I Can See Clearly Now
We cannot believe what we see, for nothing is more deceptive than sight. Of all our senses, it is the most misleading.
—The Third Korus of the White Tree
The banner above the stairs leading up to Bridge Street read, “Making London’s Tube Tidier,” and was followed by the seal of the Mayor’s office and that of the Crown. But that didn’t mean Martin Q. Potts liked the look of it. Sure, it seemed official, but it also seemed…misleadin’.
Tidier? Tidier meant the dustman hadn’t been doing his job, which Pottsy had. So how come the higher-ups from Hizzoner’s had insisted on hanging their bloody sign?
Now Pottsy had to work twice as hard, pushing his electric buffer twice as fast, polishing Westminster’s tiled floors twice as often, until you could see what color your knickers were just as easily!
Then again Martin Q. Potts wouldn’t have liked a lot of things had he been paying attention to the world around the Mayor’s posted proclamation. For example, he wouldn’t have liked the way the two hooligans were acting oh so casual by the base of the stairs, when in fact they were guarding its use.
Or how the hooligans’ much-larger friend shoved passengers aside, about to pop a vein if he didn’t find who he was looking for.
Or the way the coffee-skinned lad crouched in the corner by the east tunnel, fixated on Mr. Potts’ very own buffing machine.
Pottsy wouldn’t have liked the way the lad in the corner eyed the buffer’s cord, studying how Pottsy had looped it around the newel post of the stair’s banister so his buffer wouldn’t get nicked.
He also wouldn’t have liked the way the lad’s eyes followed the cord as it snaked along the base of the stairs, the boy happy as a hatter when he realized it looped around the banister post at the far side.
Worse, Pottsy would’ve hated the sigh of relief rising from the lad when he understood that the cord ran along the station’s polished floor and plugged into the wall within inches of his feet.
No, Martin Q. Potts, wouldn’t have liked a lot of things going on in his station, but he certainly would have appreciated the way the lad named Max smiled at his work, reveling in the way Pottsy’s floors glistened and shined to the point of being slick as a new pence.
But well enough. Tidi-er or not, it was time for tea, and the noble janitor of Westminster Station, one Martin Q. Potts, was going back to the office to see if “tidier” was actually the Queen’s English.
Because to him it looked French.
* * *
Max smiled as the door labeled “STAFF ONLY” closed behind the dustman. One less person to worry about. He leaned back against the wall and slowly slid down as if to tie his trainers. Then, with his right hand, he unplugged the floor buffer’s extension cord, tied it into a bowline knot, and…