Hands trembling, I opened the door. Opening the dryer door is not a big deal. People open dryers everyday. I’d opened my dryer more times than I could remember. But this time, things were different.
That night, I’d moved a load of whites from the washer to the dryer, turned it on, and went to bed. I’d planned to get up when her alarm went off, reheat the load, and fold it, so she could have clean socks to wear to work.
But she woke me, about midnight. The dryer was still running. “Dear. Something’s wrong.”
Some strange banging sound was coming from the dryer. And with every bang, there was a turbine jet sound. Like some big flame thrower or something was in the dryer.
I got dressed, and staggered downstairs. She’d quit asking why I got dressed in the middle of the night, in our own house, when no one could see me in my underwear. She’d learned, it’s something I do. I’d have grabbed a gun from the closet, ‘cept we don’t own any guns. Probably because I hate guns. Those things are dangerous, you know! We don’t have any baseball bats either, so I didn’t grab one of those.
Nope. I made like an idiot, and turned on the lights. You could track me through the house. The light in the bedroom turned on. Then the upstairs hall. The downstairs hall. The utility room. I didn’t see any reason to walk around in the dark. We owned three cats. One was long-haired. And I’d stepped on too many soggy hairballs and too much cat puke soaking into the carpet in the dark. I walked with the lights on.
“Well?” her expectant voice carried from the bedroom, through the house.
“I haven’t looked yet!”
I decided I should turn the dryer off before I open it. When I did, the dryer quit running, but I could still hear that jet turbine sound and the occasional loud bang. To be safe, I unplugged it. Didn’t make a difference. The banging and jet engine continued. So, I reached for the door, hands shaking, and pulled it open.
Inside the dryer was the strangest thing I’d ever seen. I remembered an old song about socks and a dryer. “Where do my socks go, in the middle of the night, when I put them in the dryer,” or something like that. Well, that night, I learned where the socks go.
They get eaten by a black hole. I know. ‘Cause there was one in my dryer, carefully sucking up one sock from each pair of socks it came across. The bang happened each time a sock fell in, and the turbine was the small pair of jets of helium that sucker made when it ate each sock.
“Honey! I know where the missing socks went!”