As soon as he reached sufficient age, Trajan took a part-time job. Bunny’s uncle owned a private cleaning service. Bunny followed in his brother’s footsteps, helping clean after hours at the public library. Bunny invited Ben and Lighty to help as well, trading off nights with Trajan. On top of school and the many obligations the team already placed on them, Ben was averse to the notion of needing to be someplace. And Lighty couldn’t imagine purposely electing to spend added time with Bunny Sessions, which left four nights a week plus weekends entirely to Trajan.
Their greatest dilemma was deciding how to subdivide the work each night. Bunny had the benefit of past experience, having worked under the table for his uncle since the age of twelve or fourteen. He and E-Z had, in the past, broken things out according to top floor/ground floor, with shared responsibility along the staircase, which seemed to Trajan more than fair. Naturally, Bunny objected, reinforcing his apparent need to remain contrary. He suggested they settle instead on a wet work/dry work division of labor, leaving him to clean the restrooms plus a windowless kitchenette where the library staff ate their lunches. Trajan had the rest of the space to work unaccompanied.
Trajan took command of a heavy plastic trash bin that he pushed around on wheels, emptying wastepaper baskets positioned at odd ends throughout the rows of metal bookshelves. He dusted the computer terminals that sat blinking in eerie unison, prompting patrons to enter their library card numbers followed by a password. He tidied the area behind the information desk. Who knew a flock of mild-mannered librarians would leave their workspace at the end of the day in such disarray? He rounded out the night by vacuuming the entire space before emptying the trash in the dumpster out back. By square footage alone, Trajan had ten times the work Bunny had to do. If you took the degree of difficulty into account, however—what with the brightwork of the sink fixtures to polish, plus the potential for various grades of accumulated filth in the toilets, not to mention the stainless steel receptacles for used feminine hygiene products—Trajan’s share of responsibility was only twice as big as Bunny’s.
Trajan didn’t mind the work. It gave him something to do with his spare time. He especially liked the vacuuming. The vacuum was like a bloodhound, head down, sniffing out hidden grime. The lowpile textured carpet was chosen to hide visible signs of dirt. But direct the vacuum along the right path, and you were rewarded by the sound of a million loose particles finding a home deep inside the vacuum cleaner bag. The thick, push-broom fiber mat lining the entryway told a buried tale of all that had transpired in the library on any given day: who had paid a visit and in what numbers, what the weather had done outside. On sunny days, the vacuum cleaner unearthed little more than light dust picked up on the walk from the gravel parking lot. Come wintertime, Bloodhound got his fill on the sand and coarse salt left over after each snowstorm. It took two whole weeks of vacuuming the same spot before the rush of loose granules subsided. A tough stretch of winter barely left two days in between storms, keeping Trajan and his trusted sidekick on heavy patrol for months on end.
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