Why the Janitor Quit

by Pat

Note: Some profanity.

Judge Orrin Travis only pretended to be a patient man - it went with the persona of judge. Deep inside, there dwelt an extremely impatient son of a gun capable of bodily harm and duress.

So he looked calm and patient as he entered his office one Monday morning, and nodded to his secretary, only to find that his first visitor of the day was Fred Hotchkins, Director of Personnel.

Immediately he mentally put the week down as lost as he settled behind his desk. "Hello Fred," he said mildly, "What the hell did they do this time?"

Fred's eyes appeared to have sparks coming out of them, which was unusual for Fred, generally he just let his veins throb unpleasantly.

"One Goddam day on the job and he quits - and he wants references or he's going to sue. I can't take it any more. None of the contract janitorial firms will work for us after that assassination attempt and now the janitor quits"

Judge Travis coughed discreetly at the language, but Fred was too angry to notice. The man flung himself in to the chair before the Judge's desk. "THIS IS THE 7TH $#%@ JANITOR I'VE LOST!!!!"

Judge Travis tried to look thoughtful. "Perhaps a homeless person from Josiah's mission could pass our background checks"

Hotchkins' hands began to shake.

"Now, now, Fred," chided the Judge, "Sit down and have some coffee. I suggest decaf this morning."

Judge Travis' secretary bustled into the office with the morning reports, ignoring Fred who sat and made gurgling noises.

The file on top, flagged 'URGENT', turned out to be, surprise, about Team 7's offices - which had been broken into. The fools had tried to rifle the men's desks. Recalling his last conversation with the boys about hi-jinks, Travis felt a sudden sympathy, not for Fred, who needed Prozac urgently, but for the poor janitor. What a way to start a job.


It had all started a few weeks ago when young Mr. Dunne decided to raid Mr. Tanner's desk for his large stash of junk food. Travis had a quiet bet with Evie that one of the boys would turn hypoglycemic in the next 2 years. He was betting on Tanner, until he found out that the young sharpshooter eschewed sweets when he was on a mission.

Tanner had discovered Mr. Dunne's theft in a short time, and acted promptly. His retaliatory raid cleaned out both J.D. Dunne's and Buck Wilmington's desks of all foodstuff and a few items that might be useful for blackmailing co-workers.

J.D. Dunne needed a snack. Badly. He could smell the Twinkies in Vin's desk. And Vin had cleaned him out and Buck too. Well, he probably would regret it, but he needed food now. He'd been up all night tracing phone calls on a case, had forgotten breakfast and had just received an urgent message from his brain demanding either 1) chocolate or 2) massive amounts of sugar. Quietly he stood up and stretched and then looked about surreptitiously. The coast was clear. He moseyed like Buck had showed him over in the direction of Vin's desk and then placed a calorically-deprived hand on the big front drawer where all the good stuff was.


His coworkers rushed to the scene. Josiah and Nathan were astonished to find that J.D. had managed to activate a dye bomb used by banks to make stealing the money more problematic for robbers. The boy was covered in red from head to toe.

Standish gave a quick quirk of his lips, ran to the coffee room and came back with clean rags and paper towels. Chris Larabee, team leader, boss and extremely impatient man, glared at them all, especially Vin Tanner, went into his office and slammed the door dramatically behind him, causing a few pictures to fall off the wall.

Josiah shook his head. "I thought we'd permanently adhered those to the wall itself."

The dye turned out to be permanent in nature, meaning Mr. Dunne was unsuitable for undercover operations until his epidermis changed. This was also detrimental to his love life.

J.D. was not amused.

Thus began "The Great Desk War". Lines were drawn. There were 2 ways to deal with the situation. One was to adopt a neutral position and not to put anything in your desk that could be construed as steal-worthy. Josiah and Nathan chose this method. The other method was to take immediate vengeance for all unapproved desk entry.

Unfortunately for the Janitor, this method was picked by Buck Wilmington, Vin Tanner, J.D. Dunne, Ezra Standish and Chris Larabee.

Normally this would not have been a source of pain for any cleaning staff, except several individuals of questionable character had hidden themselves in the ATF building over the weekend and decided to ransack the Team 7 Offices for information relative to a pending case.


Judge Travis smiled thinly at Fred and then called Security. “May I please have the surveillance tape for Team 7 for the weekend? No – I want it immediately; you can make copies later.”

Judge Travis frowned at the phone, "I don't care if he is the chief of police, I outrank him. I want that tape now. And you can tell him I know damn well he'd just make copies himself and use them for next year's justice conference."

He slammed the phone into the receiver and muttered, "Evidence indeed - he'll probably sell it to CNN".

Fred appeared to have calmed down somewhat. His veins weren't bulging out of his neck and forehead with quite as much pressure.

Soon there was a respectful knock at the door and a grinning security guard delivered the requested tape. "Here's the surveillance tape you requested, Sir. It's a doozy."

Judge Travis gave him a ghost of a smile. It wasn't good to promote too much levity with the troops. "Thank you. And don't worry; I'll get it back to you today. I want copies too."

The guard saluted and left. Travis shook his head. He looked down at Fred, "If it's as bad as I think it is, we should give the janitor a glowing recommendation and combat reimbursement," he muttered.

Fred twitched in the chair.

They put the tape on play and Travis fast-forwarded through the tape until he reached the point of illegal entry. The three men who entered the offices were dressed in black with stockings over their faces.

They first went to Josiah's desk and found the supply of holy water and bibles. They sniffed contemptuously; especially upon finding a card that stated, "Judgment is at hand" The thieves tossed things around, rummaging through the desk, but didn't find what they were looking for.

