Only work

by Dan

Eva passed the Hermes bags. Each cost $70000 dollars on its own. She wondered how many of the First Lady’s flunkies had been involved in the packing.

Her parents had known her family back in Slovenia and they were the same age. Now here they both were, on the other side of the world, one a cleaner and the other the “FLOTUS” (which Eva had thought was a Chinese flower). They looked nothing alike, Eva was short and stout with big eyebrows. “A real fucking woman” Luka had said “not a skinny-boned slut”. He was kind despite his language which is why she’d married him.

She had worked here for eight years but had never spoken to Melania. As a cleaner your job is to be invisible. It was dangerous to strike up conversations with the First Family. Once, she’d received an empathetic glance from Michelle Obama or “Your big black friend” as Luka now referred to her, lasciviously.

He was very interested in Eva’s work at The White House. It was just cleaning like anywhere else, she’d explained, but with more security. Eva knew that the moment where her own family’s American Dream came true was some way off.

Melvyn the lift operator was running a sweepstake on Melania’s future. It was odds-on a divorce he thought. Did you ever see the couple together?

And what of Trump? This yellow-haired old man who bellowed like a baby when his dentist gave him a filling. His bad teeth were deserved thought Eva, she was forever clearing his coke and burger cartons from the floor. He ate like a pig.

He had once heard her accent and asked why she wasn’t American. She’d thought she’d be sacked and wondered if he ever asked the same of Melania Knavs from Novo Mesto. Luckily he’d been distracted and she’d stayed out of his way since.

Eva went to the cleaning cupboard and removed her tabard, pausing for a moment’s rest inside the warm coccoon. Her knees felt the strain of a lifetime of hard floors.

A strange sound was emanating from the president’s dressing room next to the cupboard. Eva pressed her eye to the eyehole which had been gouged by her colleagues to see if they could see the president “hiding his sausage”. (So far there had been nothing to report.)

The first thing Eva noticed was that the president’s own bags had been ripped open violently and their contents, his clothes, slashed and scattered. Dozens of overlong red ties, were strewn around like security tape.

Then she saw the president himself, standing in the middle of the wreckage, naked apart from his red baseball hat, a pair of briefs and black shoes. Orange make-up was smeared across his cheeks. With a golf club in his hands he was attacking a line of porcelain cups with the desperate slashes of a man who’s been stuck in a bunker for hours. Between shots he blubbered to himself like a broken-hearted seal.

Eva removed her eye from the hole with a mixture of reluctance and relief and returned to the corridor. Her shift was finished. Next time she came the Bidens would be here. She was interested to hear Luka’s views on them. But not that interested. After all it was only work.