Short fiction: Sister Stella

washing machine

Every morning for the past seven years, except on Tuesdays, Stella suited up in well-worn sneakers, baggy jersey shorts, and a blue scrub top with her name and the WashCity logo embroidered on the front.

“Hello there!” a young woman rang out on a Sunday morning. She burst through the laundromat’s front door, one leg holding it open as she maneuvered inside with a lime-green plastic basket filled with clothes and a grocery bag filled with hangers.

“Well, hey,” Stella said, squinting at the woman and wiping down the basin of a washer. Stella could never remember anyone’s name. The customers all seemed to look alike, even the ones she knew had been doing their laundry there for years.

“How are things?” the young woman asked.

“Oh fine, just fine,” Stella said. She closed the washer’s lid gently and wiped down the outside of it before lifting it back up and moving on to the next one. “This morning I found $200 in someone’s pants pocket.”

“You did what?!” The young woman dropped her belongings on the floor in front of a washer and turned around to look at Stella.

“Oh, Mr. Jenkins is always leaving money in his clothes pockets,” Stella said. “I’ll call and tell him we found it, and he just goes, ‘Oh huh, wow.'”

“That must be nice!” the young woman said.

“Yeah, he’s a good guy. So good looking. It just makes my day when he comes in here,” Stella said. “He’s Irish, and he has that Sean Connery accent.”

Stella shook her head from side to side.

“So good lookin’.”

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