Laundry Waits For No Man
by Eva Robinson
This story is based an characters created by J. Parriott and B. Cohen
for the TV series Forever Knight.
"Nick!" Hearing his named called, Nick stopped in mid-exit from the
precinct and turned around. Natalie was flying down the hall towards
"Hi, Nat. I thought you were supposed to be on your way to San Diego for
that Conference. Did you cancel?" he asked, holding the door open for
"No," she said out of breath, "my ticket is a red-eye. But I need your
help. I need a really important favour."
Nick smiled. He liked Nat's favours and the unusual ways she had to
"Sure, your 'wish' is my command."
"I need you to do my laundry."
"My laundry." Nat looked a bit sheepish. "Look, the I went down to the
laundry room before shift and discovered that the water pipes had burst
down there. No one in the building could use it. And, since there is no
public laundry near me , and since I know you have a full sized
washer/dryer at the Loft, I thought I would ask you to do it. I can't
leave it until I come back because the evening I return we have to
attend Myra's birthday party. Remember? I hope you've bought a gift?"
It was everything Nick could do to keep from laughing. Natalie was in
such a state.
"Nick, there is nothing in my laundry that you haven't already seen,
ok?" She was almost pleading.
"Nothing? What a disappointment!" Nick exclaimed over a laugh. If
Schanke ever found out about this ..... well, better he didn't. "Ok.
Give me your tired, your worn, your dirty duds and I will clean them!"
"They're in the car." Nat said. "Bring the caddy over and I'll put them
in the trunk."
Once Nat left for the underground parking, Nick leaned against the wall
and began to laugh. A moment later Schanke came by.
"You ready to ride herd on the underside of humanity, Knight? Or are you
going to stand there laughing yourself silly all shift." Schanke asked.
"I'll meet you out front in a few minutes. I've got to pick something up
first." Nick said.
Nick pulled the caddy up beside Nat's car and popped the trunk. Natalie
was waiting with three big green garbage bags at her feet. Nick looked
"Nat, what did you do? Keep your laundry for a month?"
"Don't get smart! You know the pipes leaked into my linen closet
yesterday! Everything got soaked and everything smells. Here, I even
supplied the soap powder and fabric softener." Nat lifted the bags into
the caddy's trunk, then she turned and gave Nick a kiss on the cheek.
"Thanks. I owe you big for this one."
"I look forward to collecting!" Nick said. "Have a safe trip. See you on
Chuckling to himself, Nick went to collect Schanke and start his shift.
Since he wasn't tired, Nick decided to spend the day doing laundry and
cleaning up the Loft. He knew Janette would be more than happy to send
someone over, but Nick preferred to do the chore himself and the
privacy. Over the centuries, Nick had discovered that cleaning staff and
servants were the quickest way to a permanent death for his kind. More
than one old friend had been discovered during the daylight hours and
staked. It made Nick self sufficient as far as his home was concerned.
'Plus,' he thought, 'it's nice to know it was my own elbow grease that
polished the floor.' Gathering all his laundry and Nat's, Nick dumped
the small mountain by his washer. 'The whole day, at least!' he thought.
Then he started loading the machine and turned it on.
Nick checked the plug: it was plugged in. He checked the water supply:
it was fine.
Then he heard it: THUNK! THUNK! THUNK! accompanied by the smell of
something burning. Nick pulled the plug out of the wall and grabbed the
clothes out of the machine. Smoke rose.
His washer was deader than dead.
'No problem', Nick thought 'I'll just call a repair man.' Three hours
later Nick sat on the table and stared at the mountain of dirty clothes.
There wasn't one repair man in the city that could come over right away.
The best any of them could do was the day after tomorrow. Nick was about
to make the appointment when he noticed something: the linens from Nat's
cupboard had a very definite odour. There was no way he was going to
have them lying around for two days.
"No problem," Nick said to the clothes, "Its my night off, I'll go to
It was almost 10:30 when Nick headed out. He was surprised that he had
to drive almost the west end to find a 24 hr. Laundromat, but he finally
found one that wasn't filled already.
Nick pulled into the parking lot and began unloading his 5 bags of
laundry: he had decided to do all his sheets and towels. After lugging
the load in, Nick discovered he didn't have enough quarters. As a matter
of fact, he didn't have any quarters. The only other person there was a
middle aged woman dressed in an old green sweatshirt and grey
sweatpants. Both had seen better days. She was sitting under the No
Smoking sign, puffing away and reading a supermarket tabloid. She looked
up at Nick.
"Can I help you?" she asked.
"Ah, yes. I don't know where to get change from for the machines." Nick
admitted. The woman smiled.
"Right where you came in, handsome. There's a change machine right
there, but it don't take toonies or twenties. Ya got something smaller?"
Nick checked his wallet. He was ok.
"Yeah, I've got it. Thanks." he said as he headed for the machine.
A few minutes later Nick was sorting his and Nat's laundry into various
double and triple wash machines. He was aware of the woman watching him.
