Making A Clean Getaway

, , , , , , | Romantic | October 27, 2020

Two other people and I are a team that clean people’s houses for my maid service job in a very affluent neighborhood. The thing about The Help is that we overhear a lot of things because we’re often invisible.

I’m cleaning the place up. [Client] is home, puttering around while I dust the high places and such. [Client]’s husband calls her cell phone and she answers. The discussion is in a normal tone of voice.

Thirty seconds later, [Husband] calls the home phone. The discussion becomes heated, and from what I can overhear, [Husband] thinks [Client]’s cheating and was making sure she was at home where she claimed to be. [Client] slams the phone down and fumes.

I clean house basically every two days, so I come back. [Husband] is now on a “business trip” and I am asked to do a little straightening in the bedroom. My team and I strip the bed and then I go to take fresh sheets out of the linen closet… but the door won’t open. I can’t even turn the knob.

Me: “[Client], the closet door in the bedroom is jammed.”

Client: “Let me try it.”

She tries, but she can’t get it open, either.

We all ponder briefly, and then [Client] gets the idea to call [Husband] about the stuck door.

She hits the dial button… and the phone rings from inside the closet!

We all turn to look at each other, disbelief in our eyes, as we can actually hear fumbling sounds coming from inside the closet.

I try the doorknob and the door opens without resistance. [Husband] practically falls flat on his face, the now silent cell phone in hand, at my feet.

The whole lot of us, the wife, my team, and I, are just staring at him.

Husband: “Oh… Uh… Hi, honey.” 

There’s lots of awkward fumbling as he gets to his feet, and he won’t look any of us in the eyes.

From what I glean from the following nuclear explosion, [Husband] still thought [Client] was cheating on him and pretended to go on a business trip, when in reality he was hiding in random areas in the house where neither of them normally go to try to catch the supposed side boyfriend in the house.

Naturally, the maid service is invisible to this dude, so it never occurred to him that those clean sheets happen because the servants do go into those places, until like, the very last second. He’d panicked and grabbed and held the doorknob to keep me from opening it the first time.

[Client] basically chases him out of the house entirely and he flees for his life.

Her very next call is to a divorce lawyer.

Sometime later, I show up for another appointed house cleaning and find the woman seething while on the phone with her bank. She has apparently discovered that their joint bank account is $4,000 short and she’s trying to figure out where it went.

Where else? [Husband]. [Husband] apparently bought plane tickets to another country shortly after he fled the house and withdrew the rest for cash on hand. Not suspicious at all! I was left thinking about the husband, and about pots and kettles both being black.

Client: “I have plenty of money in my account, so I promise that I can still pay you, so your services can continue as normal.”

At this point, I shyly suggest she call my home office. She can ask for a referral from the cleaning company for some trustworthy house movers to remove [Husband]’s personal effects from her home.

The house movers and cleaning company sometimes share job requests and bounce off of each other; they often carefully pack up entire households and then leave the place to us to clean the carpets, clean shelves, etc., and prepare the house for new families moving in. It’s a very beneficial arrangement for both of us and we refer clients back and forth.

Less than half an hour later, four big guys arrive at the same time her lawyer does — when you have big bucks, response time can be measured with a hand timer, apparently — and they go room by room. The lawyer notes everything that is slated as [Husband]’s, which the movers take down and carefully pack. My team and I coordinate with the movers and clean up behind them so that there aren’t even dust rings left behind where the removed things used to be.

The lawyer makes careful inventory of everything and its condition when removed so [Husband] can’t complain about breakage. [Husband]’s things are then taken to a storage facility.

Details are sketchy from here on, but [Client] now has a different last name and is very happily living her life as a divorced woman.

I’m just left shaking my head. I’m used to some odd stuff that is accidentally discovered, overheard, or observed, but so far, this takes the cake.

On the plus side, with half the stuff gone, the house is much easier to clean!

The Sweetest Serial Killer

, , , , , | Romantic | October 21, 2020

My girlfriend and I have been dating for several months. She’s been in some bad relationships before and is worried because I’m “too nice.” She keeps wondering if I have some sort of deep, dark secret, like being a serial killer or something.

One day, I do a couple of minor repairs at her house, and that evening, she makes dinner for us.

Girlfriend: “Thank you so much for your help today.” *Sigh* “I really don’t want to find out you’re a serial killer.”

Me: “Tell you what, sweetie. I promise I’ll kill you first so you won’t find out anything.”

She hugs me.

Girlfriend: “Oh, thank you!”

She gets me.

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Time To Bite The Bullet

, , , , , | Romantic | October 11, 2020

I’m fifteen, and I’m at a family dinner at my grandparents’ place. The conversation rolls around to my relatives’ time in the army. Every male in Singapore has to serve two years in the army when they turn eighteen, so I’m quite interested in finding out what I’ll have to go through. We call it National Service or NS.

Me: “So, what’s the scariest thing in NS?”

Cousin #1: “Live firing. You never realise how loud gunshots are until you’ve shot a gun.”

Cousin #2: “Don’t listen to him. He spent all his time on a desk job. What’s scarier is the explosives. However loud a gunshot is, they’re louder.”

Cousin #3: “Forget that. You’ve never left Singapore. There’s nothing scarier than camping in the Brunei jungle and waking up with a snake right beside you.”

Uncle #1: “Hey, I was part of the National Guards. Nothing is scarier than rappelling out of a helicopter.”

