by Dave Powell
reached into the shopping bag and retrieved a can
which he opened and savoured, as he sat on a
bench opposite the tumble dryer.
view through the glass door of the dryer seemed
to mesmerise. One of his socks cascaded from the
top of the drum and flirted with a tea towel, and
a pair of underpants slid into the embrace of a
shirt arm that tossed and folded in the warm air.
It was something of a metaphor, a laundrette, he
thought gazing into the dryer. Fast spin, mixed
coloureds. He, approaching the final rinse cycle
years of life.
launderette was quiet, but a tall distinguished
looking man, stuffing laundry through the open
lid of a washing machine, and Mavis, the
proprietor, who was heaping great piles of linen
on to a weighing machine, kept Freddy company.
through the window, the high street also seemed
quiet. A man was chaining a bicycle to a lamppost.
Another was leaning out of a car window, looking
at two yellow lines that a youthful looking
policeman was pointing at, informing the driver
that parking was not allowed.
tumble of washing seemed calming, but a flash of
red weaving between a pair of trouser legs
startled him. Thats odd, thought Freddy, he
didnt recall putting anything red in there.
And there it was again, something red in his
laundry, darting up and down.
he rose from the bench and opened the dryer door.
The tumble stopped and the laundry clumped in a
heap at the bottom of the drum.
as he thought, a piece of red material nestled in
the washing, and reaching in, he withdrew it. It
was a red scarf. Not one of mine, he
mused, feeling the damp red fabric. But his
attention fastened on something else in the drum,
a piece of wood.
manipulating the object, he managed to pull out a
In the drum again, he found the front end of a
canoe, which he dragged out, the full length
landing on the launderette floor. A
further inspection revealed the aft end of HMS
Ark Royal. He could even see a sailor leaning on
a rail, smoking a fag and waving to him.
waved back, but as he was looking at the Ark
Royal, a hand lunged out and grabbed him by the
throat. Oh no you dont, called
a refined voice from inside the dryer, and a
smartly trousered left leg shot out. It was the
Duke of Edinburgh!
no you dont, you bastard, the Duke
continued. Give me my scarf back. But
Freddy was in no mood to return the scarf, and
with a heave, dragged the Duke of Edinburgh from
the tumble dryer.
your fucking hands off me you Greek turd,
he screamed, falling on the floor next to the
canoe. But the Duke closed his grip on Freddys
throat as they thrashed in a pile of washing,
strewn over the floor.
he all right, asked Mavis, looking at the
policeman who was pressing Freddys throat,
feeling for a pulse.
think hes dead, the policeman
answered, picking up the can from the bench were
Freddys shopping bag lay.
ambulance pulled away from the launderette
pavement and Mavis returned to weighing the linen.
does one work the machine? asked the tall
gent, scratching his forehead.
need one pound twenty, Mavis answered.
Here, Ill show you.
kind of you, the man said. And
trizers, will it do trizers?