In the Laundry Room

Pixabay, laundry room, suspensePaula grumbled as she trudged down the apartment stairs to the building’s laundry room. As much as she loved her two-bedroom apartment with full on views of the San Francisco Bay from every room, she didn’t appreciate the shared laundry space.

“Stop complaining,” her boyfriend, Donald, exclaimed. “There are only five other apartments in this small building. And everyone is gracious and uses the washer/dryer at different times.”golden gate bridge, San Francisco, Marin County, blog suspense

True, that, but the schedule worked because Paula did her laundry at 6:30 a.m., when most of the other building’s occupants were either still sleeping or getting ready for work.

Sure enough, the basement room, simple with white walls, gray linoleum floors, and one industrial-sized washer and one dryer, was empty. What Donald didn’t know was that Paula had been desperate for a clean pair of undies, so she snuck down to the laundry room at 10 the night before and did a load of whites. Now, early in the morn, all she had to do was pull them out of the washer and into the dryer, and she’d be ready for work with clean clothes in 45 minutes.

Except. Wait. What was this? As Paula pulled out the damp load and began to throw the clothes into the huge dryer, a shiver ran down her spine. This pink women’s top wasn’t hers, and neither was the two pair of blue jeans – one size 6 (she only wished) and one men’s Levi’s.

Pixabay, laundry roomFeeling a sense of I shouldn’t be doing this, Paula continued to pull out clothes that obviously weren’t hers: men’s plaid boxer shorts; a blue flannel shirt (men’s or women’s, she wondered); two long-sleeved t-shirts, one green and light blue; and a lavender nightie.

On a hunch, Paula examined the silk-like short nightgown with thin straps and lace at the hem. Was that…? Didn’t that look like….? BLOOD? Blood that had not washed away?

Paula stepped away, holding back a scream when Stefan, the neighbor who had just moved into the apartment above her, entered the room, saying softly: “Is there a problem?”

133 thoughts on “In the Laundry Room

  1. da da da duuuummmm….

    This just made me think of the episode of The Big Bang Theory when Penny didn’t have any quarters so she was sneaking small amounts of her washing into other people’s loads.

    Also, it made me think that when I move into an apartment (my retirement dream), I must get my own washing machine.

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  2. Uh, oh! I hope there’s going to be a part 2!

    Our first apartment was in garden apartment complex, and the laundry facilities were in a separate building throughout the place. I thought it was creepy, as well as being inconvenient. So we used to wait until we were completely out of clothes, then my husband would pack all the dirty laundry into the car, drive across the lot to the building, and camp out there for a few hours and grade papers or something. It’s possible that I bought us both a lot of extra underwear. . .😏

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  3. Oooh – I love this kind of story, Pam. Great job! Do you think this potentially dangerous new neighbor was nice enough to put her wash in the dryer? So many questions!

    Also – it reminds me of many laundry room stories of my own but never with plot developments like yours, mostly just an impatient person leaving my wet stuff on a table!

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  4. Yikes! More to come, I hope? This brought back memories of doing laundry in our first apartment and how my husband could never understand why I didn’t want to leave our laundry there unattended. Who knows what goes on there when we’re not looking…

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  5. The comments were great, Pam. I had no idea that people had so many laundry room stories. Lol.
    Practical me, just wanted to know where her whites were. Grab em and go. I hope that the blood isn’t really blood, but can’t wait to read part 2 to find out. You are such a tease with these. Have a wonderful weekend, my friend. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yikes! My palms are sweaty just thinking about being in the laundry room and making the discovery. As to the mixed clothes my guess Stefan is not 50 or older or certainly there would be laundry sorting. 🙂

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  7. A great laundromat story. I can’t wait to hear what happens next. Several years ago we had our laundry stolen from a laundromat in Switzerland.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Gerlinde. Not everyone can say they had their laundry stolen …. in Switzerland. But still, that puts a double twist on a story, ’cause what does a traveling person do when their clothes are taken away?? You have me wondering now.

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  8. Wow–so many comments and so many laundry rooms 🙂 You can’t leave us in suspense, Pam, ’cause the “hottie”–I’m assuming he’s a “hottie” new neighbour isn’t really as bad as we think. . . .?

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  9. I abandoned laundry duty long ago but we’ve no experience of a shared laundry room. Seems spooky! I am hanging at the cliff Pam and my imagination is going wild. Let me hold my thoughts till you spill the truth, which I am sure, you are still trying to conjure! 🙂

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    • As difficult as it can be sharing a laundry room with others, it sure can open up the imagination!
      Yes, this story brought back for many of us memories of those years we mixed up laundry with fellow dwellers. Ah, the “good old days.” 😉

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  10. Come on, Pam, you’re not done with this story. I’m not just paying you a false compliment. You’ve got the beginnings of a suspenseful novel here. As a reader, I would love to know where this one goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As a writer, I’d love to know where this one goes, too. Well, I always find the first hook easy. Now I’ve been challenged to keep the story interesting. Wish me luck, and tune in next Friday. Thanks much for the encouragement, Pete.

