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The Corporate Knight and The Cleaning Lady's Challenge

The Corporate Knight and The Cleaning Lady's Challenge

By twriter

You strut pass me every night and day.
The Corporate Knight
Captain of finance, corporate titan

Meetings with your clients, imperious, distinguished
Hair touched with silver, towering over me
I am here to clean your corner office

Empty the garbage and polish the mahogany desk
Keep the patterned precious carpet clean
Vacuum around (but never touch) your mirror-polished executive shoes
In your so-dignified two thousand dollar suit and tie

Your remote, so serious face, your crisp impeccable clothes
Your elite voice and hundred dollar haircut
Your privileged life so very, very far from mine

Come live with me
I sing my song
A voice so soft you strain to hear

So long, I have waited five sad longing years
To think of a way to lure and call you out of
Your pinstriped, brief-cased, shiny-shoed fortress
And into my blue collar world

At last I have found my song to rip you,
Pull you, pluck you, drag your mind away from
Your white collar, your comfortable upper class niche
And entice into my waiting nest

Come live with me
I sing my song
You didn't see the melody enter your mind

No worries: I will show you how, so easy
First, as I vacuum beneath your desk
Your call on your Blackberry, watch your computer
So important. Who am I to you? You will see

I know your shoes, every pair, I long for them
Shined by the old man at your desk
Your ankles inside black dress socks
Your glistening shoes will be first

I am on my hands and knees, dusting, dusting
Those shoes, so black, so shiny, so close
I smell the polish and the leather. I sing my song
Soothing, gentle, insistent voice, so rich and soft

Come live with me
I sing my song
My voice pours like warm syrup into your thoughts

I suddenly grab your shoes, holding fast
You look down, annoyed, stunned, confused
For the first time I dare to touch your untouchable shoes
I oh-so-quickly untie and oh-so-quickly unlace and

Pull off your gleaming handmade Italian leather wingtips
I reach under your suit cuffs, reach to your knees
You resist in horror as you feel dirty rough fingers move up your legs
And peel off your black silk business socks

Come live with me
I sing my song
Crooning gently as you stare in shock, Blackberry dropped

Your educated, cultured voice stops me "How dare you!"
You grab at your socks, reach for your shoes, furious
Humbled by the sight of your own bare foot
Not a match for the oh-so-dapper pinstriped suit

"What are doing! I'll call security!" you cry
"Are you insane?! I am an executive and YOU...!"
But already I have entered your thoughts
With my coaxing, sweet and subtle voice

Come live with me
I sing my song
The Italian leather wingtips and silk socks fall to the ground

You are outraged, horrified but I sing my song to you,
Whispering, "White collar goodbye"
Soothing your worries and your cries fade away
You suddenly know my power, you understand
“Don’t take me. My mind. My self. My life”

"Just try it - a new door for you to enter"

I hold your pampered white size tens
My chapped, raw red hands caress smooth soles
Naked not protected by the commanding shoes of an executive
You writhe with disgust at the feel of my hands on your feet

But not for long...
Come live with me
I sing my song Your eyes glaze over, the struggle slows

ONE LAST TIME I allow you
To brush your soft toes against the rich leather
Of your shoes and touch the designer logo
From now you will never wear Italian shoes

“I never go barefoot” you whisper. I laugh
“Only in bed and in the shower!”
“Please” you whisper. “I can’t leave without my shoes”
“You have no choice” I snap. You cringe.

Time to leave your expensive, shining footwear
To cry for their owner, the corporate knight's spurs
Gleaming sentinels under your desk
Vacated emblems of past success

Come live with me
I sing my song
My voice smothers, kills every thought or doubt

Don't struggle anymore - don't!
That's right; just stand up on shaking legs, a foot taller than me,
I will take your manicured corporate hand
To lead you, barefoot, out of your office of wood and glass

Forget that computer and that cell phone and that MBA
You reach for your $1500 briefcase but I kick it aside
With contempt, papers and folders fly in a storm
You reach for them, but I grab your hand for the first time

Come live with me
I sing my song
You resist - you are angry - and cannot understand

I hold tight the beautiful hands I never dared touch
You struggle and cry and plead and beg
Forget your corporate future: just hear my voice calling you
The soothing song of welcome to your new life

You feel the smothering flow of my song
Stop your thoughts and quiet your fears
You think of your meeting tomorrow until
My song stops you

Come live with me
I sing my song of welcome to the menial world
Never mind your identity. I have it now. In my hand.

