Local Laundromat Dragons
There I was at the laundromat, doing my weekly wash. I couldn’t believe it. I already finished reading the novel I brought along and the wash wasn’t even in the rinse cycle yet. It had been months since the last time I did something like that. I would have to subject myself to month-old magazines and week-old gossip papers for the next hour and a half. The thought made me shudder, but there was nothing I could do about it.
I settled down on a chair across from my laundry machine. Instead of getting up to read boring articles, I watched the machine spin my clothes. Round and round they went, soap bubbles smothering every fibre.
Just as my eyes started to close, something caught my attention. Did the bubbles just wink at me? I got off my chair. I got closer to the machine, hands on either side of the clear door. I saw it again. A bubble had winked again. Then I remembered. I didn’t have any vivid green clothing, especially not with a yellow stripe in the middle. No, that wasn’t a soap bubble winking. Something was in the machine with the rest of my laundry. I pressed my face against the glass door. A sudden sudsy flap on the other side sent me flying back.
I sat on the floor, staring at my laundry as it swirled around with the soap. Should I pause the machine before the rinse cycle just to see what is in there or should I wait until the end? But if the thing were alive, how could I let it be drowned by another cycle of water? Actually, it should be dead by now anyway. Would I really want to wash my clothes with a dead thing in there?
Just as the machine drained the soapy water and was about to refill with fresh water, I paused it. I opened the door and put my hand inside. I took a deep breath and put my other hand inside. I lifted my clothes and shifted them around. Mist landed on my forehead and started to cover my eyes. I brushed the mist up over my head. Nothing was in the machine other than my laundry. I came out of the washer, closed the door, and restarted the machine.
No matter how I ran my fingers through my hair, I still could feel something on my head. Having not much else to do anyway, I went to the only mirror of the laundromat. I looked in the mirror. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Even as my hairbrush hit the ground, forcing awake the old couple sitting nearby, the mirror’s reflection did not change.
I squatted a bit. I went on tiptoe. I bent to the left, then to the right. The mirror did not have this picture engraved into it. That was certain. Something was on my head. Its vivid green eyes, with the sunshine yellow stripe down the centres, were very clear.
I turned my back to the mirror and looked around the laundromat. The old couple had gone back to their nap. The others continued reading. One guy smiled when I caught his eye, but his smile didn’t convey that anything peculiar was on my head.
I turned back to face the mirror. As white as soap bubbles, as dense and attractive as a freshly drawn bubble bath, a slender, four-legged, winged dragon lay upon my head, its tail wrapping around my shoulders. What was I to do? There it was. Should I swat at it like a fly? Or gently remove it and place it on the ground? Unsure of what to do, I sat back down on my chair.
The buzzer rang finally, indicating the washing was done. The clothes were clean, but wet. I took them out and placed them in my basket. I carried the basket over to the driers. When I opened one of the drier doors, the dragon slipped down and lay across all my clothing. It looked up at me, grinning like it knew the biggest joke.
“I’m a water dragon” it said.
It was speaking to me.
“Water. I like water. I blow water, not fire. Put those out. Fire, that is. Want me to wet your clothes again?”
I wasn’t sure what to say. I wasn’t sure what I was hearing.
“Well, actually—” I stammered, “I wanted to dry my clothes now.”
“Oh. Okay. I’ll get my brother. Stay here. Don’t put your clothes in the dryer.”
Two minutes later, the white dragon returned with another dragon, this one dark brown with red tints. Before I could say anything, the brown and red dragon jumped into my basket. My clothes went jumping up into the air only to be caught by a tail, squeezed, blown upon, and thrown back down. It was the most amazing acrobatics I had ever watched. All my clothes were dried and folded in under ten minutes.
“How can I thank you two dragons?” I asked.
“Give your coins not to the machines next time. Give them directly to my brother and me. Give us your laundry.”
“Yes, yes,” the white dragon agreed. “We’ll get your laundry done quickly, efficiently, and neatly. You can’t always say the same for the machines here.”
So I gave the dragons my laundry money and promised to come see them again.
It’s Saturday today. Laundry day. For once, it won’t be such a dull chore. I won’t have to worry about bringing a long novel. I’ll have plenty of entertainment and my laundry will be done fast. I’m off to see Sudsinsope and Drialode.
Witness: Franc Burroughs