Saturday, 8 August 2009

MULTIPLY Time for Yourself #2: Washing Night

Using the washing machines in an apartment block at night had one big advantage. You could wash until your heart was content. You were alone and nobody saw what was going into the machine. Mable Andrews was glad about this. She wanted to keep her private life to herself and there was nothing worse than having unwanted noses poking into the details of your underwear.

This evening was a special washing evening, not only because of the private wash, but she had changed the sheets on the bed and that was particularly private. She opened the glass door of the machine and started to push the sheets in, carefully one after the other to make sure that they would wash properly. She hated stains and these sheets did have a few stains that had to be removed. It was then that she heard a noise; someone was descending the stairs to the cellar. Now this was something she could do without. She hurriedly pushed the remains of the wash into the machine, the pillow covers, and slammed the glass door.

“Evening Mrs. Andrews” said a deep male voice and Donald Doom entered the washing room. “Making use of the cheaper electricity rates with the night washing?”

Mable thought to herself it was none of his business, but decided to give a friendly answer. She really did not want give Mr. Doom a negative impression at this time in the evening.

“Well it is certainly an advantage Mr. Doom. I see you also have quite a bit of washing to do so late in the evening.”

“One of the disadvantages of having small children; since little Jimmy arrived a month ago, we have baby wash again: diapers, bibs and all that babies need during the day. Sometimes our little Jimmy gets through three baby pyjamas in one day. The other two children are just as bad, so I help the missus out with the washing now and again. Having a growing family, we are glad to save on the electricity where we can.”

Mable knew too well the noisy Doom family. The crying of the baby, the screaming of the other children and the shouts of the parents, coupled with the loud laughing she sometimes heard from their apartment. “People like that should be sterilised at birth” she thought to herself. “I will be glad when I am out of here.” No, Mable was not a happy person.

She put the washing powder into her machine, switched it on and the washing drum started filling with water and churning. It would be a long wash, more than an hour, but it was the strongest wash you could apply which was necessary. Mable had other things to do in her apartment while the machine was running.

“Have a nice evening Mr. Doom” she said and returned to her apartment.

She was glad to get home again as there was work to do. She decided first of all to clean up the bedroom. It was then that she noticed the stain on the mattress, so she got some hot soapy water from the kitchen and a brush and started scrubbing. Luckily the stain was fresh so she managed to remove it, although she had to work on it at least half an hour. Of course the mattress was now damp and a night’s sleep here was out of the question, but that did not really bother her. If she ever did sleep this night, she would move out into the living room and sleep on the settee.

Now she really had to get down to work. Her husband’s corpse still had to be removed. She had distributed it in a few large plastic bags and decided to put them in the containers outside of the building where she lived. She hoped in the meanwhile that Donald Doom had returned to his apartment as that was the last person she wanted to meet. After a few journeys to the elevator everything was removed. Mable was a woman on the heavier side, some might say she had weight problems, but she was convinced she was just heavy built. She was glad that her late husband, Cedric, was on the slim side. It made things a lot easier when disposing of his remains.

It was just too stupid that he did not die immediately. She saw a film once where a murder was done with a baseball bat, so she decided that would be the best method. She could burn the weapon afterwards in the furnace in the basement and there would be no evidence. It was just bad luck that he awoke from his sleep and grabbed her necklace with his hand as a last effort to fight back. It was then that she gave the last blow but the necklace was torn from her neck and was held firmly in his fist. She tried, she really tried to release it from his clutches, but it was just not possible. There was no other choice but to get the garden scissors and remove the fingers that were holding it in their grasp. At last she retrieved the necklace. You never know. If the body parts are found, that would be definite proof that Mable would be responsible.

Mable now began with the heavy work and after an hour everything was removed from the apartment. The next day was the garbage collection, and Cedric would no longer exist. His remains would be in various different places. She would tell people that he was visiting his mother who lived in another part of the country. With time she would move and would drift into the anonymity that surrounded such travellers as herself. Why did she do it? She did not really know and it did not interest her. It seemed that after a time she was bored with routine and wanted to start anew.

Mable was just settling down to her well deserved sleep when she heard the noise of fire engines. “Was there a fire somewhere?” She looked out of the window and saw the vehicles arrive at her building, but there was no smoke. They were not unpacking their hoses, but were organising their pump. Her curiosity got the better of her, so she decided to explore and met Donald Doom and his wife at the entrance to the building.

“Has something happened?” Mable asked.

“It certainly has” answered Donald. “I went to the washing room to see how the washing was going and the place was flooded. It seems that the drain taking the water from the machines was blocked. I had to call the fire department and now they are working on the case.”

Mable descended the stairs to see how it looked. It was not a pretty site; the washing room had at least half an inch of red water covering the floor. Mable was very concerned about this, but she could perhaps blame it onto the Dooms and their children who had probably been painting with their finger paints and rubbed it off onto their clothes.

With this excuse she might have got away with it all, if they had not found that the cause of the blockage in the draining system was the top part of a finger which had once belonged to Cedric Andrews.

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