Like everyone else we know here, we don’t own a vacuum. Just about everyone here uses this environmentally-friendly alternative called a broom, inherited from Middle English brom, from Old English brōm (“brushwood”), from Proto-West Germanic *brām (“bramble”) (compare Saterland Frisian Brom, West Frisian brem, Dutch braam, German Low German Braam), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰrem-, from *bʰer– ‘edge’. Related to brim, brink… but I might be digressing.

These brooms, as they are known, are sustainable, often made with ethically sourced materials like wood and straw, and the carbon footprint is almost nil. They can be almost completely biodegradable. They don’t require charging, fuel, solar… they work in any environment! They are durable. These brooms are amazing… I’m looking for a local tutor to help me master their usage.

It’s not the actual broom mechanics I struggle with. The whole thing is operated with a swish-swish-step pattern similar to tai-chi. From there you perform this yoga-like physical configuration to get the resulting pile of dirt into a shallow, handled tray known as a dust pan. It’s not easy to make it to this point, but if you do manage to contain the dirt, you have to try and tip it all into a bin.

This requires a sort of sharpshooter concentration, and even then variables such as breeze-speed and passing dogs can cause you to miss the mark. This results in an automatic mission fail. If you can’t get all the dirt from the dust pan into the bin, you can’t claim to have successfully swept the floor. But even should you manage all that, and hardly anyone can, there is still something to contend with called a dust bunny.

Of all the creatures we’ve encountered here, these are the worst. They hide everywhere. You can slide furniture away from the wall to clean behind it, and when you slide it back they remain. I think they must have microscopic claws that help them cling to smooth surfaces and evade the brooms.

Dust bunnies are also persistent. If you can finally catch one in the dust pan, the captive dust bunny will often just hop out and scurry back into hiding. They can just vanish. If you somehow manage to relocate the vermin to sweep out the door these things do Matrix style acrobatics to get back into the house.

And why? According to my observations they don’t seem to be attracted to crumbs. They don’t seem to cause any damage. They aren’t interested in valuables. What motivates the dust bunny? What are they here for?

I intend to study these creatures further, but as they don’t seem to be attracted to any known food or water source I find their behavior elusive. I still haven’t been able to ascertain any mating rituals despite their prodigeous abilities to reproduce. I’ll continue to safely observe and record my findings. Look for my reports to be posted here.

A common straight handled broom

By Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third-generation Ryukyuan-American, award-winning poet, author, and publisher with 20+ years in newspapers. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), two-time Bram Stoker Awards® Winner, and HWA Mentor of the Year, she shares Authortunities, a free weekly calendar of author opportunities at

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