Air Freshener

I work maintenance in a large high-rise office block. You have no idea the type of things I have been forced to clean. I’ve seen toilets that have been covered in shit that you’d need to be a gymnast to create. In another walk of life they may have entered it for consideration of a turner prize.

We had this one toilet that was visited by “the phantom shitter”, he’d write on the walls in his own effluent, and sign his name. Now this wasn’t a residential tower. This is a building that houses professionals. People who work for banks, software companies and law firms.

When a lock breaks, and they do so more often than you’d think. Someone uses the facilities and closes the door behind them. Sometimes, when the door is closed under force, the barrel turns slightly, causing it to be locked. Now, us modern humans do not like the small opening at the bottom of the door, as that invades our privacy, it can sometimes take weeks before a stall is reported to maintenance to investigate.

I got called in to fix the cubicle on the 40th floor of this building. This level was reserved for executives of a company I will not name. It was reported to me by the President of a company who had only just moved in. They assumed someone was purposefully locking the door with a coin after they had done their business, so that the stall would always be available when they wanted it.

I ascended in the elevator. The music that accompanied me was an awful version of Bohemian Rhapsody that I’d heard a hundred times before. I exited and headed straight for unit 46B. The smell was horrific. I assumed that’s the smell you give off when you rip off the blue collar worker with extortionate loans and unfair lawsuits. I took my tool and placed it in the lock. The door opened and the odour that emanated was unexplainable. I saw the bloated corpse of a man sat on the throne, his head resting on the toilet tissue, which in turn was stained by the liquid that leaked from him.

I called 911; the emergency services arrived soon after.

The man was identified as our President’s chairman, who he’d fired by text two weeks earlier for failure to turn up to a meeting. He seemed nonplussed. Just told me to do my job and clean it up. You cannot clean that up. When the human body decomposes, it gets into everything. He didn’t give a shit. He told me to place an air fresher in there. When I told him that wouldn’t help. He said that he has his own restroom, that maybe this will be a warning to others not to die on the job.

And that was only Monday.

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