Then they hit Nathan Jackson's desk, which was filled with first aid supplies and blank accident reports. These items were treated with the same disrespect.

A little frustrated at this point, they approached Vin Tanner's desk and opened the fatal drawer. Watching them deluged with the dye bomb was interesting. One of the young fools pulled off his soaking facemask. Travis chided the man mentally, "Not professional, now we have you on tape,"

A strange sound came from behind him, and Judge Travis looked at Fred. He was giggling. Travis smiled. Poor Fred. He just didn't deal well with pressure.

The third young man was un-dyed. He cautiously approached J.D.'s desk. Travis leaned forward with interest. Dunne always presented excellent surprises.

The screen was peaceful for a moment until the un-dyed man opened the large drawer in J.D.'s desk. There was silence and then what appeared to be a lightning bolt shot out of the desk drawer and knocked the perp backward onto Josiah's desk, where he lay evidently unconscious. The body twitched a bit.

Beside him, Fred groaned sympathetically. "That's gotta hurt," he mumbled.

Orrin nodded, "At this point, I would leave while I was still ambulatory," he said. Unfortunately, the perps were not as wise as the judge. Now they opened Buck Wilmington's desk.

At first they looked through a large supply of girly magazines. Travis made a mental note to talk to Buck.

Then something jumped out of the open drawer onto one of the dye coated men and he screamed. It was a nice high girly scream. What ever it was appeared to fly through the air and disappear into a wastebasket.

"What the hell was that?" asked Fred.

"Tarantula," answered Travis.

Fred gulped.

Now the man was jumping around screaming excitedly. Apparently the spider had bitten him on the shoulder. They repaired to Nathan's desk and were seen searching the area they had trashed for the first aid materials they had scattered about. One man leafed through a handbook, clearly looking for 'insect bites'. Travis curled his lip. They were dripping red dye all over the floor. "Tile – Non-absorbent tile," he thought, "maybe acoustical in nature to deaden sound"

No way he was replacing the carpeting twice in one year.

The unconscious perp showed signs of waking and his co-perps were calming down.

Fred shook his head

"Leave while you can," he encouraged them.

But the perps were stubborn if not idiotic and went for Standish' desk.

They checked it over first carefully; dripping dye as they went, but finally tried a drawer.

Strobe lights went off and a siren. The thieves stood there, with that deer-in-the-headlights look. A camera flashed and a loud southern voice with just a trace of smirk in it announced via recording, "Your visage is now in place with the local constabulary as well as Security. You have invaded a secured ATF Area. You can expect to spend a minimum of 7 years in prison and fines of not less than $30,000 for impeding an investigation in progress, breaking and entering, and destruction of government property."

The perp who had been bitten apparently had bladder issues. A dark puddle appeared beneath him. His friends wrinkled their noses, and moved away.

Travis shook his head. Ezra was going to have a fit about that floor.

Then, in true idiotic fashion, the oblivious masochists headed for Larabee's office. The surveillance system followed the action and switched to the cameras in Larabee’s office.

They opened his front desk pencil drawer and picked up a note. Travis and Hotchkins leaned forward and grinned.

"You stupid fucks" the note read in large black letters.

A loud clicking noise and several slams revealed the door locking and the windows sealing. There was a plunk and a tear gas canister dropped from the ceiling while all three perps clawed frantically at the door. Finally all three men collapsed and the sprinklers gently came on, evidently to clear the air for Security.

They fast-forwarded through the arrest sequence, which was relatively boring given that the perps were either puking or unconscious. Fred sat up attentively.

Finally the janitor entered with his cleaning cart before him. He stopped, blinked and then looked again. He could smell urine, saw the entire outer office sprinkled with red dye. Bandages appeared to be flung about, not to mention the bibles. He walked over the Larabee’s door and started to cough.

The man shuddered and appraised the disorder and decided to try and fix it. He went back to Nathan’s desk and began to straighten the disorder there, gingerly cleaning as much of the red dye up as possible. Then he bent over to empty the trash can and shot up on top of Nathan’s desk, with a high pitched shriek.

“Must have found the tarantula,” observed the Judge.

“*(&087*&_*&_*&!!!!!!!” observed the janitor, who had clearly had enough.

He cautiously descended from the desk and flipped the wastebasket upside down, trapping the spider within.

“Nice touch,” murmured Fred.

Then the janitor wrote out a note, which the excellent high resolution tape revealed to say, somewhat shakily, “*uck you all, I hope your damn ******’s fall off.”

“Ouch,” said Fred.

“Give him the reference,” recommended Travis. “And tell him we’d love to keep him and he doesn’t have to clean Team 7’s area. That does appear to be the heart of the occasional chaos.”

Fred nodded and left, obviously in a much better frame of mind.

There was a knock on the door. Team 7 was ready to report. He could hear Buck complaining loudly about, “Them durn fools traumatized Stinky to no end,” while Larabee apparently threatened Standish with acts of violence.

Judge Travis only pretended at patience. Now he rapidly cleared the grin from his face, and waited for them to enter his office. All looked nervous, although Larabee looked more resigned than anything.

They seated themselves about his office and the Judge sat down and looked over his best team.

They were silent, waiting for words of condemnation for this latest escapade. Standish’s poker face was a miracle of self-control. Tanner’s blue eyes were riveted on Travis’ face and he could feel the man’s regard. Dunne kept blushing and twisting his hands. He was the youngest of them; he would learn. Nathan and Josiah both had the smug looks of the righteous innocent.

The Judge leaned forward and looked at his team. They drew a collective breath and waited.

“Stinky?” he asked.

The End