There was no other laundromat like the Sit N Spin in Oakland. Ty stuffed a tiny coffee shop into the lobby space that most laundries would fill with three benches and an arcade game. The former was an art of wasting time and the latter a pasttime of time lost. Patrons regained the time stolen at the laundry by wasting it at the coffee shop. To get to the washers and dryers, one had to pass by an enticing menu of pastries and coffees. There were small tables, popular low-key tunes and free wi-fi. The walls of the Sit N Spin were orange with bold yellow lines slanting off in all directions. Each machine was named after one of Tyree's favorite celebrities.
Tyree had been Lyn's landlord ever since Lyn answered a bulletin posted at the gay club where she’d been a bartender until the bathroom sex debacle. Tyree was the best performer at amateur drag night. She was prevented from going professional by her glaucoma-induced enormous glasses and thus, tragically turned to a wealthier though far less glamorous career in real estate.
Lyn heard the jingle of Tyree’s earrings and bangles approaching. Tyree didn’t always dress in drag but there was always something feminine about her look. It didn’t get more masculine than bib overalls with nothing underneath, but Ty dressed them up with jewelry and exotic eye make-up. She seldom wore a wig unless performing, and let her hair blossom into an afro until it became a nuisance. Then she would shave it completely. It was freshly shorn, and her bald black head gleamed under the fluorescent lights.
“Did you read the chart I left in your mailbox? Bad aspects.”
“You know I don’t believe in astrology, Ty.” She focused on the drawing, but it was hard to concentrate on the dream when Tyree was talking to her.
“’Course you don’t. You’re a Virgo.” She pushed her glasses up. “Forget about the stars. I just put it that way to try to give you a way to conceptualize bad joo-joo. You can’t feel it? It’s emanating off you like cartoon steam.”
“My joo joo is fine, Tyree. Could you get out of my hair so I can get something out of my head?”
“Your omens so bad I'm scared to sit next to you on the bus. Afraid you'll burst into flames or some shit.”
She smacked her pen on the table. “Why do you always have to do this? Remember that time you said something we loved would be taken from us?”
“Yes, and that was the week they canceled Firefly.”
“You made it sound really serious.”
“Firefly was a good show!” She raised her chin. For a moment she looked like Nefertiti. “You should respect my powers.”
Lyn’s mind was still on the dream. Surely it was just a distraction from thinking of the events of that morning. She grimaced and held her stomach.
"What's wrong with you?" Tyree asked.
"Cramps," she said.
Something heavy in one of the dryers made a persistent thump. It matched the pulse in her tortured innards. She managed a smile.
Tyree sighed. “ I’m freaking out here. I got two broken washers all ready and some preachers in the parking lot scaring away business.”
Lyn had seen them. A Hispanic man in a Hawaiian shirt was preaching while a young guy in a suit passed out fliers. She decided the dream was a lost cause. To appease Tyree, she said, “I’ll take care of them.”