This week on The Oddments Tray, we're welcoming the talented Clay Pearn. Clay has an MFA from the University of Michigan and a few music degrees to boot. He works as an editor in Hamilton, Ontario and we think you'll be seeing more of his work soon.
On Cleaning House
by Clay Pearn
I prefer the vacuum. Ours has a robot face with one long arm, and when I pull it behind me the wheels stick on the power cord, and I want to drive it over the edge of the stairs and let it tumble into the drywall on the landing. Yet it makes the dirt disappear with such relief. Every little nook can be touched by its wand. Just a touch here, and that’s clean. Easy touches. But they add up. All afternoon eaten up touch by touch and I find myself in a sweat, my jaw tight: I am obliterating my Sunday, my true free life where I am not who my co-workers think I am. To them I exist only to fix their mistakes and refill my bank account like a ration box. They don’t know I have land in the far North of Ontario. Four island acres and a tiny cabin overrun by mice. That I drive there alone, retrieve a fishing boat at a local marina, and speed across twenty minutes of open water. That I sleep on a cot without my wife, because neither does she know about my land and will only find out when I die. And that I can look out any window, here in our bedroom with the robot’s arm clenched in my fist, or through the steel mesh windows at work, and know the cabin is there, the land, that I have unmarked keys for the various padlocks, that if I leave out strands of shredded cheese on the cabin floor they will disappear overnight, replaced by grains of black poop that carry parasites and disease.
(written by Clay Pearn, read by Chioke I'Anson)
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