New! 9/19/12

The Longest Stick

By Audrey W.



“Ya know, I’ve mopped this floor so many times, I think I could do it in my sleep.” 

Roy DeSoto glanced at his partner John Gage as the latter pulled a mop out of a bucket and he dipped his in. The crew of Station 51’s A-shift had kept with a fairly new ‘tradition’ and drawn different length toothpicks for chore assignments. The shortest was always the ‘mop and bucket’ duty.  

“Maybe you should’ve stuck with that crazy card game you invented last year. . .you know, the one you wanted to end your reign as king of the dirty dishes and soapy sink water since you kept losing at the standard games. . . like Poker.” 

John looked sharply at him in surprise.  “Are you kidding me? Even I couldn’t keep up with the rules of my game.  I couldn’t remember what cards were wild when, what a Super Bagel was. . .it was just too confusing, Roy. ‘Sides that, it was Captain Smith who encouraged the card games. Captain Stanley’s the one who changed it to drawings. We gotta go with what the captain wants.” 

“Well, being that you always pick the short stick, maybe next time you take your turn at drawing, you should go for the one you wouldn’t have normally selected. When you go to pick one, move your hand to another one and make that your new selection. So you won’t be taking your first choice.” 

“Go against my instinct. . .” 

“Right,” Roy confirmed with a slight grin. He’d have displayed more of a smile but as Gage’s partner, he was still stuck with helping to mop the apparatus bay since there weren’t enough chores that morning to cover everybody individually. 

John slapped his wet mop against the floor and moved it side to side as he gave the suggestion more thought.  

“Yeah,” he said, his lopsided grin widening. “Yeah. . .that’s a great idea. . .that’s a real great idea, Roy.” 


The next shift, John found himself once again with a mop in hand, a bucket of soapy water in front of him in the apparatus bay. Roy passed by on his way to his chore in the dorm room.  

“That strategy you suggested didn’t work so well, huh?” John asked wryly as he wrung his mop out, his face displaying discouragement. 

His partner stopped and eyed the not so happy mopper.  

“Oh, I don’t know about that.” 

John looked at him, his brows furrowed in puzzlement.  

“You’re holding the longest stick now, aren’t you?” 

Gage groaned inwardly at the playful smile on the other’s face. “Ho. . .real funny, Roy.” He once again slapped the wet mop head on the floor and began moving it side to side. “Reeeaaal funny . . .”








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