He’s back! Cleaner has a new mission ahead of him. He must infiltrate a terrorist organization to find the woman, Jayala, that seems to be running two terrorist fronts. One with the support of an anti-Western movement in her home country of Pakistan which hides the other run by her very own secret desires to destroy the entire civilized world. Cleaner finds himself chest deep in raw sewage only to find out he’s been set up. Somebody’s gotta die. Read Cleaner III now.
My name is Cleaner. I clean people up. It’s what I do. I am very good at my job. So much so that I have a handler without a name that works for nobody. I get paid by nobody by “magical” means of sorts. The money is not there, then it is there. Magic. How do I get access to that money? Don’t care. Benni handles that end. She’s not only the hottest uber-computer geek in the world, but she also makes the greatest cup of coffee that has ever graced these lips. I can’t make it through a single day without her and her coffee. We don’t do what we do for the money. Before we started this little venture, we had more money than the government of India. When we decide to end this, we’ll have more money than ourselves. We do this because there are some really bad people in this world that need to be “cleaned” off. Today, Benni brought me a folder. I’ve got a job to do. Whoever is in this folder shares the same chromosome make-up of the human race. Which means that in some deep-rooted, ancestral way this person may be related to me. It’s time to clip a wasted branch from the homosapien family tree. In other words, somebody’s gotta die.
The woman in the folder seems to be a bad influence in the terrorist community. I hate these kinds of terrorists. They recruit for a false cause that they make out to be a righteous calling, train their mindless, interdependent followers to be their soldiers, only to find out in death that they were just pawns in the terrorist’s actual plans of absolute human destruction. Jayala here, is apparently running the two fronts of terrorism. She claims to be a supporter of the destruction of the “Western influence” in her home country of Pakistan, but is also hell-bent on making sure that everybody suffers death and destruction in order for her own ideals can take over the human race. In other words, her Middle-Eastern heritage that she so publicly wants to protect is just a farce. Unfortunately, her support is growing. There’s been too many public destructions all over Europe in her name. The U.S. and Canada, for the first time, has just recently been the target of two simultaneous public attacks killing thousands of civilian lives on both sides of the border. Now she’s gone too far. My handler hasn’t been ordered to take her out by nobodies that don’t belong to either government that’s not running joint operations. That is why she’s made my list. I’ve decided to take it. If anything, I won’t be making new friends with anyone not associated with the Canadian government which in turn, won’t be making anybody not associated with the American government happy to make the Canadian nobody’s acquaintance. Nobody gives me a headache sometimes. Canadian or American.
Apparently, Benni’s been a busy girl this morning. This hot, uber-computer geek has sore fingers after pulling an all-nighter hacking and tracking Jayala since she received the call from our handler last night. She looks tired. I give her a wink and tell her that she has done well, and after this is over, we’re going to Rio. That cheered her up as she goes through all of our monitoring, tracking, hacking, shooting, and extracting gear. I’m wearing a jumpsuit and equipment for the city waste management company. I have to clean the underground sewage system of a large nest of rats with plans to terrorize the civilian life of the good people downtown. I grab my other well-organized gear and leave.
Without getting into too much details of how she did it, Benni managed to convince an employee of waste management to take some time off and leave his van in front of the parking garage outside of the high-rise apartment where my penthouse is located. Convenient. I hop in, adjust the seat away from the steering wheel a little bit, check my mirrors, turn over the ignition, and drive towards downtown as I adjust the mirrors along the way. Wow. This guy was short. Where the hell did she get this jumpsuit? Oh, well. Don’t ask, don’t tell.
It doesn’t take me long to reach my target area. I pull up beside the appropriate manhole, and, against the suggestive honks from some pissed off citizens, I set up some cones and barricades to quarantine my personal work space in the center lane of Main Avenue. I ignore some of the expletive suggestions from the good people around me asking of my returning when it was more convenient for them and remove the lid. I notice a police officer giving me “the eye” so I just wave with a grin and climb down into the rat’s deep, dank world. Did I mention it smells like shit down here? Yeah, well, it does. It smells like the entire city took a huge shit all at once down here. I gag. I hate this shit. I hate sewers all together. I’m thinking about rescinding my offer to Benni about going to Rio. I’m thinking she may need to enjoy some time off here just so she can smell my current agony. I gag again and I throw up a little in my mouth. Yup. Rio might definitely be out.
