Has it ever happened that on a cold Tuesday, while walking through a neighborhood that’s crowded at night and on the weekends but empty during the day, you passed a dry cleaners? Had you forgotten to pick up your own dry cleaning? You vaguely remember dropping it off. You were in a hurry, you were annoyed having to spell your last name. You took a grape Tootsie Roll from dish beside an ancient orchid with roots like insomniac thoughts. The ticket, of course, you lost months ago. Have you cupped your hands to the glass and looked inside the dry cleaner? Korean devotional posters, a pedestal, a roll of measuring tape, a flickering color-burnt television, and of course the motorized conveyance of plastic-wrapped clothing. You are quite certain it was the shirt and slacks that were paradoxically comfortable and slimming. These clothes earned compliments from both women and men. Wearing these clothes guaranteed good fortune. If you were put on these clothes right now, warm sunlight would interrupt winter. The telephone would ring out hope instead of paranoia. Do you have your wallet? Show the woman your ID. Remind her of your last name, which really isn’t that complicated. Can you afford to pay the dry cleaning bill? How can you afford not to? The woman at register has noticed you and is waiving you in. You walk away. This isn’t the dry cleaner. You’ve lost the ticket. It’s a Tuesday and you haven’t worked for months.
Matt Pine is a Chicago native. His work has recently appeared at the2ndhand, Red Lighbulbs, and Pif Magazine. You can find him online at mattpine.com.