After button -pushing the bell of my first client of the day, the routine of the workday is officially underway. I walk away from their door while leaving behind two work buckets on the front stoop of the house. Why – because, I have more tools to get from the van whose side bears the image of a big, orange fish. I clean aquariums. People enjoy looking at them. Touching them – not so much.
Glancing back to the front door, I notice that it still remains shut. As a tightening of the lips leads to a frown creeping across my face, I snag another bucket along with a cooler bearing today’s new pets (yes, fish) to be introduced to the client’s tank. The building frustration is quickly released after slamming shut the back doors of the company vehicle. “Get tanked!” is staring at me from the back windows. And, NOW, I smile. Too early to really get tanked though.
I ascend the stairs once again, then sit the cooler and bucket next to the others. I wisely place them away from a possible swinging open action of a screen door. The Fish Guy has arrived ready for work. But first – did the doorbell do its job?
Yeah, still no answer.
After giving it a longer and harder press, I listen more closely this time for the sound going off inside the home. “Ding” – yup, that’s what I heard before: A ding without a dong.
Pulling it halfway out of my pocket, I glance quickly at my phone. Looking back at me is 10:15am, which means: I’m right on time. Unfortunately, this is not the first tardy from this particular client. In fact, from past visit experiences, I already know that I need to make sure that she is not simply sleeping inside, despite the late morning arrival time on a weekday. After opening the screen door, I deliver a hard rapping: knock-knock-knock on the wooden front door. Once again, I patiently wait. Still nothing.
I whip my phone out entirely from my pocket this time. After punching in the puzzling text of “Fish guy has arrived, but nobody is answering.” I hit return to send it off to the MIA client. Minutes begin zooming by and I’m fully engrossed within a sports article via the NHL app. The riveting lines of hockey playoff talk are soon invaded with the screen of an incoming caller. It’s her. My client is obviously not home. I answer.
“Hey, this is Brent.”
“Hi, are you having trouble finding me?”
Shaking my head sadly since I’ve been to this home every month for the past year and a half, “No.” Pregnant pause. “I’m on your front step.”
“Oh. You’re not on your way?” is promptly questioned back to me.
“No. I’m still here on your front step.” I really didn’t know how else to explain it. For some reason, I add, “I could snap a picture of the front door and text that to you?” I cringe slightly in fear of that “offer” being taken as an insult.
On the other end, her pause had twins. Oh man, I pushed it too far. “Well.” Another of her dramatic pauses. “I’m not home yet since you’re a little early for our 10:15am appointment.”
What?!? I’m about to explain the current moment now being 10:30am, but choose to set aside that time-suck of a disagreement.
She continues, “My daughter is actually home, so just go on in.”
“Just go on in?” I quick quiz back.
She insists, “Yes – just go on in. You know, college kids, they sleep all day. Besides, I left the front door unlocked when I ran out to the mall. Just go in and do your thing.”
“Thanks.” Phone call ends and I start gathering up my buckets and equipment. I do know college kids and at that very moment didn’t really give another thought to the daughter’s non-answer of the multiple doorbell rings and cop knocking routine.
Once again, the screen door is tugged open, but is now propped with one of my buckets. After gripping the handle of the front door, I then swing it wide. As I typically do whenever I enter a person’s home, I begin my announcement of “Fish Guy has arrived.” However, the only released word is the first one – “Fish” – and that probably came out as a mere mumble.
Why? Because as I stood in the foyer area, the steps leading upstairs sent down the moaning delights of a woman. The daughter is most definitely home. AND – assuming from the rhythmic male-sounding grunts, she is getting plowed by who I can only assume is her boyfriend or, at least, “friend” for that given moment.
Frozen in place, I can only cringe and wince to each groaning, delight-filled sound. Besides the intense skin-slapping beats, the squeaking of the bed springs leaves me assuming that there is quite a game of “bounce” occurring. Also, the bed must be a little too close to the wall. It’s probably in need of repair by now – new drywall altogether? The yelps of joy are getting faster and happy times are rapidly approaching for both individuals. In turn, I shut my gaping mouth and slowly back myself out onto the front porch. With nerves slightly frazzled, I am able to quietly pull the door shut behind me.
I just stand there, staring out to the street with the front door at my back and the knowledge of sex-filled bliss still occurring one floor up. What the hell am I going to do now? Pacing around, I come to the conclusion to send out a text to the client: “Door’s actually locked” is shot off. No sports article reading this time as I simply pace about awaiting a response, which of course feels like an eternity.
