She should have known better.
All the typical telltale signs and warnings were there.
The kindly husband hunched over, silently searching for socks in the dawn’s early light; shower steam rising from the bathroom door’s opening.
The children milling about in two-day-old mustard-stained t-shirts, their socks shiny and sticking to their feet.
The tweet went out as this,
“Fed-up mother unleashes hostile laundry rampage. Colors carelessly mixed with whites, perm. press & delicates ‘Just for the hell of it.’”
When the officers arrived at the scene, it was sheer bedlum.
Cottons with polyesters.
“I could build a garrison around myself with the hampers. They would never find me… My body wouldn’t be discovered for days due to the clean laundry smell… yoga pants… yoga pants… socks,” the perp was mumbling.
Quick-dry performance wear and pajamas pulled from the dryer; the fabric softener sheets clinging to them for their dear inanimate lives.
“Everyone knows you don’t use fabric softeners with pajamas — it’s a fire hazard,” said the first investigator.
“Fire hazard, shmire shmazard. Better the PJs than the athletic wear. If you use a drop or a one-inch square of that stuff with the dry-fit, you can kiss your moisture wicking good-bye,” scoffed the forensics lead. She didn’t look up once as she scanned over the laundry with a black light looking for unwashed clothes mixed in with the clean, a common crime associated with mothers whose laundry tasks overextended their abilities or mental bandwidth.
A boy’s small blue and red striped t-shirt draped over a heap of yellows; a twin-size ecru sheet, the fitted one, and probably 500-thread count, was mixed in with dark blues with little regard for the tan dress socks at the bottom of the heap, crushed under the weight, but visible through the cheap plastic basket’s vents.
“That basket looks like it was part of an elementary school’s basket raffle. It’s definitely not up to the task of this family,” said the lead.
Turkish spa-quality towels clung to cheap, Target-brand bed sheets.
In fact, everything was smothered and wrinkled. Even the “Spider-Man” costume’s muscles were crimped.
“I don’t care anymore. I can’t take it. I don’t care anymore. Stripes with solids. Plaids with polka dots. Hot wash, cold rinse. Double rinse. Whites with bolds. Colors with solids… cold water colors… extra long spin cycle… solids…coldsolidstripes… sweatshirtsinaugust… flannelpajamapantsinjuly… delicates… coo-coo! coo-coo! What time is it? What time is it? I’ll tell you what TIME IT IS!!! IT’S TIME TO DO YOUR OWN LAUNDRY! YOOOU baaaaaastarrrrdssssss! Who wears socks in the summmmmerrrr?!” the alleged laundry mother hissed scathingly. Her eyes, dazed and eerily dilated, were locked on the TV screen showing a re-run of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”
Silencing Vincent D’Onofrio required pushing the power button on the set as the remote control was lost. “Probably under a blanket or a pair of board shorts judging by the looks of this place,” said a rookie.
Permanent press was permanently unpressed, disheveled.
The traditional nattiness of this family’s fashion legacy was unraveled and tattered on one sultry August afternoon.
This isn’t your grandmother’s laundry pile.
“Chief! Over here — I’ve found a wicker basket loaded only with socks. Who does this?!” asked the rookie, barely able to control himself.
“Keep your pants on. This basket is the work of a laundry veteran. The socks are reserved for the mind-numbing task of sorting them later,” she said.
She had tried to make jokes about it before. Showing another pile on the ottoman, surrounded by irony: a clean house. Posting it on her facebook wall, as an attempt at self-effacing satire, a joke about herself and her miserable laundry skills.
But it wasn’t funny.
“She didn’t even look for the union label,” was the last thing the lead officer said as she stretched the POLICE CRIME SCENE: DO NOT ENTER tape around the entry of the home.