Take It Away

by | Jun 7, 1998 | Confession, Purity, Sin

It was the smell that bothered Wayne the most. The clutter and the oily stains on the carpets he could stand, but the fetid aroma that swirled through the house was at times unbearable. Air fresheners would allay the stench for a short time, but the presence of the garbage that filled every spare crevice of the two-story split foyer rendered the sprays only a temporary fix. After a few hours in the house, Wayne was able to handle the stink. But, upon returning to the house from work or some other outing, it was rather intense. He was beginning to think he should do something about it, or move out, but his fear of the opinions of others, who might see the loads of garbage coming out of the house, kept him living in this prison of rubbish.

Wayne had moved to the neighborhood about six years ago, thinking it a rather quiet, well-kept middle class community. He had met some nice people almost immediately, like Henry Matson, the 60-some year old who always walked his dog past Wayne’s house around 6:30 each evening. There were Mark and Carol Arezzo, the newlyweds next door, whom he would see kissing each other good-bye in the mornings as they left for work. There were others, too. But, in six years, as the debris accumulated, he had never once had anyone over for dinner (or anything else, for that matter) because of the trash he kept hidden. There were social activities in the community, but they never involved visiting another neighbor’s house. They were always held at a neutral location, like the park or the pool. Wayne was thankful for this, because it meant he needn’t reciprocate a dinner hosted by another.

It was a rather humid night that brought Wayne to his decision to try to find some way of dealing with the mounds of filth in his home. The hot moistness drew out the putrefied aroma rather powerfully on that night, which only served to remind him that Marsha, whom he had been seeing for several months now, could never visit his home unless he took action. He began with the phone book.

Poring over the list of cleaners for everything from antiques to awnings, he found a small ad for a family-owned business that just might do the trick. It read:

Overwhelmed? We Clean Your Mess Specializing In Neglected Homes Call Us 77-CLEAN

There were a number of other cleaners listed, but Wayne, though he knew not why, felt drawn to this company. He wrote down the number and called the next morning, a Saturday. They had a slot open that afternoon.

The knock at Wayne’s door came precisely when the inspectors said they’d arrive. After the inspection, the chief inspector told him they could get started right away, if Wayne so desired.

“It’s a good thing you called us, Wayne, ” said the chief inspector. “Your house was almost beyond the point of no return. Some of the wood was starting to rot. In another few weeks, it would have been too late.”

Wayne felt relieved, but now came the hard part, the price quote. He wasn’t very wealthy, and shuddered inwardly at what a cleaning up of such proportions would cost.

“Actually,” came the reply, “we don’t charge for our service. We only ask that you let your friends know about us. There are a lot of homes we’ve inspected in this area that have refused our service, for various reasons. Some were afraid to let others see just how dirty their homes were.”

As he said this, he looked into Wayne’s eyes knowingly. Wayne sensed that the inspector knew his thoughts, but somehow felt reassured, and not condemned, by his gaze.

“But, there are some who haven’t even realized that their garbage poses a danger to their homes, though all homes here are hoarding it. That’s where customers, like you, come in, Wayne.”

Wayne pondered the offer, which seemed a little too good to be true. It would have been easy to dismiss the inspector; if Wayne hadn’t been standing next to a bag of what he guessed was rotting meat. The garbage had to go, and with it, Wayne’s pride.

“Take it away,” Wayne said, “all of it.”

Stephen F. Pizzini spizzini@hotmail.com

1 John 1:6-7 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.


Take It Away