*Short Story originally written for The Iron Writer Challenge, in which no more that 525 words could be used to write a story that included the following: a woman in a clothes dryer, a wooden hanger, a brush with no bristles, and menstrual cramps.

*Fun Fact – this writing group has a lot of men in it and one time when the leader was asking for recommended elements to use, I suggested menstrual cramps because I thought it would be funny to see these guys write about it. Little did I know I’d end up in the challenge in which it was used!

Thanks so much for reading this – I’d love to know what you think in the comments!

 

 

Dani pulled into a parking spot along Elm and quickly checked her reflection. She dug though the glove box, her hand finally grasping the paddle of her brush. She pulled it out and found there were no bristles left on the old piece of plastic.

“Piece of shit!” she muttered and threw it on the floor, opting instead to pull her messy hair into a clip.

She rubbed on some chap stick, sighed at the new reflection and lifted the visor before exiting her unmarked sedan.

It had been a long, interesting morning. Dani was called in to investigate a murder at a south side laundromat. A woman was found inside a clothes dryer, brutally beaten beforehand.

The scene had been gruesome; signs of an obvious struggle, wooden hangers scattered around a pool of blood and black stilettos.

Dani shook the images out of her head as she sopped and bent down, briefly struck by the usual, uncomfortable pangs of PMS. She didn’t want coffee – she wanted to be home, laying down with a heating pad on her abdomen and a double scoop of Ben and Jerry’s.

But instead, she continued walking up the steps towards the small coffee shop to meet her on-again off-again boyfriend, Rick. He’d texted her with an urgent request to meet him and when she tried to brush him off he only became more insistent.

She knew what this was going to be about and she was certain it could have been handled over the phone. They’d been trying to be ‘on-again’ for a while now, but they both knew it wasn’t working. And they both knew it was her fault.

Rick was sitting by the far window, looking at his phone, but he put it away when he saw her approach.

“Hey.” it was more of a sigh than a greeting. “I got you a latte.”

“Thanks.” She flashed him an exhausted smile and took the warm cup.

“So… how are you? I haven’t been able to catch you alone for a while.”

“Yeah I know. Just a string of tough cases. We got a new one this morning, too. Jane Doe…” she trailed off – she could tell he was tired of her excuses.

“Listen Dani… There’s someone else.”

“Cutting right to the chase, huh? Well I can’t say I’m surprised.”

“I’m sorry. I really wanted things to work this time. But I’m just not cut out for your lifestyle. It’s too much. And I’m not – ”

“Yeah.” She cut him off; he wasn’t the only one tired of excuses. “Who is she?”

Rick hesitated, then said “Her name is Kim. You don’t know her. She’s not a cop, she’s…. boring. And normal. And I just think that’s what I need right now.”

“Yeah. I get it, Rick.” She really did get it. As much as she loved her job, sometimes she wished her life was a little more boring.

He pulled out his cell phone and frowned. “Look, I gotta go. I’m sorry about this.”

“Off to meet Kim, now that you’re officially a free man?” She tried smiling, hoping it came off more friendly banter than bitchy ex-girlfriend.

He nodded, “Yeah. We’re gonna go do laundry.”

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