There are certain groups of people I tend not to ridicule if at all possible. Gays, people with disabilities and the mentally retarded are clusters that I tend to spare any derision. We’re not at the point where we can mock these groups without being bullied into a false apology by interest groups and in turn are scorned for life by the heralds of social media. However, once these groups achieve full equality, it’s game on. I’m looking forward to that day. Thanks to the civil rights movement and Kanye, we Negroes have finally been accepted into the mainstream and are no longer “special interest groups.” It’s a wonderful thing.
Today, however, the folks with the disabilities have it coming. Well, one in particular: Jackie Marsden, whom I’ve dubbed “the nubby troll.
I hadn’t even met Jackie before I decided I didn’t like her at all. When I woke up this morning, I hastily checked my email to see what orders had come in on my schedule. I had two houses, both in the Cumming area. That meant I had to get up early to make a 30 minute drive. Jackie had special instructions on her order and had sent an email the night before we were scheduled to arrive.
2 of 3 cleaning. All wood floors NO broom!! All surfaces includ closets need to be vacuumed first before damp mop/cleaning otherwise dirt trapped in shine. Mop must also be rinsed in HOT water frequently to eliminate trapped dirt. Plan to clean for full 3 hours. Please dedicate cleaning time to cleaning without distraction (talk on the cellphone or other things). Glass cook top. Thanks
Her tone said A-class beeyotch.
I might have been too quick to judge her. I asked Hillary what she knew about the woman.
“This is her second cleaning,” Hillary said sleepily. “I did her house about 2 weeks ago with Clarice. She was the woman with the nubs. Remember? I told you it looked like something had bit off her hand.”
“Ohhh,” I said nodding. The email was making sense now.
Clarice had joined our staff a month ago. Like many people in our city, she was out of work and was willing to do “anything” to start earning some income again. After cleaning for three weeks, she suddenly fell pregnant and was told by her doctor that she couldn’t do the job anymore. (Which to a woman who has had 4 kids and worked every day until the day they were born is completely laughable.) As it turns out, Clarice’s sister has also been ill for quite some time. While she and Hillary were cleaning Jackie’s home, her sister called and asked if she could pick her up later and take her to the clinic.
“Sure,” Clarice whispered. “As soon as I get off I’ll come get you.”
That was the end of the conversation.
Apparently, it was this 52 second telephone call that had Nubs’ knickers in such an enormous twist, thereby inciting her to send such a foolish email. My morning had already started badly. Stone was angry that I’d woken him and removed his precious, urine soaked pull up. He made his displeasure known by shrieking uncontrollably for the entire ride to daycare. I also had not eaten. It was not the way I wanted my day to start.
When we pulled up to Jackie’s door, she was already standing there. We were supposed to have gotten there at 8:00 am, and had arrived at 8:06. I willed her to say something to me so I could spit at her, but she smiled and greeted us warmly instead. I said an absent “good morning” in response. My attention had been drawn to a moss covered stone monk or saint standing in her flowerbed. He had a strange expression on his face. It made me a little uncomfortable.
I finally got a good look at Jackie’s face when we walked into her house. She had olive colored skin and wiry jet black hair with stray grays darting in and out of the mop settled atop her round head. Her eyebrows were bushy and graying as well. Her voice was warm and inviting, but there was something insincere – and sinister about her face.
“Clarice isn’t with you today?” she asked Hillary, sweetness dripping from her voice.
“Uh uh,” Hillary replied.
There was a moment of awkward silence. Oh! I was supposed to introduce myself.
“I’m Malaka,” I said, mustering a false smile.
“Nice to meet you.”
“Well,” said Hillary. “Let me show you around.”
She led me up the wooden stairs which were covered in brown and opaque fur. The house stank both of the 80 pound beast Jackie called a pet and the remains of his kibbles near the back door. Since we had been instructed to clean without distraction, we went straight to work. Hillary tackled the master bathroom and I cleaned her teenaged girls’ bathroom down the hall. I scrubbed the black ring around the tub with anger and frustration, causing a bottle of shampoo to fall into the tub. It barely missed my head.
“What was that?” Jackie called from downstairs. “Is everything alright?!?”
“Everything is fine,” I replied. “I just dropped the shampoo.”
I went about my duties undisturbed for the next few minutes. Jackie called one of her utility companies and began to complain bitterly about her service. I believe she was kvetching about a router.
“That explanation doesn’t sit well with me,” I heard her say assertively. “I’ve never had the screw come out like this before. Yes – yes I bought a used part, but still…”
What a miserable human being I thought, shaking dog hair from the quilt that was crumpled on the side of the bed in a small bedroom. I dusted carefully, knowing that nothing of substance would come from Jackie’s mouth if it was not a complaint. I didn’t want to be on the receiving end of it. A set of dentures sat on top of a blue applied bible. There were scriptures and ceramic Catholic figurines. On the wall in front of the bed, just at eye level, there was a sticker with a motivational phrase painted on it.
