A three-part spooky story in time for Halloween
By Lucianne Poole
“So you go to the gross one.”
“It’s closer to my apartment, and it’s cheaper,” I replied
“All the weirdoes go to that laundromat.”
My friend was right. The place was the worst one I’d ever been to.
It was filthy, the washers and dryers constantly broke down, and it was full of
stray socks and suspicious characters. It was a blight on the scrubbed face of
I knew I was asking for trouble when I went to the bad laundromat on
a full moon. Everyone knows all the crazies come out on the full moon, but I
had no choice; I was out of underwear.
Armed with a fearsome bag of laundry, which – I realized with
dismay – could only be used as a weapon when full, I made the 20-minute walk
to my probable doom. The birds were singing and the daisies were nodding in the
late afternoon sun. I was soon lulled into a false sense of security.
I swung open the door of the laundromat and was enveloped by a humid
sub-tropical climate created by 10 washers, five industrialized dryers and no
ventilation. I proceeded with care along the eight-foot-lint-covered black mat;
it had been thrown down the previous month to cover a small crater in front of
the first washer.
During months of rinse
cycles and spin dries, I had watched in fascination as this pit formed. Like
some geological phenomenon, the end of a ridge stretching from the door had
slowly collapsed into a 30-centimetre wide gap. Once I peered down the hole,
expecting to find an ancient crypt, but it was only a shallow hole full of
rubble and used fabric softener sheets.
Other litter – empty chip bags, candy wrappers, and used fabric
softening sheets – was strewn across
Despite its state of disrepair and lack of air circulation – which
depended on if the door was open or closed – the laundromat always smelled
pretty good in a downy fresh way.
I threw down my duffle bag and separated my whites from darks. With
the speed of a pro, I crammed three loads of laundry into the two best washers
– they didn’t break down as often as the others.
I was almost finished
overloading – tossing in my last pair of underwear – when the laundromat door flew open.
To be continued next week. . .