Sawyer's Cleaning Day
The guys were surprised when they got an invitation from Sawyer to come over to her house, handwritten, no less. She had said that Tilly and Frances were going to be there as well. With a will, Danny, Pudge and Wooly shoehorned themselves into a taxi and headed on over.
When they arrived they saw that all the windows of her large home were open. Carpets and such were hanging out many of the windows. The guys squeezed out of the taxi and hesitantly approached the house, vaguely aware of what awaited them.
Sawyer appeared, dressed in very casual clothes.
“Ah, you guys are here,” she said, handing out cleaning items. “I’m glad you offered to help with the spring cleaning. Wooly, I need you to dust the high places, Pudge, the low places, and Danny, sweep everywhere else.”
The three of them looked as if they’d been asked to translate ancient Sanskrit. “I beg your pardon, Miss Sawyer,” Wooly said, “ but my comrades and I are hardly outfitted for such duties and—”
“Oh, that’s no problem! Here, I’ve got just the thing,” Sawyer said, half-smirking.
In a minute, elephant, cat and penguin were resplendent in workman’s aprons. Sawyer had a full smirk on her face now. “I knew you’d be so concerned for your nice clothes, I bought those special for you!”
Danny started to pout. “But Sawyer, why us? And where’s Cranston?”
Cranston poked his head out of the top of the house’s chimney, covered in soot. “If you whiners want to trade, just say so!”
Danny could see that tack was getting them nowhere. “Well, turn on some music and let’s get singing and dancing... in the dust.” Danny began moving around the room to a tune only he heard. Pudge quickly got caught up in Danny’s enthusiasm, and Wooly just rolled his eyes and grabbed a duster.
“You can learn a great deal about a person by their home,” Wooly mused, surveying the job ahead. Danny stopped then, refocusing his attention. “Yeah, we’ve never really seen much about your place, Sawyer.”
Sawyer crossed her arms. “Oh, you’ll see plenty before it’s over. This will take all day!”
The guys gulped, but knew they’d been roped in. However, curiosity soon took over as they set to work. Probably not by coincidence, they decided to start in the kitchen. Danny grabbed a broom and began waltzing his way across the floor. Wooly dusted the fridge, then inspected its interior.
“I say!” Wooly said. “She seems to have a preference for milk and confections.”
Pudge perked up at that news. “Confections? As in sugar? Lemme see!”
Wooly began sampling the merchandise. “I’m sure she won’t mind if I try just a tiny bit of her culinary wonders…” The portly pachyderm quickly helped himself to some of the fridge contents, Pudge right there with him.
Danny meanwhile was daydreaming. “I wonder what her dance studio is like…”
“It’s probably just pink and girly,” Pudge said, his answer muffled by the crème horn he was slurping. Wooly passed around a pie, the guys all taking a slice.
Soon they’d finished the goodies…er, the kitchen, and headed for the living room. It was immaculate for the most part, making then wonder why she’d even bothered to have them dust in there. “Typical female mentality—they ask for help with cleaning, but are too self-conscious not to do most of it themselves.”
“Why’s that, Wooly?” Pudge asked, munching on part of an oatmeal cookie he’d snagged.
“I believe it’s engrained into the feminine psyche.”
The living room sported many pictures, including framed ones of the ‘cleaning crew’ along with the rest of Sawyer’s Hollywood friends. Family pictures made up most of the rest, and Danny found himself eyeing a photo album on a top shelf that he hadn’t looked into before. A moment’s negotiation with Wooly and the three of them were sitting on the couch, leafing though the pictures.
Danny hesitantly opened it, knowing Sawyer would be annoyed, but it was too good an opportunity to waste. Wooly for his part cast his eyes toward the front door, nervous. “Uh, Danny, perhaps we should put it back. Remember what curiosity did to the cat?”
The warning fell on deaf ears, as Danny pointed at the album, excited. “Oh, look, baby pictures of little Sawyer! Wow, her mom was almost as pretty as she was.” Pudge pointed too, laughing. “Look! When she was a kitten she dyed her fur black so she was a black cat!”
