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by J. McDougald
With the tall clothes hamper clutched tightly to his chest Josh crossed the street and sighed in relief that the Laundromat was only another half block down. He silently vowed to himself never again to live in a building that didn’t have laundry machines on-site. Sure he needed the exercise but this was torture. His arms felt like they’d been stretched several inches longer from carrying the tall bathroom hamper which reached all the way up to his chin. Over and over he told himself to get a proper laundry bag but he always forgot and probably looked like a complete asshole carrying this thing down the darkened sidewalk.
Still, he knew things could have been worse. The launderette could be four blocks from his apartment. And hey, he was now deep into the exciting world of restaurant management, that alone made up for any discomfort. The hustle and bustle of the cooking staff as they prepared magnificent dishes, the dance of the servers as they carried the edible delights off to anxiously waiting customers, the constant low din of highly intellectual conversation in the sprawling dining area. As he neared his destination he let it all wash over him like an ocean wave. Success, there was nothing like it. Josh took a deep breath and sighed.
“A fucking Denny’s,” he muttered to himself. “I’m managing a fucking Denny’s.“
It was a paycheck–albeit a shockingly small one–and he desperately needed the money. Every day he scanned the newspapers for something better but after two months he was still there, wishing each morning the goddamn place had burned down the night before.
He smiled as he pictured it in his mind; flames leaping from shattered windows, great pillars of black smoke curling into the sky. Firemen turning away remarking “Ah fuck it, it’s a Denny’s let it burn,” as they climbed back into their trucks.
Maybe someday the dream would become reality, but for now reality still sucked. At least he’d finally reached the Laundromat.
Looking through the front windows he could see the small Launderette was empty. Perfect. He hated that awkward feeling when someone else was already there, like you were intruding. The man walked briskly to the door and into the well-lit little building that sat between a pawn shop and a second-hand store, both closed and dark. Sure it could be creepy doing laundry at night but it was worth it for the peace and solitude.