3. The Cleaning Lady

3. The Cleaning Lady

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

Christie’s Detective Agency Two Part 3 THE BODY IN THE LIBRARY


Nobody went to the library on Sundays, not even drunken tenth-grade so-called celebrities like Gorgeous Will. Instead the quiet depository of knowledge as well as the dreams of fiction writers slumbered in a silence the late Lauren Foster would have revelled in, behind locked doors. And alternatively, unknown to either man or beast in the big wide sunlit world outside, she slowly started decomposing while the sun shone outside.

But to tell the truth, Rosie Buxton was a great deal happier than Lauren, although nobody has actually assessed the relative happiness of corpses or whether they might, in some ethereal afterlife, feel such a thing. She usually had some kind of smile on her face and Jimmy Soul, a hard working young carpenter, loved every little bit of her, of which a little more later.

Rosie Buxton, though, like an intellectual clone of the late lamented lady in the library, loved books. Although only in her early twenties, she had absorbed stories by the hundred since what she sometimes referred to as her Enid Blyton days, and those days were all part of her primary school years before she succumbed to a series of nasty illnesses in her teens that would have drained her spirit had it not been for books.

She had joined the children’s section of the library as soon as she could, and that had established for her an exciting and often frightening route through life via her imagination. To start with she had found her way there on her own most weekends and taken out the best two books she could find. Enid Blyton came to an end and before long she was racing through Dahl and J.K Rpwling. until she ventured into the adult section and discovered the glories of Agatha Christie followed by a panoply of others. She loved that library and the doors it opened for her and wanted it to last for ever.

Even when boys came along, and she did like boys, she wanted to keep up a relationship with the library. Lacking the qualifications for working as an actual library assistant herself, let alone to become a librarian, she had grabbed hold of the job of cleaner with both hands, and clung to it as if being a sweeper up of dusty bits and pieces was an end in itself.

And in a way it was. She was with books, and that was all she really wanted. It would be nice if she could somehow climb the ladder within the establishment of the library, and with a strange optimism she lived in the hope that one day it might happen. After all, Damsel Eagerhill, the present incumbent of the position of chief library assistant, wouldn’t be around for ever. She’d get married soon enough and have an army of kids and be gone for good, leaving behind a vacuum behind the library counter.

Sadly, the prolonged period of ill health during poor Rosie’s school days had shattered any chances of her achieving paper qualifications and her hope now was on being chosen by virtue of her love for books and the sweetness of her personality. It might, she told herself, happen. After all, above all things she was very sweet.

Today was Sunday and like many other Sundays she was in the park. It was there where she sometimes met the old lady who seemed to spend half her life in the library. Lauren, her name was, and the two, the seventy-four year old Lauren and the twenty-three year old Rosie, spent a few happy moments discussing this or that mystery (was Shakespeare a genius or could there be a school anywhere under the sun like Hogwarts) before wandering their separate ways. Rosie looked forwards to such times, and for some reason she couldn’t understand Lauren hadn’t put in her usual appearance today. Maybe she had succumbed to the flu bug. She hoped not, but it was an explanation crafted out of almost total ignorance

When it was clearly too late for the older woman to come and she still being on her own, frowning a little, a frownette which obliterated for a moment her usual smile, she decided to see if Jimmy was up instead.

She thought it quite likely that he wouldn’t be. It wasn’t that he was lazy, but he did work pretty hard for the rest of the week, including Saturday mornings when he was needed. As a consequence as a reward he enjoyed a prolonged lie-in on Sundays, rarely rising much before lunch. But she knew full well that he’d force himself up for her: he usually did when she called unexpectedly on Sundays.

Oh blow me,” she murmured to herself, and she made her way towards Jimmy’s flat. No sooner was she there than he would expect her to join him in bed, at least she hoped he would, and after quite a lengthy cuddle he’d get dressed, go into his small kitchen, and switch his kettle on while she in a more leisurely way pulled her own clothes back on and joined him.

And that was how things went that day. She knocked his door and waited for the familiar “it’s not locked” before finding her way in.

Climb in angel,” he said as soon as she appeared at his bedroom door, and she undressed as quickly as she could and joined him. Maybe, she told herself, that’s why she was wearing a new bra. Juat in case.

The old lady not turned up then?” he asked, squeezing her just how she liked it.

She must be poorly, poor old soul,” she replied, and kissed him full on the lips, then slid her tongue between them and tasted the richness that was Jimmy.

Let it be a warning to you, sweetheart,” he said, and she could hear the smile in his voice as he spoke. He did like teasing her on account of what he saw as her obsession with books. He, sadly so far as Rosie was concerned, could barely read.

What warning then, Jimmy?” she asked.

All that bookwork you like to do. It’s not so good for you. Me, I like a good film on the telly!”

He knew what her reply would be. She’d tell him that’s all well and good, but in a book the pictures are better because they grow from your own imagination. And he’d tell her piffle, he wanted to see them in technicoloured glory, and so it would go on until she’d quietly suggest the films of Lord of the Rings weren’t a patch on the images in her head when she read the trilogy, and she’d seen both.

Then, debate over and both claiming victory, he’d smother her in kisses, they’d make love, hopefully more than once, and it would be time for that cup of tea.

Then, and this was almost as good, he’d take her to a pub for lunch before returning with her to his flat, where they’d spend a further hour in bed.

They had developed a beautiful routine, and she wanted it to last for ever. It wouldn’t, of course, nothing does, but in her wisdom she didn’t want it to finish today.

She did, she knew, love Jimmy Soul.

© Peter Rogerson 27. 09.21


© 2021 Peter Rogerson

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Added on September 27, 2021
Last Updated on September 27, 2021
Tags: cleaner, carpenter, ambition


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 78 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..