Someone to Sweep the Floors

Valentin removed his goggles and propped his broom against the wall, kicking away stray bone fragments at his feet. He wiped his brow quickly to keep the stinging sweat from his eyes.

“The dust is worse in here, Dmitri,” he lamented. “I can barely breathe.”


“How many you think in this house? Seven or eight?”

Dmitri kept sweeping. “At least twelve. Only house on this block that had heat.”

Valentin suddenly laughed, spewing forth a cloud of fine gray particles. “Only house with heat! Ha! All houses are heated now after three days of nuclear bombs!”

Dmitri shrugged. “Not what I meant.”

Valentin shook his head, still grinning. “I would imagine the early warning radar system was obsolete at best. Too bad, because they’ve left a horrible mess.”


Valentin let his facial muscles relax. “Dmitri, my friend, you are terrible at making conversation. It’s too bad there aren’t many people like us left. We need someone to talk to.”

“And someone to sweep the floors,” Dmitri mumbled.

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