Short Story: Broom of Destruction

Ann paced the room looking over every crevice of the hard wood floor. She has already gone by ten times ten.
“My God Ann, the floor can’t get any cleaner.”
“I’ll tell you when it’s clean.” A beetle emerged from a crack and walked defiantly on the newly cleaned floor.
“You see. You see. I can’t turn around for one second without it all going to hell!”
Philip rolled his eyes as his wife went to get the broom, jumped on the bug hitting it with all her might, and then frantically swept the floor after the bug has been smashed into oblivion.
“So we aren’t going out tonight?”
“There is too much to do, too much to do.”
Philip grabbed his coat from the rack.
“Well I’m going out.”
“Fine. Fine. Fine.”
“I love you.” She couldn’t hear him. Her sweeping is too loud. He looked down and closed the door softly.
“The floor is dirty. The floor is always so dirty. Why is it never clean?”
She went to the kitchen brought out the floor cleaners, mops and buckets. She put on her long yellow gloves and scrubbed, cleansed, disinfected, mopped, dried, washed, dried the floor three times over.
“Well.” She stood up. “That’s a good start.”
She lost track of time. It might have been hours, minutes, or just seconds. The floor is what matters. She carefully observes every dent, nook and cranny with a magnifying glass, one of the nightly inspections a bare minimum of what to look over. It would usually be more if her husband didn’t stop to talk to her.
The door flies open. “Mommy! You won’t believe what happened!” Her daughter twirls across the floor. Her black hair spinning in slow motion with her dazzling smile at its peak as Anne’s eye widen to the size of a panicked animal.
“Get off the floor Mariah! I just cleaned it!”
Mariah tiptoed to the carpet.
“Oh mommy would you give it a rest? I have some spectacular news.” Mariah held out her hand a giant diamond ring sits on it.
“Do you see it? Do you see it mommy. Oh happy day!”
“It’d be happier with an un-scuffed floor.” Anne muttered to herself.
“Ronald finally purposed! We’re getting married! Isn’t it wonderful?” Anne busied about looking at the floor muttering curses that she didn’t have a floor scrubber.
“Did you hear me? I said I was getting married.”
“Yea. Yea. Yea. I heard you. Go to your room I have to clean the mess you’ve made.”
Mariah lowered her hand seeing that her mother didn’t hear her. She silently made her way to her room with her head hung low.
“That daughter of mine will be the death of me look at the mess she made. Twirling about like a damn ballerina, the floor is no place to be dancing.”
She picked up her broom and started sweeping.
“So messy. So. So. Messy.” She kept repeating tisking and turning in circles.
The door burst opened with three grown men wrestling and laughing.
“We’re home mother! Back from college, it’s been a long trip.”
They were all covered in mud. It broke off in chunks and scattered across the gleaming floor. Before their mother could protest they surrounded her for one giant hug. Ann squirmed as her son’s collective stink pressed against her.
“Uhh. You boys are so unclean.”
“Oh mom, still the same. Where’s dad?”
“He stepped out.” Mariah whizzed down the stairs.
“James! John! Gerald!”
“Mariah! Little sister!” They all ran to greet each other, all smiles and laughs.
“What’s new?”
“I just got engaged!”
“To Ronald!”
“No. I always knew he was going to do it sometime. Let’s celebrate! Get out the best wine! Turn on the music. Let’s dance till we can’t stand!”
The music played. Wine was opened and they danced and sang. Anne was turning red with anger.
“Stop it!” Anne yelled, but none of them paid attention.
“Stop it!” She went over and turned off the music. The dancing stopped.
“You miserable ungrateful children, can’t you do anything without dirtying the floor? I clean and clean and clean, but not one thank you from you pack of ingrates. I don’t ask for much.” She stood clutching her breast. “Just that you keep the floor clean and you can’t even do that. You refuse to day after day, hour after hour. I clean and it’s like you don’t even hear me!” They all stood silently.
“Well hear me.” They all turned around. Their father was standing by the door.
“You kids go out. I need to talk to your mother.” They all shuffled out the back door. He stood with intensity in his eyes, red from alcohol. His nostrils flared from years of pent up aggression finally being let out.
“All you care about is that stupid floor! So what if it gets dirty it’ll always get dirty. Why can’t you accept it? Years have gone by and all you do is clean and not once do you lift your head for anyone or anything but to get more sanitizer, more soap, more cleaner. How clean must a floor be before you can live?”
Anne walked toward her broom, but he snatched it before she could pick it up.
“Let me clean Jack. There’s a lot of cleaning to do.”
“No! Let it be dirty. I have more to say. I got drunk tonight, real drunk. I was considering having an affair a real good one. Take ten or twenty women and have a good old fashioned roman orgy. I don’t mind if I had to pay. But I said no. There is still a woman I love at home. Even though she loves this broom more than she loves me. There’s something I have to do.”
He put a cigarette in his mouth.
“It’s the broom that’s the problem.” He lit it on fire with his lighter. He lights his cig from the burning broom takes a deep drag, heavy ash falls. Anne’s eyes explode from her face.
“No! No! No!”
“I love you baby.”
Jack throws the broom like a javelin through the living room window. It burned like a blazing arrow till it was nothing but timber, then ash to be taken with the wind.


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