“When can I have these back?” asked Charlie Brooker, holding out a bin bag. I took the bag, unsure of how to respond.
“Erm, now?” I ventured, offering his bag back to him. Charlie Brooker looked at me like I’d just killed a chicken. His forehead frowny. “I mean washed. When can I have them back washed?” He stressed the word washed. He was almost saying wooshed! Woosh!
“Oh!” I chuckled nervously. That made more sense, he wanted me to wash them. “Five?” I said.
“Three?” three was better than five. Was it? If he wanted them sooner, it was. Arghh! My first day running my new launderette in Notting Hill in the posh part of London was turning into a nightmare! “No five.”
“They’ll be ready at five?”
“Because I need to wear it for a telly show I’m on tonight.”
“Yeah, five will be great,” I said scratching the back of my neck while wondering why I’d said it would be great.
“If they’re not ready you’re for the high jump,” he said ominously then spun on his heels and left. When I was sure he wasn’t going to return I opened the bag. There on top were loads of Konnie Huq’s frilly knickers and bras and suspenders and basques and things. I grabbed them, along with a few stray socks, and took them into the office.
“Oh my fucking god.” Said Charlie Brooker. It was 4:47pm.
“You’re early.” I said, like that was an excuse and stood there waiting for something. A punch? I wanted to get caught. Some part of me did and I waited for some intense outpouring of emotion. Charlie Brooker just stood in the doorway staring at me. Looking me up and down. A greedy expression on his face. “I’ll take them off.”
“Yes, you will. But let me look at you a bit longer.”
I swallowed hard and popped a rod. “Do you like what you see, Charlie?”
“Very much so.”
“You like my hair?” I’d spent a long time trying to get the hair right. It was tough because Charlie Brooker has hair like a twat.
Charlie nodded and walked to me. “Mmmm, what is that cologne, is it Hugo Boss or something?”
“Yeah, I don’t know how to work the machines so I… Fabreze.”
“Blue. It’s the blue bottle. Quiet Jasmine.”
“It’s lovely,” said Charlie Brooker. I tried to cross my arms but couldn’t. Not without ripping the sleeves off his shirt. Because Charlie’s much shorter and fatter than I am his clothes didn’t fit me perfectly, quite the opposite in fact. His trousers finished half way up my shins. And the waist was massive. He took a step back. “It’s like looking at a taller, more handsome version of me! I am so turned on right now.”
“Me too, this is so erotic!”
“Yes it is! So shall we…”
“Well, I’d rather not, you big bender, but…” I headed towards the office. He followed. I opened the door. He stepped in. He sniffed the air.
“Yeah, your loins, you animal!” I don’t really know what loins are but I’ve heard that said. It’s not a dick, is it? Pork loin isn’t a pig’s dick.
“No, something else.” He sniffed again.
I sniffed and shook my head. “Dunno mate, think it’s just the driers.”
“They’re not on.”
I sat on my desk, one leg dangling off it, the other with its foot on top of the table. The shortness of his trousers meaning the one on the desk rode right up to my knee.
“Cor,” said Charlie forgetting about the smell of his wife’s burning… damn, what’s it called? Fancy knickers and stuff. It’s called… fuck. it’s called… they have sections in shops. Jesus Christ I’m going senile. Hosiery. Like that but not from the olden days. Shit, gonna have to Google. Wait there.
LINGERIE! Charlie Brooker ignored the smell of his wife’s lingerie that I’d burnt in the metal bin that was under the desk.
He started unbuttoning his shirt which was on me. Soon I would be able to move properly. Charlie managed to undo three buttons before he started apologizing sadly. “It’s okay, Charlie, we’ve all spunked in our pants before.”
“It’s not that,” he said.
“Ha! I haven’t really ever spunked in my pants either!” I said rather shrilly. “Ha!”
“It’s the bloody TV, got to go and film some stuff. I just remembered.”
“Do you really?” I held his gaze.
Charlie thought and thought. “Next time.”
“There probably won’t be a next time, Charlie. I’m not sure how long I’ll survive in the launderette business, what with me not knowing even the most fundamental basics.”
“Well,” sighed Charlie, then he looked at his watch. “I’m sorry, I’ve got to go.”
“What about your clothes?”
“You keep them. Although were there wome-“
“Nope, just yours.”
“Well, you keep them, as a remembory, yeah?”
“I really am so-“
“Go, just go, Charlie,” I said with a smile and he spun on his heels and pegged it. I went over to the mirror and looked at the mega-evolved version of Charlie Brooker that gazed back at me. Its shirt half undone. Then I noticed the stain and chuckled. And I looked down so I wasn’t seeing it via the mirror. Yep, it was egg. I thought about Charlie Brooker eating an egg sandwich, in a hurry, the egg dripping on him. He wasn’t so different than the rest of us.
I got changed back into my clothes. Hit all the switches by the door and stepped out into the evening sunshine. I noticed hot air was now coming out of the mesh covered vents that protruded from the side of the building. That hot air that smelled like cooking duvets. One of those switches must’ve turned the driers on, I thought. I considered unlocking the door and turning them off. Nah, fuck it, I decided.