Jan Mears Cooper
Imagine Walter’s surprise when he opened his dryer and a woman popped out. He’d purchased the used appliance down at Henderson’s Pawn Shop.
“What? How?” He peered into the dryer to see if anyone else was going to come out. She leaned over and tapped him on the shoulder.
“My name is Jenny, your wish is my command.” the woman said.
“No, Jenny.” She shook her head, “I get that all the time.”
Hands on hips she looked around the basement. When her gaze fell upon the basket of wet clothes, she gasped. “You MIXED your colors!”
“Oh, it looks like I’m needed here in this tiny house.”
“This isn’t the whole house, it’s the basement.”
She sighed in relief. “That’s much better. I thought your first wish would be a bigger house.”
“No, I don’t need any wishes fulfilled.” His voice petered out as her eyes welled up with tears.
“You HAVE to need something!”
“My life is fine as it is. Can’t you,” he waved his arms dramatically, “poof, or something.”
She crossed her arms, “I don’t even know what that means.”
He waved her back to the dryer, “Go back from whence you came.”
Jenny started tapping her toe. “It doesn’t work that way.”
“Then tell me how it works so that I can get rid of you.”
“You don’t have to be rude.” She sighed and then spoke slowly as if he were a young child, “You get three wishes…If you make a wish, I am bound to you until the third wish is completed. Then I’m sent to the nearest object to await my next master.” She kicked the dryer. “My last master was a woman and she wished for a new dryer.”
“What if I don’t make a wish?”
She stomped her foot, “Make a wish. Now!”
“After I finish this load.” He bent to put the laundry in the dryer.
Jenny rolled her eyes, and muttered, “Men.” She whisked the basket off the floor and started to sort his light clothes from his dark. She did it so quickly, he stepped back and got out of her way. Jenny wiped her hands and smiled. “There.”
He smiled his thanks.
“Don’t you have a wife to do this?”
Walter’s smile faltered. “My wife died several years ago. It’s just me now.” Before he could succumb to the sorrow that rested in his heart, he noticed Jenny heading up the stairs.
“Now wait just a minute! You can’t go…”
Jenny stopped so suddenly that Walter nearly barreled her over. He looked over her head at the messy kitchen. Unwashed dishes, half eaten sandwiches, and dirty counter tops. He was embarrassed and pushed around her to start cleaning up.
“Here, let me help you.” Jenny picked up a cleaning cloth and the two of them cleaned the kitchen. They got into a rhythm of cleaning that spread to the rest of the house. It was sparkling clean in no time. They laughed and talked while they worked together. Walter no longer felt alone. One day led into the next and eventually years passed by.
Walter never made his three wishes.