The window-washer began to think of his life since graduation from high school. He had refused to follow his parents in their chosen profession: cashiers. He had insisted that he would find something better for himself. So, here he was, two years later, and his summer window-washing job had become full-time. He was Charles, the window washer.
It hadnt been his parents fault that he had ended up this way; they had warned him to stay in the safe zone, the store. It wasnt his teachers fault, they had warned him, too. It must have been his fault that he became a full-time window-washer.
Still, what had stopped him from trying for college? He had earned good enough grades. It must be his complacency keeping him from something more. Yes, here he was, harangued by the elderly, armed with the symbols of his complacency: his squeegee and bucket.
Stupid squeegee, you ruined my life! he shouted, and with that, he threw the squeegee into the bushes below him. A light went on to his right.
Hey, shut up! shouted an old voice. More lights came on around him.
Yeah, shut up! said a second voice.
No, you shut up! Charles responded, Old people! Youre always bossing me around and opening the windows Im trying to clean.
Hey, thats no way to speak to your elders, came a third, equally geriatric voice. Why dont you just do your job?
No, thats what Ive been doing for three years, and Im still here, listening to you blowhards try to justify your pathetic lives! yelled Charles. He tossed his bucket toward the source of the third voice. It struck a window, and the sound of shattering glass was heard.
Oh, now youve done it, came the first voice. So much for your job, window washer, because you just kissed it good-bye. Another light went on, and Charles could see the very angry-looking nurse glance up at him. She had a phone clutched in her bony right hand, and was speaking rather urgently into it.
Yes, sir, I need that window washer out of here. He broke a window, sir! Hes disturbing the oldsters. Yes
immediately. The nurse looked back up at Charles. Get your fired butt to the managers office!
Barely before he could blink, Charles found himself in the office of the manager, Mr. Cantanke. The manager, in his usual, reserved style, kept a very close approximation of a blank look, but Charles could tell that he was not pleased.
Charles, Im concerned, said the manager. Im concerned about you, specifically. You just dont seem suited for this sort of work. Please keep in mind that I like you a great deal as a person, but
Im sorry. This job is not meant for someone like you.
I suppose, said Charles, his eyes running distractedly around the room.
You may take your squeegee and go, said Mr. Cantanke, your final paycheck should arrive at your home within the month.
Damn, Charles muttered under his breath. He rose from the chair in front of Mr. Cantankes desk, turned, and exited the premises.