DIRTY LAUNDRY • by Andrew LeBlanc

“You are boring my balls off.” Toby was wearing only boxer shorts. “You know how Jesus Christ came to the earth to heal the sick and deliver man from damnation, and the Antichrist will come to bring illness to the healthy and lead righteous men astray? You are on, like, the square root of negative one, exact perpendicular plane to that, where the two polar superpowers of the mystical universe each have an avatar, one who comes to party, and one who comes to bore my balls off. You’re the last one.”

Chen squinted, moved his lips as if to speak, and then stopped. A moment of silence.

“What?” said Chen.

Toby spoke again. “You’re boring my balls off.”

The washer door stood open, empty. Toby stood between Chen and the washer. The dryer hummed away, oblivious.

Chen rubbed his eyes. “All I’m saying is that there is absolutely no risk. It’s been proven in tests. All bacteria or viruses would be killed in the heat of the washing machine or the dryer. And because my scrubs are going in both, they’re being killed twice over.”

“I don’t care how you science it, I don’t want your AIDS laundry going in our washing machine. What if some blood leaks onto the edge, where it doesn’t get hot? And then it gets soaked up when I’m pulling my underpants out of the dryer. I don’t want that shit anywhere near my junk. Even potentially.”

Chen wiped his hand across a blood stain. The scrubs he held were an even mix of blue fabric and dried blood. He raised his hand, clean. “Blood dries, brainiac. And besides, nobody I worked on today had a blood disease.” He gestured at the largest continent of maroon, “This one was a combination of a botched hip replacement, an irregular heartbeat, and an accidental overdose of blood thinner.”

“They don’t have a cleaning service for your stuff at the hospital?”

“No!” said Chen.

“Why the hell not?”

“Because,” Chen moved toward the washing machine, and Toby stepped forward, lowering his shoulders. “Because of what I just told you. Because there is absolutely no reason for me not to wash my own scrubs, at my own house.”

Toby did not move.

“Seriously. You’re seriously willing to fight me for wanting to wash my work clothes. Because you don’t know how disinfection works?”

“Wash it somewhere else, man, that’s all I’m saying. I’m sure you think it’s safe, and your boss thinks it’s safe, or whatever. But I don’t need to take any chances. Dying young is a frame of mind. If I let you put your infectious diseases in our cleaning devices, that’s as good as telling God I am no longer taking a personal interest in my own continued survival.”

“But I’ve already washed my scrubs here dozens of times. You’ve already been exposed to whatever risks you’re going to be exposed to.”

“That’s not the point. I bet I’ve had my food spit in before, or worse. I can’t do anything about that, and I’m glad nothing terrible has come of it, but if I have the opportunity to prevent people from spitting in my food in the future, I’ll damned well take it.”

“Fine,” said Chen. “You win.  I’ll find somewhere else to wash these.” He turned, and left the laundry room.

Toby loaded the washing machine with his underpants, some ratty and threadbare, all in dark blues and greys and black.

When he returned from the laundry room, Chen was washing his scrubs in the kitchen sink.

Andrew LeBlanc is too big to fit inside of a washing machine.   For this reason, he is washed in the sink.

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 average 4.5 stars • 2 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • Oonah V Joslin

    HeeHee and YUK! Very entertaining.

  • Harley

    Funny story. I was smiling big at the end.

    I enjoyed the argument thoroughly because you did such a great job making the characters into real people in that short space. In fact, you did such a great job, I didn’t really believe Toby would say “I’m glad nothing terrible has come of it.”

    I would have liked it even better if it started with “The washer door stood open.” The first part was funny but I think it was a different story.

    • Thanks Harley. You’re right of course. “The washer door stood open.” is the best beginning to the story. But I am a weak-willed man, and I really liked that opening conversation. I think this was even mentioned when I first presented the story to my writing group. In the future, I will submit to their authority.

    • I agree with Harley about the beginning–it put me off but I plowed through it and I’m glad I did 🙂

  • Michael D. Turner

    I enjoyed this one. Nice Job Andrew.

  • Very funny! I needed this smile I now have to start my day. Thanks, Andrew.


  • Thanks for the comments! I’m glad that my first published non-Science Fiction work isn’t being savaged mercilessly.

  • Ha that’s good Andy, you’re style suits itself to both sci fi and non sci fi as it’s the humour that is important, not nessessarily the genre. Is it wrong that I thought your small autobiographical sentence at the end was just as funny, if not more so, than the story though?

    • Well, I’d like to believe that the bio sentence only worked because of the story behind it: the punch line to the story’s setup.

  • Bigham

    Hilarious as usual Andy, though i would like to put your autobiographical summary to the test.

  • Andrew:

    I know a guy named Toby, and I know a guy named Chun, which was close enough to Chen to make me think of these two having this same conversation, and it made the whole fiasco all the more funny to me.

    Nice one!


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  • Eric

    Nice! Especially the arguments they make and comparisons like food-spitting!

    List of emotions reading this:

    -_- -> O_o -> ^o^

  • I enjoyed this but must agree with harley’s comment that the beginning seem to belong to a different story. “Boring his balls off” didn’t seem to connect totally with washing bloody scrubs in the washing machine. The opening images are so totally great, I love the allusions to “the square root of negative one, exact perpendicular plane to that” !!

    Thanks for a good read.

  • Wow…I needed that. Laughter truly is the best medicene…so does that make you a doctor or a pharmacist?

    • A pharmacist. And almost certainly unlicensed. I don’t prescribe the drugs, I just provide them.

  • Lyn

    I thought the story was going a different direction as well (a la the “boring” comment) but I see now that the one has disdain for the other’s bigotry. Both need therapy IMHO. lol

  • This reminded me very much of coming home from working on the cadavers at having my roommates freak over the smell…thanks for a great laugh. 🙂

    • You used to work on cadavers?? Homemaker, martial artist, cadaver-worker-on-er–You’ve had quite the varied career!

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  • I liked the story and the characters seemed real. The ending is funny.

  • Oh, too good! Never saw that coming! 😀

  • Leanne

    Great read even after you told me this story verbally beforehand. I absolutely love the ending and your autobiographical relevance to it haha. You have talent in writing Andy! 🙂

  • HIGH FIVE! 😀