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'Cleanside' by Kurt Weller - Part 0001


The problem was always waking up early enough to get the shower warm enough. I hated getting up in the morning, I still do and luckily l haven't had to for quite some time, having worked swing shift now for almost ten years. My room was small and crowded with all of the usual adolescent fetish items: white boxes of comic books with accompanying posters hung on the wall by my favorite artists, record albums and tapes in wooden crates next to my dresser next to my ghetto blaster.

It was five forty five when the alarm first announced the morning, six when it went off again and six twenty five before I finally woke up. My mother used to hate my pushing the snooze button and would frequently yell at me from her and my father's bedroom across the hall.

The setting will be winter because that was the time of the year which I found most memorable. Those three winters during that two and a half year period cemented everything that winter would ever mean to me. It hasn’t changed over the past fifteen years and I long for those winter mornings more than anything.

There was something romantic about sitting in my beat down old car in the Saint Mary’s parking lot on a Sunday morning before the sun came out. The engine would be running smoothly, blasting heat onto my feet as I would wait for Rich to show up. Even though I usually pushed the limit on leaving home in the morning I was still somehow usually one of the first people to get to work. The first schoolboy at least.

The dayshift called us the Dishroom Homos. I sort of walked into the job on the first day labeled a Dishroom Homo, and so I figured that the term must have been a running joke for several years before I had even begun working. For some reason we were severely disliked by the full timers, or lifers, as we called them. As I think back on it all I can understand why they disliked us so. We were loud, obnoxious, chronically tardy and disobedient, rarely showed up in uniform and rarely showed any of our elders the respect that they deserved. Had I to do it all over again I would have been much more polite, would have started some sort of savings program and would have tried to keep the job throughout my university career, perhaps having by then made a connection with someone at the hospital that could have gotten me a job in my field while I was still studying it.

I didn't, however, and though it would have been the smart thing to do, I doubt that it would have been remotely as entertaining.

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