Habitual

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium
A challenge to combine 'laundromat' and 'hot dog'.

Submitted: September 25, 2018

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Submitted: September 25, 2018

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Habitual

Harvey was a man of habit. He liked his routine and regardless of what came up he always tried to stick with it. Nothing wrong with that, you might say, and you’d be right – if only Harvey had not got the order all wrong.

Tuesday night was laundromat night. He’d stuff all of his laundry into a bag, sort out the washing powder, the money to pay for the machines and then he’d get the bus to the laundromat.

He never bothered leaving it to get on with things. He’d sit there, studying, while the machine worked through its own routine of washing, soaking, rinse and repeat. When the final cycle began, taking the excess water out he’d carefully put his book down and get ready to remove his damp clothes from one machine to another.

This one took about the same amount of time but it was just a constant tumble, letting warm air in to force the moisture out. No stops and starts and clicks and whirs from this one, more of a steady drone.

Finally finished he’d remove his clothes, give them a shake and fold them up as neatly as he could. The strange thing was that when he removed them from the laundry bag they’d look like he’d just tossed them in any-old-how. At least they were clean, apart from the stains that the stain removers promised would be gone but never were. By the time he got to the laundromat, the stains would be dried, ingrained, there to stay.

And here is the reason it always happened; the fundamental fault in Harvey’s routine.

Wednesday night was hot dog night. Once again you might say, ‘So what!’ There was nothing wrong with that either, and you’d be right, except for in one small detail.

Harvey liked the deluxe dog, the one with all the trimmings. Ketchup, mustard, a double serving of those fried onions, all stuffed in a premium bun. He’d take a bite and the dog dripped, the ketchup dripped, the mustard seemed to drizzle its way out too. And those fried onions, impossible not to let some of them fall.

Oil, ketchup, mustard, all liberally dripped and dropped over his newly laundered but not so spotless clothes. All left to dry and embed themselves until the next night at the laundromat.

If only Harvey had switched things round from the start there’d be no problem with his habitual routine at all! Well, at least as far as Tuesdays and Wednesdays went!


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