Employees Must Wash Hands Before Returning to Work

He’s a terrible killer but an excellent babysitter and as long as he’s not actively working his dark and bloody work he’s open-handed and generous with his time. Everyone mostly likes him, or to be honest really likes him but is also leery of knowing him too well on the off-chance that someday the work will follow him home and gut the house out with fire, so they all keep just that little bit of extra distance there.

The kids all love him, of course. Especially Natalie who’s bidding fair for either a troubled youth or an equally disquieting perfectly placid one and who will joyfully soak up everything he has to tell her about knives and joints and pounds of pressure. “Seems damned useful,” her mom Rachael says, “wish to hell someone had shown me the delicate science of causin’ pain when I was her age. Woulda had me a much different life, I tell ya.” Rachael smokes a lot and ekes out a pretty punk rock existence selling plaster self-portraits of monsters and mutants to ex-artist yuppies in the gentrifying belt. “She’s alright,” Natalie says, “y’know, whatever,” and goes back to flipping the butterfly knife he gave her for her fourteenth birthday open and shut.

Eric can’t stand him, which is mildly amazing on account of Eric likes everybody in spite of all the swastika tattoos which no one has ever really gotten the straight of, something to do with prison maybe, only Eric really makes friends with everybody regardless of race, creed or country of origin, which makes his hating him that much stranger. “Dunno why,” he says, shrugs, and adds, “hey, let me show you these herbs I’ve harvested, they just grow wild all over the highway and people will pay crazy money for ’em. I’m gonna make a mint.”

The rotating cast of itinerant roofers down on the ground floor have adopted him as one of their own, and if they don’t speak much English and he doesn’t speak much Spanish it don’t seem to signify. They get insufficiently drunk on pitchers of shit beer and play pool and walk scared college kids back from the bar. Sometimes he gets just that much too drunk and then all the killing climbs into his eyes and even through the language barrier they’re suddenly uncomfortable. But it goes, it goes, and if he comes home sometimes smelling of gunpowder and gasoline, well, like I said he’s a pretty excellent babysitter and generous with his time and always brings a casserole to the monthly potluck so they’re willing to overlook it.