Washer Revenge


After the kiss off.

Charles Bins, Writer, editor, cartoonist

2032: Colin lugged a duffel bag of laundry home from college one warm November weekend because he knew his parents would be away. Willy, the family washing machine, wasn’t happy to see him.

This was the kid who always left stuff in his pockets: Dirty Kleenex, loose change, bubble gum wrappers, and paper clips bent into pretzels. Worse, there were the occasional half-eaten cookies, newfangled watches, laser toys and pocket games.

Now Colin was back. He wanted his black chinos and shark shirt for his date with Julie. He’d taken her out over the summer but hadn’t connected with since August. Tonight they were planning to go to the 21 Club. Julie was a fashion maven and a stickler for style who always insisted he look sharp. She said she was fully charged and would drive.

Colin checked the detergent, tossed in his darks and pushed start. After churning a few times, the washer stopped and beeped. Colin tried again, but it stopped at the same spot. Three beeping tries later, he felt desperate. “You can’t die on me now, Willy,” he whimpered. “I need to see Julie tonight!” Willy responded by flashing blue: Malfunction.

“C’mon, Willy, you gotta try. Please, please, please don’t give up on me.” He tried again. Nothing. He tripped the GFI and the breaker. Still nothing.

The washer and dryer were a set that talked to each other; Dudley the dryer would know when Willy was done. Only his clothes weren’t done, so Dudley wouldn’t start either. It was a conspiracy, he thought, or worse, a suicide pact.

His clothes would never dry in time, and the whites smelled like B.O. He needed a Plan B. Colin scoured his closet but knew all his good clothes were at school. He did find a green-and-white plaid shirt (only slightly frayed) and a pair of jeans ripped at the thigh (a bit too far). Colin put them on. He then went back and kicked Willy and his sidekick who couldn’t dry a paper towel.

Julie pulled in the driveway at 7 p.m. sharp, dressed to the nines in white. She lowered her window and stared. “What, you been raking leaves?”

He clicked his heels. “Hey, I got my dancing shoes on.” He shut the door and leaned in for a kiss. “I missed you,” he said.

“Did you?” She stared at him. “Colin, I’m feeling really embarrassed right now. We’re not going to a hootenanny. The 21 Club has a strict dress code.”

“Don’t worry,” he smiled. “They’ll take one look at you, and we’re in.”

She studied him from head to toe, her lips souring. Then she flicked his collar. What’s this?”

“What do you mean?” he said.

“It’s lipstick. Lipstick!” She screamed. “You two-timing creep — Get OUT!”

After the kiss off, Colin marched back to the house, went straight to the garage and picked up a sledgehammer. With extreme prejudice, he smashed the smiles off both machines.

Finished, he passed the hallway mirror and stopped to take a look at himself. What he noticed only angered him more: He didn’t have any lipstick on his collar.