Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wash Day Blues

   Uncle Billy followed me into the laundry mat, clutching a heavy sack of change. "You really need this whole bag of quarters?"
   "Yep." I set a laundry bag of dirty clothes on floor next to the huge front-loading washer.
   Billy surveyed the seven large bags that were lined in front of the row of washers. "I suppose you do."
   I took of my cap and mopped my brow. "How about helping me load these washers?"
   "Do you really think camping in the north woods for two weeks is worth this?"
   "I do." I opened the door on the first washer and started stuffing in the contents of the bag in front of it.
   Billy opened the door of the next machine and started putting in laundry. "Well, I think you're nuts."
   "You wouldn't be alone, Uncle ... but Cheryl and I love it ... there is nothing like sleeping in the woods."
   "No ... I'm sure there isn't ... but, I'll take my Posturepedic, thank you very much."
   "Speaking of travel, I heard you went to that new casino in Toledo with Alma Beeler."
   Uncle Billy stopped loading and stood to look at me. "Who told you that?"
   "Clara mentioned it."
   "When did you talk to her?"
   "She called me up north to ask if we had time to stop by Saginaw on our way home ..."
   "Oh ... something to do with that four-flusher Alex What's-his-Putz?"
   I closed the door to the washer and stood up. "Heath ... his name is Alex Heath."
   "Whatever ... he's still a putz."
   "Anyway, Clara was doing another book signing and thought it might be good for me to show up and maybe sell a few of my books." I walked past Billy to the next washer and starting loading it with laundry.
   "So Clara told you I went out with Alma, eh? How'd she know that?"
   "I didn't ask her that ... I just asked her if she'd seen you while we were gone and ..."
   "What'd she say?"
   "I don't know ...  something like, 'William is fine, in fact I believe he went to Toledo with Mrs. Beeler this weekend'."
   Billy shook his head. "Man, that woman doesn't miss anything." Then he scowled. "Why should she be so interested in my business?"
   I forced the crammed washer shut and stood again to look at Billy. "She cares about you, Uncle ... that's why she's interested."
   "Well, if that's true, then why did she go to Saginaw to see Alex What's-his-Putz?"
   "What do you expect her to do ... sit around and wait for you to call? Besides, she had business in Saginaw."
   "Like that's the only book store in Michigan."
   I sighed. "Uncle, it's an opportunity for her."
   "Right ... an opportunity to cash in on a relationship with What's-his-Putz ... so, did you?"
   "Did I what?"
   "Stop in Saginaw."
   "No, we didn't have time ... besides I don't have any more books."
   Billy's face got serious. "Hey, is this a ploy to borrow money?"


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