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Red Hot Christmas by Mara White, K. Larsen (5)




“Aw for fucks sake!” he groaned to his co-worker Manuel. They’d been stuck with bathroom duty. The schedule rotated with sections for the over twenty-five head janitors or “operations managers” as they liked to call them. Bathroom duty was at most only monthly, but it still sucked to do it. Cleaning toilets always made him question whether or not he should go into full time fitness and body building. But then his mother’s voice always echoed in the back of his head. “401K, paid vacation, health insurance, etc. etc.” Between himself and Gloria, he was the practical one. He thought things through while Gloria acted impulsively. Hence, his current situation. Paying full rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan for himself and a tiny dog with a big personality. Because his irresponsible sister had ditched him. Not to mention that she would probably be getting a complementary massage or playing ping pong while he was scrubbing bowls and disinfecting sinks. On the flip side, he knew that If he quit there would be the inevitable lecture from his mom. When I first came to this country in 1959…

His mother was Puerto Rican and had grown up in poverty, while his dad was white and wealthy and had fallen hard for his determined mother while they were both in the School of Journalism at Columbia. Mom had worked her way up from a dirt floor, while his father had been handed most things on a silver platter. But in the end, that’s why the two of them worked. His mom and dad were still deeply in love up to this day and had set nearly unattainable relationship goals for him and Gloria. How could either of them ever find their soul mates and remain madly in love and happily married with children for over a quarter of a century? It seemed impossible by today’s standards. Unless maybe she had those red heels and the banging body like the picture from last night. Frankie groaned out loud and adjusted his work jumper.

“We’ll go floor by floor and switch men’s and women’s on each one,” Manuel said. Anyone listening in to their conversation would wonder what the fuck they were talking about. The women’s bathrooms were fairly neat, everything left in its place, while the men’s were a zoo, poorly aimed piss and paper towels thrown all over the place. Sometimes there was stubble in the sinks like those rich executives didn’t have enough time to shave at home. Maybe they didn’t go home because they were out snorting coke of the breasts of prostitutes all night long? What did he know. Sometimes it wasn’t just stubble, it was way worse. But Frankie could get through a day. He could buck up and get the job done. Besides, he knew there were worse occupations out there, more hazardous, more tedious, less pay, so he would shut the fuck up.

“What kind of protein you take?” Manuel asked him as they loaded their carts with cleaning fluid and supplies to tackle the bathrooms.

They took the service elevator to the twenty-third floor. Another team was doing the lower lot and yet another team would take care of the observation deck and the tourist haunts.

He and Manuel talked shop—not work, but working out and lifting, meal plans and supplements. Manuel had only recently taken an interest in his fitness and constantly drilled Frankie for information. He thought Manuel’s real motive was getting the attention that he’d witnessed Frankie get from women. But, Frankie wanted everyone to be fit and to find their best selves, so he coached Manuel and had even given him a few personal training sessions on a guest pass at his gym. A gym which, when he was starting out, had been way out of his budget; a gym that now gave him a discount because he brought in so many new clients. But truly, Frankie owed his career and his path to health, to his trainer Lou. Sure, he’d always played sports, had a nice body and worked out regularly, but it wasn’t until Lou had spotted him that he’d made this full transition to focus on wellness and in the process become somewhat of an internet sensation.

On the twenty-third floor, Frankie took the men’s while Manuel did the women’s. They put up their triangle restroom compliant signs. Frankie had a system and it didn’t hurt that he was strong and had a ton of stamina. He could mop, scrub, scour and wash, admittedly faster than most people. He left a room spotless too, and had a few secrets he’d learned from his grandmother. Two guys came in to piss while he was cleaning. He really didn’t mind as long as they aimed in a straight line and didn’t fuck up his work. Two suits talking about their weekend. They worked at Russ and Ogden where the illusive Phoenix worked. He wondered if she talked to them.

“Did you see Amber’s fucking skirt? What’s she trying to do? Distract the whole fucking board room with boners? Jesus, those legs and that ass should be illegal,” the suit said, shaking his dick.

Frankie shook his head in dismay as he mopped behind them. He’d been raised not to talk about women like that. By his father, but also, inadvertently by his mother, grandmother, and sister. Sure a chick might give you a boner, but that was your fucking problem, she wasn’t doing it on purpose. And even if she were, you don’t talk shit about a woman’s body in the bathroom with your co-workers.

“I bet she’s a fucking demon in bed. Wonder if she’s ginger downstairs too. Half the time when she’s talking I’m nodding my head like: Yeah! But what I’m really thinking about is bending her over my desk and fucking the shit out of her.”

“You and me both, bro,” the other said while washing his hands.

Frankie grabbed the cherry scented cleaner with the industrial spray nozzle and accidentally sprayed their expensive shoes and the cuffs of their pants. You couldn’t get the smell of that cleaner out of your clothes even if you ran it through a street cleaner.

“What the fuck?” one guy said sensing the spray on his ankle. He turned to admonish Frankie, but then thought better of it when he took in Frankie’s build and his very noticeable muscles.

“Watch it!” the other guy said threateningly and pointed a finger at Frankie.

He smirked at the two suits and their now ruined designer shoes and custom fit pants.

“My bad,” Frankie said, a full smile overtaking his face. He turned back to the stall he was mopping and whistled a tune to let them know their conversation was finished.




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