The Queen & the Cleaning Lady: A Flash Fiction

Nefertiti’s head turned slowly and she winked.  Or, so it seemed to Natasha.  This is how Tasha starts every work day.  Before assembling all of the cleaning products, tools of her trade, she makes this stop in the antiquities wing of the museum, to stand before the Queen.

Somehow, seeing this head of Nefertiti swivel towards her, and lazily wink a heavily kohled eye, braces Tasha for a pre-dawn morning of ammonia, buckets, mops and rags.  It’s their ritual, these two women.  One, a thick-boned thirty-seven year-old immigrant from Kazakhstan.  Divorced and discarded.  The other, a thousands-year-old queen.  Her image, torso less, trapped forever under this glass dome, swiveling slowly on a high-end porcelain lazy susan.

“Ironic,” Natasha thinks to herself.  “How far we travel, only to find ourselves newer and prettier cages to inhabit.”  And still, at 4:30a.m., a slow ride on a lazy susan, looks pretty appealing to Natasha.  She bows deeply before her Queen, picks up her bucket and mop, and sloshes on…


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