“And just who are you, sir?” I asked.
The fellow laughed softly, rolled on his side, and then smiled across the room at me. He was pointing a thumb toward himself when he answered. “Are you referring to me?”
“I am,” I replied, frankly and with a slight nod.
He glanced toward the ceiling at a single hanging cob web and shrugged his shoulders. “Oh, I’ve been here a lifetime; yours that is.”
How this fellow came to be resting on my couch, I’m not certain. Perhaps he trailed unseen behind the pizza delivery man, or slithered inside within the pages of the local weekly while I worked incessantly on a captivating adventure novel, titled Butterfly 8. No one really knows how a mess invades the home, but there he lay, peering toward me with tired eyes, and, dare I say, a rather disturbing grin.
I was reminded of the dirty tableware that sat all jumbled together in the kitchen sink, so I asked him, “When will you be cleaning the dishes?”
He bellowed with laughter. “I’m a mess, sir. I’m no cleaner—I simply make messes.”
“I see.” I admit I was rather smug. “Well, that fact is obvious. And to whose benefit is that, exactly—making messes, I mean?”
“Who said it to be a benefit of any sort? And what would it prove if it was?”
I bothered not to give him even a glance. Instead I kept to myself, pecking away on my keyboard. “Ah, what indeed,” I murmured. “What would it prove?”
“Shall I tell you?” he cooed.
“Please, pray do.”
“It proves absolutely nothing,” said he, with a dismissive wave of a hand.
This mess fellow was a sly chap; sly indeed. Manipulating words, and using all sorts of trickery to continue his untidy duties. I ceased my typing, and after I had hotly named him an “intolerable fool” my words were rehearsed in my mind before I spoke again.
I turned a pair of puzzled brown eyes upon him and asked, “How is it that you came to be?”
He smiled serenely. “So, you don’t remember?”
“The circumstances are rather unclear at the moment, Mr. Mess, so please do enlighten me.”
Unquestionably, my appeal captured his interest; for he sprang from the prone and rather lazy position that he most often assumed on the couch, to an attentive sitting posture.
“Well, I’ve always been here with you,” said he. “I am you. And—”
“Oh, that’s the best explanation you can give, is it?” I snapped.
He snorted like an angry bull. “Well, sir, what is yours?”
I had no answer for the mess, and frankly, he knew that I would be without one. He was too absurd to anger me any further. Indeed, it was a waste of energy, for if I was going to be angry with this mess, I would be angry all the time.
A brief silence passed before he continued in a more civil manner.
“When you were but a mere lad, I was a bigger mess. But as you grew older, the cleaner in you came to be.”
He winced as if pain. “Ah yes, him.”
My face flushed, and I leaned forward with my arms resting on my knees.
“Well,” he continued, “the majority of his efforts are spent ensuring that I don’t become a big or a bigger mess, yet again.”
I cried, “This cleaner fellow has power over you, then!”
The brows of the mess gathered in disapproval. “Oh no, no, sir, I did not utter such a thing as that.”
“Well then tell me, why it is that papers and an empty cup or two are found only in miniscule about the house?”
The mess was suddenly without words.
I continued. “If you are as commanding as you claim to be, one would expect this place to be full with squalor—yet it is not.
Reason seemed to have caused the mess some discomfort, and it was quite noticeable upon his face. He faded away yet again, while the cleaner was left to make orderly the abode....yet again.