There Isn’t Anything Left to Clean

Subject: Weekly Report Week 1

Hey, hey gorgeous!

Leroy can’t handle all of your houses plus his so a few of us are helping out. He said you want updates e-mailed. I figure I’ll wind up talking to you before you check your work e-mail but I’ll send the record anyway.

I took the writer lady’s house since it’s a lot closer to where my houses are.

This morning I went to the house and did the floors. Vacuum and mopped both upstairs and downstairs. I dusted the China in the cabinet and cleaned the bathrooms. I got the note that the office is off limits except for vacuuming. You were right, some of the stories tacked to the bulletin board are pretty funny.

I’ll see you on Sunday. I can’t wait to snuggle that new baby and my boys are excited to meet their new cousin!


Subject: Weekly Report Week 2

All is well at the writer’s house. I did not vacuum the office. There were papers all over the floor. It was kind of strange. The sheets were placed perfectly like they were tiles on top of the carpet. Not sure what the meaning of that is.

I vacuumed the rest of the upstairs and did the downstairs.


Subject: Weekly Report Week 3


Have you ever met this writer? There aren’t any photos in the house. Papers are tacked on the walls of the office and now in the guest room. The air from the vacuum fluttered the ones in the guest room when I got too close. The rippling sound they made gave me the willies. I can’t explain why but it did. The sheets on the walls are as perfectly arranged as the tile sheets on the office floor. I skimmed over a couple of pages. They seem to all be from the same story. Do all writers do this?

Vacuumed the landing and cleaned everything downstairs.


Subject: Weekly Report Week 4


Today I got to the top of the landing and saw a sight. All the doors were open and all the walls and floors were covered with the pages. I stood there the way I did as a kid when I had to cross the dark hallway from my bedroom to the bathroom. I have no explanation for why it made me feel that way.

I kept thinking about that girl, Hannah, from camp when we were kids. Everything had to be perfect at all times but she had that journal, remember? The one we stole thinking it would be hilarious. I think about those scribblings sometimes. It was madness in ink. This is like that, but typed. Maybe it’s better on a page.

I cleaned the kitchen and living room and made a fresh pot of coffee.


Subject: Weekly Report Week 5

The pages have traveled down the stairs. On the way down, the words get bigger and bigger on the pages until only single letters take up a whole sheet. Toward the bottom of the staircase, the words get smaller again. A few pages fluttered around on the dining room table in the wind from the a/c. The papers scraping together like that sounded like the papery bodies of insects crawling on one another. A line in Hannah’s journal kept saying her mind sounded like bees. I’m sure she meant buzzing, but we listened to a bee hive with a stethoscope at that bee keeper’s near camp. The sound of hundreds of them moving around on each other’s bodies and the delicate lacework of the hive bothered me way more than the buzzing.

I mopped the floor downstairs and washed the blankets that were on the couch. I know the manifest doesn’t say to do laundry but I did it anyway. I used the fabric softener I had just bought for myself at the store.


Subject: Weekly Report Week 6

Standing at the front door, I looked into a sea of papers. I confess I jumped a little when the a/c kicked on. The papers covered the walls, the furniture, the blinds on the windows. A pile of paper coated the floor to the height of my ankles. I closed the door fast so that none of them could escape. It tickled like tall grass but I couldn’t stop thinking about the wasps who made their nests in the grass by our cabin. I waded into the kitchen and made the coffee. When I got back to the front porch, I noticed there were littles dots of blood on my shins from papercuts.

Maybe next week, I’ll bring some coffee that smells fresher.

There isn’t anything left to clean.

Tonissa Saul is a writer and photographer from Arizona. She is the managing editor for Bodega Magazine and an editor for rinky dink press. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Write On, Downtown, The Comstock Review and the anthology Miles to Go, Promises to Keep Volume II. Additionally, her artwork has appeared on the covers of rinky dink press.