Mahdakis stepped into the laundry mat, that Floyd and Carl had recently made their temporary sleeping quarters since being kicked out of their homes. “A little conspicuously bright for sleep, wouldn’t you say, Carl?”
“Yeah? Go back outside then.”
“It’s freezing out there.”
“Right, but in here?”
“It’s like a sauna, quite frankly.”
“We got half the dryers going, that’s why,” Carl said proudly. “Brain power.”
Floyd spoke from the rear of the mat where he stood folding clothes on a table, “I won thirty dollars in change playing poker with Squid,”
“Ah. And why not sleep here, instead of getting one of those rooms at the Motor Inn for nineteen ninety-nine, and having a few bucks to spare, right?”
“We didn’t want anyone to think we were gay,” Floyd said, placing a lace negligee on a hanger.”
“You’re still hell bent on keeping it a secret, are you?” Mahdakis looked at Floyd, who swiftly moved on to folding some silk panties,
Carl, finally noticing what Floyd was doing in the back of the laundry mat said, “What the fuck are you doing?”
“What does it look like, Johnny-Boy? Folding clothes.”
“Where did you find them? And cut the shit with that Johnny-Boy crap.”
“Whose are they?” Mahdakis asked.
“I don’t know. They were just sitting in here.” Floyd motioned to the dryer.
“So you’re folding them?”
“Well…..yeah……they’re gonna wrinkle otherwise.” Then, mumbling to himself, Floyd uttered, “Ooh, that spot’s not coming out.”
So dude, where you been?” Carl said to Mahdakis.
“Hee-hee-hee-hee!” Floyd laughed from the rear of the mat. “Jesus Christ, will ya look at these?”
“Ahh! Man!” was Carl’s reaction to the pair of skid marked encrusted cotton underwear that Floyd held in the air like a trophy.
“I didn’t think women did this sort of thing. Hee-hee-hee-hee. These things are ruined. Why even bother. Fuck it.” Floyd threw them into the trash basin.
“Fuck this; let’s go grab a bite to eat.”
“Cool,” Floyd said, and placed the basket gently back down on the bench, as he then began scribbling something on a napkin. “Just give me a minute here. I’m gonna leave this person a note.”
“To let ’em know you make house calls?”
“Nah, nothin’ like that……Okay, let’s go,” Floyd said, laying the note on top of her basket and rushing out the door just behind Carl and Mahdakis. He paused for a moment and looked over his shoulder. “You got to wonder what kind of person just throws a load of clothes in a dryer in the middle of the night and leaves them there.”
Kelly Pierce was that kind of person. And she filed a report with the police, which, in turn, spawned an investigation by the Norford Police Department, spearheaded by Police Commissioner Stromboli.
Commissioner Stromboli re-read the last part of the letter aloud, “Floyd……..Floyd…..What do you suppose that means, Darryl?”
“Arr. You don’t tink it’s just his name?”
“Hell no! No one is that stupid. This is code for something, an acronym of some sort. Something gang related or………maybe having to do with the mafia!” The Commissioner rubbed his chin. “What was that guy’s name in The Godfather?….Hmm, never the mind, we have to figure out what this FLOYD thing stands for. It’s our only clue.”
“Found Loitering On Your Doorstep?”
“Don’t be daft! What kind of nonsense is that? Besides, isn’t Doorstep two words?”
“I do believe it’s one, sir.”
“Fetch a dictionary.”
“Sir!” a voice yelled coming up the precinct stairwell. “Commissioner!”
Commissioner Stromboli and Officer Darryl turned to see Officer Roy scurrying, up the stairs with Rookie Rick. “Officer Roy, what’s the trouble?”
Roy looked at the rookie cop. “Tell him what you heard.”
“Well, this morning I overheard John, the night watchman, talking to one of the construction workers on the job site. Apparently, every Thursday night before work, John stops around the corner at Cassel’s Wash & Dry on Third, and throws his laundry in the machine. Then, on his break, throws it into the dryer. He goes back to his post, works the rest of his shift, and picks it up in the morning on his way home. But this time when he returned to the mat…”
“Don’t tell me………..his clothes were folded!”
“Not only that, sir. But someone left him a note.”
“Jiminy Cricket, sir!”
“What kind of note?”
Roy pulled the note from his breast pocket, and unfolded it. “It just says, ‘You owe me, Johnny-Boy.’.”
“Meaning the Night Watchman, John.”
The Commissioner looked puzzled and frightened for a moment as he stared at his reflection in the sparkling clean, precinct floor and gave thought. “Did he sign the note, Roy?”
“Nope. Not this time. And so far as we can tell, there’s no relation to either of the victims.”
The commissioner whipped off his glasses. “Dear God in heaven! Twice in three days; what kind of diabolical, twisted malcontent are we dealing with, here?”
“I don’t know commissioner, but anyone sick enough to go through other people’s clothes, well…”
“They’re capable of anything……Roy? Darryl? I want you two to add an extra cruiser at night and start canvassing areas near any laundry mats. Start within the vicinity of these last two.”
“We’ll find this demented, clothes-folding son of a bitch sicko if it’s the last thing we do.”
© 2012, 2014 Mark Rogers
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