by Zeelee

Clementine blames Joel for her fixation with the scent of fresh laundry.

Joel always seemed to be wearing clothes fresh from the dryer. Washing clothes was an obsessive compulsive habit for him, and Clem doesn't want to think about how much money he must spend on detergent alone. His clothes always smelled like Downy or Tide, and it wasn't long before the scent started to turn Clem on, before she developed a god damn genuine Pavlovian response.

When Joel found out, he teased her about it mercilessly, and then when things started getting ugly, the teasing would get more vicious. Once when they were both disgustingly drunk he'd slurred, "I'll bet you'd fuck anyone who did their laundry often enough."

She had slapped him, and the mark on his face had turned out disappointingly small and red, barely a scratch. But later, she'd kissed it better anyway.

Clem has a sensory memory; she remembers smells better than she remembers people. She doesn't remember anything about her first time (she was thirteen) except for the way the sheets smelled (like cracker crumbs and dog hair). She thinks the boy's name started with a P.

The first time she and Joel break up, Clem notices that one of her coworkers at the book store is wearing clean clothes fresh from the dryer. She gives him a handjob over coffee break and tries to drown in the smell of detergent, but it's really not the same.

She knows that she has left Joel with more obsessions and fixations about her than he has with her, and she allows herself to feel smug.

But when she starts crying in the middle of the laundromat, his fucking disgusting detergent smell all around her, she decides enough is enough.

She abandons her laundry in the dryer (some hobo will appreciate it more than she will) and dials the toll-free number of Lacuna, Inc from a payphone down the street.


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