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Part four



Even in his deteriorating condition, Gouln could dispatch this man
easily, even though the man had some poles he could potentially use
for weapons. But the intensity in the man’s new posture caused a new
interest in Gouln.

The little old man began to clean the glass separating them with
renewed vigor. There was something about the precise movements, the
quick but steady rhythm that seemed familiar. The instrument with
which he removed the water from the glass reminded Gouln of a
weapon he had seen used before on another world. Not in battle but in
a ritual that honored a local authority. The blades on the end of the
poles there were mostly straight also, with a slight curve on the ends.
The look of the tool in the man’s hands, and the rhythm with which he
used it was very similar to those trained warriors.

Not only did the man use these tools with great precision and grace, but
the attitude of the man was totally different than at first. He projected a
confidence, and a determination. Despite Gouln’s initial doubts, he felt
a certain amount of admiration for this man who was very good at what
he did and had a certain amount of pride in that.


Normally, I have one speed, slow. The reason for this is obvious, I'm old,
fat, and out of shape. I have to pace myself or I will wear out quickly
and the day is lost because I get sick and have to go home and lay
down. Normally. When someone is watching me, sometimes I get to
show off a little. At that moment, I was pissed. I had no idea who
Goliath of the North was, or why he was standing there watching me
like I didn't know what I was doing, but if he wanted to see some
window cleaning, he was going to see It.

I didn't do anything that different from normal; I just added a little more
style and speed. As I cleaned the small windows on top with my poles,
my strokes were far more quick and precise. Even though I’m a fat
balding old white guy, when it comes to cleaning windows, I got moves.

Place the squeegee at an angle at top and across, then, angle the other
way, across, then down, and off. Tap off excess water on the glass
below, then another stroke straight down and off. Wipe excess water of
squeegee blade, final stroke down, and done, move to next window
start again.

In my, I-got-the-moves, mode I finished the top quickly. Now I could
really shine. I looked out to see if he was still watching. He was, and it
seemed his expression was changing. Now he wore a slightly surprised
look, as if to say, “Why, old man, I didn't know you had it in you.” I set
the poles aside. I quickly started scrubbing the middle row of windows,
and even as I was finishing, the first one, I pulled my squeegee from its
holster like a gunslinger, spinning it rapidly in my hand and putting it on
the glass just as I finished scrubbing. Oh yeah, I’m good. How you like
that Unjolly White Giant? Then I performed what I call the fan dance. A
smooth back and forth, non-stop motion with the squeegee that I knew
would impress him because it had impressed me when I had first seen
someone else do it. Not one streak, nor drip when I was done, just nice,
crystal clear glass. Now I was in the zone, I finished that row of windows
in nothing flat. I ended up that row standing almost directly in front of
him. Now, I boldly looked him in the eyes. When I did, I was surprised
and pleased at what I saw. His surprise had turned into something that
resembled admiration. I felt the grin stretch across my face. I guess I
showed him, I thought to myself.

The man had looked at Gouln once more, and then seemed to forget he
was there at all. As if to say, there, you see, I am the chosen one, now
off you go. Out of a sense of new found respect, he turned his stealth
mode back on and stood there invisible to the man, while he continued
to watch him.

The voice inside his head urged him to take action now. He refused. He
would allow the man to finish his job.

You are dying. I cannot keep you alive much longer.

He will finish soon. I will let him finish his work.

There are more important things . . .

Not to him. The Olan was firm in his reply to that voice in his mind. He
had misjudged this man and now he would honor him by letting him do
that which he had committed his life to do. As trivial as it seemed to
Gouln, and to the voice, it was all this man had. Gouln had learned long
ago that a man makes his job important, not the other way around.
Whatever a man dedicates himself to, as he strives to do his best at it,
he brings honor to that profession, whatever it may be.


This set of window had three rows, top, middle and bottom. I quickly
took care of the bottom row and as I finished the last, I looked out again
and the Norwegian basketball playing fighter pilot was gone. How he
had managed to move his immenseness even a few feet without my
notice was a puzzle. I wasn't going to complain. Fact is, I was more than
a little relieved. It was one thing to clean in close proximity to someone
that intimidating while there's a wall of protecting glass and steel
frames between you and not so jolly pale giant. The guy had made the
huge space in the front of the pizza joint seem small and crowded. It
would have been an uncomfortable situation having him even closer,
and behind me. I really didn’t want an audience now anyway. I knew I
was going to be frustrated by the time I finished. No need to have
someone watching that. Besides that, there was a certain feeling of
gratification at proving that I am not so worthless after all. I am just a
window cleaner, but bless God, I am a good one!

