Heartbreaker in the Laundromat


She was wearing a neon shirt with a life-like kitten’s face blown up so that it covered her whole torso. The shirt was too small, so the cat constantly winked. He was short, his t-shirt was too short to hide his hairy beer belly and a Copenhagen ring stood uncomfortably pronounced from his back pocket.

They were rude, and when he charged over my foot with the cart without apology and later when he accused me of stealing the cart, I felt within me a great determination toward passive aggressive behavior grow. When she slammed another cart into the back of my chair, my desire to see them have a bad day grew. Little did I know, I was dealing with masters in the art of making life difficult and icky, very icky.

Like most laundromats I’ve been to, this one stacks dryers along one wall, and I was lucky to nab a top dryer near a folding bench, recently vacated by a family of five. When my clothes were done, I rapidly opened the dryer and started folding.

“Don’t let that stupid-lookin’ bitch over there smile achoo,” said the cat lady. I glanced up to see if I really heard what I thought I did. Yep, she continued, “She’s got her eye on you, Baby.”

I flinched and returned to folding my clothes, but noticed that the couple had managed to occupy each dryer leading up to mine, and were waiting for me to finish removing my clothes. Well, I decided, I could stand to move a little slower. You have never seen such neatly folded clothes. I moved more carefully than the bomb squad, smoothing every wrinkle. And when I shut the door and turned to bag my clothes, the man rushed in and took the dryer, smacking the back of my head with his elbow.

“Asshole,” I muttered. Meanwhile, his wife calls him over.

“See that, sugah, she tried to touch your ass! She’s a fuggin’ gold digger.”

“She’s probably one them welfare queen. Got three men on the side and oight kids.”He readily agreed and carried on about how much I obviously wanted him and his mullet.

At this point, I couldn’t think of anything to do or say, mostly because I was ready to vomit, so I packed my bag and left. As I did, I couldn’t help but glance over at them one more time, It was like a train wreck you have to look at.  He winked. The bastard winked.

And now I can’t go back to that laundromat because I have a reputation as a home-wrecking gold-digging welfare queen out to find a sugar daddy. Whatever will I do?

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About charliegreenberry

I grew up in the wilds of New Mexico in a strange combination of free and restricted. Now, as I stumble unwillingly into adulthood, I find memories resurfacing. So I dust them off, sand them, slap on a coat of paint and display them with the hopes that at some point they'll make sense and pull the room together. The blog is a space for writing, for sharing, someday sharing without worrying about who is reading it, and a place to practice. Virginia Woolf said, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Well, here's to having a room at least.
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4 Responses to Heartbreaker in the Laundromat

  1. Nina says:

    OMG. Can I beat them both up for you? Too bad you can’t make yourself spontaneously vomit. Then you could have looked at them an puked on their shoes. The only consolation is that they have to live with themselves every day. You get to live with you. The day I made Anne’s dad go buy a washing machine I’d been to the laundromat in Lander, Wy. I hate laundry and I hate laundromats. But the last straw was when I was taking clothes out of the dryer, the only person inthe place and a very drunk man stumbled in, past me, and proceeded to pee in the corner. Gathered up my stuff and and when I got home I announced (rather firmly) that neither I, or anyone else in my family, was ever setting foot in a laundromat again. There should be a book (novel, short stories, essays?) about laundromats.

  2. Ian says:

    Wow. I don’t even have the words…

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