The Way Bleach Works
If I learned one thing in my first year at university, it’s this: Bleach is the shit. F**K Dow Chemicals, and all their Mr. Clean, shiny, happy disinfecting crap. I have never found anything that works better than good, old-fashioned, ordinary household bleach. And I should know.
I work on a very specific problem. I’m kind of a specialist in my field. Put a bunch of 35-year-old middle management office shlubs in a room and ask them how they got where they are and nine times in ten most of them will tell you they ‘just fell into’ their field while they were in school. Discovered a talent they never knew they had. That was the same with me, except, you could say that I pushed my way in.
My roommate ate my last chocolate chip waffle. Again. So, what was I supposed to do? We fought, I pushed, her head hit a corner, blah, blah, blah. Details are boring. All I know is that when you’re ankle deep in the stuff that usually stays on the inside, you figure it out or you end up eating three squares a day courtesy of the government. So I got together some trash bags and a shovel, loaded everything in my roommate’s car and when I came back I had a sponge and a container of bleach.
Do you know what bleach does? Like what it really does? It doesn’t disinfect. That’s a common myth. All those housewives pouring it down their toilets thinking that it makes it safe for them to reach in a grab dad’s car keys after little Jimmy drops them in there. But it’s a load of, well, crap. Bleach breaks down the molecule, changing the chemical compound of whatever is exposed to it and removing the thing that gives it colour. It disrupts the UV wavelengths that allow you to see something. It doesn’t remove the mess, it doesn’t make whatever you’re trying to get rid of go away, It makes it look like just isn’t there, and maybe it never was.
You could say that’s what bleach and I have in common. I wasn’t just going to bleach the kitchen floor and leave it at that. I’m not ridiculously stupid.
The mess is just one part of the whole thing, but it seems like the part TV fixates on the most. Frankly, cleaning up isn’t that bad. You get used to the sights and the smells, and after awhile it becomes just like changing a diaper or cleaning up after your kid has puked everywhere. It’s unpleasant, but routine. It’s the rest of the job that takes some finessing.
It’s hard to hide a murder. If a body turns up, there’s too high a likelihood that someone, somewhere will trace it back to you. But you can’t just hide the body. If a person inexplicably goes missing, that’s almost as good as having a body. People love a mystery, and sick bastards that we all are, we immediately assume that if someone disappears without a reasonable explanation, they’re dead. There needs to be a reason to stop looking. So that’s what I do. I take care of a problem. I clean up the mess and I make sure no one goes looking.
If you’re good at something like this, the logistics sort-of take care of themselves. One suspicious cop who can’t prove anything, or one friend who calls crying in the middle of the night with a serious ‘problem’ and they each tell one person and soon, you just sort of develop a client list. You’d be shocked at how many people hate their spouses.
I was surprised at how good I got and the things I learned in a short amount of time. Take rugs for instance. Never do a job on a rug, they’re trouble. There’s no real way to clean them up and cutting out a piece or hiding it under furniture is sloppy.
That first night it took me a long time to figure out the specifics. Packing up all her things, signing into her computer, buying a bus ticket with her credit card and sending some emails. Then moving all of her stuff out and finally, posting an ad online looking to sublet her room.
Most people think she broke down under the stress of mid-terms and just moved back home. Her parents are under the impression that her and her new boyfriend live in a wilderness compound in Montana now. I have to admit, that one’s not the most realistic thing I’ve ever concocted, but it wasn’t bad for a first try. And now I have a stable part-time job and a new roommate. One who doesn’t eat my waffles.