by Janelle Ward

Here are the specifications for your work uniform. The top must be 75 percent cotton and 25 percent spandex. The color must be white. You are required to wear a bra. The pants must be 50 percent cotton and 50 percent spandex. You may choose blue or grey. You are not required to wear undergarments. Footwear is supplied; you indicated your shoe size and width at the intake interview. Footwear is open toed. You are required to get a pedicure once a week. The cost of the pedicure will be added to your monthly paycheck. You are required to bring your own latex gloves. Three pairs per session are recommended.

You must arrive at 12pm. The time is non negotiable. Sync your arrival with the clock tower of the church next door. When you turn the key in the lock, the bells of the church must be ringing. This is the key to the front door. The key opens the top lock and the bottom lock. Turn the top lock to the right. Turn the bottom lock to the left. Do not lose the key. If you lose it, you will need to attend a disciplinary hearing.

This is the kitchen. All granite surfaces must be cleaned with Seventh Generation Natural Wild Orange & Cedar Spice Kitchen. All stainless steel surfaces should be cleaned with baby oil. Then they must be buffed with a damp towel. If you are unfamiliar with this process there is a how-to video on YouTube. The baby oil is not a written requirement, but experience shows that he particularly appreciates this touch.

Floor cleaning follows the standard: vacuum then mop. There are a few additions. It is necessary to change the vacuum bag after each session. Extra vacuum bags are in the closet in the main hallway, third shelf on the right. They are labeled according to date purchased. Always use the oldest bags first. Throw the used bag out with the regular trash. Ensure that no dust or waste escapes onto the clean floor. If dust or waste escapes you need to vacuum the entire house again. Sometimes mopping may be more rigorous than normal. You may need to repeat the process several times. Whatever the state of the floors, you must dispose of the mop after each use. Do not throw it in the trash. Take it with you and throw it in a dumpster. The dumpster must be outside a four block radius of the house. If you forget, you will need to attend a disciplinary hearing. You must purchase and bring the replacement mop with you each day. He prefers Libman’s Freedom Spray Mop. The cost of the mop will be added to your monthly paycheck. Dusting is also standard. There are seven fine art pieces displayed throughout the house. Do not forget to dust the tops of the frames.

You must hum while you clean. You may hum pieces from the following composers: Mozart, Chopin, and Brahms. You may hum pieces in the following keys: C major, A minor, and F sharp minor. Yes, that’s correct. F sharp minor limits you to Mozart’s second movement to his Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major. No, unfortunately Bach is not allowed. If you lapse into humming Bach, you will need to attend a disciplinary hearing.

There are ten video cameras spread throughout the house. Most are mounted on the ceilings. Some are placed inside bookshelves. All are equipped with night vision. Sometimes you will hear a slight buzz as a camera follows your movements. Yes, the cameras are always recording. The red light assures you of this. No, no comment is possible on who or what is monitoring the cameras. Do not look directly at the cameras at any time. If you do, you will need to attend a disciplinary hearing.

This is the bedroom. Here is the bed. The sheets and pillowcases must be stripped and washed at 60 degrees centigrade. They must be dried for precisely 45 minutes then removed promptly and folded. Extra sheets are in the wardrobe, top shelf on the left. Always use the topmost sheets to make the bed. The sheets you have just washed and dried go to the bottom of the pile.

On the left side of the bed there is a nightstand. This belongs to Carrie. On the right side of the bed there is an identical nightstand. This does not belong to Carrie. Carrie is his long-term girlfriend. She does not live with him but stays overnight Mondays and Thursdays. Carrie likes to have the latest copy of the New Yorker in the top drawer. The second drawer holds her vibrator and a paperback of erotic short stories. The third drawer holds three Durex Tropical and Scented Flavored Condoms, a packet of tissues, and lip balm. You may see Carrie occasionally. She is learning French and trying to summon up the courage to visit Paris. Be sure to comment on the fluency of her language skills. Remark about the beauty of Paris, particularly in the springtime.

If the other nightstand has been used when you arrive, you must leave it spotlessly clean. However, its grime is unlikely: its user is schooled in the art of subtlety. The nightstand should be empty except for a small copy of the New Testament in the middle drawer. In the unlikely event that any other personal belongings are left behind, it is your responsibility to remove and dispose of them. Ensure they are not disposed in the same dumpster as the used mop. If you leave anything behind, you will need to attend a disciplinary hearing.

Any questions? No? We wish you the best with this client. We will review your performance in one week.


Janelle is a writer, lecturer, and recent tenure-track deserter. A Minnesota native, she’s spent the last 11 years in the Netherlands, evolving from carnivorous student to vegetarian mama. 
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