Uncle #2: “I was in NDU [Naval Diver Unit] in the eighties. Last time wasn’t as easy as now. Scariest is the drown-proof training. They tie you up and throw you into a pool.”

The conversation degenerates into my three cousins and two uncles bragging about their scariest exploits during their time in the army. My aunt decides she’s had enough of it.

Aunt: “Quit your d**k-measuring contest. I know what the scariest possible thing in NS is!”

Cousin #1: *Unconvinced* “What is it, Mom?”

Aunt: “Potong Jalan.”

There is an immediate and total silence among the male crowd.

All Five Of Them: “Yeah, that is the scariest.”

Me: “Potong Jalan? What’s that?”

Aunt: “It’s Singlish for your girlfriend getting stolen by another man while you are in the army.”

Me: “Pffft. Like that’ll happen to me.”

All Five Of Them: *Thousand-yard stare* “That’s what we thought.”

Cousin #2: “If you don’t believe me, you can ask around. Happens to ninety percent of the couples in NS.”

Uncle #1: “Yeah, trust me. By the end of BMT [Basic Military Training], half your section will have lost their girlfriends.”

Cousin #2: “Yeah. Like, in some places, they make the officers all go for training as breakup counsellors. My friend who signed on had to do that. It’s that prevalent.”

Cousin #3: “And depending on your unit, sometimes you can get compassionate leave if you have Potong Jalan.”

Uncle #2: “Yeah. All the sergeants bully you so much, like to make you suffer, but then when they see someone crying because of Potong Jalan, they stop shouting and actually treat you nicely.”

Cousin #1: “There are even marching songs about Potong Jalan. It’s that prevalent.”

Me: “Well, I won’t have to worry about that. I can’t even get a girlfriend.”

Everyone: “Don’t date until after NS!”

They were right. There were several breakups within the first week. By the end of the nine-week BMT, the number of intact couples was about two-thirds. By the end of the year, it was below half. It turns out that after seeing your girlfriend cheat on you, nothing the army throws at you is even remotely scary anymore.

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Maybe You And Your Friend Should Work Out A Signal

, , , , , | Romantic | October 7, 2020

A friend and I go out to a bar one night. We have some drinks and play some pool, and there are a few guys that we sort of try to chat with, but we mostly keep to ourselves.

Now, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that I can be completely oblivious when it comes to realizing that guys are flirting with me; it’s caused me to miss out on a few things. But as we’re leaving, I’m complaining to her a bit; I got a call while we were out from my boss asking me to come in the next day — my day off — because she can’t be in. (There were issues aplenty at that job, but that’s a story for another time.)

Me: “Ugh. I can’t believe [Boss] called me on my Friday night and was so shocked that I didn’t pick up immediately and didn’t actually want to come in all day on my day off.”

Friend: “I still can’t believe you actually said yes.”

Me: “I don’t know what I was thinking. But I swear, if one more person calls me and complains that their furniture wasn’t what they wanted, I’m going to quit.”

A guy over in the smoking area speaks up.

Guy: “Hey, can I get your number?”

Me: “Oh, sorry, we were just talking about my job.”

My friend and I both get in the car, and as I’m pulling out of the parking lot, I realize she’s staring at me funny.

Me: “What?”

Friend: “…”

Me: *Lightbulb* “He was actually asking for my number, wasn’t he?”

Friend: “Yeah.”

Me: “Is it too late to go back and get it?”

Friend: “Pretty sure you missed your chance.”

By this point, we’re at a stoplight, so I bang my head on the steering wheel.

Me: “I’m an idiot. See, this is why I can’t get dates. Or a boyfriend.”

Friend: “Well, I wasn’t going to say anything…”

We both managed to laugh although I was feeling embarrassed. Even if he’d just been making conversation, if I’d been paying attention, I still might have ended up with his number. Ten years later, I still miss when guys are trying to flirt with me 95% of the time.

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He Probably Thinks Women Don’t Fart, Too

, , , , , , | Romantic | September 28, 2020

I’ve been seeing this guy for about a few weeks when he comes over to my place. We’re sitting on the couch watching a movie, when…

Guy: “Hey, you smell different today. Are you wearing perfume?”

Me: “No, I got a new shower gel.”

Guy: “Why would that make you smell different?”

Me: *Confused pause* “Because it’s a different scent than the last one?”

Guy: “But the shower gel shouldn’t change the way you smell.”

Me: “Um. When you wash with soap, you smell like that soap. You smell like your shower gel, don’t you?”

Guy: “But you’re a girl! You’re supposed to just smell good naturally.”

Me: “Uh… women do sweat, you know. Why do you think we take showers?”

Guy: “It’s to wash off the sweat and stuff. Then, the natural smell comes through, and some girls just smell better than others, just like some girls are prettier than others.”

Me: “Hold up. You really thought the smell of citrus just… came out of my pores? Dude, I’m not a grapefruit.”

Guy: “So you’ve been tricking me this whole time?!”

Me: “What?”

Guy: “You’re just like those girls who wear perfume and makeup! We’re done. I don’t want to see you anymore.”

Me: “Fine by me, but I can absolutely guarantee you that any other woman you date is also going to smell like whatever she washes with. You’re not going to find a lady who ‘naturally’ smells like fruit and flowers.”


This story is part of our Best Of September 2020 roundup!

Read the next story in the Best Of September 2020 roundup!

Read the Best Of September 2020 roundup!

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