Hung Out To Dry – Short Story

”Back again dear”

The nosy old bat from the corner shop smiled, as I placed the clothespins on the counter.

”Do you take in washing dear? It’s just, this is the third packet you have bought in a couple of days.”

”The dog ate them.” I hoped this reply would satisfy her.

Placing the money on the counter, I smiled and walked out of the shop. I would have to find another shop tomorrow, to buy more from. Couldn’t have the old bat getting suspicious.

Photo by chuttersnapon Unsplash

I walked back to the house along the seafront. The wind caught my hair, blowing it into my face. The salt carried on the wind stung my eyes. It didn’t bother me. I had grown up on the beach, I was used to the harsh wind. Breathing in the sea air, I began to relax. The beach always did this to me, I felt the tension ease from my shoulders as I walked further.

At the last moment, I took one last deep breath of sea air and climbed over the wall and back down the alley to the house.

Looking around for strange cars, seeing none, I walked down the side alley and unlocked the backdoor to the bungalow. Closing and locking it behind me.

Photo by Andreas Erikssonon Unsplash

The smell of bleach struck me as soon as I opened the door. It stung my eyes and burnt the hairs out of my nose. I had one more load to bleach and hang out to dry, then the job would be complete and I would be paid.

Throwing the clothespins onto the wooden table, I reached for the string. Uncurling a three-meter length, I jumped up onto a chair to string it between the nails. This would be the sixth line across the ceiling. Still, the job had to be finished, another couple of days and it would all come down.

Hanging on the other five lines, each with their own clothespin was a freshly bleached sheet. Not many more to complete now.

The process was easy, bleach the colour out and then hang them until they air dry. Once dried, the individual sheets were packed away.

Putting the thick rubber gloves on, I started on the last box. Plunging them into bleach until the colour vanished, then hanging them up to dry. The new pack of clothespins coming in useful. It was methodical work, but the repetition started calming my nerves.

Two more days of staying away from the police and the job would be complete. The boxes of bleached one-dollar bills would be on their way to the printer, where they would become $100 notes. The printing was easy, it was the paper that was hard to forge. Except we had a plan.


Sam H Arnold is a writer and mother. Using her 25 years experience in teaching she offers coaching programs for writers. Join her email list and receive her children’s book as a FREE download.

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