• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 01
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I Do Like to Keep them Handy

I wanted to make ladies underwear. You know, pretty lacy things. But my mother said a nice young man like me wouldn’t do that sort of thing. She said, ‘Gloves show the quality of a person. There’ll always be a demand for gloves, Michael.’

My mother was one of my best customers and she always paid the full retail price. She said good work deserved proper payment. But after she died, I’ve not been able to make a single pair.

I used her method, to get the blood out.
‘Suds Michael, suds,’ she always said. ‘You can never have enough suds.’ My job was to swirl the water about with a wooden spoon while she poured liquid soap into the bath until the pile of suds stood taller than me. Then she’d say, ‘Undress, Michael. Get yourself soaped-up so I can’t see anything.’ But she’d soap my body with her bare hands. Even when I was beyond puberty she did it. She said she was just making sure I was clean. Even when I said I was old enough to wash by myself, she did it. So I had to do something, didn’t I? But I was careful: I made it look like suicide.

It’s been a year now and I think the authorities have given up.
Before I rang them I washed the knife in the suds and put it back where it’s always hung. And I washed the gloves. I used her method: suds work well on suede. But since then I’ve needed several clean pairs a day. So I mix up the suds, wash the gloves and hang them up to dry.

I keep the pair I never wear on the table. I wouldn’t want to go mixing them up with the others, not after what they've seen, but I do like to keep them handy.