Lost & Found – Flash Fiction

‘Look she’s doing it again.’ It was psychology major uni-girl. 

She doesn’t think I can hear her. I fold and re-fold my T-shirt for the fifth time until just the right amount of Ravenclaw crest is visible.   

‘Definitely on the spectrum,’ nervous-laugh-wants-to-impress-her-friend, other uni-girl, declares. They stuff their collection of still damp skinny jeans into a $9 Kmart overnight bag and leave.  

The laundromat is filled with the regular mix of middle-aged single men, pensioners and me. I’m here every Saturday. I arrive precisely at 8.47am so I have the exact length of time needed to wash, dry and fold my laundry before going to my shift at what was possibly the last physical video store in existence.  

I move on to my final items. No. I rummage through the basket. No! It’s not there. I hold up the lonesome sock emblazoned with Cheshire Cats. They smile maniacally, mocking me for losing their friends. 

The dryer. I peer into the open door seeing nothing but darkness. I reach in as far as I can, my fingers finding nothing but clumps of lint. Socks can’t just disappear, like magic. I lean further in with my knees resting on the edge, but there is nothing. I hesitate for a moment before crawling in as if following a white rabbit.   

‘Are you okay in there?’  

I sit up with a start, banging my head against the metal drum. My cheeks are burning as I reverse out of the dryer, preparing myself for the humiliating interaction to come. 

Instead, a gangly-looking man with floppy hair and twinkly eyes greets me. ‘Just wanted to make sure you’re okay,’ he shouts. 

I point to my over-ear headphones. ‘They’re not on.’ I immediately regret saying it. ‘Too much noise…loud music…I like quiet,’ the words tumble incoherently out of my mouth.  

He gives a small nod. He’s wearing a shirt with an obscure but funny periodic table reference – he understands.  

‘I was looking for the other one.’ I hold up the remaining half of my favourite pair of socks. 

He rubs his chin and looks serious all of a sudden. ‘Curiouser and curiouser.’ 

I clasp my hand over my mouth too late to smother a snort-like laugh. I grab my basket and run, admonishing myself for being so uncool, and the fact that I would have to find another laundromat.  

I am halfway down the street when I feel a hand on my arm. He is there, holding my other sock.  

‘You wouldn’t believe it,’ he puffs, trying to catch his breath, ‘but I found this in my basket.’ 

‘Thanks,’ I mumble, taking the sock and turning to leave. 

‘You can’t go.’  

I raise a quizzical brow.  

‘Don’t you see. Your Cheshire Cat friends wanted to bring us together for a reason.’ 

I glance down at the sock and swear one of those cats winks back at me. 

‘I’m Lewis,’ he extends his hand. 

I take it with a tentative smile. ‘I’m Alice, nice to meet you.’

To stay in the know about my writing projects and to receive regular writing tips and content like this, sign up here.

Kylie Fennell
Follow me