In the world of omens, the voodoo lords are always laughing when you begin a long tale with a complaint. The subterranean suckers are reeling in how easy they’ve got it for the next twenty-nine days, when the white wiggle bellyaches from the first.
Anyway, laying prophetic doom-spieling aside for a second:
Relaying the records of what you don’t possess always seems to strike a more poignant point than writing about things which you do.
For example, if I was a singin’, blingin’, well-walleted rapper, I might wish to drone on about how my pad is plastered in jangling jewels of the deepest diamond shafts of mother Africa, and how I sell all the steezy, shiny sex-groped swarthiness in all the wicked world...
...but I don’t, I’m not, and I won’t.
I want to tell you about how I’m actually a dented, rented, far-gone sap, whose pad is missing a vital ingredient to a successful routine life. What is inaccessible to me is the sacred secret to appearing on the streets in the guise of freshness and newness;
Without standing fully dressed underneath the shower spout, I cannot wash my clothes.
Yes, so ironing curtains may be possible here, but do not mention washing. Living in this flat, as mentioned, with the ever-mysteriously absent Romas (me occupying the room of his sadly deceased spouse) who speaks only the English his eight-year-old granddaughter dictates to him, (eg. Thank you, good bye, get fucked), I already have a foe.
My enemy stands menacing and mocking, in monolithic proportions, right of the bathtub, and shadowing over me, laughing, through watery bubbles, at my immense unknowing at how in Dzerzhinskys diaper I can ever wash my clothes.
The Soviet era washing machine, an (unpronounceable Cyrillic’s) Autowasher 16, is the size and sound of mating Galapagos turtles, and its churning innards are flapping about like a stack of Darwin’s encyclopaedias. Scoffing at me.
The dial has sixteen numbers on it, each relaying some sort of archaic washing notion (eg. Slapping blankets against rocks on the Ganges, number 4) which I fail to fathom…which is why I bring up Darwin.
If it was survival of the smelliest I would be heading for some state of lordship but thanks, CHUCK, it ain’t, and this KGB contraption is suffocating every inch of my will to wash. It shouldn’t be so COMPLICATED, I growl, as a fresh dump of water floods the mouse-shit ridden bathroom tiles, (after I open the machine door in presumption THREE HOURS of moaning and turning must be long enough).
“Oh well,” I think through the teeth of my waning soul, “At least the floor gets a wash.”
Did I mention, in my testing of the detested machine, the only thing spinning was a lone bathmat?
The old mans bath-rag!
It smelled like a Sudanese hospital and carried through the hallway like an out-of-work drifter, hammering on my door to COME IN…
”NO!!!” I finally screamed and wrenched the dial to thirteen, or was it thirty-four, under the code of ‘Normal Soiling,’ and left the Autowasher about its abominable business.
Actually, through the aid of hand (note, no plural) gesticulation and the enthusiastic though limited vocab of his little granddaughter, Romas had once attempted to explain the workings of the monstrosity to me. Turn it to three, then to seven…GEE, THANKS ROMAS, you may as well be running through the lymphoid rhythms of the Lithuanian miner bird for all I fuckin’ understand you!!!
Now, here I stand. Muddy, bath-rag water like belch juice over my hands.
(This next paragraph is transcribed from neurotically undersized handwriting from the fellow on a nervous outing to the nearby park, following his first run-in with the machine).
It’s me and you now Autowasher.
Don’t tempt the Devil, or you’ll end up burning, you gigantic white Cyclops!
DAMN YOUR SOVIET SPOKES!
My bag of dirty linen is backed-up and begging for forgiveness, and here I stand, or kneel, more like it, mop in left hand, right gripped tight into a fist…my mistakes rattling around in my mind like a mantra…
“Turn it to number 16, give it an hour, go to the park, have a beer, and forget about it.”
The pigeons are gathering around me and my hat now…my stain encrusted jeans soaked in the molten yellow light of sundown…wicked wretch of a washing machine, I will destroy thee before my pants are cleaned!! No, no, calm for now.
Watch the flock, peck, peck, pecking through the piles of crunching leaves, and forget about it.