"Don't put too much soap powder in." She said. "These machines don't
take as much as you think they would." She butted out her cigarette and
came over to Nick. "Just use about half a cup."
"My names Addy." She said with a smile.
"Nice to see a new face in this place." Addy said and went back to her
Before long the machines were loaded and doing their thing. Nick sat
down and wished he had brought something to read.
"Addy, how long do the washers run?" he asked.
"Those ones run about 25 minutes. And, if you're gonna dry your stuff I
would suggest you put more than one quarter in at a time. Keeps the
dryer hot." She answered.
Just then the door opened and a man came in with a walker. He had a
bundle buggy tied to his waist and was dragging it with a jerky step.
Nick watched as the man untied the buggy and began to load a washer. He
was about to get up and offer his help when Addy put her hand on him.
"Don't. "she said. "Billy won't appreciate your help. He has MS and this
is almost a for therapy for him." Then she walked over to Billy and said
hello. Nick sat back down, amazed and almost ashamed as he watched Billy
load the machine, pour in the detergent and, with care, load the
quarters into the money slot. 'He does this every week,' Nick thought,
'he has to live with this everyday of his life.' Then the door opened
and a TTC driver came in with a hockey bag full of dirty clothes. 'She
must have just come off shift', Nick thought, 'and came here at almost
11:30. What couldn't wait until tomorrow?' Nick watched as she pulled
children's clothes out of the bag. There was no sign of anything from a
man. 'Single mother' Nick thought. 'What a life!'
By that time the washers were done and Nick began to load up the dryers.
He took Addy's advice and put more than one quarter in at a time. Just
then a ragged man came in and headed for the dryers. He put his hand on
each dryer in turn, looking for a hot one. When he found it, the man
leaned his back against the glass and closed his eyes. Nick could here a
laboured heart and lungs at work. 'Drug addict and he has TB!' Nick
realised. He could almost 'hear' the disease at work.
"Get the hell away from my machines!" Addy screamed at the man. "Get the
hell outta here, you stealing pervert!" The man looked at Addy with
frightened eyes and bolted out.
"Addy, why did you do that? He was just trying to get warm!"
"No he wasn't, handsome. He's the local knickers-picker. A pervert who
comes in here, puts on a show and waits until no one is watching. Then
he dips into the dryer for all the underwear he can lay his hands on. He
would've had your silk nothins' in no time." Addy said, lighting up
another cig and returning to her paper. Nick sat down. He had been a cop
for over six years, but he still had much to learn.
One of his dryers stopped. Nick reached in and swore. The clothes were
all still damp.
"Didn't 'ave the temptur 'ight." Nick looked over to see Bill standing
at the next dryer. He smiled a loop faced grin at him. "Need to be hot,
cold don't 'ork 'orth a damn 'ere." He said has he reached over and
adjusted the temperature control for Nick. "There, they'll dry now!"
Nick tried to not watch him lurch away with his walker.
Nick checked the other dryers, and was soon busy folding sheets, towels,
pants and sweaters. But not one bit of underwear from Natalie. She
wasn't kidding when she said there was nothing there he hadn't already
seen 'She either hand washes it all or she's taken it all to San Diego
with her!' Nick decided with a bemused smile.
"I'd stay and offer to help ya fold your sheets, handsome, but I gotta
get home. Not as old as I used to be, ya know." Addy said to Nick while
she put on her coat. Nick noticed she had a bundle buggy.
"Addy, are you all right to walk home alone here at this time?" Nick
asked, "If you wait a bit, I'll drive you." She smiled.
"If I was younger, handsome, thanks but no thanks. I'm fine around here.
Everyone knows Addy and knows she ain't got anything worth troubling
over. Now you, on the other hand have a nice leather jacket and some
swanky clothes. I'd keep my eyes open, if I were you!" Addy said with a
"I'll do that Addy. Thanks for all the help." Nick said, and was
surprised to discover he meant it.
Before long Nick and Nat's clothes were clean, dry, hung, folded and in
the back of the Caddy. Nick took one last glance around the Laundromat
to make sure he hadn't forgotten anything. Bill was still there folding
his clothes. The lady bus driver had come over to talk to him and was
folding his socks for him.
"Bill, thanks for your help." Nick called out. Bill looked up at him and
"Any time." he replied.
Natalie's flight touched down at Toronto International at 1:30 a.m. Nick
was on shift, but he was there to pick her up. The dropped by the Loft
to collect Nat's laundry, and she noticed the washer in the garbage.
"Nick, what happened to your washer?" She asked.
"It went to the big Laundromat in the sky." he relied.
"Did you get another one?"
"No, I haven't gotten around to it yet." Nick said as he carefully laid
out the clean laundry in the back of the car.
"Well, look, why don't you come over and use the machines at my place?
I'll give you the punch lock code, you can do laundry when ever you
want." Nat offered.
"Thanks but no thank, Nat. I'll find a way to cope." Nick replied with a