Article: 288647 of talk.bizarre
From: (Edward Lopez)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: while my keyboard gently weeps
Date: 1 Dec 1996 17:05:22 -0800
Organization: Liars for Truth
Lines: 89
Message-ID: <57ta0i$>
Summary: obligatory ftsd article

At the back of the laundromat, I watched my clothes toss in the drier.
Every third pass, a couple of socks fell down from the top instead of
making it all the way around.  It was the ninth time I'd dried this
load.  I hoped it wouldn't be much longer, but I had lots of quarters.

Carla did her laundry every second or third week, on Sunday, some time
between ten and three.  She hadn't been here last week, so she was
due.  She had been behaving a little erratically lately,
inconveniently deviating from her previous habits.  Carla had stopped
her regular attendance of Cafe Roma, the Elm Theatre and even
Michaelson's Books since our encounters there.  But I'd never met her
at the laundromat before.

The drier began to slow and the patterns of the falling clothes
changed.  When they were still, I put in another quarter.  I was a
little concerned that my dessication of my clothing might not go
unnoticed, but as I had concluded, no single patron was there long
enough to take note, and the proprietor was too busy with other

I sensed her coming a moment before looking to the door.  I made sure
the shirts hanging from the rack over my basket obscured me.  I had
waited this long, I could wait a little longer.

Peering through the hangers on the rack, I watched her load a washing
machine.  Her long brown hair was tied back, out of the way; her short
bangs bounced on her forehead as she moved.  Even through her baggy
sweatshirt, I could see the shape of her breasts as she bent over
her basket.  Her long delicate fingers scooped up handfuls of laundry
and threw them in.  I spotted a pair of red lacy underwear and sighed.
Patience.  Her skin was creamy and her face was beautiful, but she
looked tired.  She should get more rest.

Much as I loved watching her, I didn't allow her my full attention.
My plan was delicate and required constant care.  I was also keeping
my eye on Zeppelin Donuts across the street.  True to stereotype, cops
were in and out at least every half hour, and it was crucial I knew
when they were there.  I had never before tried to balance this many
factors in my plans and felt a heady rush to imagine it was all going
to work.

Carla was sitting, rereading _Emma_, her legs crossed at the ankle and
tapping her left foot like she did.  Another quarter later, a cop car
puled in front of Zeppelin and parked illegally.  The cop went inside.
I breathed deeply.  I would wait until she had gotten her donuts, like
I planned.

Finally, the cop stepped out.  I pushed aside my rolling basket and
ran through the laundromat and out into the street.  From the corner
of my eye, I saw Carla look up as I passed.  I wasn't sure if she
recognized me, but at this point, it didn't matter.

"Officer!  Officer!" I shouted, running to her, hoping she wasn't a
stickler about jaywalking.

"Yes?" she asked, moving the donut bag to her left hand.

I told her my name and delivered my speech.  "This woman, Carla
Mahoney, has been harassing me!  She shows up everywhere I go!  Last
week, I filed for a restraining order, but it's no good -- here I am
doing my laundry and she shows up here too!"

We were walking back to the laundromat as the cop examined my papers.
I looked up and saw Carla see us, her perfect mouth forming a perfect
'o'.  Her blue eyes stared at us vacantly.

I pointed.  "There she is, officer!"

"Are you Carla Mahoney?"  the cop asked.


"I'll have to ask you to come with me," she said.

Carla burst into tears.  "I'm not doing anything!" she wailed.  "It's
him!  He's everywhere I go before I get there!  He's the stalker!
some p-passive-agressive stalker!  Not me!  not me..."  she broke down
in sobs.

I shrugged at the cop apologetically.  What could be said?

The cop took Carla's hand.  "Please come with me, miss.  We'll sort it

I watched them leave and smiled.

When I drop the charges, she'll be sure to go out with me.