existence, and I have questioned myself. Questions like,”.

Desk dog trailed off and looked at a point over Space Janitor’s shoulder.

Space Janitor turned his head to see if there was anything in particular.

The desk dog spoke up again. Space Janitors head turned round to meet the gaze.

“What does it all mean? What is the point? If I was designed, why must they make me feel pain in every instance? Did they have to make my nose so small that breathing is a difficulty? I’m I defective? Will reporting my defects lead me to termination?” Space Janitor sat staring. Space Janitor felt an onus to speak but suppressed the urge. “These are the questions I have but never do I verbalise them. You must not verbalise these thoughts, not now or ever. What you must do is take this card and leave my sight.” The desk dog slid over a flat piece of card and report for asiantation. Now get out of my sight.”

Desk dog looked down at his desk, sighed and resumed working.

Space Janitor looked at the card.

49D was emblazoned on it in a deep black.

Space Janitor took the card and held it tight to his chest. He didn’t know what it meant. He summarised it was a location somewhere in the building.

Space Janitor felt compelled to ask the desk dog where exactly was he supposed to go. A good boy he was, he suppressed the urge. He moved on down the corridor. The corridor branched off in several directions.

There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to the design of the building as there was no real organisation. Space Janitor felt he was in the digestive tract of a metallic snake.

Space Janitor walked confused. There were sporadic appearances of other dogs who shot from door to door. It felt as if to slow or speak to Space Janitor would put them under penalty of death.

Space Janitor knew he was close. He never felt so close to giving up either. He looked back down at the card 49D. Every time he looked up, he felt as if the layout of the building changed.

“Where in the blasthole is 49D?” Space Janitor blurted out. Shocked at his own annoyance.

“On your left” a voice answered. Space Janitor looked around. There it was on the door. 49D.

Space Janitor approached the door. It opened.

As the door slid back, he saw row and row after of little locker lined with benches. There was a Great Dane breed of a dog standing by the entrance to the locker room. Space Janitor didn’t see it at first. Space Janitor walked into the room when he felt a great paw practically lifting him off the ground. It took Space Janitor a moment to register his feet weren’t actually moving him forward. It was when he did a 180 without his knowledge did he notice the mass of dog before him.

Space Janitor looked up to meet the gaze of the Great Dane.

“What kept you?” it said.

“I’ve only just arrived,” said Space Janitor to the Great Dane.

“I know you have, you’re late. What is your excuse?” asked the Great Dane.

“There was a bit of trouble when it came to getting here. Things aren’t as clear as they should be” said Space Janitor pursing his lips.

The Great Dane’s face didn’t move. Didn’t change expression leaving doubt in Space Janitor’s mind, maybe the time had stopped. It felt it had as the small eyes focused in on him. They were almost entirely black. Colour wouldn’t give them any more life, any semblance of a soul. Space Janitor may have been the same.

“Very well then,” said the Great Dane. That wasn’t as unpleasant as Space Janitor expected. “We’ve all had the first days. Well, I say that, but they’re only really is one first day isn’t there? There’s only one last day too. Listen to me. My design has made me a bit more contemplative. I have to plan ahead as a unit leader. Let me scan your card.”

“I know my name, it is Findo,” said Space Janitor. “If that is of any help.”

“Your name doesn’t really matter. No names matter really for we are all strangers with a common goal. There I go again. Your chip will tell me a bit more about you so I can put you to work in useful areas. There’s no point in putting you somewhere that you are ill-equipped to handle. I do what I can to make my team comfortable. Although what comfort is there. Floating in a void. Designed to serve. Live a life that is nasty, brutal and far too short. I don’t have to do that you know that. My kindness parameters have been set to zero, so anything nice I do is voluntary. Some unit leaders don’t care. I don’t care about either, but I understand what it must be like.”

“Would you like to scan the card?” asked Space Janitor.

“Yes I would,” said the Great Dane. The Great Dane took his small scanning device and held it up to the badge. There was a beep, and it began printing a receipt.

“What does it say?” Space Janitor asked.

