Maggie, who blogs over at For Cave Walls, had an interesting challenge over at her blog today: to write a (clean) love story and use the names of two or three (or, in my case, five or more) songs from the Top 40 on Valentine’s Day of some year (I picked the WLS "Silver Dollar Survey" from February 12, 1968). I’ll put a playlist with the songs I chose at the end…
LOVE IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM
"I wonder what she’s doing tonight?" John sat with his feet up on the coffee table, not watching whatever MeTV had on at the time and eating from a large jar of dry-roasted peanuts. He and Holly were supposed to have had a date that evening, but Holly called at the last minute and said she had a date to wash her hair or something. Which probably meant she had a date with Rick.
His phone rang. He looked at the screen and saw that it was Dave. Last person he wanted to hear from tonight. Nevertheless, he answered. "Yeah, Dave?"
"Hey, John! Who’s there with you?"
"Nobody but me. Why?"
"Just curious. I thought you’d be out with Holly."
"So did I. She has another date, I’m sure. She called me at work just as I was getting ready to leave and said something came up, and she had to postpone it."
"Postpone it to when? Tomorrow?"
"Til whenever. I told her I’d think about it and hung up before I heard the answer. So, I’m sitting here drowning my sorrows in dry-roasted peanuts and Dr Pepper."
"Man, that sucks. So what are you going to do?"
"Dunno. Maybe the laundry."
"The laundry? Man, the best thing to do when you’re thrown off the horse is to get back on it. You need to get out now."
"Too soon, man. I can hear the laundry calling."
"Okay, well, have fun. See you tomorrow."
He ran around his apartment getting everything that needed washing, which was almost everything (he didn’t like doing the laundry), tossed the detergent, fabric softener, and bleach on top, and headed for the basement.
His building had a fairly good-sized laundry room with a dozen washers and four heavy-duty dryers. He separated the stuff in his basket into three machines, one for colors, one for whites, and one for towels. He added the appropriate cleaning supplies to each machine and started them up, then sat in one of the chairs and started playing Candy Crush on his phone.
About five minutes later, he heard someone else come into the laundry room. He looked up and saw a short woman with dark red hair and glasses separating her laundry into a couple of machines. He thought nothing of it and went back to his game.
"Excuse me?" He looked up and the woman was standing there smiling at him. She had a nice smile and sparkling green eyes behind the glasses. "Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?"
"N-no," he said. He wasn’t sure that he didn’t, but it was too late now.
"I noticed you’ve been scratching yourself a lot. Did that just start today, or has it been going on for a while?"
"Well, I… have I really been scratching myself that much?"
She nodded. "Pretty much nonstop since I walked in. Has itching always been a problem for you?"
"Yeah, kinda," he said. Normally, he’d have asked "what’s it to you?" by now, but there was something about her that made him open up.
"I’m not trying to get fresh with you. I’m a dermatologist. It’s kind of my job to notice these things." She sat next to him and shook his hand. "I’m Julie Kato. I live in apartment 607."
"Oh, so you’re the person that took Liz’s apartment. I’m John. I live in 603."
"I thought I’ve seen you. You leave kind of early, don’t you?"
"I have to be at work by 7, then I get off at 5…"
"So yes." She winked.
He heard a buzz. "I think that’s my laundry. Excuse me." He stood and walked to the other end of the room and started taking his wet clothes out of the machines. He turned to put them in his basket, and saw Julie looking at his detergent, bleach, and fabric softener.
"I think this is one of the problems," she said, showing him his detergent. "This is a kind of harsh detergent and a lot of people with dermatitis have trouble with it."
"Mom used that at home."
"And that’s when your itching started? No wonder. Everything that touches you probably makes you itch. Do you use lotion?"
"You probably should."
"You mean like Vaseline Intensive Care?"
She shook her head. "No, I’d be worried about the perfume and dye being another irritant. I’ve got some lotion up in my apartment that works really well. Why don’t you get your clothes in the dryer, and come up to my place?"
"See you in a few minutes, then," she said, and left the room.
As he loaded one of the dryers with his laundry, he thought about Julie, and realized that she was everything Holly wasn’t: friendly, intelligent, helpful, caring. And the red hair, green eyes, and gorgeous smile were a bonus. Thanks for dumping me, Holly, he thought as he walked to the elevator.
The song names were italicized in the story (in case you hadn’t noticed), but here’s the playlist…
- Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, "I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight"
- The Human Beinz, "Nobody But Me"
- Strawberry Alarm Clock, "Tomorrow"
- Tommy James & The Shondells, "Get Out Now"
- The Association, "Everything That Touches You"
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for Valentine’s Day 2022.