Flash: Mop Up Part 1 (Pizza and Movie Night Part 3)

“I’m never going to be clean again.” I splashed out from my bucket the most recent goop we found which used to be a person, then dead, then a zombie, then, well, smelly half-day-old goop, to evaporate in the afternoon sun with sizzles, pops, and farting sounds and a completely related scents one expects between the mix of black magic, gray magic, and old fashion elbow grease clearing out some CIS white guy’s attempt at proving he was top man on the pole when all he had was a stick up his ass. Seven hours in, my headache pounded under the cheerful sun and clear skies. My clothes stuck in places they shouldn’t, jeans wet from knees to ankles with all the stuff of non-life.

Everything I was wearing will burn.

After finishing writing down the address, amount, and freshness in their little notebook of the most recent find, Jae, my partner on Gamma team 9, spun the finder around at the end of its chain to see if we were finally done. “Today’s motivation is a shower, a steamy soak in the Magic Club hot tub, and another shower before going home for another bath.”

“If we use the club, we won’t have to clean up anything at our place except for the pile from last night.”

“Yes.” Jae’s lips turned up at the corners. “And since we are in the same clothes as last night, it won’t be much at all.”

“Genius move that, if completely gross getting redressed in.”

The ugly green gem trapped in a silver and gold wire cage the Alphas gave us hissed like steam as it banged against one side of the cage, pulling it out of Jae smooth rotation, and I winced. Still more in our territory. Ugh.

I tromped behind Jae to the next site. Two blocks later, with everyone waving at us in support for our work but staying upwind and out of voice range, we had another city alley, another door in the back beside a dumpster which smelled better than us, and another door going down to the old coal chutes. Three hundred years of infrastructure left a lot of places for the zombies to hide.

Jae opened the door and the mottled gem made its high pitch bell-tinkling happy sound. “Six chimes,” they counted, able to separate the sounds since they held the rock.

“Six?” I pulled out a phone, double-check it was mine, then tromped to the front of the building to take a picture of the location.

Jae’s phone remained in the other pocket until they were done with the woo-woo work. As a two-soul, they did most of the magic manipulation but every now and then my non-sexual being won the moil and toil. Technically we should only be a Delta team because we can’t do magic on our own, but everything about Jae and me scream to the Alpha mages a trinity. We should be able to do real magic, not just activate the items they give us, once we find our third.

We’ve been together since grade school, so I figure if we hadn’t found them in twenty years, we weren’t going to fall over them anytime soon. And the big-time mages have tried from their end and they have found nothing. The spells cast wasn’t “in this city”, I mean, yeah, they started there, but they scried hard. The big dogs always want more; a true gamma team would cover the entire city, not just a borough, and there are a ton of third tier cities which could use more direct supervision.

Our third isn’t anywhere alive on this planet. Maybe, hopefully, they will be born soon.

I texted the picture and the number of goop bodies we would be dragging out to the technical control. I reviewed the musical sounds in my head and sent a guess about the freshness. I think it sounded like several months dead, but hard to say, especially with the number involved. The stone is tuned to Jae, not me. I only hear it because of our deep partnership. Thank the deities, no one else could hear it, like the zombies waiting in the dark.

I returned to the door, avoided taking a deep breath, then nodded at Jae to lead the way with their machete as I followed with the bucket and mop.

(first published 6/22/2022; words 743)

Pizza and movie night series
Pizza and Movie Night (2/21/2021)
Pizza and Movie Night Part 2 (3/7/2021)
Mop Up Part 1 (Pizza and Movie Night Part 3) (4/4/2021)
Mop Up Part 2 (Pizza and Movie Night Part 4) (4/18/2021)

Visitor at Movie Night (Pizza and Movie Night – A Flash) (5/23/2021)