I follow Benni’s convenient blip on my mini GPS tracker that pinpoints my destination within the sewers. I hear her voice crack in my ear, and we give each other a mic check. I follow the line leading to the blip. The sewers lead deeper as I follow the tubes leading away from the treatment plant. As the depths of the pipes get deeper and deeper so does the shitty water level. Oh, man. This is gonna be bad. After a few more yards of downturn pipes, I am waist deep in someone’s piss water. I gag again. This time it turns into a full-on vomit. Great! Now I’m waist deep in my own puke. Benni thinks it’s very funny as she laughs in my ear. She won’t be laughing when she finds out we’re not going to Rio. I hear a roar of a waterfall as the sewage begins to flow faster nearly dragging me with it. I reach out to the wall to regain my balance, but I end up grabbing a rat instead. I look at it disgustingly as I have a tight grip on its screaming, wriggling body. I throw it out ahead of me just to satisfy the fact that it got in my way and it makes a screaming, three-point dive headfirst into the fast-flowing raw sewage. Serves it right. I watch the rat suddenly disappear from sight as it goes over the edge of the sewerfalls. I realize if I don’t find a ledge or something to get out of this sewer river soon, I’m next for the ride. I notice a set of steps against the side of the pipe that leads up and into a higher pipe that is really huge. I try my best to make a jump for it. After a few slips of defiance against the current, and a couple of sickly splashes into my face, I grab the ladder and make my escape.
Now, I’m covered in sewer water. I have sewer water up my nose. And I stink like shit. I’m very pissed off, and I’m not taking her to Rio! I compose my anger and look around. I notice that I am standing on a rolling platform that is locked into place. I look across the opening and see where this platform would lock into place to continue a path to the pipe across the way. There is an identical platform on the other side in case anyone with a brain wanted to cross from there. I think Benni and I need to have a chat about her abilities in navigation as well as why we’re not going to Rio. I hear Benni apologize profusely within my ear. I think she’s read my mind about the whole Rio thing. I turn and walk deeper into the large pipe as I notice the blip signal has gotten stronger since I reached this level. Funny how things seem to work that way. Damn, I stink!
I notice light up ahead and flatten myself to the wall of the pipe. I watch for any hint that I may have been seen by a rat lurking within the sewers. I don’t want them letting the rest of the infesting family know I’m here to exterminate them. I especially don’t need Jayala to know I’m here to clean a few fallen leaves from my chromosome tree. I hear someone sniff and cough. The coughing turns into a choking and gagging sound and realize I’m the source of his desire to throw up. I really fucking stink! A figure steps into view from a well-lit cavern that opens up from this pipe. He looks down into the pipe as he fights hard not to lose whatever he had for breakfast. He begins to walk into my pipe to search for the source of the noxious fumes. Poor guy doesn’t realize he’s gonna be joining the stunt-rat at the bottom of the sewerfalls below. He begins choking and gagging out of control as he is unknowingly on top of me. I grab him and free him from having to endure the smell any longer. I then toss his dead body out of the opening behind me. I remain still to make sure he doesn’t have any gagging friends with him.
After a few quiet moments, I proceed further. I pull my glock from my hip and peer from the edge of the pipe to get a view of the cavern only to find it isn’t a sewage cavern. It’s a base of operations built above the sewage system. Umm… I have a few questions! How long have they been here to build this? How come nobody noticed this sooner? And, who the hell funded this shit?
My curiosity got the best of me. I find myself being flung to the center of the base landing hard onto my side. My glock falls away from my grasp. I reach for it, but a boot kicks it too far away. The worst part is, the boot wasn’t mine. Before I can get a good look around, I’m hauled to my feet. Then I see them. About six of them. The infestation I was here to exterminate. And they all have fully automatic rifles pointed at me. I raise my hands and smile with satisfaction they all find me too stinky to stand too close. Their circle around me grows wider, but their rifles still point at me. One guy begins to look a little green, but he still watches me. I’m hoping the guy loses his fortitude and stomach so I can use the distraction to my advantage, but something goes terribly wrong.
I hear Benni’s signal in my ear click off. Then my phone buzzes from my pocket. I smile at them and point to the pocket as I withdraw my phone. I open a message from Benni that reads, “Going To Find Oscar”. Ah, shit! GTFO. Get The Fuck Out. I shake my head. I drop the phone. Then I drop to floor in complete darkness from a painful blow to the back of my head. Too late.
I awaken from the sudden blast of cold water pressing me against a wall behind me. The frigid water makes me shiver as it continues to blast my body. I take some up the nose and cough the sewer and fresh water from my filthy throat and sinuses. Finally, I can smell fresh air again! I become fully aware that I am totally naked with my wrists cuffed to a pipe above me. The foul stench of raw sewage being power washed from my body still lingers. Between the blasts to the face I see a man hosing me down with a firehouse while wearing a gas mask. C’mon. I wasn’t that bad! Was I? As soon as he closes the hose three men charge into the room and slam my body against the wall before I could form a coherent thought of escape. One reaches up with a key and releases one cuff allowing my arms to fall. I’m quickly spun around and face planted to the wall behind me as they cuff my hands behind my back. These guys are taking no chances. I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t take any chances with me either.