Panic creeps in as I remember that the door is not actually locked, since I merely pulled it shut. What am I going to do? As I begin game planning how to get the door officially locked, the phone buzzes out a text response: “Just spoke with my daughter and she’s coming to the door now to let you in.”
Damn. I type back, “Thanks.”
As I remain standing there in silence, I can only imagine the daughter replicating a stance on the other side while staring at the unlocked door and then fearing what I know, which is what I actually do know.
The door creeps open and it’s the daughter. She is simply wearing a Five Finger Death Punch concert tee (upstair dude’s attire – it just has to be), while bearing hair that is pointing in every love-tugged direction.
“Hi.” I hold up my hand as if offering peace or something. “Fish guy here.” I force a fake smile, but it’s a friendly one. “Good band.” I point.
Following the direction of my finger, she looks down to the shirt and then blushes and merely nods with wide open eyes.
Yup – she definitely knows that I know. Therefore, I make the next move and perform the act of opening the screen door to officially let myself in.
After slowly backing up to clear some space, she barely whispers out, “Is there anything you need from me?”
Now, I really do feel bad about the awkward situation at hand, but I so want to answer with, “Whatever he got, because it sounded amazing!” Instead though, I kindly respond, “No, I’m good. Are you?” And obviously, I know she’s all good now.
After giving off a half smile along with an odd looking wave, she twirls around to quickly head back up the stairs, which is when I notice a t-shirt is the only article of clothing she managed to throw on.
Not meaning to sneak a peek, I quickly look away to the walls of the house, which I forget are covered with paintings that show “routines” that might have been replicated upstairs just minutes ago. It’s a very sensual house. ANYWAY – we are finally headed our separate ways: Me to the family room which houses the aquarium and her to the bedroom which holds more clothes and her undoubtedly tired (but maybe sleeping) boyfriend.
My cleaning routine unfolds and I’m moving along swiftly because I want to leave this house as soon as I possibly can. With my type of job, I’m left alone a lot to simply do my work. In turn, I get the opportunity to listen to podcasts, music, books, anything. Typically, one ear is filled with the sounds being sent to my bluetooth earpiece and I thoroughly enjoy these times.
I am blitzing through the cleaning and am very pleased with myself – final aquascaping work is being made with my elbow deep in tank water when suddenly . . . I feel eyes. A couple sets of them are burrowing a hole into the back of my head. With the one dry hand, I pop out the single earpiece and slowly turn back around. Sure enough, there they BOTH are . . . sitting on the couch. Dude is awake and he got his concert tee back from his girl’s “quick & cover appearance” from earlier. Of course, she now has on full attire and hair that’s pulled back into one of those scrunchie things. Whether the dynamic duo is dressed or not, I really don’t care at this point, as my internal voice screams: Why don’t you people just stay away from me until I leave?!
Before I can even find my “nice” words, I’m thrown the question, “So – how long have you been doing this?”
Internal voice is having a conniption at this point – Oh my God, they want to converse like nothing has happened? Begrudgingly, I play along with a response to the boyfriend’s interview. “About 14 years,” I blah out.
“Whoa – and you get paid money for it?” he spikes back at me.
“I do.” Internally, I’m not so kind with the two words that I want to enunciate loudly. My eyes focus more and I volley back, “Oh – you like Five Finger Death Punch like her?” I do the pointing action like I did with the daughter earlier.
The boy wonder looks down, then back up with the same blank look. Meanwhile, she gets it, reddens, and embarrassingly looks off to the side.
Disgusted with the IQ-challenged boy sitting before me, I take the show back to basic interview mode, “So, what do you get paid to do?”
Nonchalantly, the guy banters back, “Oh – I don’t work.”
Feeling a joker-like smile crossing my face, I continue with the one-word stumper of a question, “School?”
With a shrug, I receive “Nah – I’m still trying to figure it all out.”
Realizing that I have a not-so-bright wingnut on my hands, it’s now me that wants for this conversation to carry on. Unfortunately, we’re interrupted with “Brent?” as the front door opens.
Really? Where else would I be – certainly not upstairs (ha.) In the direction of the foyer area, I answer, “Uh – I’m in here . . . with the fish tank.”
In what doesn’t appear to be “shopping attire” but instead “workout attire” of a sports bra and leggings, the client enters the room while questioning aloud, “I really thought I left that front door unlocked.” After one of her typical pauses, she states a question in full discovery mode, “Maybe you were opening it the wrong way?”
