Jeremiah Clean

Posted on March 2, 2005 by Jenna

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No one can stop Jeremiah Clean, because his heart is pure.

Biographers have difficulty listing a full index of his victories. He’s not a man to boast. Some have been forgotten! But others were not.

It is 1990. The windows are shuttered. Mr. Evans has had some sort of orgy in his office.

Jeremiah Clean cleans it up. He cleans up everything obvious. Then he looks around the room.

“I know that you are there,” he says.

So the dirty stockings that had been hiding behind a piece of abstract art on the wall slink out, and he picks them up, and he tosses them into the incinerator chute, and they burn up and die.

“How did you know?” Mr. Evans asks. He’s standing in the door. “I didn’t think anyone would find those.”

“If you have a pure heart that loves your profession,” says Jeremiah Clean, “then you will not fail.”

Two years pass.

It is 1992. The sun is low against the horizon. If it weren’t for the horrendous distances involved, it’d set the horizon on fire. However, thanks to those distances, it doesn’t.

Jeremiah Clean mops the floors in City Hall. He’s a janitor. He’s got a badge.

“Hi,” says Thomas.

“It is cleaner to say ‘hello,'” Jeremiah says.

“Hello,” says Thomas. “My name is Thomas Friedman. I’m a renegade alchemist. And I, um, I, um—”

“Speak up.”

“I put reverted cinnabar and a living mandrake root in an unattended Slurpee machine,” confesses Thomas. He throws his hands in front of his face. He falls to his knees before the judgment of Jeremiah Clean.

Jeremiah Clean mops.

Thomas hangs his head.

Jeremiah Clean sets his mop against the floor. He looks up. “Those are dangerous contaminants, Mr. Friedman.”

“I wanted to make a delicious Slurpee of eternal life,” says Thomas. “But I only made a swirly Heaven-defying sludge.”

“It was not good judgment.”

Thomas sighs. He’s looking at the floor. “That’s why I’m a renegade, sir. My judgment’s never good!”

“Where is the sludge now?”

“I left the handle down,” says Thomas. “I left it down. And the sludge just dripped out. Bit by blue-green bit. I turned to look at it. I said, ‘No! Bad sludge!’

“But it shouted, ‘I am the Eternal Earthly Glory, the Blue-Green Slurpee Sage. I shall topple Heaven and the legally appointed authorities of the United States of America! All shall love me and despair!'”

Tears trickle down Thomas’ cheeks. Jeremiah catches them with his mop before they hit the floor.

“I will take care of this upstart,” says Jeremiah. So he does. Not even the Eternal Earthly Glory can defeat him, because his heart is pure.

Six years pass.

It is 1998. The sun is in the middle of the sky, but only if you’re standing in exactly the right position and define the sky according to CSPI standards.

“So, Jeremiah,” says Janet Cloud. She’s Jeremiah’s boss. She’s called him into the office. “We have a situation.”

“I hope it is not Mr. Evans again,” says Jeremiah. “A clean building should not tolerate such a man as he.”

“It is not,” says Janet.

“I could clean him with extreme prejudice,” says Jeremiah.

Janet blinks.

Jeremiah looks solemn.

Janet shrugs it off. “In this case,” she says, “there’s a beast in the refrigerator.”


“Last week’s sushi. It shouldn’t have gone this bad, this soon, but I don’t think it was made from tuna. I think it was made from a Tuna Horror—the ‘devil of the sea.'”

“Tuna or devil,” says Jeremiah, “it’s all the same to me.”

“Anyone who opens the refrigerator is drawn into a terrible pain dimension,” says Janet. “It’s diminishing workplace morale.”

“I am on it,” says Jeremiah. He disposes of the sushi beast. He can do this. His heart is pure.

Three years pass.

It is 2001. The sun has set. Mr. Evans closes up his office. He’s just shutting down the computer when he hears a voice.

“You are a threat to workplace hygiene, Mr. Evans.”

He turns. There is a mop. There is a cleaning.

Maybe he’s gone bad, Jeremiah Clean. Maybe he hasn’t. It wouldn’t matter, you see.

No one can stop him, because his heart is pure.