Gregor had to be at least 6’5”. He had cut off the sleeves of his janitor’s uniform, just so his gargantuan muscled arms would fit. Instead of sleeves, he had a myriad of what looked like Viking tattoos all up and down his arms. He also had “1488” tattooed on his wrist, and Swastikas everywhere, including on his neck and face. I couldn’t even tell if he’d once been good-looking underneath all the Nazi face tattoos. His buzz-cut hair was bright blond, like Mr. Wilhelm’s.
“So where’s the mess, Alec?” he said in an unnerving deep voice.
Mr. Wilhelm gestured toward the body on the floor. “It shouldn’t be too difficult to clean up.”
“Nah, I’ll get those stains out in three hours, tops. When I’m done it’ll be like nothing happened.”
Gregor snapped on a pair of latex gloves and hoisted Chantal’s light body into the trash can. He made it look as easy as throwing away an unwanted doll. Then he looked at me, with metallic blue eyes almost the same color as mine. I’d never been more uncomfortable about meeting Hitler’s completely random “Master Race” qualifications than I was in that moment.
“I like the blonde,” Gregor told Mr. Wilhelm. “She’s even cuter than the last one.”
I assumed that by last one, he meant the one he’d just shoved into a trash can.
“Oh, yes, where are my manners,” Mr. Wilhelm said with mock pretense. “Gregor, this is Tess VanBrandt, Chantal’s replacement.”
Gregor turned his appalling face toward me, and looked me up and down with a trollish appreciation. “I hope this one works out,” he said. “I’d really hate to get rid of her.” He grabbed a bottle of industrial cleaning solution from his cart and poured some on the carpet. The smell burned the back of my throat.
“Yes,” said Mr. Wilhelm, looking straight at me. “I hope so, too.”
The substance hissed as it devoured the blood. Dark crimson turned pink and frothy, almost like a bubble bath.
What a beautiful end to such a ghastly turn of events, I thought with clinical indifference.
Mr. Wilhelm turned to me, with a look of prideful ownership. For now, I’d let him think that.
“Now that that’s over,” he said, “let me show you the break room. You’re going to love the espresso machine.”
“Perfect,” I said.
At least they had espresso. There was always that.