Amazing how I had gone from the mundane Monday dulling process, to
being exhilarated and actually enjoying my job. Equally amazing how
you can go from enjoying your job, to hating it in just minutes. On the
one hand, I felt relieved that I was almost done. There was far more
windows inside than outside, since there were two dining areas, each
with their own set of windows. On the other hand, I had to deal with
the aggravation of the condensation. Somehow, I would get through it,
and then I could collect the cash and take a long rest.

I got to work on the outside and found it wasn’t quite as bad as it could
have been. The sun had come out and the drizzle had stopped. It was
still humid, I still battled condensation, but there was a good breeze
that helped a little, as well as keeping me from sweating really bad. As I
cleaned I began to feel like someone was watching me. I thought of the
Norwegian and I would stop and look around but no one was there.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t shake that feeling.

Standing right in front of glass, in which I could see any and everything
behind me reflected, I kept looking over my shoulder. Seeing nothing
there did not convince me. When I was a kid, I vaguely remember
seeing a werewolf movie were this guy is walking through the woods
and hears stuff behind him, but every time he turns around there is
nothing there. He walks faster and faster until he’s running. Of course
there came the time when he turns around and screams. Unfortunately
for me, I began to think of that movie as I finished up the very bottom
row of windows. I’m sure if anyone was watching me, by the time I
finished up, they were wondering what I had smoked before showing
up. As I ran my little squeegee across the last frame along the bottom to
remove the water, I was panting and sweating like Mr. Wolfman to be. I
fully expected to turn and see a mouth full of sharp fangs headed right
for my neck.

I didn’t waste time putting that wall of windows between me and my
invisible stalker. Of course as soon as I was inside, I felt like a complete
mental case. The girl inside was giving me the eye, and it wasn’t the
Hey-baby-come-over-to-my-place look either. It was the, Someone-call-
911-and-please-hurry, look. I pretended not to notice, and wrote out
my receipt as usual. I don’t know who was more relieved when I walked
out the door, her or me.


As the man came outside to his side of the glass, Gouln gained even
more respect for him. Even as the man would remove the water from
the window, more would appear, drawn directly out of the air itself.
Even so, when the man was done, the glass was clear, there were no
streaks, no smears, or drips. The man was dedicated indeed, refusing to
stop until the glass was immaculate.

As the man worked, he began to act strangely. As if he sensed the Olan’s
presence. The Olan could not be seen, he knew that. There was more to
this man than meets the eye for certain. If he sensed the Olan, then
perhaps he did have the makings of a warrior. He had just missed his
calling somehow. Now though, there was a new chance for him. It
seemed fitting to Gouln that even as he went on to the next world, he
would make it possible for this man to find his destiny.

After the man went inside to be paid, Gouln inspected his work up
close. When he was done, he touched three fingers to his head in a sign
of respect. Even as he did, he almost lost consciousness. He turned and
caught himself on a support pillar.


As soon as I was out the door, the invisible monster was there again. It
followed me out to the van. It hovered close by as I put up my
equipment. I was hoping to catch its head or paw, or something in the
sliding door as I closed it, no such luck. I was in the driver’s seat faster
than is physically possible for my dilapidated butt to move. And there I
sat for several minutes, just catching my breath.


That thing inside him alerted him that the man had come outside and
was going to get away. Gouln still held on to the pillar, as he looked and
saw the man’s back. Gouln pushed away from his support and walked as
quickly as he could in pursuit of the chosen one.

The man was moving quickly now, putting the bucket of water inside his
vessel, then the equipment. Before Gouln could reach him, he had
slammed the door of the cargo area, and climbed into the control area
and slammed that door also. When he reached the vessel, Gouln could
see the man looked frightened. He could indeed sense some unseen
Gouln examined the latch. It seemed simple. Just lifting it would open
the door. He lifted it slowly, careful not to make any sound, it didn’t
open the door. It must be locked. The Olan considered what to do.

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