By Lucianne Poole
|A sinister message is scratched above one dryer: "Eats loonies".|
Startled back to the reality of my impending doom, I was disappointed to see it was only the surprisingly well-groomed attendant, who also operated the gas station next door. Fortunately, my overloaded washers escaped his notice; his eyes were on the floor.
“I clean this place every f***in' day and they leave their crap everywhere,” he said as he furiously grabbed litter off the floor.
Who are they? I wanted to ask. But instead, made reckless by the full moon, I ventured: “Maybe you could put a garbage can in here?”
“It’s over there,” he said sullenly, pointing to the garbage can next to the door. “They stole the other f***in' one from under the table. They steal everything,” he paused and narrowed his eyes at me, as if he had something else to say but wasn’t sure if I could handle it. I must have passed the test because he uttered darkly: “You know why the washroom is always locked?”
“No,” I replied, thinking of people at the laundromat I had never seen again, their bodies stacked neatly in various states of decay.
“Because someone stole the f***in' toilet seat and the light switch. F***in' f***ers.”
“That’s not stealing, that’s mental illness.” I leaned against one of the tables for support. It was disturbing to think that someone was out there stealing toilet seats from places like this.
“You’ve got that right,” he snorted. He dumped the detritus from the floor into the garbage can and threw open the first washer. Grabbing armfuls of dirt-grey carwash rags, he threw them into a dryer and slammed the door. Without another word, he stalked out of the laundromat.
I perched on one of the tables, careful to avoid a bluish stain. I was trying to envision the type of person to steal a toilet seat from a filthy laundromat, when the door flew open again.
Three wild-eyed men stormed in. I knew at that moment I was done for. They stood between the only exit and me. Trapped, I froze like a doe in the headlights, hoping not to be noticed. I could only stare in dismay – they had no laundry bags.
It could only mean one thing.
To be concluded next week....