I am shoved violently around and out of the room. I almost tumble to the floor, but I am caught roughly by my elbows and about carried out with my toes barely contacting the floor. I am taken to another room beside the one I was just bathed in. They remove the cuffs and throw me at the cot along the far wall. I land hard onto the cot and bounce head-first into the wall. Now I have a lump on my forehead to match the lump on the back of my head. I try to stand and I am immediately slapped in the mouth for my effort. I lick the coppery taste of blood coming from an open sore on my bottom lip. Two lumps and a bloody lip. Thanks guys. You’ll die soon.
Clothes are thrown at me and the door slams shut. I look at my new garments. A t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants. What? No socks and undies? Oh, well. Commando it is then. I pull the sweat pants up and pull the strings tight and tie them off to keep the oversized trunks from dropping from waist to ankles and exposing my big male ego to everyone again. I put the t-shirt on and sit watching the door. Why not? Right now I have nothing better to do.
Immediately, the door opens back up and three unmasked men rush in and take me down. They don’t waste any time at all. They cuff me and drag me to another room with a table and a few chairs in the center. I am whirled around to a lone chair on the other side of the table, then quickly uncuffed and recuffed to the chair. These guys are good. Dead. But good. I begin to smile as I take in the view of my surroundings. The door is left open. I guess they figure since I’m not going anywhere anyway they can let some fresh air in. Thanks guys! You’re still gonna die! I hear that the room next door is currently occupied by a man with a horrible singing voice. I hear something snap and the man sings out in pain. Actually, it sounds a little too much like a painful song. The man is actually trying to sing instead of scream in pain. Oh, God, please don’t let it be him!
I hear the room next door open up and a woman shouts at him, “Don’t worry, Hendrix, if Cleaner can’t tell me what I want to know then you won’t have to die!”
No! Please! Not Hendrix! I hate that guy! Wait. What’s he doing here? Oh, shit. Unintentional teamwork. I hate being paired off with another agent.
I hear a scream, “Hey, Cleaner! It’s me! Hendrix!”
Yeah. No shit, Sherlock. His door slams shut and lookie who walks into my door. Jayala! You ugly looking… Smack! Oh, she’s so gonna die.
She stands across from me with her arms folded as I burn my intentions into her eyes. She snickers at me as a man wearing a white lab coat carrying a big white briefcase enters in behind her. He places the briefcase onto the table and begins to open it. She sneers at me, “I know who you are, Cleaner. I am a fan of your work. Now, I’m going to have you tell me everything I need to know.”
I chuckle at her. If my hands weren’t behind me I’d be flipping her off right now. Or making other obscene gestures at her. Well, okay. I’d be flipping her off while making obscene gestures at her. She laughs at my sincere upside-down smile towards her. I take notice of the rather large needle in the hands of the man with us. Damn, that’s a big needle. He comes around the table pointing that thing at me and stabs my arm. He quickly pushes the plunger then yanks the needle out just as fast. Blood runs from the giant hole in my arm. My world begins to swim around me in a soothing psychedelic effect. Did Jayala start doing some hip-hop dance moves? No, wait. That’s just my imagination. She’s not going to be happy with what’s gonna happen next.
She leans towards me and asks, “Who else is coming? How many more people are in your organization?”
I laugh as my world begins to become fuzzy. I hear her ask the doctor if I had been given too much serum. I think I feel the doctor check my pulse as I see lights dance before my eyes.
The doctor curses in another language that I can’t translate at the moment. Then I hear his voice become frantic, “Oh, no. He’s been inoculated!”
I faintly hear Jayala, “What do you mean? How?”
The doctor begins speaking in slow motion and progressively speaking too quickly, “His organization has a countering agent to the serum I have given him. It will cause a reaction between the two agents to force his body to shut down and go into a hibernated state! Quickly. Ask your questions before he loses consciousness!”
She screams at me, “Who else is coming behind you if you fail your mission?”
I feel my body go numb. I begin to see blackness fold in around me. I laugh and say to her my final answer in my best, award winning, singing voice, “Benni’s coming to get you!”
I truly enjoy writing this shorty episode of Cleaner. I actually love telling his story. It’s full of humor, grit, sarcasm, and a little graphic. I really hope you enjoyed reading it. As for my soon-to-be… I am as giddy as a little boy with a brand new toy. I can’t wait for Archon: Gift of Light to be released. It will be my first published work with hopes of more to come. My official website lsquail.com is currently under construction while I await for artwork and a release date. I will continue to update everyone here on shortstories4u2share.com as much as I can. Currently, I am working on the second Archon book as I wait. When I have it all put together I will post a few sample reads on the official website. Keep your fingers crossed for me and the success of my first publication, Archon: Gift of Light.
Thank you all for your support,
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