by Thomas D. Ladson
I clean up broken dreams. It pays decent. Hygiene is important, so I always use gloves.
I've heard it said that people should clean up their own messes. I'm biased, I suppose, but that sounds too much like handing suiciders a gun and a mop. Nasty business, that.
We are CDC approved.
Street sweeping isn't bad. The bits people drop on streets and sidewalks are small and powdery; just the sort of thing that slips out from clenched eyes and tight jaws as the newly broken hurry somewhere more private. There are always exceptions, I guess. New York, maybe, and I guess Chicago.
A friend got me the job. Her name was Sylvia. She was in the business for years. She used to hide the more interesting bits she found in the big front pocket of her gray tool belt. She would take them home and make mosaics out of them. Can you just picture it! Crazy. Like it was all bits of crayon and pottery. I have one of her works still, but I have to keep it under glass.
She picked up a nasty dream once and didn't realize it in time. It metastasized, so she left for warmer climates. I understand why she left. Quality of life, and all that. Sometimes you can manage it for years, but when you catch someone else's dream it's always a crapshoot regardless of which way it goes.