My previous inclination to hold Jackie in contempt suddenly dissipated. She was such a tragic cliché that it wasn’t even worth the effort. Clearly she was stuck in a cycle of self-loathing ,regret and seeking to make others pay for it. According to this poster, Jackie was not disabled because she was missing a limb, but rather because her attitude sucked…and big time. According to this poster, she had the mental capacities of a crayfish. Hillary interrupted my thoughts when she saw me cleaning the room.
“We’re not supposed to do this room,” she whispered somewhat loudly.
“Oh. Well she made it seem like she bought a full house cleaning,” I said nonchalantly.
“Hold on. I’m going to ask her which rooms she wants cleaned. She only gets 6 rooms and 3 ½ bathrooms, if I’m not mistaken.”
Hillary strode off determinately. I kept cleaning to room, already knowing that Jackie was going to croak her way into having it some anyway, despite the fact that she was not entitled to it. I was right.
“I only have 2 ½ bathrooms,” Jackie snarled. “Can’t you substitute one of the bathrooms for a bedroom?”
Of course that’s exactly what we did. What’s the point in arguing with a troll on red alert?
I heard Jackie call up the stairs to us again.
“Hey! I have a vacuum that’s just for wood floors. Do you want me to bring it up to you?”
I looked over the balcony and made eye contact with her. Her voice was pleasant enough, sure…but her face looked like she’d spent the morning sucking on rotting lemons.
“No, no. I’ll come get it,” I offered.
I plugged up the vacuum and drew a sharp breath. A plume of vapor shot out of the back end. It reeked – REEKED – of musty dog. I suffered through the stench for an entire hour. I would have gladly suffered a little longer if it meant I didn’t have to hear Jackie’s mouth. Her phone was ringing off the hook.
“Ugh! All these calls!” she bellyached. “What county do you live in?”
I was ignoring her, so Hillary was forced to answer.
“Well, here in Forsyth, we get these robocalls every time something happens,” she explained. “Like if there is an escaped convict and the police want us to look out. Do you get those?”
“Well, you’re lucky,” Jackie continued. “One time we got a call about a missing child, which is fine…but it was in the middle of the night! My sleep was all messed up after that!”
She shook her head in angst as she recalled the event. I shook my head in disbelief. What an evil whore. If she was any sort of Christian, as her plethora of plaques and posters would lead a stranger to believe, she would be up praying for that lost child, or better yet, out helping to patrol for him in her immediate environs. Somewhere, the Holy Spirit just puked. I was sure of it.
The next hour went on like this, with her attempting to strike up conversation and we only answering where absolutely necessary. As someone who has given many people the silent treatment, I’m sure our passive hostility was not lost on her. Finally, it was time to go. I felt hours of pent up tension leave my shoulders.
“Can I write you a check for the tip? I didn’t go to the ATM today.”
“Sure,” said Hillary. “You can make it out to me.”
Jackie changed her mind suddenly.
“You know what? I’m going to go ahead and go to the ATM. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
We continued mopping while she was gone. I was overcome by the spirit of religion that overshadowed her home. There was no love in this house – only a counterfeit version. This woman and her dark heart mocked Jesus and His sacrifice. Then I was overcome by something much worse. Fleas were jumping on the kitchen counter and disappearing behind medicine bottles. UGH!
When Nub…er, Jackie, finally returned, I was loading up the car and Hillary was mopping the entrance. When she got to the car, she was scowling.
“Here’s your tip,” she said, thrusting a wad of bills at me. I put them in my pocket without looking at them.
“Matter of fact, I don’t even want mines. You can have it!”
“Okay!” I said happily. I didn’t mind a little extra cash.
“You didn’t even look at the tip,” Hillary said darkly. “It’s TWO dollars.
“Wait. What? Each?”
“Yes, girl! She done gave us $2!”
That evil, crusty slattern. She was sending us a message.
“You know what that means, right? She’s calling us a pair of $2 ho’s.”
Hillary’s eyes widened.
“Oh, nuh uh!”
“Oh yes she did girl,” I said, moving the car out of the driveway. “She basically told us we could suck her ‘Richard’.”
I felt ill. I wanted to throw the money out of the window, but I’m too miserly. I put the car in drive. Distance. I needed as much distance between me and this woman as possible. But the little handicapped troll wouldn’t allow that, would she? In my side mirrors I saw her chasing us down the street.
“My vaccum???” she screeched.
“It’s in the living room!” I yelled.
“I didn’t see it,” she huffed.
“Then it’s in the bonus room!”
Did this $2 tipping wench really think we wanted her stankin’ vacuum? She motioned for us to wait while she went to look. Sure enough, it was right by the door, where I’d left it.
“I see it!” she said, waving her arm that had a hand attached. The she looked around and rubbed her arms, warding off a chill in the air. “Is it supposed to be cold all day?”
F*** you!! I said inwardly. All you do is complain! Audibly, however, I told her it was supposed to warm up to 83 degrees and to have a good day.
Don’t you hate people that complain all the time? Do you have someone on your job that you just want to PUNCH IN THE MOUTH just so you won’t have to listen to all that bull? I know you do. Come on. Let’s imagine it together. Ready?