"Bad Day"


We hired the cleaning girl on Monday. By Thursday we wanted to fire her. She hadn’t stolen anything. But we just didn’t want her around anymore.

I have to explain some things first. We are very successful people. We are considered to be pioneers in our field and have sterling reputations. Certain people call us for our opinions on delicate matters. We went out and worked for it.

I know people these days don’t want to hear that kind of language - “work ethic” - but it’s the truth. I will take facts along with my six figures. My wife does the same - she actually gets paid more. So, in conclusion, we can afford cleaning girls. We have obtained that luxury. It means we are able to show our strength off. We can get away with it because any Google search tells you, quite emphatically, that we are respected figures. We keep people employed.

The point, I feel, is made.

It doesn’t mean that’s it all perfect, though.

Our being rich didn’t mean we didn’t have our disputes. I spoke to my wife about the cleaning girl by the poolside as the sun beat down on our bones and hurt our tanned skin. It was just about the end of summer. We had to take advantage of these autumn lazy days as best as possible before busy season. We don’t have kids or canvas bags for grocery shopping. We weren’t those type of people. We just had a problem. The problem was that we weren’t used to change. But we just had a real big change happen - our old cleaning girl died a few weeks ago. The newspaper told me the reason but it didn’t just add up to me.

“How should we tell her?” I asked my wife as I sipped the Tanqueray. She sat in the chair reading a magazine.

“Tell whom what?”

“The new girl. Whatever her name is.” I took off my Maui Jims and wiped the sweat away. I tried to tune out the radio but it was hard. It felt like flies buzzing in my head. It’s why I’m drinking so early. It’s why I always drink so early. Sometimes, a drink and some sunlight help one be rational.

“What do we want to tell her, dear?”

I pointed towards the house with my cocktail glass. “Something is just off. I don’t know. She’s nice and all but I don’t think this should go on. I can’t put my finger on it. I think she has to go.”

“You find her attractive?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“You’re intimidated.”

“Go back to your magazine, Beth,” I said. “I’ll figure out a way to take care of it.”

“Well, then, just do me one favor when you decide to do whatever it is you’re going to do,” she said.

“Which is?”

“Be sure to use words.” This is why my wife makes more than me.

So Friday morning I waited until Beth went to work and I found the cleaning girl taking the trash out of our upstairs bathroom. She was dressed really cute today - a black tank top and these hot pink shorts. I couldn’t remember her name to save my life. I stood in the doorway and scratched my arm, watched for a minute, and then spoke up.

“I don’t know if this should go on,” I said after all.

She was white. I don’t know why I should mention that, but I feel that I should. She was possibly in college but probably not. I never thought to ask. This just seemed like the kind of job to me that people take if they’re trying to get through school. I wasn’t sure if she would be the type of girl that was constantly on the phone, not knowing how to do anything other than to make duck lips in shitty pictures. She braided her hair that day for some reason. I liked how she did it but I could never tell her that. Instead, I just shuffled my feet.

“Is something wrong?” She said. “Was it something I did?”

“No, I just…well, I just made a mistake,” I said. It’s not often I make mistakes. I’m extremely well regarded in my world. It’s worth mentioning again. I’m on a lot of websites. That’s how you know you make it big. You let your morals go if it means more clicks.

She put the trash bag down. If she looked in it, she would have seen my Rogaine and my wife’s wrinkle cream. I’m pretty sure she’s seen the other things we’ve tried to hide. Whether or not she told anyone else, it didn’t matter. But for some reason, this girl’s opinion of me really mattered. I felt anxious out of nowhere and I knew that this was going to turn into a bad day. I scratched my arm again, this time a little too hard. “Come on outside for a minute. By the pool.”

“The pool?” She said.