a day in gay utopia – Corey Qureshi

the new vacuum that replaced the broken one is missing a screw, when i lift it by the grip the entire handlepiece comes out of the body, it smacks the carpet with a loud plastic thwack. once i put it back together and toggle the powersource several times it works again. i realize the machine isn’t picking up any of the construction dust trailed from the New Archives™ (funded over people starving in the lobby) onto this carpet, green and uncleanable. i beat the floor with a broom, reposition the mess for another day of appearances. the walls yellow in thanks, the clients walking past look at me sideways my headphones pacify me my spine bends when i go back downstairs the recently rejoined desk volunteer (w decades’ long history with the building like everyone else i don’t know) doesn’t recognise me and starts fussing. explaining is exhausting, i shoot quick thru a door with the keys and find two guys groping each other. their lusty looks implore me but i’m only uncomfortable, tell them to leave. they don’t recognise me and tell their friend at the desk i’m being rude, everyone looks at me sideways a lanky man tries to cruise me with a book in my hand, walks off annoyed when i don’t bite a bulky man tries to cruise me with a book in my hand, forces his number on me then walks off with a hopeful smile as i delete it out of my phone. i don’t look for fun i clean i mop and find corners to hide in. everyone overshares + misgenders on purpose as forms of flirting everyone is still 25 years ago everyone is worried about “what type of spanish” i am white therapists burn palo santo islamophobia and zionism reign supreme blond straights gawk from the sidewalks before coming in to take space this is a spectacle they pay for i pay my bills and for my kid with voyeuristic money i don’t look for fun i clean i tell people to leave when we close