A Laundry Gnome Mystery

I wanna laundry gnome. I mean, hey, why not? Space travel’s become almost routine. We’ve sent cameras all the way to Pluto. We’ve got cloned sheep and who knows what else. We’ve even got robot vacuum cleaners. Is a laundry gnome too much to ask?

Just think of it. While you’re sleeping, a tiny gnome - or better yet, a team of them - slips into the laundry room and joyfully goes about sorting, washing, drying, folding, ironing, and hanging up clothes. In the morning, you awake to an empty hamper and fresh clothes already hanging in your closet and tucked neatly in your dressers.

Ah, what wonderful laundry gnomes, you’ll be thinking as you sip your coffee and imagine what other things you’ll now be able to get done. Laundry gnomes would iron out some of the wrinkles in our busy lives.

In the early days, I see myself leaving them presents. Low hanging sticky notes that said, “Thank you!” and “You’re the best!” and even “I love you!” Tiny cups of juice, plates of finger-sized cookies, maybe some dollhouse-sized gifts, maybe even a Barbie convertible so they could have a little fun between loads. You’d probably do the same things. Our laundry gnomes would be so happy.

So, would we, with the mystery of a happy, productive life solved!

But, over time, things would change. They always do. We can’t handle life unwrinkled. We would grow complacent with our new laundry freedoms. We would take the gnomes for granted. The gifts would stop because we no longer had time to hunt down gnome-sized stuff. Their joy would deflate under low-stuck sticky notes that said, “Please, more starch” or “Put some effort into getting out those stains” or “Hey, can you keep it down? We’re trying to sleep.” Gratefulness would fade once the novelty wore off.

Hmm, how hard life would be for those laundry gnomes then with only the satisfaction of clean clothes to keep them happy. I bet they would become disgruntled.

Ew, disgruntled laundry gnomes - a dark and sinister picture is forming. Mix Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart with Chucky and you’ve got one creepy revenge story. Angry gnomes infiltrating your bedroom, wondering where their treats and thanks have gone, staring at you until you wake up in a fright. Then, they might ask, “Need more starch?” as they bludgeon you with tiny irons. They’ll teach us not to take them for granted, but the lesson will come too late.

The buzz of the dryer wakes me up from my revelry. The clothes are done. And somehow, I’m not grumbling as I tend to them. What’s a little laundry, anyway? I can do this. Those precious laundry gnomes would be better suited for a hospital or orphanage or hotel. I’m content to handle my own messes and wrinkles. Safer that way.