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  11. Paula might be a nice person but her ‘brain light’ is dim – how about washing some undies in the bathroom sink? 10:00 pm in SF or any city is a dangerous time to wander alone…sure, likely safe, but near waterfront and the unknown desperate and homeless…NO WANDERING ABOUT ALONE!
    PS: ‘Paula’ BETTER not be PAMELA – or, a spanking from hubby is in order!!!
    With all that written above, GREAT plot for a story – so, get to writing a WIP or I might steal the idea… 🙂 Be safe, and, HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! to you and your family! ♥♥♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love your response, Billy Ray, This is definitely Paula’s story, but yes, Pamela has been as reckless at times, too (in the past). Sometimes those we think are the safest are the opposite. Hmmm, is this foreshadowing of the next installment? I know you write great scary suspense stories, Billy Ray. But I get too frightened halfway into the “bad” stuff. 🙂 Happy 4th to you and yours. ❤

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  12. Great story, Pam. I waded in up to my hips. 😉 You can pull us on so easily. My clothes go into the bathtub before they’d ever go to the laundromat again. Any apartment I’ve rented in the past 20 years has had laundry in unit. It’s worth the extra money. My daughter brought hers here because I didn’t think her laundry area was safe. I hope this has a happy ending.

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    • Most of my life (after college) I’ve also been fortunate to have my own laundry area, Marlene. But in one condo, I needed to use a shared laundry room like Paula’s. Many times my imagination ran wild. And now I have a chance to use that imagination with Paula. 🙂

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  13. “Is there a problem?”

    “Um . . . yes. My load of whites, WITH my clean undies, is MIA. You haven’t seen it, have you?”

    {{guilty pause}} “Sorry. I moved your load of whites to start my load . . . but I don’t see it. I thought I put it in the dryer, but now I’m not sure. I was so tired. We just moved in, I’ve been busy unpacking, my boyfriend was threatening me with a knife for not doing the laundry while he was at work, I felt frazzled. Well, you know how it is, I’m sure.”

    “Sure. Absolutely. . . . Wait! What did you say?”

    “Which part?”

    “Oh, shit. Never mind. I’ve got to go. I’m going to be late for work . . . unless I go commando.” :mrgreen:

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  14. Ahhhh, I have to admit I hate doing laundry at one of those public laundry places. One of the joys in most places in SE Asia, certainly in Viet Nam is one can drop off one’s clothes at a place and pick them up the next day, all clean and beautifully folded for very little money. That said, in our recent house that we rented there, we had a our own laundry machine and I loved the joy of having one all to ourselves and then hanging up the clothes and towels to dry in the wind.

    Peta

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    • I remember you writing about the clean and folded laundry in Vietnam in your blog, Peta. I’ve never been “spoiled” in that way, having laundry done for us. Sounds delightful, to be honest. I wonder what the laundry situation is in your new home in Mexico? Perhaps an idea for one of your blog posts!

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  15. Darn, I want the rest of the story NOW! Wide awake because people are setting off fireworks in all directions and now there’s possible fireworks in this laundry room. Yikes!

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  16. Pam, I love the innocuous setting of the start of this tale and you build up the tension superbly! I can’t wait to read the second part of this!

    I’ve had this happen to me as a student (minus the blood part!) as I started to unload my washing early one morning only to find a stranger’s clothes in there! Scanning the laundry room someone had dumped my clothes in a corner on the floor! I was so happy when I bought my own washing machine at my first home … ridiculously excited!

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  17. When we were first married we lived in a large apartment building with a laundry room on the ground floor, just down the hall. It was always clean, but I still wiped out the washer and dryer before using it. Now, I would feel I really had to sanitize it inside and out. Great story.

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  18. Oooh, you got my attention, Pam! Like others, I first thought that the new, colored, clothes would have messed up the whites. For some reason I’m more curious about what happened to Paula’s clothes than about why there’s a bloody dress in the washer… 🙂

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  19. When I see your email in my inbox, Pam, I sit down, focused, ready for a ride. You never disappoint. And today’s ride scattered me in many different directions. I left with an uneasy feeling. I believe it is more than just the blue jeans and the pink shirt.🧐

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  20. Pingback: Fifty Shades of Pink | roughwighting

  21. Oh! So good, Pam! Great to be behind in my reading as now I can go read part 2 right now!
    I can tell you that there is no way in hell I would EVER live in a place if I can’t have my own washer and dryer.

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    • I said that for years (no way in hell) and then suddenly for two years we found ourselves in this amazing condo with incredible SF views that, yup, had a shared laundry. The realtor insisted “don’t let this stop you from living in this fabulous location.” So, we lived in it and I disliked every minute of sharing that laundry space, even though the five other condo-dwellers were super nice and considerate. So, never again. ;-0 But, fun to write fiction about it.

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  22. Shivers….. I felt I could hear the music of Psycho Eeeek Eeeek Shrrrreeeek…. I swear right on the last line 🙂

    ( on a personal note.. I finally got a new washing machine installed today, after mine broke beyond repair three weeks ago… Thank goodness for a daughter and her washing machine I could drive to 😉 )

    Love and Hugs dear Pam… 🙂 ❤

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  23. Wait – and that’s all you’re writing?!? Great – and unexpected – ending!
    Ah yes – shared laundry, if not in the apartment building basement, then when you had to take it to the actual laundromat down a few blocks. Where now your intermingling with even more strangers multiplied exponentially. All I can say is, thankfully we were younger and could still deal with it all. Nowadays, I’d have to run an empty washer through with bleach first!

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