Leaning on his brush, Gibil, the night cleaner of the barracks talks:

“Hey there young one. Heh heh heh. The mess they make poor Gibil clean up eh? Wherever I go there’s a new mess that needs tidying. Gibil’s seen it all. Have you ever seen bits of body? You see it all the time if you hang around the barracks. Or clean ’em like Gibil.”

“How long are you here for, Gibil is tired. It’s 2am and all’s well. At least until they all wake up and start fighting like young boys again eh? Heh heh heh.”

“Gibil’s been a cleaner for a long, long time. His daddy was a cleaner and his before him. We pass the brush and mop from generation to generation. It’s out birthright, our heirloom and tradition. Gibil doesn’t mind being a cleaner. Someone has to do it, right?”

“Heh heh heh.”

“We’ve always had messes to tidy; men they can be so untidy, their thoughts and actions fly everywhere. Like a plate of food at a wall. Vegetables, potato and meat all over, sliding down the wall making a bigger mess. Yes, we always have had plenty to clean, men being so untidy and angry creatures. They always make a mess.”

“Do you mind if I smoke? I’m having a break and Gibil likes to smoke when he talks. No, he’s not nervous, my hands are not uncontrollable snakes that need attention. I just smoke. Heh heh heh. I shouldn’t, Gibil’s get sickness and die like everyone. We are just like you after all.”

“What’s that you say? You’re looking for someone. Are you looking in the right places? Gibil knows all the corners, the nooks and crannies. Gibil cleans them all, can’t have dust accumulating now can we. Men like things to look new, even when they’re older than Gibil. Heh heh he- cough.”

“Gibil shouldn’t smoke. But where’s the harm at his age now. I’m no good for running up hills and shouting at all comers, I’m too old. I’m a simple cleaner with a brush. Where’s the harm in a little vice now, at my age eh? Gibil smokes, takes in the night air and watches the world sleep. They’re all asleep now, in beds dreaming of glory. Or girls right? Heh heh heh.”

“Gibil is not boring you I hope? I am unused to people paying attention to me. I am an observer, not an actor. These men, they act for each other. Making plays and dramas and dead bodies. Gibil has seen them come and go. Gibil has seen the dramas they make. Three brushes ago, there was a man who tried to rule the world. He died and made a big mess. Gibil was there; well Gibil’s grandfather. But the brush is our heirloom, so it’s as good as Gibil being there himself right?”

“Well, the cigarette is finished and the sun will rise soon. Gibil still hasn’t swept the world clean yet. You’ll come and see Gibil again yes? Come and spend time with me and my memories? It is good to remember the old. Gibil is old and he likes being remembered, heh heh heh.”

“Come and see me again young one. I like the company at night, when it’s quiet. In the day, no-one sees or hears Gibil, he’s too unimportant. The men are busy making dramas and Gibil is there, to tidy up behind them. Yes, Gibil is invisible by day. At night, I’ll be here, sweeping and smoking. I’ll be here, come see me again. I’ll be here. Gibil like all men is a creature of habit.”

To Chapter Forty-One – Man Sized

Picture from: http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/6624767956/photos/899470/old-broom