Sunday June 7th, 2009

The exercise:

Today's starter: dirty laundry.

Why yes, it is laundry day. Why do you ask?


They boarded the train at the first station we came to after the Swiss-Italian border. They moved down the aisle, their dogs leading the way on taut leashes with noses darting left and right. I eyed them uneasily and hoped for the best.

The policeman stopped and eyed me over, asking a question in Italian. I apologized for not understanding and asked if he speaks English. Politely, I hoped.

"Where are you from?"

"Canada." God, I love being from Canada. They always go easy on Canadians.

"Do you have any cigarettes?" he demanded, his dog dancing around his boots.

"No, I don't smoke."

"Open your bag please."

I opened up the daypack at my feet and emptied it of its contents, one by one. No cigarettes. Good thing I don't smoke. I had no idea you weren't allowed to bring smokes over the border.

"Is that your bag as well?" he asked, pointing at my big backpack in the overhead storage. Oh no.

"Yes it is."

"No cigarettes in there either?"

"No... would you like me to show you?" Please, please say no.

He contemplated me for a moment then stared up at Big Blue. I did my best impression of a saint. After several tense moments he shook his head no and went on to harass another passenger.

I sighed deeply in relief. Nobody, and I mean nobody, on that train wanted me to air out that dirty laundry.

Note: yeah, an entirely true story. I hadn't done laundry in weeks. I was mortified at the thought this man was about to go digging through that stinking nastiness.


g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

You can-ah-DEE-ans, getting off easy. I was expecting something completely different with the bag... when you said dirty laundry, you apparently meant actual laundry. The fact that (you claim) it's a true story makes it all the better.
"Didja gedit?"
"Take it easy, Frankie, I got it all here. Poor Doc Abram won't know what hit him."
"Yeah yeah, whaja fin'?"
"A couple haikus in the margins of lecture notes, even a sonnet on the back of a lab report."
"Good, good! Don' fugget't scan'm, then back iddup in a few places."
"Already took care of it, Frank. Even if he destroys these originals, we'll still have copies, all in his distinctive handwriting even a blind man could recognize."
"Just imagine: a science professuh who took a coupuhla swipes at us an' our poetry, an' he writes poetry!"
"And it's not half bad, either. If this ever gets out, Frankie, nobody'll ever be able to say English Majors can't do a bit of work with laundry."
Not my best, rather nerdy, but ah well. It's practice, is it not?

Greg said...

That's not quite a nice story Marc, but I like it nonetheless, and I can quite picture your mortification! It's nice to see a slightly longer piece of writing from you here too!

Dirty laundry

Dr. Septopus chuckled to himself, a liquid gurgling sound in the back of his throat, as he slipped into the darkened room. His seven tentacles writhed around him, probing into the gloom, until they found their prey: a laundry hamper.
In the bed, the Rhode Island Rasputin, erstwhile superhero and all-round do-gooder, mumbled to himself in his sleep.
"It's a chicken," he muttered. "It's a chicken. No, I'M a chicken!"
Dr. Septopus paused, his tentacles ceasing their quest momentarily, and his beak clacked thoughtfully. If only he'd brought a tape-recorder with him, this would have been wonderful to be able to play at the Rhode Island Rasputin's next press conference.
"No, NO! Not the broiler!" Rasputin started thrashing around, kicking the covers off. His feathered torso twisted and feathers floated up into the air. As quickly as he could Dr. Septopus picked up the entire laundry hamper and retreated, relieved that his octopoid anatomy prevented him from sneezing.
"Ha-ha!" he thought to himself as he trampled Rasputin's pet cat on the way out. "Now I have all your dirty laundry, you pesky superhero."

Marc said...

g2: oh I promise, totally true. Ah, the joy of backpacking through Europe :)

I like your story of secret poetry :) Great use of vernacular as well.

Greg - a superhero's dirty laundry! Brilliant :D