I tried to write a romance!!!! My prompt for today was this image:
I suspect that the laundromat setting made me think of that infamous ‘Friends’ episode with Ross and Rachel doing laundry, and then that made me want to write a romance. Well, whatever motivated it, here it is: my play for day three…
A laundromat in an inner north suburb of Melbourne. Several empty machines and a large noticeboard covered in an array of leaflets and colourful notices.
A mid-30s woman loads up a machine with her basket of dirty clothes. She sniffs the armpit of the thick hoodie she is wearing, makes a face and takes it off to throw in the machine. As she closes up the door, she shivers and realises it’s much too cold. The hoodie is retrieved from the machine, and she puts it back on – stink and all.
She gets the machine running and sits back with her book.
A man enters the laundromat, licking the drips from a very large ice-cream melting all over his hand. He wears a bicycle helmet with special magpie-proof prongs sticking up. While still dealing with his ice-cream, he tries to remove the backpack from his back, unzip it and retrieve a stack of flyers.
WOMAN: Wouldn’t recommend washing that ice cream.
MAN: What? Oh. Oh! Yes, washing.
WOMAN: You’ll need to wash that shirt soon, though.
MAN: True. I’ve been sweating like a pig.
MAN: Oh. The ice cream!
WOMAN: Smarter than you look.
MAN: Argh, it’s dripped all down my arm. I’m all sticky.
He tries to remove his shirt while still eating the ice cream.
WOMAN: Why don’t you just sit and eat before you hurt yourself.
He sits. He eats.
MAN: What are you reading?
WOMAN: The Slap. My sister recommended it.
MAN: Any good?
WOMAN: Yeah, it is, actually. What are you sticking up?
WOMAN: Your posters there.
MAN: Oh. Some workshop, I think. I just get paid to put them up around town. Men’s Yoga.
WOMAN: Ooh, sounds good – I might sign up.
MAN: (laughs) Oh… but you – Sorry, I shouldn’t presume – I didn’t –
WOMAN: Relax, I’m joking. Pronouns are she and her.
MAN: Oh, so you are – good. I mean, it’s fine whatever you are, I’m not like –
WOMAN: JK Rowling?
MAN: Now those are some good books.
Pause. He finishes his ice cream.
MAN: He. Him. His.
MAN: My pronouns.
WOMAN: Good to know.
MAN: Anyway, I should –
He goes to stick up the notice on the noticeboard. She nods, gestures that he should go ahead.
MAN: Cool, so…
WOMAN: Good luck with the yoga class.
MAN: Yeah, well, hoping I get more guys in …
He realises what he’s said.
MAN: I mean – I hope they get more.
WOMAN: You have yoga patches all over your bag.
WOMAN: And vegan ones as well.
WOMAN: Plant based ice cream?
WOMAN: Full dairy?
MAN: I can’t give it up. (Beat) Anyway. Good luck with your… book.
WOMAN: Thanks. I think my reading skills are gonna get me through pretty well.
He smiles and goes to exit.
WOMAN: Actually, do you want to wash your shirt?
MAN: My -?
WOMAN: I can wash it for you.
MAN: Oh. Uh. I wouldn’t want you to do it for me.
WOMAN: I’ve got the washing powder. Two gold coins. All set.
MAN: Don’t want you to think I’d take advantage of you.
WOMAN: I shouldn’t think that?
MAN: I mean, like expect you to do it because you’re…
WOMAN: A person with female pronouns?
WOMAN: Take it off.
Pause. He thinks. Then he does it.
WOMAN: Give it to me.
WOMAN: Sit down.
WOMAN: I’m going to put it on a short wash cycle because this fabric won’t like a long spin.
WOMAN: But it’ll give us enough time.
MAN: Time for?
WOMAN: I want to see your downface dog.
That’s as far as I got – and this time I was quite happy to leave it on that line! What do you think? Did you think there was actually sexual tension between the two, or any kind of chemistry? I rarely write romance at all, so this is new territory for me!