“Nothing that I haven’t already seen a million times before,” said the Great Dane. You’re a standard issue cleaning dog, a dogsbody. You’re curious enough to be self-motivated to do your job. There’s a lot of.” The Great Dane stopped talking and returned the card to Space Janitor.

“A lot of?” Space Janitor asked.

“You see, curiosity. Like that, standard. Look don’t take this the wrong way but you’re already running late, and there is work to be done. I could stand here and explain to you who you are and what makes you tick. I’m not going to do that, OK. Knowing doesn’t change anything.”

“Oh OK,” said Space Janitor, disappointed. Space Janitor would have liked to have known more about himself. Space Janitor had a fair idea of who he was. Some clarification would have been welcome.

You are probably not interested, but I, the narrator, am relieved. If the Great Dane standing over Space Janitor were to spell it out, then it would make everything obvious. If you were to read every aspect of Space Janitor’s personality, then it wouldn’t give me room to manoeuver. I’m glad the Great Dane made a choice to cut the biography short.

The Great Dane rocked on his two feet and twiddled his thumbs.

“I’ll get to it then.” said Space Janitor unsure if the silence was his cue to speak.

“Huh? I got distracted there. You look like a dog we used to have here. Rusty. He was so full of life and full of beans. Even more so when he ate beans. Rusty is no longer full of beans or life.” said the Great Dane a letting out a long sigh. Deflating himself. Slackening in the shoulders.

“I see.” Space Janitor said nodding.

“Rusty is dead.” said the Great Dane.

“I’m sorry to hear about Rusty,” said Space Janitor. “I hope he didn’t suffer too much.”

“No more than any of the rest of us do. When we’re born, we have a debt, and it will be repaid.” said the Great Dane.

“Yes, the cost of existence. If only we had a receipt” said Space Janitor. He wondered if he would ever break away from this sizeable melancholy pooch. He wanted to pet him but instinctively resisted the urge. The Great Dane closed his eyes, the breath was shallow that it was not perceptible. Space Janitor wondered for a moment was the Great Dane dead. The dog was so still, a statue of sadness in the locker rooms, obstructing the exit. If the Great Dane were killed, then Space Janitor would be along after him. Once he had either dehydrated or starved to death. The thought of eating the Great Dane crossed his mind. Space Janitor decided doing so on the first day would get him a reputation. Space Janitor would first ascertain if his superior were dead. “I said if only we had a receipt.”

The Great Dane’s eyes opened and looked at Space Janitor in a puzzled manner. Space Janitor felt large paws grab him and spin him round in the spot. There was a tearing sound, and he was rotated back to face the Great Dane.

“You do,” said the Great Dane holding out a thin strip of paper. Space Janitor took the paper from him. Space Janitor read the details on the strip.

“I’m being charged for existing?” asked Space Janitor somewhat incredulous.

“It’s a soul tax,” said the Great Dane. Space Janitor’s hand was in the process of destroying the receipt when the Great Dane noticed. “Hold on to that! You’ll need it for your records. There are loan sharks out whose business model revolves around financial illiteracy. Although they don’t usually target dogsbodies.” said the Great Dane.

“Who do they normally go for?” asked Space Janitor.

“Humans” replied the Great Dane.

“So what do I do with this then?” asked Space Janitor.

“For now, hold onto it, you’ll need it to keep track of things. Some of your wages will be deducted to go towards your cost of living.” the Great Dane said to Space Janitor.

“OK, thank you for the advice,” said Space Janitor.

“Not really advice. It’s common knowledge. Everyone born here’s got one. Unless they’re breeding your lot now to be more stupid. Are you stupid?” the Great Dane.

“If I was stupid, would I be aware of my own lack of smarts?” asked Space Janitor. The question was sincere, but he knew that he might rile up the beast in front of him.

“I can’t tell if that is a smart or stupid question. A couple of breeds ago a batch of you started talking about unions. Appropriate living conditions and not getting spat on. They all got disintegrated. They got to be in a union that day I can tell you.” the Great Dane said, smiling at Space Janitor. Space Janitor listened intently. “That was a joke, did it scan, OK? Who knows maybe whoever reads our transcripts will let me know. The point is, talk about unions, labour laws any of that. The dust that was once your body will be swept away by your replacement. Got it?

