This is a flash fiction piece, posted a day late in response to The Parking Lot Confessional’s 500 Club writing prompts. I chose the first prompt, but decided to write before the doorbell’s ring instead of after. Hope you enjoy it.
Wool Blend, Navy
Marsha checked the time before pulling out the ironing board from behind the dryer. Should be just enough time to press the wrinkles from her skirt and dry her hair before he arrived at six. The legs of the board caught on some cords around the back of the machine. She jiggled the board and tugged until the board moved free. Lights were still on. No sparks, either. All good.
The board squealed as she lowered the legs and spread the fabric of her skirt over the tapered end. She’d decided on navy. Understated. Classy. All those things she wanted to be on a date with a man she’d never met before. The restaurant’s website looked swanky. Dramatic lighting. Martinis with little spirals of orange rind dangling from the rims.
She plugged the iron in and turned the iron’s dial to steam. She thought of her conversation with Kim.
“He’s just your type,” Kim had said.
“But what’s he like?”
“Don’t worry. Just trust me. I set people up all the time.”
She checked the iron for water. Empty. She’d need steam to get these wool-blend wrinkles out. She grabbed the spray bottle from the counter, knocking over the box of laundry detergent. The crystals rained spring freshness down on the floor.
No time to clean it up. She sneezed and scurried to the hall bathroom.
One look in the vanity confirmed her worst fear: her hair was drying wonky. She filled the bottle with water and, bending at the waist, sprayed her hair. She checked the results in the mirror. Not bad. She whisked away a drop of water before it ran down her forehead and ruined her make up.
Another check of the time caused her to gasp. She hurried back to the laundry room. The detergent crunched beneath her stockinged feet. She filled the iron with the water and didn’t wait for the steam to start. Over and over the wrinkles she pressed the hot metal.
What did Kim know about her type? Marsha didn’t know her own type for herself.
The wrinkles didn’t budge. She sprayed a mist of water over the skirt and ironed more.
Trust her? Just months before Kim had stolen Candace’s idea about that new teleconferencing software that would cut down the company’s expenses.
Marsha turned the iron to a hotter setting and touched her hair to make sure it wasn’t drying wonky again. She pressed the iron into the offending wrinkles. Still no good. This was taking too long. He’d be there soon. She needed that magic wrinkle release stuff.
“Give me a hint,” she’d asked after Kim had set the date.
But Kim just smiled.
Marsha rummaged through her basket of laundry stuffs. This could be bad. What did the smile mean? Had she found out Marsha had told the boss the software idea was really Candace’s? But Candace deserved recognition for her ideas. Marsha grabbed the bottle of wrinkle release. Maybe she was just being paranoid and this guy was great and they’d hit it off and fall in love and live happily ever after and he’d be so rich she’d never have to work with Kim again. Yes, that’s what would happen. She just had to pull off tonight with grace. Elegance. Poise.
She took a step and saved herself from slipping on the detergent. She smirked and reminded herself: poise and elegance. Her right hand went to her hair. Oh no, drying wonky again. Moving too slow.
Marsha pulled the cap from the wrinkle release and pressed the aerosol button. The liquid shot straight into her eyes. She gasped and stumbled blindly into the ironing board. She reached out, touched the iron and recoiled. She grappled for whatever fabric she could find and wiped her eyes.
Wool blend. Navy.
The doorbell rang.
Copyright © 2010 by Amy K. Nichols