Saturday, August 29, 2009

Scene 8

Myron bangs his way into the laundromat. It’s a shotgun-style space with windows along the front. Almond-colored washers and dryers face one another along the walls. Tables for folding laundry sit between the appliances, upon a plane of gummy, crap-dotted floor tiles. Except for the missing ones, the tiles conform to a checkerboard pattern of previously-ivory and blue green.

The air is filled with tobacco molecules and memories of powdered detergent.

A biggish older woman sits at a desk with a cashbox near the window, looking dumb and proud. She’s at the helm.

The woman turns to look at Myron, inhales through her nose, then looks over at a 35 year old retarded guy that Myron figures to be her son.

A grizzled man in a black tee shirt is only other person in the place.

The grizzled man is trying to get from one spot to another with a basket of wet clothes. But the retarded son is weaving back and forth in front of him, oblivious, super-determined to check the lint in the dryers.

“Ronny,” says the woman.

Ronny’s flummoxed by the fact that several of the dryers are still running. He’s paying very close attention to the orange indicator lights. The guy in the tee shirt still can’t get past him.

“You got a bathroom?” Myron asks the older woman, urgently. A large envelope sits in the middle of her desk. The woman picks up her big arm and points to the back, toward a hallway near the vending machines.

“In the back.”

She glances back at her son. “Ronny,” she says sharply. “Get out of the way!” Ronny, spooked, steps aside in a panic. He hurries down to the other end of the row of dryers, next to an aged pinball machine.

Then Ronny remembers something.

“Is nat na man?” he asks, pointing at Myron.

She sniffs another breath. “No.”

As Myron speed-walks between the washers and the dryers, the woman looks back out the window, then down at her watch.

Ronny looks over at his mom.

“Is na man hewe yet?” asks Ronny. “Is he hewe?”

“He’ll be here in a little while, Ronny.”

Myron flies into the bathroom, rips his pants down, and plants his rear on the toilet.

“Nnnnngh,” he says. Myron blasts the rectal horn a few times belowdecks. But sound and sweat are all he’s able to produce.


New blockages.

Already it’s been a long day.

Myron remains on the toilet for five minutes or so, attempting to gather himself. Then somebody tries the knob. “Just a minute,” says Myron, who finishes, hauls himself off the seat, and buttons his pants. He runs water over his hands, lathers and rinses them, then wipes them off on brown paper towels.

Myron opens the door to encounter the grizzled man holding a garment bag. “Let’s go,” he says impatiently. “Gotta drain the vein.”

Myron mutters, “All yours,” and steps past him into the hallway. It strikes him as odd that the guy has a garment bag.

Ronny the Retard has been loading soap boxes into a vending machine. Or meaning to, anyway. The single-load boxes of All are stacked, waiting to be placed in rows inside the coin-operated dispenser. But Ronny has turned away from the machine. His neck is craned toward the back of the building. Ronny looks worried.

“Na man is hewe!” Ronny declares. “Na man is hewe!”

Myron follows Ronny’s distracted stare, into the alley behind the laundromat. He sees the front end of a 24-foot truck, painted black with tasteful gold lettering on the door. Myron’s jaw drops. “Not possible!” he croaks.

Myron strides toward the front of the laundromat, just shy of a run.

The big woman is looking up from papers she’s pulled from the big enveloped. First she’s trying to figure out what is the problem with Ronny. And then Myron’s move for the door unnerves her. Anxiety waves are breaking over the place.

Ronny is walking back and forth between the vending machine and the rear door, waving and rocking.

The woman gestures with the document, suspiciously.

“Are you a building inspector?”

“No, ma’am,” replies Myron, slowing to keep from looking panicked. He notices that the heading on the document reads, PURCHASE AGREEMENT. SBE, LTD.

“Because I don’t want you people messing with my business.”

“Listen,” says Myron. The woman looks at him .

The toilet flushes.

“What,” says the woman.

They hear the sound of water running in the sink.

The door to the bathroom opens. Ronny is caught halfway back to the soap dispenser from the alley entrance, dead in front of the grimy bathroom door. Yellow light breaks over his uncomprehending face.

“You got something to say?”

Just then the grizzled man steps out of the bathroom. Except he’s completely sans-grizzle at this point. The jeans and black tee shirt are gone. He wears a light colored dress shirt with a dark suit. He’s wiping his hands on a brown paper towel like he expects to erode the skin off the muscle. And his posture has changed.

Myron thinks: a spy!

Myron says to the woman, confidentially, “Tread carefully.”

Ronny is completely freaked out, in part because the guy has come out of the wrong door. He keeps pointing toward the truck in the alley.

“Now what in hell does that mean?” barks the woman at Myron.

“Na man! Na man!”

“Good afternoon,” announces the formerly-grizzled man. He’s clean-shaven. He looms. The guy is a corporate shark from the prehistoric era of corporate sharks. Teeth with fins and a tail maybe 50 feet long.

“Mama! Is he na man?”

A totally savage acquisitor. A nut-buster.

“Ronny,” says the woman, flustered. She looks at Myron. “I don’t know.” Turning to the man, she asks, “Are you?”

The man stops. He’s balling his paper towel. “If you mean to ask: Am I the representative of those with whom you seek to do a transaction?”

He tosses the ball smartly into the trash. “The answer is, yes. I am.”

Ronny blinks and slobbers a little.

The man straightens his cuffs. “I’m from legal.”

“But--” says Mama.

“My superiors insist upon sound research. They like to know the people and the properties they’re dealing with.”

Ronny the Retard looks frightened.

“So as to forge lasting business relationships.”

Myron exhales deeply and turns. “I gotta go,” he says.

“Splendid,” replies the lawyer. “Have a good day.”

The door bangs behind Myron.

“Now,” says the man. “Shall we turn to the documents?”

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