DISCLAIMER: I only borrowed them for a while. MGM and whoever can have them back whenever they want.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
DEDICATED: to my muse and my love.

Interlude 12:

By Celievamp

In many ways Janet Fraiser was a domestic goddess. She cooked, she sewed, she gardened. There seemed no household task she could not turn her hand to. Unless it involved laundry. No matter how sophisticated the machine, how carefully the laundry was sorted and categorised something either got dyed, shredded, shrunk, stretched or plain disappeared.

She had no explanation for the phenomenon.

It was a marvel to Sam how something like that could happen. She figured quickly why Cassie had always insisted on doing her own laundry within her first month of taking up residence in Janet’s house.

The first time it happened, Sam put it down to bad luck. She needed to buy some new underwear anyway. And though her work wardrobe consisted of green, blue, beige and black she had never really considered khaki to be a good colour for panties.

The second time gave her pause for thought as she surveyed the small stiff remains of her favourite red sweater. It had always been a little tight, fitting her curves in all the right places but now it might just fit one of Cassie’s teddybears. One of the smaller ones. Janet was very, very apologetic about it. And the ‘I’m sorry’ sex was memorable. Very memorable.

The third time she came home in time to see Janet surveying the remains of the wash. It looked as if not one but an entire box of tissues had got in there somewhere. “What happened?”

“I have no idea,” Janet said glumly. “I know what it looks like, but I swear I… oh…” She fished out the remains of a plastic wrapper, clearly identified as a handipack of tissues. “Damn… I must have missed checking a pocket somewhere. You wouldn’t think that ten tissues would make such a mess. I swear this machine’s cursed, you know.”

“A cursed washing machine,” Sam grinned. “If you say so…”

Sam made a point of doing the laundry after that. And everything stayed the same colour, shape and size that it had been when it went into the machine and was actually cleaner when it came out than when it went in. And things went well for months. Until P3R-293.

The burns on Sam’s hands and arms were not serious but made activities like laundry a little too difficult to tackle. And Cassie was in the middle of end of year exams so she could not really ask the teen to do her laundry for her. And it had been a couple of years since the tissue incident. It wasn’t even the same washing machine. She was also out of socks and down to her last pair of clean pants. Going commando wasn’t really her style.

Janet had offered without even being asked. It was only laundry – what could possibly go wrong?

The smell of burning was the first clue that all was not well. The hastily stifled bout of bad language from the utility room was the second clue. Her mental picture of what might have happened had to be worse than the reality. Sam peeked round the door.

The dryer had obviously gone onto overdrive. There was a distinctly singed look to the few items of clothing that Janet had so far been able to gingerly retrieve from the smoking aperture in the now very much ex-appliance.

“Do I want to know?” Sam asked, picking through the tattered, smouldering remains of her underwear.

“Just think of it this way,” Janet said. She gave Sam her brightest most wide eyed smile. “At least I’m cute.”

And for that there was no answer.

The End

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