It was the dustiest, grimiest, couch Jimmy had ever seen in his twenty years in the cleaning business. Ground in dirt made swirling patterns across the yellow, or maybe it was green, fabric. A gentle breeze from the open window kicked up a miniature dust devil that danced along the sofa arm before dispersing.
"It's been a while since I've had them cleaned," Mrs. Roberts said apologetically. Her grey hair was pulled back in a strict bun and there were wrinkles at the corners of her eyes and mouth. She wore frayed, but comfortable looking, pink sweat pants and a baggy red sweatshirt. Mrs. Roberts also had an ace bandage wrapped around her wrist and wore a neck brace, which didn't look comfortable at all.
Jimmy took off his green Kleanup Krew company hat and scratched his bald head. "Don't worry Mrs. Roberts, I'll get 'em fixed up as good as new."
Mrs. Roberts smiled gratefully. "Thank you. If you don't mind, I'm going to go sit in the study. I slipped in the bath this morning and hurt my hip."
"Is that when you hurt your neck and wrist as well?"
Mrs. Roberts started to shake her head but caught herself. "No, I burned my wrist on a pot and then two days ago a tumbled down the stairs and nearly broke my neck. I've just got a case of the clumsies lately" She gave him a halfhearted smile.
"That's terrible! Go ahead and rest, I'll call you when I've finished."
Jimmy went out to his van and retrieved his steam cleaner-vacuum hybrid, the CleanPro 900. He tottered and staggered back into the house, the chemicals sloshing back and forth in the CleanPro's ten gallon drum. When he turned it on the CleanPro rumbled, growled, and shook, like a tornado was trying to tear its way out of the guts of the machine.
For a moment, Jimmy thought he heard a little chirping noise, like a bat. "Just my imagination," he thought.
Jimmy rolled up his sleeves, his forearms bulging like a real life Popeye. It took strength and inner fortitude to wield the CleanPro 900.
The CleanPro came with a variety of attachments, but Jimmy preferred the long metal cylinder called "the wand." The wand got the maximum suction and Jimmy joked that it would take the color, as well as any dirt, right out of a sofa..
He plunged the wand into the depths of the couch. He always liked to start there. Loose change and peanuts rattle up the metal wand and into the cylinder.
Suddenly he felt a yank on the wand and nearly dropped it.
"Strange," he thought. Then he tried to pull the wand out of the couch. It wouldn't budge. Slowly the wand was dragged deeper and deeper beneath the cushions.
He tightened his grip but the wand was pulled deeper and deeper. Jimmy heard peeping laughter and, he saw three, then five, then eight sets of small fuzzy hands, the size of a two year old's grabbing the tube. Glowing green cat's eyes glared at him from the sofa's depths.
"Crap!" Jimmy dropped the wand and turned to run, but tripped and went sprawling across the floor. There was more laughter from the couch.
Mrs. Roberts stood in the doorway. "Are you ok? Is anything wrong?"
"Afraid so, Mrs. Roberts. Turns out you have Dust Monkeys."
"Dust Monkeys? Don't you mean dust bunnies?"
"No, I mean Dust Monkeys. They're also called gremlins. That's probably why you've been having so many accidents, gremlins love causing people trouble. They find it entertaining. I can get rid of them for you, but I'm afraid there's a surcharge."
"Oh my, is it expensive?'
"No, and it's cheaper than buying new couches."
Mrs. Roberts nodded. "Okay."
Jimmy went out to his van and retrieved a dust buster and a broom. He unplugged the CleanPro 900. There was some angry chattering from the couch.
"How are you going to get rid of them?" she asked.
"Well, the good news is that Dust Monkeys are stupid. When they're startled or scared, they hide under the sofa. But they have a terrible sense of direction." Jimmy gently turned the couch over, waving his hand to keep the cloud of dust that rose up from suffocating him.
Then he yelled "Bugga Bugga!" so loud that Mrs. Roberts screamed and clapped her hand to her mouth. Jimmy continued yelling and started whacking the side of the couch with a broom.
A little animal that resembled a bald lemur that had been rolling around in the dirt all afternoon, climbed out of the couch. Jimmy swatted it with his broom, and it exploded into a shower of dust. Jimmy swung his dust buster up in the are and began vacuuming as much of the dust out of the air as possible.
He repeated the process eight more times and vacuumed a gremlin each time. It was only after spending ten minutes and not seeing any more dust monkeys that he turned to Mrs. Roberts and smiled. "That's the last of them then."
"So, what do you do with that?" Mrs. Roberts pointed at the dust buster. "And what if you didn't get all of them?"
"Don't worry, I only need to vacuum up most of their dust. They won't be reforming here. I'll throw what I collected in the ocean. And now that they're gone, I can finish cleaning your couch."
When he finished, Mrs. Roberts clapped her hands. "How exciting, they look like new!" she said.
"I'm glad you're happy," Jimmy replied as he packed up his tools.
"There is one more thing. Since you did so well with the sofas, I was wondering if you would look at the upstairs bathroom. There some mold there."
"I can check it out."
When Mrs. Roberts opened the bathroom door, Jimmy got a glimpse of a blob the size of his head hanging down from the ceiling. It looked at Jimmy with one eye and flashed a razor toothed smile. Dark tendrils slid out of the blob, spreading across the ceiling like cobwebs.
Jimmy grabbed the door handle from Mrs. Roberts and pulled it shut. "What you have there is a full blown Mold Monster."
"Is it a reasonable price to get rid of this like it was for the Dust Monkeys?" she asked.
"No, this is going to be expensive."
"But less expensive then selling your house and moving."
Mrs. Roberts slowly nodded her head. "Okay."
"Great. Stay here, I have to go out to my van and get some bleach and a blowtorch."
Copyright 2012 John Lance