A Good Job

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Harvey the janitor attends his daughter's Career Day.


Three years, three weeks, three days until retirement.

Harvey nudged the broom along the deserted hallway. Bits of candy wrappers and pencil stubs--the usual waste left by students after digesting a day’s education--huddled together in the bristles like a nervous quarry. 

A veteran of his profession, Harvey had long since adapted to his uncouth reputation. The snide remarks of students (You missed a spot, dummy!), the perfunctory end-of-year THANK YOU card from the principal (Our school wouldn’t be the same without you!), and the indifference from the teachers (with the exception of the occasional flowery sorry-the-students-made-such-a-mess-today-you’re-the-best-for-cleaning-it-up speeches).

 Today, though, had been particularly trying; today had been Career Day. 

Every year, parents of fourth graders were invited in to discuss their careers with the class. To Harvey, it seemed like a vulgar display of bank accounts. Yet another enforcement of the status quo, as if the Hydro Flasks and Herschel backpacks weren’t enough. But, like the mild annoyance of a canker sore, he usually ignored it. 

This year, though, Claira was in fourth grade. 

“You must come,” Mrs Smith insisted. “Claira would be delighted for you to join us.”

It was a lose-lose situation. If he didn’t attend, Claira would be the only one without representation. But if he did…. Well, when he’d walked into the classroom at one o’clock that afternoon, the mangled expression on his daughter’s face was far from anything he would call ‘delighted’. 

“Claira, won’t you introduce your father?”

Face raw as a skinned peach, Claira trudged to the front of the room. 

“This is my dad.” The words were forced through her lips, turning like rusty cogs from a timeworn clock. “He’s the school janitor.”

Chittering from the students. 

Mrs Smith stepped in. “Won’t you tell us about your job, Mr Lowe?”

“He cleans the toilets!” one student ejaculated. “What else is there to know?”

Mrs Smith fixed a death glare on the class, and Harvey, the clown at the circus, performed for the students. Following his short speech, a Mr Vincent of Vincent Law Firm came forward. Tall and swathed in a peak lapel suit, his magnetic personality soon had the students leaning in and learning. 

Really, though, it could have gone worse, Harvey thought with a final push of the broom. The day the sewers had backed up, and the plumber fixed the pipes but left the odious swill, that had certainly been worse. 

Stepping into a classroom, the scene of his daughter’s humiliation, he wiped down the board, leaving it gleaming white. He tidied the textbooks, and then emptied the recycling box.

A paper, cascading into the large bin, caught his eye. It had his name. Suspicious, he read it.


Name : Claira Lowe


Assignment : Write 3 sentences about what you learned during Career Day.


Mr Lowe is amazing. He always works hard to do a good job. I’m proud that he’s my dad.


Harvey plucked the paper from the bin, nestled it into his pocket, and smiled. 


Submitted: February 07, 2021

© Copyright 2021 XCulletto. All rights reserved.

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