David Emami arrived at Rigler Elementary School. He had subbed there many times before and knew the drill. In fact, he had subbed at nearly every school in Portland Public Schools, which was a source of pride for David. Unfortunately for David, there had been a flu outbreak at the school, leaving only about half of the students in attendance on that day. It wasn’t going to be an easy day.
When he arrived, he spoke with the secretary, Mrs. Leatherman, a woman whom David detested, but pretended to be cordial nonetheless. She always spoke endlessly about her innumerable health problems and rarely let David have a moment to speak, let alone get away to actually do his job.
“Of course, my hip is what’s killing me now. I’m only 63, but it’s something new every day.” She rubbed her hip vigorously. “Right here. Come feel the knot I’ve got right here!”
David stepped back and feigned a smile. “Yeah, I can see it! Looks painful!”
“Oh dear! You can see it?! Through my clothing! It’s that bad, huh? I should make an appointment to see my doctor.” She popped some pills into her mouth and washed it down with an Ensure. “That’s for my arthritis.”
David’s radio went off. “David, we need you in the north hall. Code V.” David was actually thrilled that a kid threw up because it gave him a reason to stop talking with Mrs. Leatherman. He grabbed his cleaning gear and went to work. With towels, disinfectant, and a mop in hand, David was ready to conquer a Code V. But he wasn’t ready for what happened next.
Several kids walked by the mess on their way to the library, and of course, upon seeing the vomit, they also threw up. Before he knew it, 6 children had contributed to the mess. Angrily, David shouted, “Can you keep the kids out of the hall so I can clean this up?” The teacher obliged and soon the hallway was empty.
With no one else around, David was left to do what he did best: clean. He was methodic and precise. He took pride where others faltered. Within minutes, the mess was cleaned and the hall smelled like Christmas trees. David smiled as he examined his work. He was born to keep the world clean.
David Emami is Alone in Portland is a collection of stories that peer into the life of a middle-aged curmudgeon with a fondness for cats and antiques.
Playfully illustrated with Bitmoji characters, his story comes to life as each day brings a new adventure.
He was obsessive compulsive and mad about antiques. The apartment was covered, top to bottom, in decor that would be more aligned with that of an old woman that peaked in the 1960s. david-emami-takes-on-portland.html
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