The Washing Machine Perspective

Submitted by Joseph Worrell to Contest #31 in response to: Write a short story about someone doing laundry.... view prompt

It has always amazed me how seldom these humans wash their outer skins. Although I liked all of the different patterns and colors they would shed and put back on after letting me wash them. My favorite thing is when they would come back with bags and bags of new skins to wear. A lot of people buy nice skins. Sometimes I think people buy them just because they were cheap or something.

I've heard them use the word "buy" before; the dryer helped explain to me what it meant one day. He told me that they use paper, like his dryer sheets sort of, to get things from the inside of buildings. This is where they get their skins. It was all so fascinating.

I was a fairly new washing machine, I had just been in this particular house for about two human years (washing machine years are far different). The last owners of the house bought me fresh out of the store, which I had only been in for about a week. Right out of the factory and straight into the real world; 'tis life though, right?

The dryer had been there at the house far longer than me (dryer years are even crazier than washing machine's), he was there even before the owners that brought me in. No telling what crazy colors and patterns his people used to put on.

I loved washing their skins. Sometimes they wouldn't taste too good; I could hardly even begin to think what these humans were doing to make their skins taste so rancid. And they would just toss that mangy mess into my mouth! It's okay though, because I just liked washing them, and I love the whole process I do to make them clean. My creator made it so I was the state of the art machine, so my specific cycle was guaranteed to rid all skins of any stains or smells.

I began to see a pattern with the last owners of this house, as well as the ones who are in it now. For the most part, humans don't wash their skins too often, judging from my observation. I see the humans' faces about once a week - MAYBE. Well, I do see them briefly throughout the week when they're throwing more and more skins into the room where I and the dryer sit. It's crazy how many they go through in a week.

This one morning I was in for a surprise. The pretty human - I think it's called a lady or a tramp, I was talking about it with the dryer, it was in a movie he said - came in with a huge bag. She dropped it on the floor and left out of the room, then returned with another huge bag. Then another.

"Whoa," I said excitedly, "is she really about to wash all of these skins??"

"I keep telling you they're called clothes dumbass."

"Oh right, right, "clothes"."

"And yeah, it looks like she is. Looks like a Goodwill run or something."

"Goodwill?" I asked.

"It's just a place where humans can give old clothes away so other humans can buy them really cheap. It's like a community recycle but with clothes."

"Ohhh, okay. Cool. Well, I'd better lock in. It looks like we've got a lot of ski- err, clothes to wash."

"Yeeep."

The human lady (or tramp, I really think it's lady) came and dropped a little packet of gel into my mouth, then poured some liquid stuff into my center pillar. She dumped the first bag of ski- clothes, into my mouth. Surprisingly the whole bagful didn't fit; a lot of, uh, clothes, spilt over onto the floor. So she shut the lid and chose what load cycle she wanted. I was excited.

As the cycle "large" was pressed, I summoned all of my gears and wires to begin churning up the lady's clothes. I felt the packet burst after a few moments, its contents seeping into the water that I released into the chamber and saturating the clothes. This was a really big load, I hadn't been used to such a capacity in a long time. After the last owners of the house moved out it was about three or four months before someone else moved in again. I was a little out of practice.

My cycle was nearing its end and I could tell that the clothes were really well washed, if I do say so myself. I sounded my alarm and the lady came back to remove the contents. She began throwing the dampened clothes into the now open dryer's mouth.

"I sometimes feel I'm better than this," dryer said.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"I mean I'm a machine just like that damn, wagon thing that these people ride around in. Why couldn't I have been made as a, a Camry? Or a delivery truck? I could be driving things all over the world. But instead? I had to be a freakin' dryer, to some dirty humans."

"Wow," I said, "that's how you think all the time? I don't know mac, I kind of like doing this. I mean don't get me wrong, being a delivery truck or whatever and going all over the world would be a good gig. But, you know, I'm a washing machine. And it's not like I can change that. But I can still find some joy in my duty. I mean hey, I'm even state of the art."

"Ahhh kid, you're so bright knobbed," the dryer muttered, now spinning the damp clothes. "You got no idea what's ahead of you. A life of just, wish, wash, swish, swash. Always doing what these dummies want whenever they need you. It's just sickening."

"Damn dude," I said, as the lady dumped the second bag in, "I feel sorry for you. I love doing this simply because I'm good at it. Best in my occupation. And not only that, I'm also helping these "dumb" humans. I make it easier for them to get their outer layers clean so they can have them when ready. Oh and by the way, you know that humans control your entire existence, right?"

"Of all the bull in this world," the dryer said, still humming away, "that is a larger load than what's in my mouth."

"No it's true! I remember when I first came online and was being tested in the lab. Wow, it's all blurry but it's vaguely there. I think I was maybe a few weeks old, in human time. They tested all of my cycles and then my creator came and placed his hand on me and said, 'you're gonna be the best on the market, state of the art equipment'."

"So?" the dryer said, finishing his dry cycle. "What does that prove?"

"Hey mac, you believe what you want, alright? I just know what I know. And what I know, is that my creator said I was state of the art and so far, I have performed up to the standard. How can I possibly know more than the one who made me?"

"Hmmm," the dryer said, as the lady emptied the load, "now that we're talking about it I do have vague memories of way back when I was a few years old, in my first house. The guys who stayed there always used to kick me and say I was a piece of junk. I think they left me on the side of the road one day and a big truck came and picked me up."

I was silent for a moment, focused only on my swishing and swashing.

"Well," I spoke up, "at least you're still operational. Those guys obviously didn't have any idea what they had. Because hey, these people aren't doing that to you. Look, she's smelling the clothes you just dried."

"Are you really always this happy about your existence?" the dryer said with a chuckle.

"I'm a washing machine. Can't change it, can't do anything other than wash. You either accept that and love it, or still accept it and hate your duty for as long as your gears keep grinding."

There was silence in the room, apart from the lady's singing to herself, and the gentle hum of the dryer and the swishing sounds within my chamber.

"You're right," the dryer said after awhile. "You're pretty wise for a fresh appliance."

"I did say I was state of the art."

The lady was dumping the last bag of clothes into my mouth, and I was exhausted.

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7 likes 4 comments

07:04 Mar 13, 2020

I like the voices you used. I could hear a wise mentor trying to communicate with his younger, somewhat over-enthused, colleague.

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18:18 Mar 12, 2020

I. Love. This!!!!

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18:21 Mar 09, 2020

I like the spin you took on this one. Pretty original and it was a good story

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08:39 Mar 08, 2020

What a delightful perspective on life and laundry! Really enjoyed this one.

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