The Laundry Monster

Rick Ryckeley's picture

Dad wouldn’t allow any animals to live in our house when we were growing up. He didn’t want anything else to feed or clean up after.

Mom agreed with him and said that it was a full-time job just cooking for us kids and trying to keep ahead of the Laundry Monster.

Just how do I know that the Laundry Monster lived at our house, you might ask? Well, Mom talked about him all the time, and moms never lie.

When we moved to Flamingo Street, the first thing Dad did was to buy Mom a new washer and dryer. She was so happy! You should’ve seen the expression on her face. She told him to put them in the basement.

Every night right after dinner, Dad washed the dishes and Mom headed for the laundry room. Dad would say, “Going down to fight the Laundry Monster, dear?”

Mom would always answer saying the same thing, “Yes, and maybe I’ll win this time.”

We gathered around the closed basement door and cracked it just a little so we could see, but not enough so the monster could get out.

Although we never actually saw the Laundry Monster, we knew he was there ‘cause we heard him fighting with Mom every night.

You could hear her yelling at him for sneaking rocks into Twin Brother Mark’s pockets, jelly beans into Big Brother James’s pockets, and roly-polies in mine. The Laundry Monster was constantly getting yelled at for turning our pants inside out. Seems he did that all the time.

What really got Mom mad was when he put a frog in Richard’s pocket. She screamed at him so loud that Dad had to run down the stairs and rescue him. That night Mom said it looked like the monster was getting bigger as we all got older.

Mom was so busy fighting the Laundry Monster that she needed help cleaning the rest of the house. That’s why, as far back as I can remember, she had all of us clean our own bedrooms, and the bathrooms. Oh, the horror!

The old saying, “If you don’t do anything, nothing will happen,” applies to everything ‘cept bathrooms. I got news for ya; if you don’t clean bathrooms, in about a month something very scary happens.

Things start to grow in there. Not the cute, fuzzy, white things with blue eyes that blink at you. Everyone knows that they live in the refrigerator back behind the milk, on top of that three-week-old piece of cheese. The things growing in the bathroom are the fuzzy, black and purple things that sneer at you if you come too close. It was our job to clean them out.

It was a rather simple system: four brothers, four weeks in a month, so each brother took a different week. I got the fourth week, which was okay ‘cept the bathrooms never got cleaned the other three.

When it came down to my time, the sneering, fuzzy, black and purple things were out in force all over the tub.

It was touch and go that first couple of months, and being 7 years old, I was definitely losing the battle. Then one night I was watching TV, and on came the scrubbing bubbles!

The commercial said that the foaming bubbles killed mold and mildew on contact and got rid of soap scum. I watched in amazement as tiny little bubbles raced around the dirty tub, scrubbing their hearts out.

The only problem was they didn’t run into any sneering, fuzzy, black and purple things along the way, but I saved up my allowance and bought a can anyway. When my time to clean the bathrooms came, I was ready to go into battle.

I asked Mom for some help; she said no. She said something about having her own battle to fight and went to the basement. That Laundry Monster sure is tough, I thought. Mom fights with him every night, and he still comes back for more. Mom whoops me once, and I can’t set down for a week!

With my army of hard-working bubbles, I marched my way to the bathroom. It had been four weeks since the last battle, one which the fuzzy things won quite handily.

Pulling back the shower curtain, I saw it was worse than I thought. Sneering, fuzzy, black and purple things covered the walls of the shower and the tub.

I sprayed the can over the walls high and low, sprayed the tub, and even the shower curtain. Covering everything with the super-fast, foaming scrubbing bubbles, I emptied the entire can into our bathtub and shower. Then I ran for the door.

An hour later, I came back to check on the progress of my army of tiny scrubbing bubbles, but alas, the fuzzy purple things must have been too much for them. I found not a bubble anywhere; they threw their arms up and ran the other way faster than the French.

I did find a crudely written note. It read, “Scrubbing bubbles refuse to fight.”

Mark said Big Brother James wrote the note, but I know otherwise.

The Laundry Monster escaped from the basement and recruited my army of scrubbing bubbles for another war — the war against Mom.

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