You think of your career until my song stops you
Your ambition rises like a tiger and you remember
Desperately holding on to your identity
Prep school past until my song stops you

Your mind clears, gasps for air, struggles to escape
I see you are stronger, a white collar knight to be
Vanquished. My song grows and deepens. You
Almost win, you bend over and reach for your Italian shoes

The Knight fights to keep his life

“My shoes” you whisper. You fall to the ground and crawl
On all fours to your shoes and socks

Your shoes are the spurs of a Knight, symbols of power
The corporate knight fights the spell. “My shoes” you gasp
Manicured fingers are so close. You are stronger than I thought
"I must put my shoes back on" you cry

If you reach them my spell will break, you will return to your executive life
I will lose - after so many years of planning. No!
My dirty vinyl sneaker lands on and crushes your white thin fingers. NO!
You cry out. A wail of loss. You know now you will be destroyed.
The shoes are out of reach as your mind swims in my song

Come live with me
I sing my song
No need to resist. It will do you no good.
I drag the proud and arrogant knight down off his horse

You sob and whimper, your shield of elegant
Dignity crumbling away as you see your life vanish
Your own shoes, now off limits, forbidden to you
Beckoning to you from across a boundary

Getting wider. Leave your Salvatore Ferragamos
You are forbidden to wear them. I am in control. Never again
You MUST obery. Surrender. Steely blue eyes cloud over
Sorrow takes over as you see your destiny

You look back, helpless, barefoot
One last glimpse of the shoes and socks
You wore as a Knight of Corporate Success
I lead you by the hand

Come live with me
I sing my sad, song of welcome
Say goodbye to many things. All you have known. We will go

Here, take the service elevator For the very first time
You cannot ride the Executive Elevator in your bare feet!
As you shudder, you realize the executive elevator is closed to you
You step on to the dirty service elevator with your cleaner

No - don't look for your car!
Here is my beat-up 1989 Ford, step right in sir
Just relax - no, it isn't that Porsche you drove this morning
Don't worry about getting your suit dirty

Where am I? you whisper - Where are we going?
You look at the exit for your beautiful suburban home
Oh, no, you are coming to visit me
A place you would NEVER visit in the life you once had

We will take the exit
Into my low class blue-collar neighborhood
There is my trailer, never been here before?
Now step right out and enter your new home

Come live with me
I sing my song
Your eyes travel around the unaccustomed dirt

You stop at my door, light in the head
On the very threshold of my trailer, tall and imposing still
Your now grimy size tens resting on the dirty step
Still in that beautiful suit and that perfectly dimpled tie

Every executive hair still in place
Manicured nails, cufflinks gleaming on fresh white cuffs
You look at me in wonder, whisper
"What am I doing? Who am I now? Why am I here"

Come live with me
I sing my song
No - no need to leave - in fact, you won't- I won't allow it

"Never mind - it's time to stop thinking" I sing
The panic leaves your glazing eyes
Just step right inside to your
New life, far from the corporate world

Settle down on my dirty sofa - that's right!
Now put your naked size tens up
On my formica table with the crack
I will dismantle the upper-crust you

The corporate knight has been defeated. His will is broken.
The moat breached. His castle seized. His pride destroyed.
Now his sword, his shield, his armor, his lance. his cape
His horse and his helmet all will be stripped away

You have been trapped, ambushed, captured
The more you struggle the more you are ensnared
Your life of privilege is gone. You are now my
Student in the world of menial labor

All your fancy education doesn’t exist
You have started all over again
You are a high school dropout
But your are still much too well dressed for your new life

I will start with your monogrammed cufflinks
You look at me with wide, wondering eyes as
I slide that Rolex watch off your wrist
I grab that silk pocket square with a laugh

Come live with me
I sing my song
Now my voice is all you hear

Your necktie! For so long I have waited! All those years!
Here - let me undo the perfectly tied tie
I disentangle and slowly pull off that symbol of class warfare
Leave your proud white neck naked, open, longing for the power lost

You smell of starch and cologne and tailored wool
Your eyes wander 'round the dirty room
You feel more and more at home
The million dollar deals fading in your softened mind

Come live with me
I sing my song
A spark of rebellion, but my song drowns the Cavalier in white trash

Now the next trophy: the exquisite blue pinstriped business suit
The tailored jacket with the satin lining
The trousers with the tailored cuffs
Tears slide down your smooth, clean shaven cheek

I push you forward and pull you
Out of your jacket
I see the Brioni label
The deep blue wool with the silver pinstripes

The proud uniform of a haughty captain of finance
Torn from your body with contempt
I yank the jacket off you and throw it on the floor
You, the former champion of the castle

Stare in shock at the pinstripes that you no longer need
That you are no longer allowed to wear
I smell the starch as I tear off the snowy white shirt
It falls to the dirty floor

Your hands touch your shirtless, suitless arms, your tieless neck
Your shoeless, sockless feet
As you look at your shirt, now just a rag
Then I rip off the leather belt and I push you down
To drag the custom fitted trousers off your long legs

Come live with me
My song is now a battle cry
Triumphant, a victory, my formerly aristocratic quarry in my nest

Look! You are wearing silk underwear! I tear it off
A buck naked former executive
Beyond shock how different you look without
your pinstripes, your pride, your authority, your Rolex

Your arrogance, your shoes, your briefcase, your life
Time to dress you up for a new life, a new image
Suddenly your eyes clear and you gasp for air!
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME? You yell in your old commanding voice

The Knight has returned!

