Since marrying Nita, I’ve suspected her dryer was haunted. Oh, I had a bad dryer before when I moved into my old condo. That machine, before it died, went from eating socks to vomiting them out into the flower bed out front. It wasn’t haunted; it was just sick. $500 at the nearby HH Gregg allowed me to put it out of my misery.
But Nita’s dryer? It predates AJ by about two years. (AJ is 18 and in college now.) And it began its reign o’ terror when the previous Mr. Nita tried to order an electric dryer. Couldn’t hook it up. I suspect, however, something more sinister was at work. See, the gas dryer they ultimately bought, the one I came into shared possession of when I married Nita, chose the house. Why? It was possessed by Legion, the chief demon of sock eating. (It’s in one of the apocryphal New Testament books. Trust me. Jesus once beat him up with a sandal.)
The signs were there back in 2008: It ate more socks than the normal dryer. 3 hours to dry a load of laundry where both my old and new dryers only took 1 hour. And that noise. I thought it was the belt. That squeeing noise like a teenage girl stuck in mid-Beibergasm. It was annoying, but eventually relegated to background noise.
And then it began. Last year, the dryer began making sinister noises. Growling noises. And that teenaged squee? It had become the shriek of a banshee. Since my office sits not fifteen feet from the dryer, I frequently had to try to write with that squeal in the background. We were still convinced it was mechanical.
And then the demon that lived within asserted itself. It would mark our clothes. I have several that have black marks in them, almost like some sort of mark of evil that doesn’t really come out in the wash. More recently, we’d find clothes jammed in the space between the drum and the door. Two weekends ago, it began trying to eat our clothes. I had to run downstairs about every 15 minutes to free them from its jaws and finish the load. Now, I could have just gotten a roll of quarters and gone to the laundromat, but that’s just crazy talk.
On the last load we fed the dryer, it got particularly aggressive. When I freed a pair of jeans from its jaws o’ death, it bit me. I set the dryer going and went back upstairs.
“Is that blood?” Nita asked.
It was. There was a three-inch gash in my forearm requiring a large bandage to dress. That thing bit me! Oh, this shit got real.
Retrieving the load when I finished, I shouted, “You’re days are numbered! You shall not pass!”
(And upstairs, AJ told his mother they were never letting me watch Lord of the Rings again.)
By noon the next day, I had a new dryer ordered and scheduled. The appliance men had to remove a door (Postwar cottage and all, not friendly to 21st century appliances at all.) to get the old beast out and put in its replacement. Now the replacement is quiet, does its job in about 45 minutes per load, less if it’s smaller. If I’m in the office with music going, I sometimes don’t know it’s even going. But the old one?
They dragged it out to the front yard, stuffed garlic inside it, drove a stake through its motor, and read it Leviticus. I thought I heard screaming.
And then they hauled it off to the scrapyard.
So why do I have visions of that last scene in John Carpenter’s Christine?