Flash Fiction: Going Home

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David Spencer is a hardworking man. All the employees discriminate him because of his appearance. David walks pigeon toe, and his coworkers gossip behind his back because of the way he saunters around the workplace. His white-collar employees think that they are more superior than him because David is a janitor. He cleans an entire building that consists of offices, lobbies, and bathrooms. David works from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. and somedays it can be very exhausting. He often goes to the doctors’ office to get daily check-ups. He doesn’t have a car and catches a taxi or walks to the subway station if David makes it on time. The employees purposely trash the floor to see him work harder. They scold him down if their offices aren’t clean correctly. David is 73 years old and loves his job. David lives in a small one bedroom apartment. He is alone and misses his wife who passed away from cancer two years ago. One time David went to work on his birthday and was full of happiness, so he greeted the employees. They ignored him, and one employee was upset because her trash wasn’t taken out the night before. So, she went up to David and emptied it in front of him. “Next time don’t forget to empty my trashcan!” the young woman said. David frowned and picked up the trash. During his birthday, he had a terrible stomach ache. David fell on his knees and held his stomach. He got back up and told his boss if he could go home for the day because of his stomach pain. His boss was in a bad mood and said, “Who is going to clean all these offices?” David stayed quiet and told him never mind. He went to the vending machines to get Tums for his stomach ache. David chewed three tablets and felt better. Two weeks later, David is at home resting on his couch and receives a phone call from the doctors. “Hello, may I speak to David Spencer?” asked the doctor.
“Yes, this is him?” said David. “We got your blood tests back, and you have been diagnosed with stomach cancer, I am sorry to tell you this, but there is nothing we can do. We have no cure for that sir.”
David holds the phone and smiles, “Maybe that is why I’ve had stomach pains lately.” The doctor makes another appointment for chemotherapy. David agrees.
The next day, David goes to work and can’t stand his stomach pain. He throws up blood and ambles. He doesn’t tell his employees about his sickness because he doesn’t want to worry them. The woman who always gives David a hard time goes up to him and says, “Hey janitor, can you please clean the toilet right because I feel like you don’t do a good job when you clean.” David squints at her with pain in his stomach and says, “Y-y-yes ma-a-am.” She walks away with disgust. By the end of his shift, David’s heart starts to slow down and leaves work thirty minutes early. He is sauntering out the door all alone and falls on the floor in front of his workplace. He looks up to the sky and says, “I’ve been waiting to be with you because you were the only person that was nice to me.” David dies with a smile on his face knowing that he can finally be at peace with his loving wife.

© Daniel Sanchez 2019

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4 comments

  1. Not a happy story, but I relate. I would think David would have some peace since he worked at 3 pm to 1 am. Most employees should have been gone, unless its a 24/7 working office. A doctor giving bad news over the phone needs some training in compassion. Too bad that describes some real doctors today. Tums in the vending machine? I wouldn’t eat the food in that office!

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