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theBeat Clean Thoughts By Betty Carpick and elaborate attachments. She radiated purpose, confidence and incredible en- ergy. I couldn't believe my good fortune after all these years of monogamy. I looked into her eyes, my bottom lip quivered. “Pardon my...dust.” “It's okay,” she whispered. “I've seen it before.” I was momentarily taken back. Of course, there had been others before me. But surely, I was special. How could anyone else’s needs match mine? Molly bent over and picked up her caddy. As she walked by me I caught the subtle fragrance of cleaning products. “That smells fantastic,” I whispered. “I have something better than Mr. Clean.” she replied demurely. It was be- coming difficult to keep my mounting anticipation in check. Clean Thoughts by boy Roland, digital illustration, 2016 L ust slithers down many avenues, but my most indulgent passion of late is for... Molly Maid, at my place. I've thought about it persistently, honed the details of her visit to cinemat- ic clarity. And now I'm ready to initiate a rendezvous by dialing the seven seduc- tive numbers I memorized weeks ago. I know I'll be nervous. Who wouldn't be? I feel so guilty. But, frankly, I'm frus- trated. I've been trying to keep things up for years and despite my best efforts, my house is a DUMP. The tantalizing truth is, I've been sleeping with Molly's brochure under my pillow. I've read it so many times I'm convinced it's a love poem to me. She promises so much—thoroughness, consistency, reliability, affordability. When she says, “nothing is overlooked,” I know she holds a key to my soul. And that bit about ensuring that my individual needs are met—it's so power- ful it makes me swoon. I've suggested a cleaning service to my partner, but he didn't think we needed one. So, I'll have to be clandestine, to pretend in the wake of Molly's visit that I've achieved a zealous new attitude to- ward housework. I'll declare emphati- cally, “I can't scrub the toilet enough. It's so-o-o satisfying.” Or, “I've realized that the back and forth motion of vacuum- ing is amazingly stimulating.” Or, “Why have I been wasting my time doing other things when housework is so fulfilling?” When she finally arrives on that spe- cial day I'll have spent extra time bath- ing, brushing my teeth, and selecting my clothes. I want to be perfect because my house certainly won't be; it's permanent- ly messy, sticky, dusty, disorganized and full of kids. Since becoming a mother I've refined a cavalier attitude to domesticity. “What mess?” I laugh, tossing back my head and striding to the next interesting project. Nevertheless, a growing sense of desperation accompanies my Bohemian neglect. How long have I been suppress- ing my passion for a clean house? Molly's so astute that within seconds of picking up the phone she understands that I desperately need her. I insist it'll be a one-time fling, though I know that once we began it'll be impossible to stop. She listens to my overture and says fi- nally, “I want it to be good for you.” I al- most drop the receiver. I don't care what anyone says, it's destiny. Molly materialized at my door in her immaculate starched cap and her perky black uniform with its deceptively prim apron five minutes before the appointed time. Her shoes were polished, her eyes shone. By her side, she had her cleaning supplies and equipment with mysterious The dried corn flakes, the greasy fingerprints, the crayon scrawls, the juice spills embedded with dog hair and cracker crumbs, the strata of dust, unidentifiable chunks, the grit in the carpet—all this meant nothing now that she was here. There were no preliminar- ies. In a daze, I followed her from room to room savouring the chaos that had driven me to her. I was glad I hadn't tried to tidy up. Finally, in the bedroom, she smiled, placed her hands on her hips and said, “We can transcend all of this.” I looked at the heaping stacks of clothes, the half empty coffee cups with lipstick on their rims, the unmade bed (I couldn't remem- ber when I'd last changed the sheets). I delicately kicked a dried toast crust under the dresser. I murmured, “Do you mind if I read while” “Relax,” she interrupted. “I'll start downstairs.” Languorously, I stretched out on the bed. I was ready. There was no turning back. Please submit works of creative writing, poetry, or prose that are under 1000 words to The Walleye 71