My prey struggles for freedom

You look around the dirt and the squalor
Horror fills your eyes, disgust when you look at me
I must get out! You cry, why am I naked? Get away from me!

You pull on your pinstriped pants, with no underwear
And rush to the door to escape, but not to worry
My song rises and grows and drags you back
You almost reach the door, begging, pleading
Crying, gasping for freedom, for air

Come live with me
My song is now commanding
Angry, demanding, drowning you in your new life

No! You cry but stumble back, broken, obedient
Thoughts of your office, success, wealthy family,
Thoughts of education, privilege, conquest – slowly draining away
Off come the suit pants again - forever.

You drop naked on to the sofa, surrendered

Here are some overalls and a very dirty wife-beater
Put them on and get used to them, but keep the cufflinks
Only to scratch the hardening soles of your size tens

Come live with me
I sing my song
One last flicker of rebellion, of independence remains in your eyes!

My suit! You plead with me! My freshly shined shoes!
My job and my Porsche and my briefcase!
My watch and my phone! Don't take it all from me!
Please. I am disappearing...

How different from your proud, distant face
In your magnificent office, far above me, so gallant
How haughty you were, how high and mighty
A courtly well-bred Knight on his High Horse

You fight and argue and cry
You struggle against the new identity
You insist you are an executive
But LOOK at you!

Now just look at you - you beg for your clothes
But I want you here as my friend instead
You left your shoes in that office!
The Ferragamos are gone forever

“My Ferragamos” The words bubble and mutter out of your mouth
But I sing deep and sad, rich and warm
My words bathe and swallow your mind and take up root
Sing my words “No more Ferragamos. No more pinstripes”

That wasn’t real. Just a dream you had. Time to wake up.
To your real White Trash Life. Just a dream. A dream

Your eyes dull, you whisper, “NO MORE PINSTRIPES FOR ME
No more Ferragamos. No more office. Not for me.
I never graduated from college. I never had an MBA
I never was an executive. Not me. Not me. Not me.

It was all a dream. I have always lived here.
Always been white trash. I always go barefoot.
I was never called “sir”. Never had an office.
Not me. Not me. Not me. Not me.”

Come live with me
I sing my song
Now you are mine - my formerly noble and proud man

Tomorrow I send my friends – white trash friends
People you would never have known
To pick up your car and clean out your house
I need your keys
And they will take their pick from all you had

Tomorrow you'll give all your money to my friends
Give them your stocks and house and car
They will take your suits and shoes and shirts and ties
They will take your furniture and everything you have

They will take your wristwatches and your underwear
Your golf clubs and your overcoats
Everything. Everything
You understand, my former Knight?

"Yes I understand" Your obedience is a good sign

What is this in the hand-stitched pocket of your beautiful suit?
Keys to your Porsche? Your office and house?

Oh! No - you won't need those anymore
Shoes? For you! No, no, no.
Just some size ten plastic flip-flops when you start work
Washing dishes at the diner down the street

Come live with me
I sing my song
You drink in my words, eyes blank and smiling, eager to please

I will use your tailored suit and shirt and tie
To make rags to stop the window cracks
And you can do the dishes, barefoot in my kitchen
While I am cleaning office floors - but not yours anymore

No more Ferragamos. Not me. Not me. Not me.
That was a man who doesn’t exist. Just a dream I had.
I’m just a white trash working men. That’s me.”

Here is a beer, cold and ready
NASCAR is on so just relax
You won't need to shave, so no razors for you
You prefer to be clean shaven? What does that matter?

You're STILL too handsome, your hair so well groomed
Grow a scruffy beard on that tidy corporate neck
And on that pretty businessman face
We'll make you ugly. Don't worry

No need to look perfect anymore
We'll put a callus on those spotless corporate hands
And dirt under those fine corporate nails
And tattoos on those executive arms
And grow your perfectly parted hair long and tangled

You now live with me
I sing my song
I throw away your leather wallet

You will get used to it, I promise
I will train you to speak a new language
I will destroy your upper class speech
As you leave behind your privilege and wealth

Far from your office and your Ivy League diploma and your impeccable grooming
Your old clients won't know you. The man who once wore silk shorts
Will speak like a manual laborer
In a working class trance, they will never trust you

With their money now. Not YOU. Not anymore.
Six months from now, a menial slob. they won't know you.
Belching and sweating as you wash the dishes in the diner
You scratch your scraggy beard

Your posture is too straight.
You will learn to walk with bowed head.
Broke and broken
Forgetting you ever had an education,
Forgetting you ever wore shoes
Not the career or life you expected

Those Italian leather dress shoes and silk socks just a memory

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About The Author
About This Story
6 Feb, 2013
Read Time
15 mins
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