24 Hour Laundromat

[The laudromat is just named “24 Hour Laundromat.” On a darkened street it’s lit up dingily. It is 2 or 3 AM. There are a couple people waiting, reading, closed up in themselves. In the very back, a figure is slowly folding laundry.]

[Lee, in a stained wifebeater, gym shorts, and stained, over-stretched bedroom slippers, is leaning against a washer across from the pair of machines where his burden spins, bouncing his butt against the machine in a way that suggests he’s unaware he’s doing it. He is resting a large rectangular white laundry basket against his belly, and mumbling to himself. We can't hear what he's saying. A young woman approaches. She holds an empty laundry bag. Waits for a moment. When he doesn’t seem to notice her, she speaks up. ]

Young woman: Excuse me. I've got to get --

Lee: Oh, no, I’m sorry, I’m just... taking up space.

[Lee steps aside and stands uncomfortably. He tries to hold the white laundry basket, one arm casually over it. He almost drops it. The woman starts to unload her clothes from the machine into the bag.]

Lee: Have I seen you here before?

Young woman: I don’t think so. I’m new to the neighborhood, actually.

Lee: Man, I tell ya, you’re lucky to have found this place on your first go. Trust me, I’ve used a lot of other laundromats around here and this one’s the best. Open twenty four hours. A little vending machine. Plenty of bleach. Everybody keeps to themselves...

YW: Uh, yeah. It seems --

[He talks faster and faster.]

Lee: Nobody looking over at your basket, asking IGNORANT questions, making STUPID comments about haha “oh I guess you must really like ketchup," "i guess you -

[The woman is silently putting her clothes in the washer. Lee is turning red. He struggles to regain control, to seem casual. ]

Lee: Well, you know, there are those times when something, um, spills, though... And you just can’t wait until the morning. And besides, you couldn’t think of sleeping, your adrenaline is jacked up so high, and all you want to do is sit in a room and watch something spinning, spinning, spinning, spinning, spinning, what have i done, things will never be the same, what have i done, things will never be the same, what have i done...

[He trails off, and his mumbles meet the sound of the churning machines in the background.]

Lee: Maybe it’s just me but it's one of the best things about city living. Gotta love a good 24 hour laundromat.

[He waits a reply but she doesn’t look up.]

Lee: Then again, I can be a little obsessive about cleaning sometimes. Ha...ha...

[He looks down at this shoes. We see how filthy they are. And going up his body, back to his downcast eyes, we notice again at how entirely filthy Lee is, his stained shirt somehow seeming even more stained than before.]

[Sound of spinning machines.]


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