The Good Cleaner
Lewsel Noors was a cleaner, just as his name implied. But he prided himself on being an exceptionally good cleaner. He was methodical and meticulous to an extreme. Of course, being a neurotic germaphobe didn’t hurt. So many others saw cleaning as tedious or even menial labor; aspiring to be scientists, engineers, or administrators, but not Noors. He found a profound satisfaction in his work. He would even break protocol and occasionally double back if he thought his nearby counterparts Lewsel Nygin or Lewsel Tari might have missed something.

Presently, Noors was doing just that. He was sure he saw something that Tari hadn’t. He altered course and strode back toward a small heap. It was open, but there were still some hiding places. He could imagine the rodents inside, teaming with germs, and it made his skin crawl.

Ardok Joa signaled him that he was falling behind again and to turn back, but Noors knew he could get away with this if he was quick; especially if his hunch was correct. His administrator was strict and impatient, but no one could argue with Noors' results whenever he managed to find a spot that someone else had missed. He pulled at the largest section. It was stubborn, but it finally gave way. Water sprayed from now broken pipes. He shined his light inside and saw movement. He knew it! Something scurried to the other side, looking for another place to hide. He zapped it in mid-sprint. On top of being a good cleaner, Noors was also a very good shot. He breathed a small sigh of relief, but knew he had to dig deeper. Where there was one, there were almost always others.

Some would scoff at his need to be so completely thorough, but Noors knew he was not being irrational. Germs were still a serious threat. The entire first wave was wiped out by influenza, streptococcus, and… what did the rodents call it? “Chickenbox”? No, pox! That was it. The “chicken” part was odd, but the “pox” certainly fit in that it was a spiteful curse! Of course the scoffers would point out that the second wave had been inoculated, and they had found safer methods of fertilizing, and that the new air filtration systems destroyed even the smallest and toughest microorganisms; but the germs were still there and they mutated and there may yet be a multitude of undiscovered varieties just waiting to infect them all. Noors knew he was not just being paranoid. The first wave had been careless and the second wave was overconfident in what they had learned.

He thrashed at the far corner and, sure enough, 2 more scurried from out of the falling debris. One of them stopped and turned, making little flashes and pops. The tiny bits of metal were harmless, of course, but it always gave Noors the creeps when the rodents faced him or even ran toward him, as if they could somehow get inside and infect him with their nasty bodies. He zapped it quickly and then chased the other as it darted out in the open, looking for cover. He actually missed it once, but then caught it with his next shot, leaving only a whiff of smoke. He chastised himself at the sloppy shot and then chastised himself further at how far he had dropped behind the others. He turned and pushed his walker to its top speed, trying to rejoin the ranks while he could still see them.

While he caught up, Noors wondered how much longer it would take before they were finished and this poor mistreated world of wars was finally clean. It would be nice to get out in the open air and not have to worry about filthy “humans” or their primitive weapons, or, most of all, their deadly little germs.

On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles narrated a radio drama of the novel 'The War of the Worlds' by H. G. Wells. The drama was presented in news bulletin format, leading to alleged panic by listeners convinced that a small town in New Jersey was actually being invaded by real Martians.

If you have not read, heard, or seen at least one rendition of 'The War of the Worlds', this story will have less meaning. If you have, were you able to discern what was happening and who Noors was before you reached the end of the story?

Also, all of the names are anagrams... Lewsel Noors = Orsen Welles. The other names can be found in the Wikipedia entry on Welles.

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