The Bad Part of Town

February 27, 2017

Bubububububub, the faint thumping of the washer. This is just another typical night at the laundromat. The smell of artificial flowers and a stupid bear. I swear he wants to murder the children he “snuggles” with. Between the aisles of washers ranging from 6 dollars to 2 dollars, kids running back and forth. Vending machines by the front selling soap and fabric softener, plastic bags with no brand on it. The homeless hog the outlets, while the drug addicts hog the bathroom. Another typical night.
“Get the f*** away from me!” I hear exclaimed over the thumping of the washers. My ears perk up and then I go back to my book, another night, another fight. One of the addicts has decided to vacate the bathroom and start asking for money. Eyes bulging, with a bucket hat, looking similar to Gene Wilder from Blazing Saddles. The smell of alcohol is coming out of his pores, then he falls and begins snoring on the tile floor. No one bothers to call the police, they won't come anymore. This is what the news won’t report here anymore, This is what they call “The Bad Part” of town. Gene gets up and walks out of the laundromat.
BZZSZZZZZZZZ, the washer tells me that my clothes are done. I get up to move my clothes. Now is the worst part, fighting for the wheeled basket just to move your clothes.
“Excuse me are you using that?” I ask in more of a high pitch than I wanted to.
“No hablo Ingles!” the man yells as if I insulted him.
Now in my broken Spanish, I try to ask again.
“Puedo usar la caja?” I ask with absolutely zero confidence.
“No gringo, you can’t!” In perfect English, the man responds. I take the hint, I believe he doesn’t want to make friends today.
Just as I find a basket, the man leaves. Probably to go to the local corner store.
I split my load into 2 dryers about evenly so they dry faster.
First quarter *Plop*
Second quarter *Plop*
Third quarter *Plop*
*Slam The dryer door slams no matter how soft you close the door.
“That’s not normal,” I say aloud, but only to myself.
We go to the window to see what caused the noise. Slam. A Honda roars to life, and speeds off, swerving as it travels down Ambaum. Then, just as I noticed what happened, the world went silent. A woman rushes past me to go outside. As the woman runs, I notice what she's running to.  The store worker comes out on the phone and is yelling frantically, but I cannot hear what he’s saying. Then all the sound snaps back all at once, like pressing the unmute button on a tv that has the volume turned to max. The woman kneels next to a man laying in the street. Blood pooling around them as people start pulling out their phones. My eyes rest upon an unopened bottle of Coke, and a bag of Fritos spilling into the street. Patrons from the surrounding businesses are coming out to see the commotion. Collectively we stood watch, we were silent and still like gargoyles.
BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. My clothes are dry. I collect my things, throw away my trash, almost autonomously. I pack my car up and pull onto Ambaum. The police pass me in their cars with the sirens blaring. They don’t stop crimes anymore, only document. Took them 20 minutes to get there, that’s the bad part of this town.
Ding! My oven timer goes off to let me know my TV dinner is ready. I turn on King 5 and see my laundromat on the screen. The man was DOA, and identified. Looks like his clothes never got put in the dryer. I’ll be back next week.

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