Mop And Bucket Blues
The Orange Yurble bent over his broom in his usual position, using his powerful paws to move the long piece of wood back and forth over the floor, sweeping away unseen specks of dirt and muttering darkly to himself. His back was so perfectly rounded from his almost eternal position of stooping over his broom that it would almost appear that he and the broom were one of the same. The broom always moved with his same angry, jerky movements, as if it was as frustrated with the dirt as he was.
If it hadn’t been for those blasted petpets, he wouldn’t have had to have stayed here after hours, in this circular room with all its glistening, well-polished stone statues of heroes and kings and the truly magnificent. He wouldn’t be forced to stare at those strong, confident faces hour after hour, wondering over his own fate of being but a mere janitor, a Yurble that was more accustomed to the feel of a pail of water and a broom in his hands. If only those petpets hadn’t developed that annoying game of dirtying his Hall, of testing his limits. He grew more than weary of following them around, cleaning up their mess. And no one seemed to care but him. He hated it. Hated being stuck in this far too round room with these knowing statues of heroes, always forced to examine his own shortcomings.
Gritting his teeth, the Yurble swept at the floor more feverishly, bitterly noting that it was almost clean enough to go to the closet for his mop to begin the next cleaning coat on the floor. It was so horribly hard to keep this place clean. What with those petpets always finding it their right to come in cavorting around with dirty paws and hooves, and, oh, don’t even get him started on how much he loathed those Alabrisses that could dirty up his floor, spread their wings and take flight to some higher place and dirty it as well. He wasn’t given enough credit. Not enough credit at all.
No, no one even knew his name. He was here every day, every single day, night and day, and no one even knew him by name. At best he was simply titled the Yurble Janitor. He’d almost angrily considered changing his first name to Janitor so that someone would finally be calling him by the correct name.
The Yurble’s paws tightened on the broom handle as he seriously considered snapping it in half. At least that would bring him some attention as King Altador would have to order him a new one. Grumbling to himself, the Yurble swept up the last bit of grime and waddled out of the Hall of Heroes to his closet. He pulled open the wooden door and shoved his broom inside so that it could stand rank with the rest of the clutter.
And clutter was all that it was. Rags and pails, old, broken brooms, and headless mops. Even the shelves were hanging crookedly, sagging after all the years of weight the supplies had placed upon them. The musty smell of age mingled sickly with soap in the closet, and the Yurble felt that this closet was the closest symbol to his own life. It was forgotten, left to age alone, as all those around it felt nothing but disinterest at best. It had no potential, no possibilities. It had reached the highest point in its life, and it was now simply here to collect dust and continue fulfilling its gloomy, unexciting purpose.
Grumbling to himself as he often did, the Yurble quickly snatched his mop and bucket from the interior of the closet and slammed the door, waddling away from the closet in a quicker pace than he had approached it, and sloshing water over his bucket as he went. It didn’t matter. He’d have to come back down this hall to mop as well. Besides, no one but he himself ever ventured into the room that held the closet. Mostly because it was his room, and no one ever wondered about him.
Once he’d returned to the Hall of Heroes, the Yurble set the bucket down without any formalities and enjoyed the sound of it clattering onto the hard, stone floor, finding some sort of vengeance in it. With self-righteousness, the Yurble thrust the head of the mop into the bucket, soaked it in soapy water, and then began to push and pull it back and forth across the stone floor, keeping his eyes averted from the statues of the heroes all the while.
As he often did, he began to remorsefully think of what his life had come to. Certainly he’d held down plenty of jobs. He’d even been foreman once, but those jobs seemed so unimportant, so lacking when considering what else he could have done with his life. There was no reason for anyone to want to shout his name in the streets of Altador, and no one to want an action figure molded to his likeness. It wasn’t fair that King Altador had expected so little of him and given him such a pitiful job. He hated being Janitor, hated having to clean up after other Neopians as they took a day to wander into the Hall of Heroes to “Ooh” and “Ahh” and gawk over the statues. Mostly, he hated the baby Neopians, the ones that always seemed to be sticking their grimy little paws into their mouths and drooling all over those little paws and then going around and touching things. No matter how many times he shook his broom at them with annoyance, no matter how many times he turned red in the face from shouting, they did nothing but giggle and continue on about their business. As if he was that unimportant. Not even baby Neopets would listen to him.
The Yurble’s large mouth pulled down into a frown, and his thick, burnt orange eyebrows furrowed as well. He appeared to be nothing more than a grumpy old man annoyed that a few youthful Neopets had come tromping through the garden of his neohome. Perhaps that was as seriously as everyone took him. He wasn’t formidable. He was just a grumpy, old Yurble to everyone around him. Someone to be gently chided, to be handled with delicacy and knowing looks.
Well, he wasn’t! He could have been so much more than a silly Janitor! He had so much potential! To prove his point to himself, the Janitor abruptly lifted his mop into the air, holding it before him like a spear, jabbing the air at an invisible adversary.
“Take that!” he declared, swiping at the air, at something only he could see. “See! I’m just as good as any of you!”
He turned to the statue of King Altador himself as he made this announcement. His short stature forced him to have to incline his head to peer up at the head of the Lupe’s statue. The head that was always so grimly confident and powerful with its expression of competence. The Yurble Janitor frowned up at it, and continued to until that stern frown eased into a scowl.
He could have been King of Altador. He could have. He had what it took, but everyone was always underestimating him, thinking he was good with nothing but a mop and bucket. Partially defeated, the Yurble dropped said mop back to the floor and began to angrily move it back and forth again, scrubbing at dirt that wasn’t there.
But, no matter how hard he scrubbed, he could never get the surface of his life to shine as he wished it would.