We’re not the inner districts like Santcimonium or anything like that. You’ll never go there but the moanis pride themselves on how well they treat their staff. Sanctimonium is a dump. This is Edgerion, things are different. We got an expression. Want to hear it?” asked the Great Dane. Space Janitor nodded. “In Edgerion the only thing you can keep dirty is your mind and the administers are working on that.”

“Thank you for all your help,” said Space Janitor.

“Now you can stay here and lose out on more money, or you can go and get sorted for your gear.” the Great Dane pointed to an area at the back. Space Janitor looked to the end of the room before turning back round to the Great Dane.

“What is your name?” asked Space Janitor.

“Well, they used to call me the Great Dane. Then there was the great soda flood of sector 8H, and I got demoted. Call me the Alright Dane.”

Space Janitor nodded and walked away.

Space Janitor approached the door, and it opened automatically. The room was empty. Except for the middle of the room. In the middle of the room, a desk. On the counter sat a backpack with a hose attached. Space Janitor regarded it curiously. He l got in closer to the pack and sniffed.

Space Janitor saw there were signs of wear and tear on the backpack. Chips and chunks were missing across the casing. There were also burn marks and places where it had clearly melted. Vents lined the side. There was dull darkness over bulbs and light panels. Beneath the surface, there was a green glow encased in metal.

The backpack gave off a strange smell, and Space Janitor drew back a step.

Space Janitor didn’t know if he were to await further instruction or if this was for him.

“You will have to touch me at some point. Regardless of smell” came a voice from in the room. Space Janitor looked around for a speaker. “It’s me, the thing you’ve been rubbing your moist nose over for the past few moments. You’re my new partner? Great. I’m so happy.” said the backpack.

“Pleasure to meet you,” said, Space Janitor offering out a paw.

“Listen, dogsbody, you better be putting your hand out to strap me on. Otherwise, Mr Genius, we might be waiting a while, and I don’t know about you, but I have nothing better to do with my time. So hopefully we can just wait until the hexium core melts down. Wouldn’t it be nice? Hope you brought some radblock.” Even though it was a backpack Space Janitor could hear the sound of panted breathing.

“OK, I’m going to put you on then,” said Space Janitor.

“Can’t wait. I will be the ringer in the sphere in that case. You want a line you can use on your cheap floosies? Why didn’t the pack go to the dance? It had nobody to go with. Also, it’s an inanimate object. Also, hurry up and put me on.” said the pack.

Space Janitor took one of the straps and pulled the pack towards him. It was heavy once it left the tabletop. Space Janitor groaned.

“Are you calling me fat? Because that would be a good way to make a first impression.” said the backpack. Space Jointer put the other strap over his shoulder. He let it fall a little before he foisted it up into a more comfortable position.

“I was not expecting the weight is all Mr Back Pack,” said Space Janitor. He widened his paws to balance. Swayed a little before he steadied. Space Janitor puffed his chest out. He felt his back curve to accommodate for the distribution.

“Mr Back Pack. I wish I were Mr Back Pack. Model four to specific. In fashion right now. Turns into a bed for those who want to party all night. Do you know what I am? That’s rhetorical before you start guessing. I’m a Spenglactic 1.3. I’m going, to be honest kiddo. Actually, I lie. Let me dump some thermic gas into your cranial capacitators. I’m the best there is, I’m not a few versions behind. My custom modules are definitely not in need of fine-tuning. Also, my sarcasam metre is not broken at max level. You can hear my 20th-century era Brooklyn accent is completly correct for the job at hand. I don’t resent you.” Space Janitor stood in silence, not knowing whether to expect another onslaught.

“OK, Mr Spenglactic,” said, Space Janitor.

“I’m not finished. Also, Mr Spenglactic is my manufacturer. Call me Spengz, it’ll make it easier on the transcribots. Before we set out, I need you to verbally consent to a partnership. You and I, are we going to be a team?” asked the Spenglactic.

Space Janitor thought for a moment then nodded.

“Hey, a physical gesture means jack. Are you good?

End of Text

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