There is zero allowance for a response from me as the chatter goes on, “But – I’m so glad that Trish was here to let you in.” The mom (Vicky – since names are being learned) hip swivels towards the couch and promptly appears surprised to not just see her innocent daughter, but the couple sitting there. “Oh Tommy . . . when did you get here?”
That question just hung in the air for what felt like forever. In fact, I probably could have finished the tank cleaning and walked out. Instead, with my one arm still damp – and cleaning sponge in hand – I greedily take in the moment and join in on the stare towards the glowing couple. Knowing what I obviously know, the daughter (let’s now call her Trish the Dish) hesitates slightly before answering . . . and it’s a lie, “He just got here, Mom, and the door was locked.”
Oh snap – a double lie – all within the same sentence.
Thinking (poor choice) that he should help with the telling of the tale, Tommy chimes in nervously, “Yes, ma’am. I just got here.”
Internal monologue goes into overdrive: Oh vomit, did he really just use “ma’am”? He should just go ahead and admit to the sexual escapade that he put her daughter through.
The last muttering part of Tommy Boy’s “I just got here” hangs out awkwardly as if his zipper was still down.
With a hip swung out to the side while showing off the slightest sway, Vicky stands before them and casually eyes up the couple. I’m getting the sinking feeling that she now knows, too. Saying “ma’am” just gave it away. Plus, the “Vickster” (sorry, they’re all getting nicknames now) is a very sexual individual herself. From her past escapades of answering the door in a “Stacy’s Mom” towel (remember that earlier picture) to the naked artwork on the house walls (also mentioned earlier), sex is in the air. In fact – since the bed-bouncing was less than an hour ago, the air probably has a lingering sniff to anyone just entering the house and no – it was NOT the fish tank.
At this point, I’m packing up all my stuff, because I have no idea where this is going, but I do know that I would like to go outside immediately.
“Do you need any help?” Tommy wants out, too, as he stands up from the couch and steps towards my buckets.
I flash a hand up to halt any help my way, “Thanks, bud, but I’m good.” It took me two trips to carry everything in, but I can certainly handle it all leaving if it means I can reach the “Get Tanked” van faster. I should have a fridge in that ride with some “getting tanked” beverage.
“Oh Brent – do you really have to go?” Vicky almost pleads.
Alright, that’s weird. I confusingly answer with a question, “But the tank is done?”
“Oh, well yes.” Her type of typical pause. “It just seems,” another beat, “like you just got here.”
“Nope. I’m done.” I’m not beating around the bush – I’m going for it. Okay, maybe not really.
“Well, thank you so much for coming out.” Vicky walks towards me and then offers, “Let me hold the door for you.”
As she brushes by me (and she does), there’s undoubtedly a heavy perfumed scent left behind on my arm, shoulder, back – geez, how much did she brush?
My mind jumbles up from the tic-toc swing of her hips in front of me. With two buckets in one hand and the other bucket and cooler in the other, I walk forward and just push my head upwards where the eyes find it. A Camera. Then . . . another one. I stop.
“Did you forget something?” Noticing my pause, Vicky steps towards me – was that seductively?
Geez – this visit can’t end fast enough. After setting down two of the buckets, I inquire with my favorite directional finger, “Is that a security system? Are those cameras recording anything?”
Looking back over her shoulder to the foyer area, Vicky sees and appears to be on the same page with me. What page she was on just moments before, I have no idea. “Why – they ARE recording!”
I smile – broadly. “Rewind those tapes and you’ll see if that door was locked or not.”
Trish gasps, but her beetle brain of a boy toy doesn’t, “Uh, you’re showing your age, bro.”
I don’t even turn to face him. “Really?” is said incredulously aloud.
“Yeah, there aren’t any tapes anymore . . . it’s all digital now.”
“Thanks Tommy.” It’s my turn to brush past Vicky. “Have fun looking over those digital recordings with the Vickster, here.”
Whoops – that slipped out.
Client giggles – “Vickster – I haven’t heard that since college.”
I’m not going there, so I choose not to turn around for her either. “I’ll see you all next month.”
“You will?” Tommy is still conversing!
“Shut up, Tommy.” Trish hushes in a weak attempt at squelching down her guy’s babble.
Matter of factly, I state, “Well, after the viewing party – maybe not.”
“What viewing party?” he puzzles to me.
“Bye everyone!” I shut the door and nearly break into a full out sprint for the van. Also, the door is still unlocked.