· SPRING /FALL 2013 | VOLUME 9 | ISSUE 1 ·

Rougarou, an online literary journal.

The Laundry Man

Dustin Hyman

I did surveillance for an hour before I went inside Fuzzy Suds. I tossed my denim Metallica jacket into an empty washing machine without soap. When the college kid left I was alone. I collected five loads of damp clothes and left.

I was in San Diego but the neighborhood looked like Tijuana. The next day I moved to La Jolla and stole more clothes.

I sold the stuff at a swap meet in Orange County. Nobody wanted my old skate shoes but they were willing to pay for the Polo shirts, Tommy Hilfiger pants and True Religion jeans. I made enough to fill the tank and eat a burrito.

I’ve always felt the need to move around, especially after getting punished by the law. I drove to Baja, Mexico with my dad after getting arrested for breaking and entering. The trip lasted three years.

I took a Winnebago across the country in 1998. It was a three month road-tour with a band called The Purple Buttholes. I’m the guy in the red headband: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1LIAaeQVu4.

I told women I was the lead singer but my only job was to locate drugs in various cities across the country.

So the only way to go was north. Fuck it was my mantra.

All I had was my car: an unsmogged Mazda 626 with expired tags and peeling white paint. My only friends were junkies. My parents had money, so did my sister, but I was all out of sympathy loans. I began sleeping in my car.

I stole laundry for two days in Santa Barbara. Rich laundry. I sold the clothes in San Luis Obsipo and made three-hundred bucks. I bought whiskey and a gym membership to 24 Hour Fitness. I know what you’re thinking: a gym membership isn’t something that a person who sleeps in their car needs. But hear me out on this one.

I once dated a girl who worked at 24 Hour Fitness. A personal trainer with red hair named Daisy…you do the math. Anyway, the gym has 137 locations in California. In my journey north, I came to know many of them. I took full advantage of the $29.99 monthly rate. After days on the road and sleeping in the backseat of my car, 24 Hour Fitness was like the Taj Mahal. I enjoyed thirty minute steaming hot showers, shaved, and took great long poops. I even exercised.

The first time I put on women’s clothing was only because all my other stuff was dirty. I was tired of dressing like a Republican anyway. It was raining that day in Salinas. I put on a long black dress and went inside a Denny’s. I walked into the women’s restroom with a chubby. When I saw my reflection in the window my cock went from six to midnight. It was a confidence thing and a sexual thing. My body felt great in that fucking dress.

My first time with a man: Bear Mountain Indian Casino. I was all cleaned up and smooth. Shaving my legs was a cathartic experience. It felt like scraping away dirt and age. I think women pretend hating to do it. I had a big brown wig from The Salvation Army and I stuffed little white hand towels inside my bra. I probably did my makeup twenty times before getting it right. But when the eye-liner wasn’t slutty and the red lipstick matched my shoes... I was fuckable.

There was only one guy with any style in the whole place. He had a Calvin Klein suit and four thousand dollars in chips. An easy mark.

“Wanna take a break old-man?”

He was about sixty.

“With you?” he asked.

“I don’t see anybody else...”

“You’re not my type,” he said.

I returned three hours later as a man. He was drunk and there was only two thousand dollars in chips.

“Mind if I watcha play?” I asked.

“Are you good luck?” he asked.

“I feel lucky.”

He studied my face. When he saw that I was serious, he raked all the chips into his pockets.

“Follow me,” he said. I was inside him three minutes later. The old man did coke until 4 a.m. Then he took some Valium and fell asleep. I grabbed half the coke and all the money. He preferred cocaine to cash anyway.

I got better at seducing both men and women. Straight and gay. Everything was new and exciting. I had clothes for every occasion and I used them accordingly. Sleeping in a bed was always the main objective.

I could have stolen a lot more. If I liked the mark, I didn’t take shit. If they were a motherfucking cock sucker, I took everything I could get my hands on.

It was strictly cocaine in San Diego and Santa Barbara. I got thrown into the drunk tank in San Luis Obispo for “exposing myself” in public. Apparently, local law enforcement frowns on grown men taking wet shits on their city’s steps.

Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge with bare feet while on ecstasy was a memorable experience.

There was a woman in Santa Rosa who would only do anal because she didn’t want to “cheat” on her husband. North of Santa Rosa, everybody was eating mushrooms. I ate too many near the Russian River and almost drowned.

I remember sleeping with a cross-dressing hunter in Arcata. A seriously confused man with deplorable dandruff.

Humboldt had acid and I lost track of time. At some point I was living halfway up a Giant Redwood with a nappy-headed fuck buddy. When I refused to eat her pussy she made me go down (the tree).

My car took a shit in Ashland, Oregon. I had enough money to buy a junker, but I was in the habit of taking things. I lived in Lithia Park for a week. The night I left Ashland began with me hitting on a Korean woman inside a bar. She finally set her purse down and went to the bathroom. I drove away without incident. Her car was dark with four doors and it only cost six gin and tonics.

At that point my mental state was all over the map. I remember thinking that I could make Alaska.

Something happened near the border of Oregon and Washington. The rain seeped into my thoughts. I can tell you how crazy I was but I can’t make you understand it. I needed sunshine. And just like that I was hell bent on Mexico.

I broke into some cars in Sacramento. There were a bunch of yellow pills inside a green jeep. I don’t remember anything after that until I was traveling south through Big Sur. By that time I only used the gym to steal things from other members. My hygiene was very bad. I wore a bathrobe and I smelt like a hobo’s bush.

I should have slept in Morro Bay but Mexico was singing my name. I managed to buy some speed from a black lady in Santa Maria. I drove through the night. I hadn’t slept the night prior and my eyes were playing tricks on me. I kept thinking the old guy was sitting beside me in his shiny black suit. I remember having long talks with the Korean woman who owned the car I was driving. We talked about gas mileage and butt fucking.

I ran out of gas near LAX so I walked to a Chevron station and begged for change. I only had two dollars after an hour. People weren’t helping me fast enough so I stole a red gas can from the back of somebody’s motorhome. It was a big horrible thing, shaped like a cinderblock and towing motorcycles. I carried the gas back to the 405 and began pouring it into my tank. I didn’t get much inside because a cop parked behind me. When he exited his vehicle, I ran into my car and floored it.

Then there were six cops. When I saw the helicopter I freaked out. I remember thinking they were trying to kill me. Maybe they were. Part of me still wanted Mexico.

It ended at the same gas station: Culver City, Los Angeles — out of my fucking mind. I didn’t get to see this footage until I got out of prison: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JG3cLeMk3n4.