Humor has a way of dispelling impending danger, and blithely the trio kept going. Danny flipped the page and had to clap his hand over his mouth to keep from laughing. A two-year old Sawyer was sitting in the middle of her parents’ living room, apparently having filled a sand bucket with mud. These contents she had slung everywhere, much to her apparent delight. In the background, her mother was appalled, but her father was laughing at the spectacle.
“Maybe she’s a repressed artist,” Pudge said.
A beat later, and they all broke out laughing again. At that jocular moment, Sawyer came into the room to check on them. Danny quickly stashed the evidence behind one of the sofa’s pillows. He was never good at looking innocent, and Sawyer was never good at hiding her suspicions.
“Okay, break time’s over, boys,” Sawyer said. Then she eyed Danny. “And what are you up to?”
“Uh, just taking a break. Not looking at anything,” Danny said.
Pudge rapidly shook his head. “Nope, not looking at anything at all. Nothing personal.” Wooly shifted his eyes. “I refuse to speak on the grounds that I’d incriminate myself.”
Sawyer knew three guilty guys when she saw them. “Uh huh. Well, quit doing whatever it is you’re not doing and head for the back of the house. I’ve got to get this house clean, and you’re not helping!”
Sawyer left the room and the boys put the album back. The remaining dusting to be done in here was light, so they quickly made up for lost time and headed down a hallway to the rear of the house. The first thing they found was Sawyer’s study, a home office with a computer, neatly-organized tax records and a stereo system. They didn’t spend long in there, and soon moved on to Sawyer’s studio.
Contrary to Pudge’s belief, the studio was in the classic style. A parquet wood floor welcomed them, as did the wall railings and a baby grand in the corner. The only aberration was the mirrors—Sawyer had a preference for full-length stand mirrors rather than the usual wall-mounted variety. She had four, each one placed in a corner. She also had a stereo set in here, with a huge multi-CD player that held 100 CDs in it. Danny looked over the selections, frowning.
“Why on earth would anyone want these newfangled compact disks when there are perfectly good vinyl records to be had?” Danny lamented. “There’s not a 78 rpm platter in sight!”
Wooly sighed, agreeing. “The new generation has no appreciation of vintage high fidelity. What does her musical preference appear to be?” Danny started scanning the selections again. “Enya, Peter Frampton, Weird Al Yankovic, Mantovani and Don Ho.”
Pudge held his nose. “Ew. No Creedence Clearwater Revival?”
“No Boxcar Willy?” Wooly said. “The Philistine.”
Danny pointed to one disc. “Well, there is the soundtrack to ‘Convoy’.”
“There is some hope for her, then,” Wooly said. “Select one, and let us see how her studio’s reverberation measures up.”
Danny pushed the button to activate the machine. “It’s just called ‘Mr. Bach meets Batman’.
The music began, an unearthly mix of the 1960’s Batman theme song intercut with organ music from Bach. When the music switched back to Batman, the three of them started doing the “Batutsi”, a variation of the sixties “Watutsi” dance, shimmying back and forth and holding their index and middle fingers apart as they slid them in front of their eyes. It also happened that the music attracted the girls’ attention and they found the guys in the middle of their cavorting.
Frances raised an eyebrow. “They remind me of my third husband—always ready for fun but nothing else.” Tilly tsked at them. “Honestly! Playing back here while we’re hard at work!” She stamped her foot, shaking the whole house.
Danny picked himself off the ground and blushed. “Sorry, my fault. I’m a bad influence on them. We’ll get right back to work!” Wooly tried to make the best of it. “We’ve been finding this rare insight into Sawyer very illuminating.”
“And it’s fun to look at all her stuff!” Pudge added.
Sawyer tapped her foot. “All right, finish up in here. There’s still more to go!”
Next stop was Sawyer’s room. This was the “girly” room of the house, causing the guys some discomfort to be there. Still, they had a job to do so they dusted. The white shag carpet on the floor make the going soft and easy, while the pink walls and antique white spread on the white wrought-iron bed gave the place a warm old-timey look. More pictures were in here, as well as some awards Sawyer had won in her school days for acting.
