Fluff and Fold
Fluff and Fold

An exposed fluorescent bulb flickered slowly then rapidly before making the connection.

Final spin illuminated the 2 minute warning.  I passed the time playing with the coin slider on the machine, counted dead moths in the corner and studied the dead palmetto bug at my foot; odd and creepy creatures when alive, odder still when nothing more than a carcass.

The machine came to a screeching halt with a thud and a chassis shake.  The ‘final spin’ light went out, good to go.  I pulled my damp clothes out, turned and “Oh!  Craptastic!”  3 of the 4 dryers were out-of-order, again.

I looked down at my shoes over the damp bundle in my arms and sighed deeply.  #4 was full but a hand against the door and I felt warmth – it’d just finished; nothing to do but pull my neighbor’s clothes out and leave them on the

folding table.


They were toasty-warm.  A light fragrance wafted – a meadow, laundry blowing on a line in summer, sunshine and bunnies.  Mix morning chill with warm, soft bunny-scented laundry – I brought them close to my chest and hugged them, I didn’t want to let go.

Then I realized they weren’t mine.  There was something not quite right about enjoying the warmth and fluffiness of a stranger’s laundry and I lunged forward to the folding table.  Half the load escaped my arms and dropped to the floor… on top of the Palmetto carcass.

Everything was up from the floor and onto the table with a single hand sweep.  Stepping back to my laundry, I realized the Palmetto carcass had vanished.  Where was it? I looked from the floor to the table and back to the floor.  Under the table?  Behind the machine? I spun around but he was gone.  I shivered.

He had to be in the neighbor’s clothing but it didn’t seem right to fondle a stranger’s laundry – not more than I had already.  Self-consciousness kicked in.  I looked over my shoulder checking no one was in the doorway, no one was watching.  Looking at the top layer that was of course, underwear, I gingerly picked a few items off the top of the pile.  Earlier, I had to touch them,  now  it seemed invasive.  I thought of the Palmetto carcass, I pictured some poor unsuspecting soul finding it as they fluffed and folded, I imagined the extreme distaste such a find would bring, I looked at the panties, dropped three quarters in #4 and left.

40 minutes later I returned.  Still no bug carcass and now the sunshine-bunny-fragranced bundle had disappeared.  I fluffed, folded and exited but while passing my neighbor’s door I heard a shriek followed by, “There’s a roach in my clothes! WTF Michael?!? Where’d you wash these?”


  1. We don’t have roaches in our laundry room, but really tiny little creeps — the type that usually disappear when you turn on the light. Supposedly harmless, but I’m terrified of dropping something on the floor. Otherwise the description was very much alike ours … the driers are always out of order! :)

    1. OK Rebekah here’s what you do (now that I’m a pro you can trust my advice) –
      When going from washer to dryer, I put the wet clothes into the laundry bag.
      Took so many years for me to figure that one out! *hangs head in shame* *laugh*

      1. LOL. That’s what I do — that dawned on me out of necessity! It’s the part where they’re coming out of the drier … the table is close, so I just grab the load … but I’m really, really careful after seeing those guys on the floor.
        «signed, Lady Bug» :)

        1. Oh for the dryer, I now open the door at the end of the cycle,
          toss the laundry bag INSIDE the dryer
          and push the dry clothes into the bag.
          That way so I’m sure not to drop anything – live and learn, eh? Ha!

          1. Clever! That’s what I’ll bear in mind next time.

            I now have a laundry hamper on wheels — the same type of construction as the suitcases … with a retractable handle! Cool, huh

  2. Reading this gave me a little shiver too, and a good laugh. Finding a roach in the clean clothes would be my worst nightmare, but so would be getting caught picking through my neighbor’s laundry. Neither has happened yet, thank goodness! 😉

    1. Thanks for stopping by Laura. I know. *shakes head*
      If I’d been seen, what would be my defense? “No, really I’m not getting pervy with your duds, there was a roach, really.” *laugh*

  3. Haha! I don’t know what would be worse – being caught with their laundry in your arms or them finding out you were responsible for the roach! I’d say you dodged a bullet :)

    1. True words there! Never experienced consecutive adrenalin rushes before.

      Btw Callie, thoroughly enjoyed your post, “Cooking Thai Food, Like a Boss!”

    1. Justin, it warms my heart to ‘hear’ you laugh – so tell me, what would you have done… whistled while dropping coins to start your own load in the dryer, OR gone through the neighbor’s laundry with determination till you found the little carcass?

      1. Given that I have an unholy fear of insects, I must admit I would have probably just left it in there. Definitely worth it to hear the neighbor freak out though… it seems almost serendipitous… 😉

        1. One of the reasons I love reading your blog – your way with words and thanks for validating my actions.
          Now get to work on your next post! *wags finger* *grin*

    1. Bren, Either you are the smartest man… or you have a ‘thing’ for palmettos and bunnies.
      Honored you stopped by and hope all’s well at Corner5Media – pretty cool site you have there!

  4. this is so funny and really made me laugh this morning! I love the way you tied it all together for the funny ending! poor michael :( he must have some bad karma or something…. smile
    Thanks for sharing your story …. Love, Gerard

    1. Gerard, Thanks! If they hadn’t been arguing loudly about the roach, I’d never have known which neighbor the sunshine-bunny scented laundry belonged to.
      How weird would it be if I stopped by there and asked what soap they use? *knits brow and bites nail*

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