How I Killed the Window Cleaner

If I said ‘I gave him a shove’, this would be a very short story. Needless to say, that’s not how it happened.

Regular readers of my blogs will already know that I had a less than usual upbringing and being an only child to a culture-aholic mother and absent father, I spent much of my childhood rattling around the enormous Vienna apartment, finding ways to amuse myself.

The flat was in an old Vienna block (sadly now turned into offices) with very high ceilings and huge rooms and doors. To give you an idea, one of the rooms housed 2 grand pianos, a TV area with sofa and chairs, an extensive library and still had enough space for curtained off guest area with sofa bed and antique bureau. One of the bedrooms had a full sized carousel horse in the corner. Pretty crazy stuff.

My days were fairly solitary. My mother used to feed me in the evenings, then go to her pottery studio or to a concert. I would put myself to bed, get up early to go to school (that was 8am-1pm including Saturdays) leaving my mother in bed. The afternoons were spent doing homework, and then I would go to the park on my bike, or take myself ice-skating. Or just amuse myself in the apartment. I remember making mazes out of books for my guinea pig and playing the classical guitar my mother had brought back from the auction house, writing very bad songs.

There were a few ‘visitors’ to the flat however. Once a week the Spanish cleaning lady would turn up with her 2 daughters and every couple of months or so, the window cleaner. We’d had the same one for a while and I liked him. He was the one who showed me how to tune my guitar and gave me some chord sheets. Lovely chap and I used to look forward to his visits.

One day however – I must have been 8 or 9 – a different window cleaner showed up. I took an instant dislike to him, the way that only children can. I can’t even remember what it was exactly about him that rattled my cage so much. I just have a vague recollection of a surly middle-aged man sending out very bad vibes. He made me feel very uncomfortable. For someone who didn’t get much company this was a disgrace!

I told my mother and asked her to get the old one back. But of course it wasn’t up to her, but the block managers, and they didn’t really care. The next time he came I tried to make him feel as uncomfortable as possible, glaring at him and not answering his questions. It seemed to work, because on his next visit he came in the morning while I was at school. It turned out to be his final visit.

The thing is, I had written a song about him. One of those childlike ‘I’m going to write whatever’s in my head’ kind of songs. The story of the song was of him falling off his ladder and killing himself. And no-one turning up for the funeral.

That day, I returned from school and found the courtyard in disarray. The ambulance had already left but a few residents were still milling around. The concierge Frau Kuttelwascher (that really was her name), told me what had happened. Apparently the window cleaner had fallen off his ladder cleaning one of OUR windows and broke his neck….

Oh the guilt. I killed the window cleaner! It was all my fault. I had willed it. I had even written it down! I tore up the lyrics into very small pieces. Destroy the evidence. I was too young for prison!

Looking back, of course I know it was just a coincidence. But to this day, I have never written a song wishing anyone ill. Just in case….

Hmm.. Maybe a song about Trump…


  • ande B. says:

    “Cleaning Woman!”

  • Perhaps you didn’t wish it, perhaps you dreamed it and are in fact a ‘sayer’ Not beyond the realms of possibility! He clearly gave of a bad vibe and that maybe what you picked up on Doris and that is why you didn’t like him.

  • Dante says:

    The would is full of serendipitous occurrences and these are wide and varied. That’s why I try to avoid being mad at people as if it is unresolved and then they go and you cannot explain to them anything ever again.
    So philosophically it suggests be aware of your thoughts!
    Another cool post Doz

  • Admin says:

    Thanks Peter! When we’re young it’s all normality – we don’t questions things until we’re older. xx

  • Peter McCamley says:

    Days of innocence amazing how they leave a mark.
    Sad you were so alone but look at you now.
    A legion of supporters and now even a wishette

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