Spic and Span

Mrs. Jenkins didn’t know about changing babies. She knew that when fruit spoiled, you tossed it out. She knew that when an egg turned, it went down the chute in the hall to the dumpster below, and presumably into the belly of some hobo desperate enough to fish it out. That’s why, when they asked her about the twins left in her care, she said, “Oh, they’re all taken care of. Cleaned up, spic and span, no mess.” The detectives looked at each other, looked at the gleaming counter tops, noticed the complete lack of finger marks around refrigerator handles, and found an absence of even one spot of grease on the stove. Mrs. Jenkins nodded approvingly, “All new set of appliances. Just delivered last week, after I made the little ones dinner.” They asked about the new prescription bottle on the counter – wanting to know if it was for her. She had been beaming, but now she frowned. “Yes,” she said. “I’m not well, apparently. Don’t worry, I haven’t taken the pills. I’m not about to dirty the new glassware with lipstick. It all gets so expensive, keeping house.” She shrugged. “Oh well, I guess everything gets replaced, and it’s past time for a new model.” She stepped backwards off the balcony, careful not to leave any marks of fresh nail polish on the rail.

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