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Herr D

“Esther On Routine”

“–I don’t understand this clause. We’ll own the condo, but aren’t allowed to accept packages or move things we find right outside the door or change the hanger on the doorknob. That makes no sense to me. This is the sixtieth floor. No one can even get up here.”

“That, sir, is part of the ownership contract. Not negotiable. You will rescind your membership and be evicted immediately if you are found non-compliant.”

“I’m not saying I won’t agree. I very much want to own this condominium. The Cloud is wonderful and surprisingly inexpensive on this floor.”

“Indeed, sir. Please sign this non-disclosure agreement.”

“Uchhh. Fine.” [signs] “But seriously, what is this for?”

“The previous owner of The Cloud had a granddaughter named Esther. The building wasn’t called that then, and this was quite some time ago.”


“Esther is deformed and disabled, has the mentality and disposition of a sweet, dutiful, and productive four-year-old. She collects the dirty towels and leaves clean ones. The staff puts out the dirty ones for her.”

“Wait, what?”

“She checks the door hangers to know how many to leave. She’s very quiet. She makes her rounds between three and four a.m. If you see her, the clauses on how to conduct yourself around her are in the section marked “Rules Of Conduct.” These rules DO apply to your visitors and guests.”

[flips pages] “This? No saying anything to her but these phrases?”

“Thank you, Hello, Goodbye, and Good Job. You may also call her Esther. She has a routine. She wears a maid’s uniform, carries an old feather duster behind her ear.”

“Are there other maids I could confuse her with?”

“No, she is rather, DISTINCTIVE, we say, sir. Slightly deformed, warty, thick glasses, barely four feet tall. Our regular maids wear street clothes when on the sixtieth floor so as not to worry her. You must understand, this is how she is.”

“So she doesn’t actually clean the rooms?”

“Oh, no sir. Her keys to the rooms don’t even fit. She has no elevator pass, and she wears an alarm belt to alert us if she ever does attempt to leave. She passes between doing laundry, watching recorded cartoons on a loop, eating the meals we leave for her, sleeping, hygiene, and her rounds. We think she thinks her family is on vacation instead of deceased these fifty-odd years now.”

“How old is she now?”

“Ninety-six, sir. If this is a problem, there are other floors. They are more expensive, but you understand. The sixtieth floor is exclusive to people known for behaving themselves, sticking to routine, and following rules. I’ll be in my office when you decide. Take your time.”

*The shoulder pad makes a great door tag and Esther’s braids. The hair is her ancient duster and the odd bits of hair sticking out of the end of her right braid. The glasses are her hair bow.