By Stephanie Wheeler
Featured Art: Peeled II by Samantha Slone
The dryer was making a monstrous sound. The repairman stood with his hand resting flat on top.
“I feel the vibration,” he said. He was a fat man with a three-day stubble sprouting in uneven patches on his face. His uniform shirt was belted into his trousers around the front and haphazardly untucked in the back. Hazel could see his milky eyes shifting rapidly through smudged glasses. She hated him a little.
Hazel nodded. “And you can hear it, too.”
He squinted his eyes, then squeezed them tight, concentrating.
Hazel decided that she hated him a lot.
“The grinding sound,” Hazel said, straining to make her voice heard above the din. “It’s quite obvious, really.”
“Ah, yes. The grinding. I hear it.”
Hazel’s cell phone chimed then, and she looked at the screen. The name Walt appeared in white letters, glowing.
“Excuse me,” she told the repairman, “I need to take this.”
He waved her away. “Go ahead. I’ll keep at it, love,” he said.
She looked at him, glared, and considered saying something. Something clever about how he shouldn’t call her love. Who was he to call her love? They’d only just met and he was charging a $100 service fee simply to walk in the door and provide diagnostics on the dryer. The $100 was charged before and apart from the repairs. She didn’t feel any love. But her phone was insistent. Hazel left the laundry room, glanced over her shoulder, and pulled the door tight behind her. She went into the kitchen.