The other janitor was a genius.

I learned that guys who dispose of human waste are usually idiots, but occasionally there’s one who does it to understand humans better.

His name was Charles.

I watched him lining the cafeteria trash can.

He did it differently than the other janitor—more carefully.

He motioned that I should come over. He had white hair slicked back like Hugh Hefner.

He looked like a pervert.

“I’m a philosopher,” he said. “Really. I have a house in North Bend. I just do this job to understand.”

He said “understand” like it was profound.

Occasionally, I talked to him—about what, I can’t remember. Most of the things I said in that place were forgettable.

I had a lingering desire to be a writer, but I also thought about going to law school.


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