Pudge dusted at arm’s length. “Here we are, deep in enemy territory. We need to watch our step. One wrong move could prove fatal!” Wooly was of a similar lien. “I agree. To some extent, this is the most personal and intimate room a person has, so she is showing extraordinary trust in letting us work in here. So it would be prudent to show the utmost respect.”
Danny, as always, didn’t care. “Yeah, if we get married, I’m going to have to adjust to this kinda stuff.” Wooly cast a curious glance Danny’s way. “And do you plan to pursue matrimony with our fair young taskmistress?”
The dance cat dusted off the facing of a chest of drawers. “Well, yeah! She’s the greatest woman in the world, but would she want a small town hick like me?”
“She already wants you to clean her house,” Pudge quipped. “Besides, she really likes you. I bet there isn’t anything we could do that would upset her.”
From the kitchen, they heard a screech. “WHO ATE THE CUSTARD PIE IT TOOK ME ALL DAY YESTERDAY TO MAKE!”
Danny tugged at his collar. “Uh, that sounds like a cue to start cleaning…somewhere else...”
“Like Hawaii!” Pudge said.
“Last one to the curb has to pay the cab fare!” Wooly added.
And speedily did they race outside, but not speedily enough. A disgruntled face met them, attached to Sawyer’s body. She stood there, arms crossed, eyes set on ‘permafrost’.
“Sawyer, let me explain!” Danny said.
Sawyer moved nothing but her mouth. “Do you know who that pie was for?”
Pudge was wondering what brand of torture she had in mind. “Uh, no.”
“We do apologize,” Wooly offered, “ but its siren song was upon us and—”
Sawyer marched forward, the men backing up until they were against the front door. Soon Sawyer and Danny were nearly nose-to-nose. “I worked and slaved to make that pie, and I made it especially for...you guys.”
The troubled trio had been on the verge of fainting when Sawyer broke out laughing. “You really thought I was going to rip you to shreds, didn’t you?” Danny breathed deep, glad he still had the privilege. “You had us going, Starlight. Thanks, that pie was great! Baby, you’re the greatest.”
Sawyer hugged him. “I know it. I also know that you’ve still got the garage to help me clean out. And since you’ve already eaten your reward, I suggest you hop to it!”
Danny began hopping, along with Tillie, creating a minor earthquake in the process. “Your wish is my command, Sawyer!”
Sawyer shook her head and smiled. In a moment, she was at his side. “Come on, you rascal. It’ll take less time if we all do it, and that way you won’t be goofing off.” She should have known better, and perhaps she did, but it really didn’t matter. Everyone headed for the garage with a will.
As the large door to the garage swung open, it revealed a collection of parts, tools, shopping bags, and knick-knacks by the hundreds. Sawyer took charge, deciding what was to be kept and what got pitched. Danny cavorted some with the shopping bags, sticking one over his head and pretending he was a ghost. Sawyer pushed him out the door with his armload of bags, but couldn’t help smiling at his antics.
“I say, what is it about people that requires them to save mountains of articles they will never use?” Wooly asked, examining a half-broken umbrella. Frances for her part was admiring herself in an old antique mirror. “Oh, recycling’s my policy, dahling. Once a husband’s past his prime, it’s time to trade him in.”
A few hours later, the cleaning was done and Sawyer treated the lot of them to a catered supper. It was a tired but satisfied bunch that partook, and afterward there was music and dancing. Danny of course chose the hostess for his partner.
“So, did you enjoy the tour of my house?” Sawyer asked.
“I sure did!” Danny said. “It gave me a good look into your world and I liked it. I could even get used to it.”
Sawyer shot him a sidewise glance. “Oh really? Then there’s something special you could do for me.”
Danny blinked at the reply, suddenly nervous as Sawyer moved closer. Her eyes met his, and she whispered into his ear. “So, big boy, you think you could...come back and clean up again next year?”
Danny, Sawyer, Wooly, Pudge, Tilly, Frances and Cranston are copyright Warner Brothers and used without permission, but with the utmost respect