A Story Starter

Sort of like a sourdough starter.

The Cleanup Man

The Cleanup Man is someone in your life who is tasked, should something untoward happen to you — such as death — to go through your effects and remove all evidence of wrongdoing or moral turpitude. Usually, it’s “Log onto my computer and delete my porn stash,” or “Burn my diaries.” But it could also be, “Break Aunt Sophie out of the chimney where I bricked her up and bury her somewhere in a swamp where she’ll never be found.”

Or worse.

It’s customary, when enlisting someone to play the role of cleanup man in your life to, at the very least, give them some advance notice, even if you don’t exactly get their agreement to perform these delicate tasks on your behalf. After all, you’re dead. Why should you care? But it’s not exactly something you spring on a friend. Especially not a friend you would trust to actually carry through with these risky and possibly illegal tasks.

Mitchell Drummond was not at all aware that anyone in his life thought enough of him to nominate him as a cleanup man and yet so little of him as to not give him any warning. Nevertheless, when the manila #11 clasp envelope landed on his desk in the inter-office mail that Tuesday morning, it happened.

Those of you who have pretensions of being writers, let it be a challenge to you. You can’t use my characters or the exact wording above, but otherwise, have at it. The first one to publish wins a No Prize.

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